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Program

Overview

Brian Austin, TAP’s Founder and Executive Director, created TAP (est. 2008) in order to translate 20+ years of experience in the arts and animation into a new form of therapy designed to reach at-risk youth and provide them with an opportunity to broaden their personal and professional horizons.

TAP uses digital art technology in a group therapy setting to:

  • Improve emotional well-being by engaging youth in a therapeutic process.
  • Enhance interpersonal skills through collaborative animation production.
  • Develop job readiness through instruction in industry-standard technologies.

TAP provides three levels of programming: Animation Group, Intern Group, and Digital Studio. Each level is designed to impart graduated, supportive experiences that set participants up for professional and personal success. A robust Workforce Development Program (Intern Group and Digital Studio) provides 80 interns a year with a stipend to develop the animation and soft skills needed to join the workforce. TAP has developed relationships with some to the city’s leading studios, who advise TAP and offer internships, shadowing opportunities, master classes, and networking opportunities to TAP interns. Companies include BlueSky Studios, T2 Interactive, FOX Media, Avalanche Studios, and many other big studios.

TAP believes that rehabilitative efforts that emphasize training and skill acquisition alone fail to address the fundamental psychological issues that transform proficiency into gainful and sustainable employment. We provide youth with both a practical understanding of professional-level computer programs and the emotional capacity to lead a dedicated and successful professional life.

Moving work

TAP Animation Groups are co-led by a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist and a professional animator. Our therapists facilitate the group’s structure, unpack narrative content and guide participants in developing relational skills, coping strategies and emotional regulation. Animators teach participants how to use industry-standard 3D animation software to tell the story they want to tell.

TAP participants work with a personalized and professional-grade production schedule, covering:

  • storytelling
  • storyboarding
  • script writing 
  • performing and recording audio
  • building assets (3D objects)
  • editing
  • directing
  • marketing and promotion

Each production cycle culminates in a public screening, where participants introduce and screen their film for an audience of peers, teachers, administrators, community stakeholders and family members and participate in a live Q + A.