Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Ed Hooks and Nicolas Schmerkin: Autour de Minuit

Ed Hooks - What is it - Fear?
Ed Hooks - Suspending Disbelief
(Remember, if you click on the pictures you can see them larger)

Ed Hooks - Acting for Animators - Masterclass

Drawings Copyright (c) Jenny Soep 2008

Wow, what a first day! 4 hours of fun, laughter, agony, tension, involvement, and empathy with Ed Hooks workshop 'Acting for Animators' with the final conclusion ' - 'It's not possible to go too far as long as honesty and truth are beneath it', pinpointing this particular era as being a very exciting time for Animators. The enlightening phrase 'We have a license to stare' and the proclamation of our duty as storytellers in this noble profession were encouraging. Hey, I don't know why I'm including myself in that statement; must be the wannabe animator in me. I don't believe anyone who attends these workshops will walk away uninspired without the realisation that we all have stories to tell, each with the potential to engage and entertain an audience.

What did we learn today? Empathy: to put emotion into - Sympathy: to feel emotion for - 'the audience don't want to follow something's pursuit of death, we want to watch something's pursuit to live - the moment a baby is born, it fights to live - the moment just before a person dies, they fight to live'. Well, I don't know if that's entirely true - there was a very intriguing debate over the film 'Leaving Las Vegas' starring Nicholas Cage where Ed felt it was a waste of money to invest in a film where at the beginning we're told the main character is going to drink himself to death, which he then does. What some members of the audience pointed out was among other things, that the entertainment of the film lay in the female main character's struggle to change his mind, her desire for him to pursue life.
I also agreed with these opinions that the film had a very valid raison d'etre in that the desire to end life does exist, and we as the audience want to feel we're not alone in being unable to change the minds of those in our lives who desire their own oblivion. Some excellent examples to learn class acting - Charlie Chaplin's 'Gold Rush', Marlon Brando in 'Street Car Named Desire', and references to an excellent animation 'The Iron Giant' with examples of adrenalin moments, heroes and villains.

There was some good live examples using a couple of volunteers from the audience to participate in Ed's role playing experiments. All in all, very worthwhile if you want to know how to flesh out the characters in your stories.

Masterclass with Nicolas Schmerkin, Autour de Minuit:'Flesh', hairy girls, and splicing mice...

Nicolas Schmerkin - The Terrorist...

Nicolas Schmerkin - Experimenting

Then for something completely different - Masterclass with Nicolas Schmerkin, a French producer for the company Autour de Minuit, who have produced a wide ranging group of challenging and experimental multi award winning films. From the humerous 3D animation 'Dog Days' that challenged our perceptions of commercial beauty and success, to the 'in your face' political and provocative 'Flesh', via splicing mice and chick fights, we were bombarded with treats. It was a late show, (9-11(ish)pm) but very much worth the wait.

Anyway, enough about me and my opinions of it all - if you attended the events yourself and you disagree, then post a comment. If you didn't get to go, then buy some tickets (if there's still some left!) and come along to join the debate in what's good or not, what's the worth, get educated, and be entirely entertained along the way!!

Monday, 28 January 2008

This is me drawing Susie Wilson gesticulating. Yep. Check it out.

'Jenny Soep, Projector’s ‘Festival Artist’ will be documenting proceedings in her inimitable style, during workshops and in, about and around the DCA, sketching live in her installation at Friday’s Party, then blogging the whole damn experience at

Take a look or she’ll be after you with her freshly sharpened HB.

See if you can spot her drawing you before you see her... '

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Breaking News! Hot off the Press!! Exclusive Screening of Bill Plympton's new short film 'Hot Dog'!

Exciting news people! Bill Plympton, the favourite animator of Terry Gilliam, and likened to God by Matt Groening, (creator of The Simpsons for all those who are of a glakit disposition), will not only be descending on Dundee for a most limited time only, but will be showing an exclusive screening of his eagerly anticipated new film.

Direct from the Producer Biljana Labovic's digital mouth -

'This is hot!

Bill is planning on showing a very, very rough cut of his new short film called "Hot Dog" at Projector. It's a sequel to Guard/Guide Dog. This will be an exclusive screening, first time ever in front of the audience! There will be some music, no SFX yet.'

C'mon people - what are you waiting for? Don't miss this MASSEEEF opportunity. You will be squeezing your eyeballs out with a lemon squeezer and sticking your head in a vice if you don't manage a ticket to see this guy - who could forget the advert from ALL those many many many moons ago of those sadistic malleable nobbley chaps twisted and warped by their insatiable desires for Nik-Nak crisps - my favourite advert of ALL time. I can't believe this is the same guy - he's a GENIUS! I should probably wear a nappy when I meet him...

Projector Passes - Who wants a fresh out of the box Projector Pass? Get them while they're cheap...

The Phat Controllers up at Headquarters just want to relay you a quick message over their virtual tannoy:

"We’re introducing a Festival Pass this year! You can help us speed things up by either emailing a photo of yourself to us at remembering to include your name, or by bringing along a passport sized photograph with you on the day. If these options don’t work for you then we can take your picture on the day but please make sure you arrive an hour before the session you wish to attend to allow us time to do this.

A note about Festival Passes: Pass holders must collect a ticket at the Box Office for each session they wish to attend. These will be available up to 30 mins. prior to the session. Passes must be presented to the Cinema usher on entry along with a valid ticket. A replacement Pass will cost £5. The Festival Pass also allows free entry to the Party on Friday night (from 22:30 at City Function Suite).

Only 6 days to go!"

Personally I don't think you should fall into their evil plans to buy these festival passes. It's obviously a big dastardly and diabolical covert operation to get us all used to carrying ID cards so that the secret police know who we are, where we are, what fun we're having and whether they think the party's big enough to join in or not. Because their lives are obviously very dull.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Wilkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome! To Projector Fest, Projector Fest, Projectorfeeessst!

DCA (Dundee Contemporary Arts centre), Dundee, Wed 30 Jan - Sat 2 Feb 2008.

- for details on workshops, masterclasses, screenings and all the other exciting things going on during this 4 day event only - get your tickets now!

'Projector' - Scotland's animation festival - it's going to be good people, some great ol' workshops, animations, animatorey type people there - if you want to do ANYTHING to do with animation/story boarding/drawing/the moving image/etc/etc you must be there. It will provide, quite possibly, a life-altering experience for you.

There will slso be an exhibition in the DCA showcasing specially selected artwork, designs and puppets by the innovative Cannon Hill Puppet Theatre. In the same room you will also have the chance to see the Top 5 sketches of the day drawn by yours truly.

I'm going to be the sneaky old eye on the whole affair, so if you want a peak at what's goin' doon in Dundee Toon - especially in terms of annie-may-shun dahling! - then avert your eyes to anything outside of this fabulous festival and keep them peeled to this blog. I'll be slamming up my little drawings of the day's events which will illustrate in a mighty sketchy style a good idea of what you're missing!

Toon out.

(P.S. Incase you're all wondering who I am, I would be Jenny Soep - resident 'festival artist' for 2008 and blog hijacker. If you want a wee swatch at the type of drawings I'll be creating live during the events you can check out my own blog at

PPS - If you find me busy sketching in a little corner during the events, don't even think about coming up and pestering me as I might just stab you with my 2B. However if I've finished my 'documenting' you're very welcome to come buy me a drink:)