animation

Response to “Workout” prompt

Here is my doodle animation inspired by the word “Workout.”  Don’t blink or you’ll miss it; don’t turn up the sound, it’s silent. It’s very brief and simply made on mobile phone.

It seems to be that I’m getting slower and slower to respond to the prompts.  I wonder how you are getting on with them, if they are interesting or genuinely make you want to create.

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creative pledge

Screenwriting Masterclass: Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Phil Lord and Chris Miller, screenwriters or producers on such diverse projects as “The Lego Movie”, “21 Jump Street”, “Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs”, TV’s “How I met your Mother” (3 episodes), “The Lego Batman movie“…. give a masterclass on screenwriting and producing.  They break it up really well.  So although they speak for 53 minutes, they’re worth hearing.

They have a relaxed way of presenting together, bring in some crazy fun but over and over again repeat that they’re obsessive about making every tiny part of their projects absolutely brilliant – refusing to settle for merely excellent.  As the presentation continues, and this is repeated, you realise that they are speaking truly.

Screen shot 2017-09-25 at 02.26.15They speak for under an hour – and then there is a further 30 minutes of questions and answers – which are good – so worth setting aside the full one hour and a half to watch in its entirety.  They are amusing, honest about early failures and difficulties and how they won through was – no surprise, folks – lots of hard work.  They write and rewrite and rewrite and tweak and rewrite, show to friends, rewrite.

 

 

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One tip which came across clearly was to show your script to other people – no matter who they are in the studio pecking order or whether they’re friends/family – they’re a person with an honest opinion – and as writer you should listen up, because you are too close to the project to see its flaws.  It’s humility – but it’s also good sense.

The two voices give variety to what is said, and there are plenty of illustrations and clips from their projects:

Along the way, they present their maths of working as a partnership:

half the money, twice the effort, twice the time = an output which is 1.3 times better!

They also lead the audience in a pledge to make work, and are adamant that all humans are creative, anyone can do the work they do but it is hard work, done repetitively.

What they’ve also learned along the way are, like all important learning, found through failure and near failure.  One vital lesson was learning to listen to other people’s feedback and recognise that making a film is a hugely collaborative venture.  Also, to recognise that even at the end, the film is actually ‘made’ in the imagination of the viewers.  And this is one reason given for really listening to someone/anyone who has an opinion on the work – because if they don’t get the story clearly, then likely the final paying punters will find it puzzling in the same way.

A film is about RELATIONSHIP not just CHARACTER.

This is a great insight – at one point, “Cloudy with Meatballs” was about a main character and a situation – it was funny but there wasn’t a real sense of involvement, until they made one of the characters the father of the hero – and the hero wanted to get his taciturn father’s approval.

Screen shot 2017-09-25 at 03.31.32If you want to be a screen writer, then watching this interview is a good thing to do – yes, it is long, but that gives enough time to talk pleasantly and with humour through the whole career process.

In fact, the whole series of “Genius” strand of masterclasses by BAFTA looks worth a checkout.  See them here.

“Weather the Storm” Short Musical Animation

“Weather the Storm” by Trunk & Radish Pictures is just exquisite animation short set to  a song, examining a difficult time – in this case, bereavement, in under 5 minutes.  Unsurprisingly, it won an award in the 2016 British Animation Awards.

I heard the most wonderful quote recently from a TV presenter, Sandi Toksvig, almost a throwaway line as she chatted with a contestant on the Great British Bake Off: “Marriage is everything and nothing” meaning it’s made up of the seemingly insignificant daily stuff and yet it’s an important relationship which colours our life.  This video contemplates loss through a tiny part of daily life (toothpaste and toothbrushes) – gently observed and ultimately positive.

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Director Peter Baynton received 2016 British Award Animation for Public Choice Best Music Video

The song on the soundtrack is “Weather the Storm” by Benjamin Scheuer, from the album “The Lion”.  More about his work on his website here.

Director: Peter Baynton for Radish Pictures.

Producer: Daniel Negret

Exec producer: Richard Barnett

both at Trunk.

I love the gentle watercolour like textures and way it conveys the central figure as struggling to go forward despite a strong headwind against him, while other characters nonchalently and speedily bounce by, often in the opposite direction, through simple landscapes.  In this one still, shown below, you can see the contrast: the main character holding onto a bench arm for grim life, just to stay still in the storm of emotions, while another person sits nonchalently on the bench, reading a newspaper, chomping on a sandwich and drinking a cuppa.

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still from the film “Weather the Storm”

New Generation Animators

This short video by Monocle films theorises that people are a bit fed up with the smooth automation of computer animation – and appreciate the handmade aesthetic of stop motion.

To prove it, they show 3 women animators – Vera van Wolferen, Lucie Sankova, Daisy Jacobs, working with wooden model houses, painting scenes on glass and real life objects.

All take time – but the sense of texture and delicate beauty is glorious.  Inspiring.

I’ve seen the Daisy Jacobs film – about 2 brothers coping in different ways with their mother becoming fragile and elderly.  Here’s a little insight into it and its award-winning nature:

 

You can see the film itself over on Vimeo:

Steve Martin and Banjo

Happy Birthday Steve Martin!  Even though it was yesterday, I just heard about it today.  In celebration, his latest song/video

A bit of banjo, a sense of fun, some animation and lots of saturated colour.

And what about that name, “Caroline”? It’s got a perfect rhythm to be in a lyric – and this song doesn’t waste a syllable of its charm.

Film tie-in: in one of his films, Steve Martin is the one doing the wooing under the balcony (in hiding) pretending to be the voice of a shy wooer in the film “Roxanne”.  A fun comedy.  If you haven’t already seen it, look it out.  But not before you’ve looked out “All of Me” – an inspired physical comedy movie in which half of his body is possessed by a woman.

Inspiration Takeaways:

Listening to the words/music of this video – does it spark a small project idea to make?  Perhaps a collage?  Or imagining it with a different ending?

Fresh Guacamole

Hey – it’s the weekend!  Let’s make Guacamole!  How hard can it be?  I think I’ve got a recipe by PES somewhere…..

Here are a few recipe notes from film-maker PES, compiled from various interviews:

Salon Magazine: Have you ever calculated the number of hours of work that go into each second of your finished film?

No. I try not to do that, really. The funny thing about it is, I would almost guarantee that I spend more time thinking about a film than shooting it. I work on these ideas for years, you know, I finally reach a point where I’m like, “OK, I’m ready to shoot this.” I really don’t like to pick up a camera until I’m ready to go and I know the ending and I have a clear vision of everything. I produced “Fresh Guacamole” in four months, which seems like a long time to a lot of people for a 1 minute 40 second film. My friend told me I’ve been thinking about it since 2004, as far as he can remember.

full interview at: http://www.salon.com/2013/02/10/pes_i_worked_on_this_for_years

In a Creative Review UK, he gave movie making tips:

“Something I encourage all filmmakers to do is make your ideas as short as possible. Your goal isn’t to make the longest film you can make, it’s to get rid of anything superfluous,” he says.

“I also kind of feel like it’s respectful to your viewer to not overstay your welcome. You should know the length of your idea…. The whole reason I do previs is to figure out what I don’t need as much as what I do … and my goal is always to find the simplest, most direct, leanest way to tell a story.”

He also stresses the importance of having a clear story arc. It’s a simple concept, but one that is all too often overlooked in overly long ads.