For households around the country watching copious amounts of children’s TV at present, viewers may have noticed a new song and video, called ‘Magic in Me’. Suzy Cato used the animated video last week, where she appears as presenter on the new educational channel designed especially for NZ in lockdown, Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV. It aired on TV2, Friday, April 17th with a very noticeable credit to Southern Institute of Technology (SIT).
Award-winning children’s songwriter Kath Bee’s song “Magic in Me” is sung by 10 year old Mika Elley with a rap written and performed by Nelson-born, UK-based MC, Luke Epapara aka Kurnel MC and produced by Ryan Beehre. Miss Bee said ‘Magic in Me’ is a song “to remind children that they have the magic inside, to be whoever they want to be and achieve whatever they want to achieve”. The video was made with the support of NZ on Air, and Miss Bee intends to enter it into the 2021 NZ Music Children’s Video of the Year Awards. The song is also a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition – with results released in May.
SIT Animation graduate and Arts and Animation tutor, Traci Meek, was a perfect fit for the song which is her Research Project No.1 for 2020, as her research expertise and interests are in providing entertainment for the ‘Tween’ market – children within the 8-12 years age group. Fuelled by the passion to be making content for the children of New Zealand, Miss Meek said “It’s so exciting to see my work on TV, it’s the gold standard in terms of having your work broadcast”.
The video and song are full of home-grown talent. Miss Meek says she’s “super happy” to have collaborated with this team of creative people, including recognised member of the music industry Nelson-based Kath Bee, who invited Miss Meek to provide animation for the song after she worked on animation for Bee and Anna van Riel’s children’s song collaboration ‘Give Love at Christmas’. Miss Bee and Ms van Riel are part of a collective of artists called Kids Kiwi Music. The more than 100-member-strong group’s mission is to support and grow original NZ music just for children.
The Invercargill-based team consisted of Traci Meek and Film-making student Tyler Baikie, who brought a slightly different skill set to the project, with fellow SIT graduate Wyatt Black working remotely on the project from the North Island. Miss Meek provided project management and animation services for the lyric music video creation. Mr Black’s distinctive Anime-influenced illustrations in the style of Japanese animation provided the imagery. Student intern Tyler Baikie put in 50 hours towards his internship requirement on the project, adding his prowess with skills in After Effects and completing all the motion graphics (making the images move) in the video.
Miss Meek said the project couldn’t have happened without the support of SIT. The Zero Fees Scheme creates an environment for students where they can afford to live and have ‘breathing room’ to function and be creative. The result is specialist programmes such as animation and film-making are made more accessible to the masses through the innovative scheme. Miss Meek said finishing their qualification without being burdened with a large debt is a huge advantage. The team were also assisted by Kathryn McCully, Programme manager for Creative Industries at SIT, who provided key support in the form of access to specialist hard and software for pre and post-production.
Hamish Small, Head of Faculty of New Media, Arts & Business said even with the country in lockdown, SIT staff and students have managed to assist an essential service, by way of education, in utilising the skills and knowledge they have gained at SIT. “The positive outcomes for such a project have been fantastic, not only for staff outputs, but for students to be recognised nationally and earning while they learn. Hopefully such showcasing of our combined talent will continue”.
Keep an eye out for two other music videos which are southern collaborations, and could also be included in the TVNZ regular playlist in the future. Miss Meek worked with Lake Hawea singer-songwriter Anna van Riel by providing animation for the song ‘Doodlebug’, then alongside SIT programme graduate Kevin Reid, she supplied editing and motion graphics for Ms van Riel’s ‘Echo’, which was also produced with funding from NZ on Air. Both videos have an SIT credit at the end.