New Endeavors – Skunkwerkz and Akronstein Labs

Hey there! Eric and Tony here. We’ve recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring Red Point VR Skunkwerkz and Akronstein Labs to Akron, Ohio! You can check it out here: RPVR Skunkwerkz & Akronstein Labs

 

In 2017, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, through the Knight Arts Challenge, awarded us a very generous matching grant to get us up and running. The matching part is where Kickstarter comes in. We only benefit from the grant if the community gets involved. Our vision is to give the Midwest a voice in the burgeoning field of Virtual Reality and the painstaking artistry of stop-motion animation. It is this particular combination we aim to make our specialty at RPVR Skunkwerkz and the Akronstein Labs.

 

What’s with the twofer?

RPVR Skunkwerkz is the studio and production company that specializes in VR (AR, MR, Spherical video, etc.) as well as the animation disciplines of 2D, 3D digital, and stop-motion animation. The convergence of these art forms will be our unique specialty!

Meanwhile, Akronstein Labs is the community outreach and education program we are starting as the tangible sign of our long-term commitment to Akron, and the Midwest. It will serve to create interest in VR and stop-motion animation to the community at-large, especially to the young folk out there who may not be aware of the artistic and career opportunities available in the respective fields.

Community outreach begins with our on-location workshops where we will introduce the concepts of VR and stop-motion animation production at area high schools.  We will be bringing our equipment and skills to schools and meeting with students for short demos on various topics and techniques. Students who share an interest will be encouraged to submit applications for a more intensive boot camp to be hosted at Akronstein Labs.

These boot camps will offer a deeper educational opportunity through multi day, one-on-one mentoring. From the applicants, we will select area high-school students and place them in a fast paced and fun environment where they will learn the basics of VR production and stop-motion animation. With particularly-interested boot campers, we will be able to offer various levels of immersion, from opportunities to work with college students or area professionals, all the way up to our national artist-in-residence program. The artists-in-residence will be national talent, and local students can intern with them in helping to create a truly unique work of professional art.

In the long term, we shall create a PIXAR of the Midwest concentrating on the core concept of VR stop-motion animation!

Getting there…

With a successful campaign we will secure the matching funds from the Knight Foundation grant and launch our vision further into reality than we already have! We have a good start beginning with the wonderful and talented people we already have in place. We already have a great space to work from for both the studio and the lab.

What we need is to purchase upgraded production equipment and art supplies to facilitate both our production needs as well as our educational and community outreach goals. We need funds to market and advertise our youth programs to get students excited and engaged. And lastly, these funds will help publish all this work professionally.

Imagine a Midwest VR and Animation studio creating world class content and storytelling techniques dedicated to training a new generation of artists. Come be a part of our vision!