Alicia Rackett is an award winning producer of broadcast animation, interactive and mobile media.
Since co-founded Blue Rocket Productions in 1999, Alicia has produced 18 animated television series including 10 international co-productions and has programming broadcast in over 120 countries.
Alicia’s interactive and multi-platform credits include award winning websites for kids, mobile series and online extensions to leading Australian television drama series.
Awards include; 2013 BOFA Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, SPAA New Media Producer of the Year 2011 and AIMIA awards. Most recently, Alicia was a finalist in the 2016 Telstra Tasmanian Business Women’s Awards (Entrepreneur category).
Alicia holds a Graduate Diploma in Screen Business (AFTRS) and a Bachelor of Built Environment (Landscape Architecture) from QUT.
Interview with Alicia Rackett:
What makes a good animated film is very similar to what makes any film great – a compelling story, believable characters and well realised script. The visual style is very also important. Regardless of which specific technique is used (stop motion, hand drawn, CGI etc.), the film needs to be able to convey the story visually. The world that the characters inhabit needs to be believable, whether it is realistic or highly stylised.
What I love about animation is the ability to create story worlds and characters. In live action you start with various elements already formed, to a greater or lesser degree. For example, actors bring their individual personalities and experiences to the role, and the places we see on screen are usually real-world locations. In animation everything needs to be created from scratch - from the personality and individual voice of each character, to the design of the world they inhabit (the environment, building, vehicles etc.)
One thing that always surprises everyone is how long it takes to make an animated film - as I’m sure everyone who has entered an animated film in the Festival will agree! It takes time for a film to evolve and for characters to develop – what they look like, how they move and what their voice should sound like. Then at casting you discover a great actor who brings real personality to the role but may be totally different to how you imagined your character to be. Often that forces you to re-examine aspects of the character to get more synergy between actor’s voice and performance and what the character looks like or how they behave. One of the great rewards is getting to working within a team of really talented artists and to watch each film develop from the beginning of an idea and script, evolve through design, come to life as it is animated, and then finally as the visual is enhanced with other elements (sound design, music etc) into the completed film.
I look for a great story, one that will engage with an audience and that the viewer is able to relate to. Character is also important – do I get a sense of who this character is, can I understand their personality and why they are motived to do what they do in the film. Design is important - does the character visually ‘belong’ in their world – is the production design and character design working well together? And sound and music are very important – what do these elements bring to the film? Do they enhance the feel of the film or do they clash with it?
I love the diversity of films that I get to see and the incredible imagination that each film maker brings to the creation of their film. Even though I’m only judging one distinct category (animation) I love that that animation is accessible to a wide range of ages and abilities. There are so many different techniques used and creative approaches.
Watch lots of films to develop an understand of visual storytelling. And draw, draw, draw, even if you don’t intend to create hand drawn animation, it will develop your visual skills and creativity.
There’s so many it’s hard to choose, but I’d probably name Song of the Sea as one of my favourite animated films for the magical world the audience is drawn into and the stunning visual design.
I love Horton Hears a Who for the wonderful whimsical world it creates, encouraging curiosity and appreciation for small details that adults often overlook.