Tuesday, 28 July 2009
I have been away for a few days. Just before I set off I contributed an article for Short of the Week. The guys there have a rather special site and I always think the articles I contribute look good there. Whatever the merits or otherwise of my hastily written piece the movie is very unusual and recommended.
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Friday, 24 July 2009
I've had a pig of a cold but not a swine. So to a funny use of Adobe Flash and After Effects in Bill et Bob directed by Nicolas Fong. Two red headed boys are born and separated, brought up in different worlds. Nature or nurture I think not but the boys take wildly different routes in their lives. Nicholas makes wild parallels, often using split screens as in the screenshots. Surgeon's scalpel or butcher's knife is one comparison or nice girl to take home versus nice boy. Hair colour remains the same though and, you will not be surprised, the two meet up.
Monday, 20 July 2009
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Two contrasting takes on the same song. I Adore You animated by Dominique Bloink from Blue-Chocolate Designs has a boy in search of a red haired girl, so he flies amongst clouds, sits by sharks and watches as flowers grow. In the stop motion piece Dominique used 2024 photos of his drawings at eight frames per second. A contrasting piece is by Japanese artist and animator Takashi Murakami whose I Adore You is very much computer animated anime as a little girl stands by a public entrance waiting for someone who does not turn up. So she texts the guilty person. When an inflated friend of much colour swallows the phone she leaps into an alternative world though, in a rather greyer world, the text does get through - to several different boys. You may recognise the music from the Volvo commercial.
Saturday, 18 July 2009
Friday, 17 July 2009
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Sometimes the screenshots say it all. I have written twice previously about Grigoris Leontiades of Trunk Animation, one of the UK’s brightest studios. Dancing Jack is a novel start to a proposed new series. Well, novel is not the best word. More a throwback to an earlier age of animation, a tribute to the Fleischer Brothers perhaps, complete with black and white, flickering images and a certain wackiness. Produced by Richard Barnett this is the start of a series. So why pay homage to an earlier age? I promise you that the short is not about some fake sense of history or nostalgia that just about everyone is too young to remember. It is intelligent and funny. Dancing Jack has fish on the mind and leaps into the sea wearing his hat on his diver's globe, which is just as well because the fish are wearing theirs. An octopus has a bright idea. Why not distract Jack by playing his piano. So he jumps off his stool and winds the mechanism for the music to commence, that dislodges the piano's covers to reveal a monkey jamming beneath, wearing a diver's helmet naturally. Fish, fish bone and Jack proceed to dance, Jack having a nice break dance routine. Grigoris has gone beyond pastiche to genuine innovation, all the charm of the original and a freshness of invention. Naturally enough, Grigoris is one of the most talented of guys and everything is crafted beautifully. Great sounds too by Aaron Lampert, a graduate of Kingston University and recipient of a Bafta for Dillon's Story in 2008. He makes the whole thing bounce along nicely. And the Fleischer Brothers? Try the rather rude In My Merry Oldsmobile (1932) - "You can go as far as you like with me in my merry oldsmobile." Great grandma was a great mover.
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
I get emails and solicitations all the time. An invitation to write about material that is possibly too adult for the blog is a tender green shoot to a slug. So to Film School University, a cartoon (series) about the machinations of a group of young adults making their films. The adult bit is throughout though it commences with an 82 year old woman screening her movie about her cat, or pussy, triggering ribald comments from the assembled characters, one guy in particular and obnoxious with it. Truth to tell, if the movie were all like that I would not have viewed all fifteen minutes of sections one and two. It opens with a view of the busy college building and a statue erected showing the three creators, Sorrelle Dooley, Sean Downey & Chandra Farnsworth. Thereafter the adult references mostly reveal the characters' inadequacies, an empty headed girl claiming to be a classically trained lesbian (aka thespian, so there could be a difference) and other malapropisms: "Alas poor urine I knew him swell." or the obnoxious guy again choosing the subject of his sand animation as "sand and titties". In general adult references woven naturally into a narrative succeed, material that is rather self consciously added has its limitations. Film School University succeeds best when the dialogue reveals character types that we all know and love, or possibly not: naive, gross, nerd, shy, show-off, flirt, pretentious .... And this is why I thoroughly enjoyed the short - it's bursting with life. I'm sure there are students on the campus of The Evergreen State College not a million miles distant from the inhabitants of Film School University. The look of the movie is digital cutout, the faces relentlessly forward facing. This could become a touch tiring save for the excellent voices of the cast, a generally witty script, live action footage of the old lady's puss (Roosevelt), some curvy sand animation and even a movie within a movie. Reading the various blogs of those involved via the Slug on a Rug Production Blog, I was conscious of the tremendous camaraderie that exists in the production team. The sheer fun in film-making is what makes this such a fun movie. That and the teamwork in which the work seems to have been shared in a slick fashion.
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Monday, 13 July 2009
Sunday, 12 July 2009
HQ 21MB download is available from Adam's website.
Saturday, 11 July 2009
Friday, 10 July 2009
One of my regular pleasures is Jeff Scher's series, The Animated Life for The New York Times. It is largely predicable in form, the same technique, the same scintillating mix of a myriad flickering images, each frame subtly coloured, strange additions one hardly notices until the screen grab is made, life as we know it presented in a manner that perhaps we didn't. June 29th was The Parade, described by Jeff as, "A film celebrating the art of walking through crowded city streets, seemingly looking at nothing while seeing everything." He is a great writer too, his prose philosophical, wistful. The faces say it all. Captured in high speed rotoscope, saturated with colour that changes with the speed of thought, the people of New York go about their business immersed in worlds that are their own and yet ours. Shay Lynch, as always, contributes a great soundtrack.
Thursday, 9 July 2009
"The abuse sequences were animated in Flash [animation software] and then printed out. I painted over each of the prints with tissue paper and then painted each frame. Color was a lot of emotional significance to me as well. He had his own color scheme and so did I, but we both had touches of each other in the shaded areas of our bodies. Other parts were animated with pastel directly under the camera, which, for me, is a very involved process because I'll work for a five hour session and be completely caked in pastel."