Seven-Day *Remote* Animation Challenge!!



Wednesday May 19th – Tuesday May 25th 2020 (7 days total)

Held *remotely* off-site, wherever you may be, with online support directly from QAS HQ / QAS Cloud City

Screening to take place in late June, details TBD

Registration is pretty much full, so if you still want to take part and haven’t signed up yet, please email Erin ASAP.


For the past 13 years, intrepid teams of animators would spend four days over the May long weekend locked in the Quickdraw Animation Society studios making brand-new animated films from start to finish during our annual ANIMATION LOCKDOWN production event! We would jam as many animators as possible into the studios, working shoulder-to-shoulder, sleeping under desks, sharing meals, and getting sloppy until the morning light. Participants would enter the studios on Friday night, and leave Monday afternoon having created incredible new animated films eligible for amazing prizes.

We find ourselves in 2021 still stuck in a very different kind of Lockdown. The world has reacted to a pandemic. The QAS studios are still shut down. Gatherings have been on and off during restrictions. And for 2021 we are still taking the precautions to ensure safety: physically distancing, washing our hands, and enforcing sanitary precautions for our rental gear. It’s… different.

But don’t despair! Our knowledge of online interfaces has opened the door for collaborations and previous location-based restrictions have been dissolved! This year, the Quickdraw Animation Society will be participating nationally with the 48 Film Festival. Don’t worry! This partnership won’t change the legacy of QAS’ own Lockdown. However, it does mean that TWO SHORT FILMS from each participating area will be selected for an in-person (hopefully) screening in Spring 2022 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto!

It’s 2021, and the world is no longer defined by opposites. We recognize nuances and the beauty in the subtle variations. So put your eye to the pyramid and bathe in the SPECTRUMS — the theme for this year’s second edition of the *remote* Animation Lockdown!


This year’s Animation Lockdown will be held *remotely* off-site, from Wednesday, May 19 through Tuesday, May 25, 2021. Participants will work from home, or their safe, quarantined location of choice, with tech support, gear, and/or software provided by QAS (if required – you’re totally welcome to use your own kit). 

Participants cannot use or work in the physical QAS studios in ANY capacity this year. However, all of our gear and software are fair game for you to take home and use for the challenge if needed. Gear and software requests will be allocated on a mostly first-come, first-serve basis, with a mind for fairness of access to all participants to get the resources they need for the challenge.

(The timeline has moved from 4 days to 7 days to give us (and you) more time to deal with the inevitable tech problems, home distractions, and general quarantine malaise. We’ve found everything takes 2x longer than normal right now, so we’re leaning into it.)

This year, all films are required to incorporate the following:

  • THEME: SPECTRUMS. More details below.
  • 1x SECRET CAMERA TECHNIQUE: We will announce the specific technique is on the first day. You must use this technique for at least one shot of your film.
  • 1x SECRET EDITING TECHNIQUE: We will announce two options on the first day. You must use at least one in your edit, or you can use both.
  • 1x SECRET LANGUAGE: Details to be unveiled on the first day!
  • 1x SECRET LOCAL MUSIC PICK: We are partnering with our rad pals at SLED ISLAND to offer a selection of sweet local music tracks for participants to use. You must incorporate at least 1x track into your film, however you wish. You do NOT have to use the full track, or make a music video! However, you DO have to use one of these selections. You could even use it to spice up your opening title or credits!

Films that do not incorporate the above theme and technical requirements, or are not finished and uploading by 6pm on Tuesday May 25 2021, may not be included in the screening and will not be eligible for the National 48 challenge and/or prizes.

Participants can work by themselves, or form a team. (We ask that teams work remotely from each other, or are already quarantined together. Please respect physical distancing protocols for yourselves.) Teams are not required, but can be a fun way to collaborate with your pals.

QAS Staff will be online during the entire event for remote help, tech assistance, and moral support. QAS will provide both group and private video conferencing services for participants, and high-capacity cloud storage for you and your team members to share files, access QAS digital resources, and upload your final films (or works-in-progress) to our online server.

