Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Here are some of the new sequences from Frombald that I was scanning today.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

My administrator and his revolting villagers

Over the last few weeks I've had time to get along with my vampire film Frombald which I've been making (very slowly) for a couple of years.   Before I came to animation I spent from 1992-2002 making prints using stone lithography, screenprinting and woodcut, so I'm pleased to return to the tools and methods of relief printing to make this film.  I've mentioned this before but I'm printing directly onto 35mm using rubber stamps.  I've carved about a hundred stamps so far which I've printed onto the filmstock in different configurations and loops, I can review the sequences on my Acmade Compeditor and then I'll scan them digitally so that I can add sound, all of this in the bathroom bog of course.
I'll try and take some studio snapshots tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Folly for a Flyover

While I'm at it, I thought I would post a picture of the Folly for a Flyover too.  It's a good summer to be staying at home in East London, I expect next summer might have some attractions too but not having been lucky with golden tickets we'll see how it shapes up.  We might well rent our house to Usain Bolt and head for Bologne or Naples.

Treasures on our plot

All Aboard!

Here's Nina Pope on her very popular Floating Cinema at the Laburnum Boat Club for the premiere of the animation that I made with the young people at the club.  Nina is looking expectant because the kids jumped on and off the boat from all sides.  It was very exhilarating for me to be upon the water for the evening with friends and film fans. We moored at the Waterhouse Restaurant for the latter part of the evening and showed the film many times to groups of 12 people at a time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Laburnum Boat Club

I've been busy making a little film with the Laburnum Boat Club.  It's a fantastic youth club on the canal, and if I was 9 years old again I would spend every Saturday there messing about in boats on the canal.
I was commissioned by Floating Cinema to go there for a day's workshop in June and make a film to go with the Nature of Bow, a film that I made in 2003 with older members of the community in Bow.
The new film is called The Nature of Laburnum Boat Club and it will premiere next week on the Floating Cinema as part of the Shoreditch Festival.

East London is quite the place to be.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm Not Moving

We've been back to Watch me Move, this time with a small appreciative crowd, here they are watching Tron.  It's certainly an exciting exhibition in my opinion, and they have included a lot of work by filmmakers working with animation in the broadest sense;  the Themersons, Harry Smith, Fischinger, Stan Brakhage,and Martin Arnold, to name but a few.  It would have been a perfect introduction to the world of animation for students, but sadly it finishes just before the next semester begins.  

The artefacts relating to animation are beautiful and eye-catching, especially a zoopraxiscope of Muybridge's called Galloping Horses, Multiple Phases and a pair of magic lantern slides depicting Alice in Wonderland made by W.R Hill in 1876.  In the same space are some models and armatures, including an extremely expressive Were Rabbit.   However the objects don't quite offer a comprehensive overview of pre-cinematic devices or a context for the puppets and models.  Especially muddling is the cabinet of action figures, merchandising from cartoons (x-men, superman etc) placed too high up for smaller viewers and though attractive en masse, not so pertinent to the show.  

It's not really a gripe from me though, there are plenty of other places to access the historical or technical context, not least the National Media Museum and The Museum of Childhood, plus there are so many erudite speakers and interesting panels over the period of the exhibition that the Barbican will be my second home over the summer.  See you there!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Caroline Leaf

Caroline Leaf gave a very inspiring talk and demonstration in the hot little green room at the Watch Me Move show last night.   She has previously referred to her technique as being like a 'particular sort of performance', and so it was last night at the Barbican as she carefully recreated an encounter between her ill fated Owl and Goose for us.  She made changes to her frame under a live camera and then said "click, click" to represent the recording of two frames. It was very mesmerising and exciting to see her working,  and how generous she is in sharing all her tips and techniques.  You can see a step by step guide to sand animation and her other techniques on her website.  

After the demonstration, Caroline talked about the spontaneity of working in a direct technique, where mistakes are often incorporated, (though strictly if they serve the narrative of the story).   What was most interesting to hear was that she taught herself to draw the camera moves or changes of shot I think for economical reasons, because she didn't want to shoot more than she needed and hadn't an editor for her earlier films.  Critically she feels the straight-ahead technique encourages great rigour but also offers freedom, which is of course obvious in her films, but this is why she now uses sand to teach some of these disciplines at the NFTS. Those lucky old students.

Excitingly the wonderful filmmaker Kayla Parker is writing a PHD thesis about gender and creative practice in direct animation and here on her website she has shared a few of her thoughts, a few of which chime with those of Ruth Lingford's which I wrote about on an earlier posting.  I shall definately watch out for Kayla's written work or presented thoughts.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Felix Massie

What a brilliant website I'm So very Jealous.

LIAF - The Best of the Fest... Ever

My Old, Old Man and I had a thrilling outing at the Barbican last night, he did his thing - partied and died, and I got to chat about it afterwards in fine company (see above).  Joseph Pierce made Stand Up, which is old news compared to his equally excellent Family Portrait.  The films are very well crafted in every aspect, the script, the live action and the drawing. Robert Morgan, who made The Cat with Hands in 2001 and many other films in between was showing his new sex comedy Bobby Yeah! for the first time.  It was created chronologically, over 3 years and had a real flavour of Mr Bickford's wonderful work, not just the solo guitar and brilliant stop motion animation but the enjoyable though despotic 'just where the hell are we going here?'  There was a good question: 'Are you all crazy?' and a pertinent comment from Ruth Lingford, who pointed out that out of the 9 films chosen to represent best of LIAF, only one was made by a woman.  She felt that women were less visible in the world of animation than they were 10 years ago.  I think Channel 4 had a lot to do in addressing the gender imbalance within the industry, and now that everything is economically squeezed again, maybe women in particular feel less able to take risks and put their necks out.