Pin Animation

How many animations can you make on the head of a pin??  Well, here’s one….

Son Lux – Change is Everything.

atmospheric film poem "In the Dead of Winter, We" by Jot Reyes to poem by Vilanouva; find this amongst poetry features galore at

Hot like Film Poetry

If you’re feeling cold, watch this and feel, comparatively, warmer.

Jot Reyes, film-maker, has set a poem by R A Villaneuva into an astonishing monochrome animation work.  The original poem is titled “In the Dead of Winter We” from Villaneuva’s book “Reliquaria” which won the 2013 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry.

This animation was nominated for the 2015 Webby Awards Best Online Video: Animation.

cartoon, housecleaning, after party

Clearing up after the party – animation

Betty Boop struggles to clear up after yesterday’s party.  Fortunately, her inventor friend, Gramps, has some inventive ideas.  I especially like way he deals with laundry.

The sound and picture may seem a little dated and scratchy – but what do you expect from a lady who’s 80 years old?  It’s still got energy and boop boopy boop.

Fly through a book: “Moonshine: Dreamwork Artists after dark!”

The private artworks of 49 Dreamwork animators have been drawn together into a book – at a reasonable price, considering it’s glossy and with colour pictures throughout.  There’s a Flip through view by Parka (an Amazon reviewer) below.  His review is at the bottom of this screen over at Amazon.

You can find a longer blog post on this book, together with a video of interviews with some of its artists, at a blog post earlier today.

There are 49 artists featured in the book – as you can see, the styles vary hugely – this would be a wonderful inspiration book for art education departments and students.

The artists featured are awardwinners at the Annie Awards – annual animation awards – the 2017 list of nominees has just been announced (awards ceremony in February).

Creative Takeaways

If you’re interested in breaking into the animation world (or know someone who is), well worth bookmarking the Annie awards and trying to catch the winners on DVD. Excellence inspires excellence.

Or, just to keep up to date on good films, from general interest – keep an eye on Annie Awardwinners and try to see the films which attract your attention.

Creative prompt: pause the video showthrough of the book at a random page, and use a picture on it as a jumping off point for your own creative making.

Moonshine, Dreamworks, animator, painter

What art do animation artists love to make?

Just today, came across this lovely little video about the art which Dreamworks animation artists make in their private life – and an exhibition of it – great variations in styles and materials.  The cherry on the cake, for me, is an endearing comment at the very end from Jeffrey Katzenberg that he’d love to live among the art on the 3rd floor of  the Musee D’Orsay m, Paris (the Impressionists).  My feeling exactly, when I first encountered it, I practically had to be prised away with crowbars.  And I had to revisit the next day.  Hands up anyone else who had the same reaction?

After watching this, it is clear that animation artists are indeed fine artists – and they love to paint and draw.  All the time.  Even while waiting in a queue for something too mundane to mention.  Keenness and enthusiasm is right there.  One painter even dislikes selling her art to someone unless she knows the purchaser, she feels such a personal bond with her pictures.

Huge talent quietly shown here by: Sam Michalp, Nicholas Weis, Griselda Sastrawinata, Christian Schellewald, Paul Duncan, Marcos Mateu, Nathan Fowkes.

The book itself will be featured in my next blog post.


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.

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.



Screen shot 2017-09-25 at 02.33.25

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.