TED-Ed Hostos students
Some of the Hostos team that helped create the TED-Ed video: (Back row, left to right) Carlos Jiménez Thompson, Ricard de la Rosa, Jalen Barr, Abubacarr Jeng, and Steven Cheuveret (front row, left to right) Ana Ortega, Albert Mosquea, José Muñoz Vegas, and Hostos animation professor Andy London.

When TED-Ed’s Student Talks program was looking for a team to create a dynamic promo video for its student-driven initiative, it went straight to the source and collaborated with undergraduates in Hostos’ animation department.

What resulted was a 1-minute animated video that will help spread the word about the student-based initiative worldwide. The hands-on project also opened the eyes of 14 talented Hostos animators to the world of professional animation and taught them what to expect when working with a large team and a real client.

The project was born from previous working relationships between Hostos animation professor Andy London and members of the TED-Ed team. Hostos students received guidance from Lisa LaBracio, an Animation Director at TED-Ed; Marisa Aubin, the TED-Ed Community Manager; and Nina Medvinskaya, a Multimedia Production Intern at TED-Ed.

London had worked with a few of the incredibly talented artists at TED-Ed in the past and thought it would be a great learning experience for everyone involved. In addition to teaching animation at Hostos since 2010, London is a writer, director, animator and co-founder of London Squared Productions. He has been creating graphic novels, films, art installations and animated content since 1992. He also teaches animation at Harvard University and knows first-hand the value networking can have.

“I was looking for a way to create a service learning class project that would give students a real opportunity to learn the commercial art business that could also lead to work down the road,” London said. “My animator colleague, Lisa LaBracio, was looking for a way to bring more diversity to her work place at TED-Ed. So, over the fall, we put our heads together and came up with this collaborative project.”

With LaBracio acting as a producer, she briefed the students on what they were looking for, and the students ran with their opportunity. Students received feedback and guidance from seasoned professionals and came away more confident in their abilities.

Hostos students Jose Munoz and Steve Cheuveret were key members of the team that worked on the video project. Munoz, who already has an associate degree in graphic design from the Art Institute, served as the director, animator and designer. He also negotiated various aspects of the project with TED-Ed.

“Learning how to manage a project and people was something I learned throughout this project,” Munoz said. “Determining other people’s skillsets and putting them in the right places was a good challenge for me.”

Cheuveret, who is considering transferring to The City College of New York to continue his animation studies, worked on character design and illustrations for the video. For him, traditional animation is something that takes great patience.

“Like professor London says, this work is like pushing a golf ball up a hill with your nose. This work takes time, but I love it.”

On May 23, the Hostos team was invited to a screening of their work at the TED offices in Manhattan. There, they met other animators, producers, and designers from the TED-Ed team.

“Being able to work with an actual real client, including handling weekly briefings and goals was great,” Cheuveret said. “I learned to take a client's reference materials and guidance and make something that made me proud. The TED-Ed project gave me a sense of what to expect from future jobs in animation. This was a nice change of pace from the other digital animation courses I have taken. I also liked that the entire class played a role and brought different creativity to the end result, so it taught us how to collaborate with large groups.”

Watch the video HERE.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities for over half a century. Since 1968, Hostos has been a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs.

Hostos offers 28 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate secure transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 25 colleges.