One of the joys of writing a blog is the freedom it allows to concentrate on one of our own movies, Line of Sight, by Matthew Sykes and Daniel Winterborne. The two students took to animation like ducks to water. From day one they learnt how to use the software, to such an extent they lost their teacher in slipstream rather more quickly than is normally the case. By Christmas in their first year they had created animations for our festive webpage of 2003. Daniel’s was a solo piece, The Twelve Days of Christmas in which he drew the various items in the song and composed them into a suitable pattern synchronised to the music. I remember he was upset when my laptop was so slow everything went out of time. Matthew worked with Philip Garbutt on Santa’s Little Trick. This was notable for its use of movie clips and also demonstrated a sense of humour. Matthew and Daniel were united for their major Year 10 movie, Caught in Two Minds, a superb animation featured at the Cooperative Young Film-Makers in which the leading character is caught in a time-warp.
But their Year 11 movie, Line of Sight, was their triumph. The two responded to work we had undertaken in class on Saving Private Ryan and produced their own war movie, eschewing the normal blood and guts, for a more sensitive view of the violence of war. There are some tremendous scenes that raise the use of Flash to another level. Look, for instance at the use of video for the explosion scenes or how they solved the technical problem of the officer’s hand pointing at the projector screen. They also produced some visually pleasing features: the parachutists in the skies against a background of the moon, or the landing of the parachutist. Add to this an ending that, as with their earlier full movie, is unexpected and the more dramatic for that. Finally they enlisted the help of the very talented Paul Ward to write a soundtrack that is exactly right. A final footnote: for their examination piece they produced the very funny Wrigglers. When two 16 year-old boys tell me they are going to produce a movie about the act of conception itself there must be some element of reservation. I shouldn’t have had any doubts.