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Say hello to FutureLearners in our new animated film

Four learners from around the world feature in our new animated film – “Hello FutureLearners!” You can watch it here and find out how we made it.

The film is designed to help spread the word about FutureLearn, using conversations with real people, talking in an unscripted way about their lives and what they’ve learnt:

  • Anzela is from Latvia and has an appetite for learning that’s infectious. She believes that you don’t know enough to know what you need to learn when you’re younger, and you won’t have the time or resources when you’re older. So she’s grasping the moment now.
  • Guljan is an English teacher from Iraq. She’s inspiring in the way she describes the relationship between teaching and learning – she never wants to stop learning, so that she can constantly improve as a teacher. She sees FutureLearn – and specifically the “Exploring English: Language and Culture” course – as a way to “interact with other cultures.”
  • Tony, from Essex in the UK, currently holds the record for the most courses taken and most courses completed by one learner. At the time of the interview, he was on his twentieth course, with three more lined up. His mobility is limited and he experiences considerable pain every day, but uses FutureLearn as one of his few distraction techniques.
  • Lynn, from Cheshire in the UK, uses FutureLearn to expand on her already-wide range of interests. She enjoys our focus on social learning, meeting and discussing courses with people around the world. She also learns as a leisure activity – something to help her brain work in a different way, as an alternative to watching TV or films.

Making the film

All of our conversations were recorded over the phone, so we don’t know what Anzela, Guljan, Tony and Lynn look like (and who knows, maybe they really do have blue and purple hair). But we worked closely with the audio material to build visual characters, using Aardman’s Creature Comforts work from 1990 as inspiration.

Richard Hogg (who designed the PlayStation game, Hohokum and lots of other great things) designed the characters and the rest of the film. Mummu were our animation partners.

The animation

Richard took the design of our website, and basic FutureLearn colours and styles, to build a new world for the characters, which is why it looks and feels like something new for us.

Each of the four learners’ stories are interwoven, to give a picture of their experiences on the site. We hope these experiences will resonate, whether you’ve never heard of us or you visit everyday.

The sound

As we were recording real interviews with real people, it was important to keep the audio realistic: we want viewers to know that we spoke to people round the world on the phone.

You can hear some glitchy-ness in the sound quality, which we chose to keep in, and accentuate with Richard’s “visual glitches.” If you find this or the accents difficult to understand, you can switch on subtitles in the bottom right corner of the YouTube player.

Four FutureLearners appear as animated characters in our new film

Thanks to Richard and Mummu, Anzela, Guljan, Tony and Lynn, and everyone else we interviewed for this project. If you’d like to meet more FutureLearners, take a look at our “Your Stories” category.

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