Internet access is a requirement for participation. QAS cannot provide internet access to individuals or teams. If you want to go offline hermit mode and pull a Richard Williams, go for it, but your film will be due at the same time as everyone else’s, and we will need it uploaded to our cloud storage at deadline. If you plan on shooting on film, or making some sort of animated device, let us know, but those formats will not be supported to the same extent as digital projects.

Participation is limited to Producing Members who are local+. You must be a current Producing Member to play, and if your membership is expiring soon you will be asked to renew your QAS membership.

By “local+” we mean we can only support Calgary-area animators, Alberta artists, and the QAS global diaspora. This is NOT a worldwide event, we do not have the capacity to host this event for new folks from away who do not have a previous connection to our Society, even if we are doing everything online. Kind of a drag if you’re just hearing about us, but we need to support our local community first. Reach out if you want to participate but aren’t sure if you are eligible.

*People from other organizations participating in the National 48 Hour Film Festival will have access to our Zoom and technical support, but will not be supported with equipment.

Animation experience isn’t necessary, but is highly recommended – this isn’t an intro to animation workshop. New animators, students, and those just starting out are welcome, as are experienced animators wanting a new challenge. Some familiarity with your production method of choice is recommended as well, since we won’t be able to teach you a new software skill over the weekend on a video chat. We will troubleshoot and advise as best we can.

Older youth (13+) are welcome to participate but must have adult supervision, and be advised that we cannot guarantee the content of any of the group chats will be age-appropriate. If we get enough youth we may split them off into their own chat. Anyone under 18 is requested to have their guardian contact us in advance of registering.

Quickdraw aims to create a safe and welcoming space for all members, and we want our participants to reflect the diversity of our community. We strongly encourage Indigenous peoples, official language minorities, people with disabilities, racialized people and women to register. If you may encounter physical, mental, financial, or other barriers to participation, please let us know and we will do our best to support you.

QAS reserves the right to cancel or refuse registrations, cap the number of participants, or remove participants before or during the event. Signing up is not a guarantee you will participate. We’ll try our best to accommodate every, but disrespectful behaviour, harassment, or otherwise unchill actions towards other participants or QAS Staff will get you removed from the event.


This is a seven-day event, broken up into three distinct phases. How you manage your time is up to you.


  • QAS Staff will be at the studios Friday, May 14th and Saturday, May 15, from 11am to 5pm to handle gear pickups, online help with tech support and licensing issues, and generally get everyone ready.
  •     Please clarify which day you can pick-up gear from QAS in your registration.
  •     Erin will email you specific timeframes.
  •     Any questions, email:


  • We will host a group video session to introduce the Lockdown, meet each other, and reveal the KEY (aka technical requirements) on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 7pm. The requirements will also be sent out over email.
  • You can start animating after 7pm Wednesday, once the challenges have been released. Take the time to do your pre-production, start storyboarding, watch online tutorials, get supplies, choose your music track, etc.


  • QAS Staff will support online work sessions and remote tech support 10am to 8pm for each of the four days.
  • Participants have these four days to complete the bulk of their animation. You’re welcome to keep your own hours, work all night, etc. but support will only be available during the times listed above. (We have to sleep sometime…)
  • Online resources, cloud storage, and video chat services will be available to participants 24/7. After hours will not be moderated, so use at your own risk.
  • You should aim to have most of your animation production finished by end of day Monday. Leave yourself time for sound, editing, and troubleshooting!


  • QAS Staff will be online and supporting participants 10am to 6pm on Tuesday.
  • Final, rendered films WITH SOUND are due at 6pm on Tuesday May 25, uploaded (or uploading) to QAS cloud storage.

Again, any films that haven’t begun uploading by 6pm on May 25, 2021 may not be screened, and will definitely NOT be eligible for prizes.


  • Thanks to the Alberta Media Arts Alliance Society each team will receive a $25 SKIPTHEDISHES gift card to go towards a meal or meals of your choice. We recommend supporting local businesses!
  • During the Animation Lockdown we encourage you to join in online to share your dally updates, meet other animators, and hang out!


