Saturday, 2 February 2008

How we can cheat our Eyes...

And then it was Sunday...Well, it's actually 23.53, so 7 minutes to go, but flipping heck what a right journey since Tuesday! Y'know what though, it's been fantastic festival and Susie Wilson should be right proud of herself and her team. The animators/animatory types all had something really valuable to offer from the screenings, discussions, workshops and masterclasses.

Personally, highlights for me would include the following - Ed Hooks animated workshop on acting for animators, with live ‘guinea pigs’, while rediscovering Charlie Chaplin and learning about the psychology of acting. Then there was Phil Mulloy and his at times obscene, violent, repulsive, hilarious, banal and morbidly intriguing animations. Phil himself seems almost prudish in comparison!

I learned about Steve Reich's fairly irritating composed sounds. Then I watched an animation the next day in Hot Shorts 1 where I yet again got to tear my sane strings out with a Steve Reich soundtrack - load of bloody clapping - and fit inducing 'moving visuals of square painted bits'. There was actually a japanese animation 'Pika Pika' in Hot Shorts 3 with lights, dark nights and photography with similar clappy soundtrack except much more organic, palatable and human.

Masterclass: Jonathan Clements
- Japanese Animation in the Digital Age

'Jonathan Clements shows you how to budget with your film'

A warm and amusing encyclopaedic run down the different ages of digital Japanese animation, with rare footage from all the most ground breaking examples. More elaboration on the phenomena of the 'Uncanny Valley'.

Friday/Saturday Hot Shorts Screenings

The trio of Hot Shorts Screenings included quite a diverse range and visual style of shorts, but notably there was Lesley Barnes' beautiful and quirky typographic 'Herzog a

nd the Monsters' with a great soundtrack by the. A few linear narrative (easy

to understand narrative) animations with great storyline and timing was in particular the hilarious ‘Tong’, the humourous ‘Hard Boiled Chicken’, the short and funny ‘Snowtime’ and the lovely ‘The Old Old Very Old Man’ – these last 4 were from Hot Shorts 3.

Masterclass - Rocket to LA - Sharon Colman

'Ed asks Sharon where she'll be in 10 years

'Sharon Colman - Badgered '

A great interview here between Ed Hooks and Sharon Colman, a Scot's lass who's taking in the tricks of the trade in the story dept, Dreamworks, LA. Though vehemently eager to learn what will equipt her as an independant in the future, Dreamworks seems to be getting a good deal out of her for now. This was an unmissable and enlightning event for all you hardworki

ng animators about getting where you want to go, what it's like to be part of a corpo

ration, and still have ambitions for the future.

The Industry Panel

Before the ‘celebration let loose party’ there was the Industry Panel comprised of 7 professionals sitting at the front and some seated in the audience who gave their words of wisdom to all attending.
(F.Y.I. I’ve just written their names, their companies and quotes.)

Bill Plympton – ‘The buyers (at festivals) want something funny that gets a reaction from the audience…(My animations) are very straight forward, hand drawn, no dialogue – ready made for the world market…Keep the copyright (of your own animations). Violence sells, y’ know, Road Runner…Quentin Tarantino.’

Jonathan Clements, (Co-Author of The Anime Encyclopaedia: A guide to Japanese Animation since 1917) – (on getting great distribution/viewing of your animations) – ‘putting them onto a double bill and block


Hugh Welchman – Producer, BreakThru Films, Small Screen Entertainment Ltd
(On getting interest from the media after an

award) ‘Three weeks is too long – (there is) a small window to take advantage – be organised! – You have to have it all prepared and (you need to know) what you want from the publicity’

Michiel Snijders – Il Luster Productions – ‘What’s not seen is unloved’ (On creating animations with poets) ‘we were gaining the poetry audience, and they were gaining the animation audience’ with added

musings on the fact that you can get more work if your animations have an educational aspect.

Arnaud Rijken – Il Luster Productions – ‘Finance the film before you make it’ ‘If you win something – make another film quick or you’ll be forgotten’.

Abi Feijó – Ciclope Filmes/Optical Toybox – (On different ways for your animations to be viewed) ‘The Educational Market – Tomorrow’s Public’ ‘It’s a way to show a film differently … exhibitions of the artwork…books of the illustrations’

Ken Anderson – MD, Red Kite – (On submitting films to and attending festivals) ‘Annecy, one of the most enjoyable experiences of my career

– Developing relationships – networking

– important globally’ (On being an animator) ‘You need drive and enthusiasm’ (On making a proposal of your film) ‘You’re packaging your film before you’ve made it – Basically, you’re all business people, whether you’re a sole trader or working with a group’.

Hope that’s useful to any of you who couldn’t make it/forgot your note pad/none of your 4 biros were working that day. Just a few little memory jogs, and wise words.

Party Time

Friday night's Party Party in the City

Function Suite was possibly the best, most creative club night I've ever been to - tho' most of the 'animators' came and went just as quick.

The party provided an excellent array of music, visuals and entertainment courtesy of DJ Richie Biscuits and his video projectionist team, with guest VJ/animator Garry Whitton who rocked the joint projecting a combination of his animated shorts, moving visual decorations, interspersed with a whole host of offerings from dancers who took time to make little flick books and cartoons with the materials available on each table.

I’ve worked with Garry before at a few live music events, so he put up the animations he’s made of my live music drawings, plus I provided some more 'live pics' of the dancers themselves while taking care not to hog the fun from those wanting their work up on screen. You missed out, those who did not attend!

Saturday 02.02.08 just in case you felt you wanted to read some more -

Masterclass - Bill Plympton – Idiots and Angels

'Bill takes the stage '
'Bill Plympton - Plympton's Dogma '

Bill was amazing, hilarious, himself an animated character, equally business savvy and I managed to control my bodily functions when meeting him.

It was great to see his animations, all with lashings of Plympton humour, the world premiere of Hot Dog – a very rough version, but very cool to see the makings of. He talked, he walked, he drew, he joked, showed his films, gave advice, sold some merchandise, and indeed gave about 100 folks each a free drawing! He was s elling some of his originals too. I can’t wait to see Idiots and Angels when it comes out!

Workshop – Optical Toybox

'Optical Toybox - How We Can Cheat Our Eyes... '

'Optical Toybox - Judging

Bonus! Due to a cock-up with the tickets by DCA box office, The Optical Toybox was rescheduled till after Bill’s session. I thanked my lucky stars I got to see and draw both these really inspiring events. The humour, patience, talent and inspirational works of Abi Feijo and Regina Pessoa really shone through in this little taster of the rudimentary forms of animation. After trying out the variety of activities everyone was treated to a screening of Regina’s beautiful and poetic História trágica com Final Feliz / Tragic Story with Happy Ending". Afterwards prizes of their flickbooks were given to their favourite examples from each form of animation they’d been showing the participants. I think everyone really enjoyed the hands on experience of making their images come to life.

Screening: 'Persepolis'

This was the first Scottish screening for this true story of Marjane Satrapi’s life as an Iranian girl growing up during the turbulence of war and revolution. An excellent film, beautifully animated.

All images copyright (c) Jenny Soep 2008

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