Mike Gets It

One of the after school programs where we do the workshop provides a helper, a counselor, a guy we’ll call Mike (since that’s his name).  Mike came in the first time with a drill sergeant demeanor, herding the kids, telling them sternly to stay in their seats and be quiet.

This was not really the vibe we need in the workshop, the first rule is move around to where you’re comfortable, keep moving if you like.  The second is to talk about what you’re planning to do.  

There was a minor clash that first time, the second time was a little easier.  By the third session Mike felt no need to discipline the kids, since they were all busy and involved with what they were doing.  Last week I pointed something out to Mike.

“Damn…” he said, and I nodded.  Four kids were animating at the animation stand by themselves, two moving the things on the animation stand, two photographing.  

“And in the full two-hour workshop another couple of kids would be at the computer editing and working on the soundtrack while the other kids were animating,” I pointed out.   He was impressed.

This week Mike was animating.  Sitting by ten year-old Jacob, the two of them enthralled by a Muybridge sequence I’d shown them,  Mike said “I’ll help you,” and was soon diligently working on a sequence of a running man.

By the end of the session Mike was as giddy as many of the kids sometimes get after a session of animation.

“Lily,” I called out to the girl who was trying to get her book back from Mike, who was holding it just out of her reach, “leave Mike alone.”

And Mike, rather than barking at the kids to stay in their seats, threw his head back and laughed.


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