We have a tiered model this year to reflect that not everyone will be using QAS resources to the same extent, we won’t be the ones cooking you food or providing snacks, etc.

You MUST be a valid Producing Member of Quickdraw. ($50). If your membership is expiring in the next couple months, we will require you to renew it.


  • Producing Membership: $50
  • Gear costs: $0
  • National competition fee: $5
  • (This is if you want to use your own computer, camera, your own software, and need no technical support to get it going.)


  • Producing Membership: $50
  • Gear/software costs: $25
  • National competition fee: $5
  • (This is if you want to use your own computer, but need a QAS Toon Boom/Maya/whatever license.)
  • (This is software ONLY.)

TIER 3A DIGITAL: USE QAS GEAR, USE QAS SOFTWARE: $105 (*plus a $100 refundable equipment deposit)

  • Producing Membership: $50
  • Gear costs: $50
  • National competition fee: $5
  • Refundable equipment deposit: $100 – This will be returned to you once the equipment is returned in functioning order.
  • *Please refer to the QAS Equipment and Production Supplies listing when registering.
  • (This is if you need a computer, Drawing Tablet, Tablet pen, Webcam, from QAS AND need software. OR if you have your own software, but need QAS computer.)
  • Must request specific gear when registering
  • Software offered: Toon Boom Harmony. We cannot give out Adobe software at this time.

TIER 3B ANALOG: USE QAS GEAR, USE QAS SOFTWARE: $105 (*plus a $100 refundable equipment deposit)

  • Producing Membership: $50
  • Gear costs: $50
  • National competition fee: $5
  • Refundable equipment deposit:$100 – This will be returned to you once the equipment is returned in functioning order.
  • *Please refer to the QAS Equipment and Production Supplies listing when registering.
  • (This is if you need a computer, camera, copy stand, light table, pegbar, etc. from QAS AND need software. OR if you have your own software, but need QAS gear.)
  • Must request specific gear + software when registering
  • Software offered: Dragonframe. We cannot give out Adobe software at this time.


This year’s theme is SPECTRUMS. It’s 2021, the world is no longer defined by opposites. Nuances and the beauty in the subtle variations is what makes living so worthwhile. So put your eye to the pyramid and gaze upon the SPECTRUM!

Working within dichotomies is too simplified. We get it; keyframe 1 and keyframe 2 are great, but in-betweens move us with the grace of (say it with me) ease-in and ease-out. There is so much life and story to be had between A and B, Life and Death, Black and White, Happy and Sad, Up and Down, Left and Right. To follow one direction completely is to arrive blind (said someone, sometime?)! So, bask in the in-between, show the journey, or break down the subtlety in the whip pan!

Examples and inspiration:



We will award the following prizes at the online screening on June 06 2020:

  • AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD: top-scoring film, weighted 1 (ok) to 5 (amazing)
  • AUDIENCE CHOICE RUNNER-UP: 2nd top-scoring film
  • DAVE RATZLAFF BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM AWARD (SPONSORED BY CAOS): $100 cash prize, selected by a jury of experienced animators and curators.

Exact prizes are a surprise! But they may include sweet merch from our partners, free QAS classes, or even cash money. Will be announced to participants on the first day of the Lockdown. But these look killer on a CV or film festival submission! So reach for the sky, flex your muscles, and bring your A-Game! The Lockdown is GO!


All participants in the lockdown are expected to follow the set standards listed in our Code of Conduct to ensure a safe space for all members.

The Code of Professional Conduct indicates the expected standards of professional conduct for participants of the Animation Lockdown but is not an exhaustive list of such standards. In the event that the set standards are not met by a participant, they will be given up to one warning depending on the circumstance of the misdemeanour. If participants continue to ignore the set standards, they will be removed from the lockdown and all equipment/software shall be returned immediately. In such a case, they will NOT receive a refund. Quickdraw has no tolerance for ignorance or misconduct. We pride ourselves on being a safe space of inclusivity and community which applies to our online services, workshops, classes etc. 

Click here to read the terms

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