The timing of the talk was perfect, as I had just finished the manuscript for Six Words Fresh Off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Identity, and Coming to America., a collaboration with the ABC show, Fresh Off the Boat. I talked to this Hollywood crowd about how the show and Six Words worked together to offer an accessible lens into the intense topic of immigration. At the end of any talk, I always offer these six words: “Come work with me—let’s talk!”
One of the people I got to talking with was Maria Rapetskay, founder of the agency, Undefined Creative, and a professor at NYU, where she teaches motion graphics. “The students can explore any style, from the most abstract graphics to character animation, as long as they adhere to each assignment’s requirements,” she explains. “It’s often difficult to come up with assignment topics for a class since we must keep the animations very short. Anything longer than six to eight seconds would be too challenging for a novice to produce in the time allotted.”
As she listened to the story of Six-Word Memoirs, Rapetskay knew the form would be an ideal fit for her class, and found topic of immigration timely and relevant. When the book came out in September 2017, she shared it with her independent study students in their second semester of motion graphics. Their assignment: pick their favorite stories from the book and work on several at once throughout the semester. They chose these stories knowing nothing about the authors or their backstories. “Six words are the perfect length, and having a concrete language based idea to work with means less time spinning wheels on what to animate,” says Rapetskay. “The words lend themselves to visuals instantly, and everyone can jump right to creation.”
In the above video loop of twelve animations, you can see how these inventive young creator give the written words an exciting second life.