4 Day 7 Day *Remote* Animation Challenge!!



Wednesday May 20th – Tuesday May 26th 2020 (7 days total)

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

Screening: Saturday June 6 2020, 7pm, ONLINE on Zoom and other streaming sites. Tickets and online venue TBD.



For the past 12 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.

I suppose we were ahead of the curve. We find ourselves in 2020 stuck in a very different kind of Lockdown. The world is closed. The QAS studios are shut down, at least temporarily. Gatherings of all kinds are banned. We’re supposed to stay home, wash our hands, and avoid close contact with any and all fellow humans. It’s a real drag. All we can do is stare out the window, waiting for the all-clear to go back into the big wide world.

But don’t despair! Do you hear that sound? That pull beyond the horizon? The itch in the soles of your feet? That, my friend, is the CALL TO ADVENTURE! The theme for this year’s *remote* edition of the Animation Lockdown!

Yes, we’re still doing it! It’s gonna be different. It’s gonna be online. It’s gonna be weird, and awkward, and take a lot longer. But that’s no excuse. The gauntlet has been thrown. The summons have been sent. Adventure waits for no rat. We’re leaving for destinations unknown. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!


This year’s Animation Lockdown will be held *remotely* off-site from Wednesday May 20 through Tuesday May 26 2020. 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.

(We are bumping the challenge to the week AFTER the May long weekend mostly because we’re behind from dealing with the closures. 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: Call to Adventure. More details below. Riff on it however you want!
  • 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. Use both to flex on us.
  • 1x SECRET LOCAL MUSIC PICK: We are partnering with our rad pals at CJSW 90.9FM Community Radio 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.

Films that do not incorporate the above theme and technical requirements, or are not finished and uploading by 6pm on Tuesday May 26 2020, may not be included in the screening and will not be eligible for 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 social 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 think you are ineligible.

No experience is 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, we won’t be able to teach you a new software skill over the weekend on a video chat, however 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, it’s hard to say right now. Anyone under 18 is requested to have their guardian contact us in advance of registering.

We welcome participants of every background, race, gender, sexuality and ability. 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 everyone, but as we’ve never done the Lockdown like this before, it’s hard to say how it’ll go. Disrespectful behaviour, harassment, or otherwise unchill actions towards other participants or QAS Staff will get you removed from the event. Be cool, don’t stream horrible things into the Zoom call.


This is a 7 day event, broken up into 3 distinct phases. How you manage your time is up to you.


  • We will host a group video session to intro the Lockdown, meet each other, and reveal the secret technical requirements on Wednesday May 20 2020 @ 7pm. The requirements will also be sent out over email.
  • QAS Staff will be at the studios Wednesday and Thursday 12pm to 8pm handling gear pickups, online helping with tech support and licensing issues, and generally getting everyone ready. However we will not be managing the online sessions much as we will be busy getting everyone set up and online.
  • 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 the 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 26, uploaded (or uploading) to QAS cloud storage.

Again, any films not uploaded or in the process of uploading by 6pm May 26 2020 may not be screened, and will definitely NOT be eligible for prizes.

The finished films will be screening ONLINE as part of a special live event on Saturday June 06 2020 @ 7pm. There are audience choice awards, so invite your friends and family! We will be voting on films as they are screened, plus we are lining up some super special surprises for the stream. Tickets and exact online mechanism TBD.


Eating together as a big group has always been a huge part of the Lockdown. In previous years QAS staff provided 3 meals a day to participants, to keep their energy up and avoid big delays in going out to get food. Due to the remote nature of this event, and social distancing guidelines, we cannot do that to the same extent.

What we are trying this year is a partnership with local food non-profits to deliver affordable, healthy food to your door in advance of the Lockdown. This is not a requirement, but we wanted to give you the option. It would be nice to break bread with each other every night, even if it’s on a video chat. For an extra $40 you can get a grocery box and 4 pre-made dinners delivered right to your door!

We are partnering with Fresh Routes to do a delivery of fresh local fruit, vegetables, eggs, and bread to give you some staples for the week, for only $15 per person/household/team, with free delivery to your door. You can get the following items as part of the delivery:

Protein Dry Goods Produce Produce
Eggs Bread Fruit Vegetables
1 carton
(12 eggs)
1 loaf of bread 3 bananas
3 pears
3 oranges
2 lb bag of carrots
1 bunch of broccoli
5 lb bag of potatoes

We are also partnering with Calgary Meals on Wheels to deliver 4 pre-made, nutritional, tasty fresh or frozen dinners directly to your home to get you through the production period, Friday-Monday. Meals on Wheels has a variety of food options and can meet every dietary requirement – gluten free, vegetarian, or those with other health considerations.  4 meals are $25 per participant with free delivery. You can browse their menu here.

These food organizations are doing incredible work during the COVID-19 period, have their own safe sanitary production facilities, and are deserving of more support in this time. It’s also healthy and affordable food, delivered right to you.

You are not required to order food, if you want to do your own thing, go for it! We only ask that you eat dinner online with the other participants and take a break with us, even if you ordered a delivery burrito.


We had to change our pricing to 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, we’re not booking a screening venue, 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
  • (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 costs: $25
  • (This is if you want to use your own computer, but need a QAS Toon Boom/Adobe/Maya/whatever license.)
  • (This is software ONLY.)


  • Producing Membership: $50
  • Gear costs: $50
  • (This is if you need a computer, camera, copy stand, etc. from QAS AND need software. OR if you have your own software, but need QAS gear.)



Our available equipment can be found here. If you use your own gear it is exponentially easier for us, however we do have a healthy selection of computers, cameras, tablets, downshooters, etc. available. Supplies may be limited due to other members working on film productions off-site using the same resources.

Computers and software licenses are limited. We have much less flexibility on this right now, because we can’t ask a member to take a break from their station for the weekend and get you to use it instead. We’ll try to support you the best we can, but we can make no guarantees. Physical gear is limited to participants in the Calgary area ONLY. We will not ship anything to you, and you must pick it up or arrange delivery with QAS staff.


This year’s theme is CALL TO ADVENTURE. We were feeling it even before the quarantine, but it’s much harder to ignore now.

One of the world’s oldest storytelling tropes, a Call to Adventure beckons our heroes out from the world of the familiar into the realms of the unknown. You’ve seen it a million times, but we want YOUR take on it!



As we are all cooped up in our various personal lockdowns, the call to leave the house, to chase a dream, to go exploring new horizons becomes stronger every day. The QAS team felt that at this unique moment, we wanted to see films that took us far beyond our cells, cracked the walls open and whisked us away somewhere entirely new, fresh, and exciting.

A Call to Adventure is a challenge, a request, a beacon. An invitation for a journey, a plea for help, an irresistible urge to break free. We want to see the call, we want to see the pull of a new idea, and we want to go somewhere with you in your film. Maybe the call is avoided. Maybe rejected completely. Maybe the call cannot be ignored. Maybe we are so stir-crazy that we answer YES immediately. Maybe we come back, maybe we don’t. The call of a new journey, the thrill of a new adventure is this year’s theme requirement, where you go after that is up to you!

For example: “By some curious chance one morning long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green, and the hobbits were still numerous and prosperous, and Bilbo Baggins was standing at his door smoking an enormous long wooden pipe that reached nearly down to his woolly toes (neatly brushed) —Gandalf came by.” – The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Start googling, start dreaming of far-off fantasies and new adventures, and get ready for the 2020 ANIMATION LOCKDOWN!!!


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

403.261.5767 | info@quickdrawanimation.ca | 2011 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB, T3C 0K4 |

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