by Aislinn Mosher
An animated short film screened at Concordia Universitys Hall Building
last weekend proved to many in the audience that Concordias Faculty
of Commerce and Administration may soon give Concordias Mel Hoppenheim
School of Cinema a run for its money.
Weasel World, an animated 3D video and CD-ROM produced with the
latest in high-tech digital software by Concordia Accounting Professor
Maureen Gowing and fourth-year Accounting student Luis L. Alonso, will
be introduced in November as a new way of lecturing in Gowings Accounting
The idea for a film came to me after I read that images can actually
be far more effective at conveying an idea than lecturing for an hour
or even reading up on a subject for four days, Gowing said.
I am sure that Weasel World will provoke a far more active discussion
amongst my students than any of my lectures on accounting could.
Produced with a $5,000 grant from Concordias Centre for Teaching
and Learning (CTLS), and an additional $5,000 subsidy from the Quebec
government, Weasel World is the story of an accountant who, asked by his
boss to fudge company financial statements, is forced to reflect on the
impact his accounting practices have had on himself and on society.
The aim of the film is to direct students to discuss the differences
between convenient professional choices versus ethically sound ones,
Every accountant faces ethical dilemmas in his or her professional
lifetime. Many people dont realize just how ambiguous accounting
can be. The whole point of accounting is to assess the value of something
using very flexible and grey [as opposed to black-and-white] principles.
And this can be a very difficult process, one that requires sound ethics.
Although the films underlying message is serious, Weasel World also
manages to deliver entertainment and fun. The film includes voice-overs
by Concordia Accounting students, pig sound-effects completed by Gowing
herself, and an adventure-packed story line complete with a main character
who falls from the 30th floor of a skyscraper into a flatbed full of tacks.
. . and survives.
The film is kind of Scrooge meets Accounting meets A Wonderful
Life, said Alonso, a self-taught animator who completed Weasel
World last June, after clocking more than 150 hours on the films
animation with 3D Studio Max, which is a software used for films like
Lost in Space.
The Faculty of Commerce purchased the computer and software specifically
for the project.
You dont normally see this much animation of this quality
on a CD-ROM, said Alonso. It was an incredibly challenging
thing to do.
Gowing hopes to make the CD-ROM available for wider use within the university
once Weasel World is reworked to be more interactive, a project she plans
to begin when more funding is secured.