The Story Artist Lab

Sponsored by Netflix and produced by Triggerfish, The Story Artist Lab builds on the success of their Mama K’s Team 4 all-female writers lab, which saw nine African women placed in the writing room for the first animated Netflix series from Africa.

The next African Story Artists

The purpose of the Story Artist Lab is to find talent and upskill the next generation of Story Artists for the African animation industry. The Lab positions will be awarded to young citizens of an African country who show outstanding potential in the creative arts and visual storytelling.

“Story artists translate screenplays into animatics, the loose first version of the movie that then shapes every step of animation that follows,” says Tendayi Nyeke, Triggerfish’s Zimbabwean-born development executive. “So having skilled story artists from the continent in control of how their stories are told is a gamechanger, not only in grooming the next African directors but also in giving pre-production artists the opportunity to establish their own voice as they bring African stories to life.” Triggerfish is calling for entries for a pan-African Story Artist Lab.

Triggerfish is always looking for great visual storytellers and this opportunity will put the selected participants on their radar for many more opportunities on great African projects.

So who can apply for the Lab?

  • Anyone with a love of storytelling, film, and visual language.
  • The Lab is targeted at experienced and inexperienced storyboard artists. There will be multiple tracks within the Lab for different experience levels.
  • Applicants must be citizens of a country on the continent of Africa and women are specifically encouraged to apply.
  • Knowledge of Photoshop (or similiar) is a requirement
  • Applicants may upload a storyboarding portfolio (if you have one), but all applicants must do the Storyboarding Test. Details about this test below.
  • Matriculated school leavers and older may apply.

    The nitty gritty

  • The Story Artist Lab is a paid skills development programme.
  • The Story Artist Lab is made up of 2x 6 week Phases. Selected artists will do Phase 1 after which there is a reduced number of artists that move to Phase 2.
  • PHASE 1 runs from 2 August - 10 September 2021
  • PHASE 2 runs from 13 September - 23 October 2021
  • Selected artists will be required to be available for daily and weekly sessions and training.
  • Remote working is encouraged.

    But I have no Storyboarding Experience?!

    Don’t worry, here’s your chance. Some artists will have natural talent. We will be looking out for you and the idea behind this Lab is to give you an opportunity! If you have no storyboarding experience currently, check out these videos below and then go ahead and do the Storyboarding Test.

    Citizens of an African country can apply from Wednesday 23 June until Friday, 23 July 2021 (end of day).

    All applicants are required to apply by clicking on the link below and completing the application form as required.

    All applicants will need to upload the prescribed storyboarding test.


    The Storyboarding Test

    A storyboard is essentially a hand-drawn version of the movie, and helps the artists working on the film with diagrams of the action and the dialogue. The storyboard is the blueprint for the film.

    Watch this clip about choosing Storyboarding as a career with Story Artist Kwabena Sarfo:

    Animation as a Career: WATCH: Career Options - Storyboard Artist

    This module from Pixar in a Box about the Art of Storytelling is really informative.

    The art of storytelling | Pixar in a Box | Computing

    Ready to Test?!

    Step 1: Read the Brief

    All applicants need to read the following brief

    Step 2: Set aside a day with no distractions!

    When you are ready to engage with the brief, set yourself the challenge of boarding this sequence in 1 day. Don’t go over this if you can. We want to see what raw talent you have and what you can get through in 1 day. Have fun!

    Step 3: Do the Test

    Whether with pen/pencil or in Photoshop (or any other storyboarding software) we will accept ONE pdf file upload.

    Read through the scene and start by breaking it down to the story beats and start storyboarding from there.

    Once these story beat panels are in place fill in the extra panels.

    Compile your storyboard panels in the right sequence please before uploading. Imagine you are not in the room and the reviewer needs to understand the sequence you are pitching.

    Upload only ONE file with your application. Individual .jpgs won’t be accepted please.

    Step 4: Apply online and upload your file!


    Seven ways to impress with your showreel

    Mike Buckland, Triggerfish's Head of Production, discusses ways of making your showreel stand out.

    Are you a Triggerfisher?

    Find out more about Triggerfish's unique culture.

    Living in Cape Town

    Why Cape Town is considered one of the best cities in the world.

    Living in Galway

    Why we chose Galway for our European base.

    Seven reasons to work at Triggerfish

    What makes working at Triggerfish the best thing you can do for your career.

    Apply for a Triggerfish Scholarship

    If you're a historically disadvantaged South African citizen looking for animation school funding, apply here for a scholarship.