December 2006

December 2006

Postby Barry » Fri Dec 01, 2006 11:42 pm

Well that's the end of chapter one for Rupert, and quite a chapter. It's exactly a year since I have been involved, and in that year there have been nealry three dozen scripts written, a complete 13 part series transmitted with over, well over two hours of film produced. That's not bad. But this week we will have lost Malcolm and Sarah to perhaps more glamoruous things in the States. They will be missed certainly as they have done some amazing work and have been a huge part of the team. New animators are starting, the first series as I said, finished its first run this week, I'm off for a week to Holland teaching, which will be a break in which I'm worried about losing the momentum, and when I come back Sue will have new hands....and I do mean that very literally. It will all be different from now on.
Still as busy though, and even busier as I start rehearsing the new play in a week, as well as the book, and christmas, and oh just so many things. Fear this is not doing much to lower the blood pressure, but what would I do if I had free time?
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4th December 2006

Postby Barry » Mon Dec 04, 2006 5:24 pm

And so I find myself somewhere in the middle of the Netherland in Tilburg at National Institution of Animated Film (?), and have had a great day so far. The flight was forty minutes from Manchester but it took much longer than that to taxi and go through the airport - what a huge place. Surely it must be one of the biggest around. A ncie hotel in the middle of a wood, and twelve eager studetns. We started with basic exercises and I had to hold them back as they were keen to get going on complicated things, or keen to put extra bits in, and as always these extra bits are rushed and blot the good work they have already done. I was the same I guess, but hopefully they'll appreciate the joy of keeping things simple. A bit exhausted after talking constantly all day but have retired to the hotel, to write th book and get ready for the play. I'm sorry gang, I really don't know how I will get anything together for Christmas. I'm afraid cards are unlikely to happen this year.
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5th December 2006

Postby Barry » Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:14 pm

Well it's the Day of Saint Nicholas here which is as big as christmas, and I was greeted at the college by a table for of single shoes and boots and a big slab of chocolate. That works for me.
We got the students working with our cut out puppets, and sure they are not as good as Mackinnon Saunders puppets but they are better than probably the puppets available, and the students have got some good animation out of them. The principles are mostly the same.
But I certainly slept well last night and had a disturbing dream about being in a production, again, of My Fair Lady, and boy did it go wrong! I woke up very confused indeed.
Last edited by Barry on Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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7th December 2006

Postby Barry » Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:22 pm

Well I'm sat here recovering from a fantastic meal that the students took me to, and very genereously paid for. It was delicious. Beign in Holland I wanted a pancake and this pancake house provided a menu of some 250, and boy were they delicious.
It was good to spend some unteaching time with the students, and we palyed some games round the table, including my infamous chinese whispers drawing game that has been played around the world, including with the Prime minister (?) of Turkey, much to his initial confusion and concern of his bodyguards. Here though we had a new twist, as we did it on an electronic flipbook. great fun.
The students have been fantastic and eager. We tried to do a lot of walking yesterday whcih was quite successful. Today though we have watched films all day, dissecting them, and that of course got me fired up wanting to do my own and be more creative.......a dangerous thing to wake that huge slumbering beast.
I've not had much time to see the city but it's been a good week, but i am definitely unsettled.
as I always I flick through the channels on the tv in the hotel, and laugh at the myriad of programmes that are syndicated around the world....the same formats everywhere. I just happened to catch Deal or No deal and Who Wants to be a Millionaire - identical save for having much more glamourous hosts than in the UK. I guess we go for characters......! I didn't want to slap the Noel Edmonds character here.
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saturday 9th December 2006

Postby Barry » Sat Dec 09, 2006 3:42 pm

Well that was certainly a week, and getting back was a bit of an adventure. Schipol really is just so big....it did literally take me longer to walk to the take than the subsequent flight....though being so big delays were inevitable. At least the shops are good, and I came away with a few musicals in Dutch!
Very glad to get home, just minutes before midnight. Glad to see Inigo who couldn't stop chatting away. But it was a most enjoyable week, and one that certainly changed my perspective of things back home. I'm not sure I've ever had such a break in the middle of a project before, though maybe back in Wind in the Willows days. I find such a break a little disconcerting as it feels like an end and I'm duly ready for the next thing. A break and change of focus like this makes me lose impetus. I enjoyed working with these students. I'm not sure how I ended up doing so much teaching,a s I'm not sure I'm a good teacher. I'm probably way too off the wall, too passionate, and too much about observation and personal opinions, rather than talking facts and theories, and cold hard planning. Yesterday we played a few of my infamous games standing out in the car park, and there was such laughter. I hope these are relevent, they certainly break down any barriers and get the brain thinking. But when teaching I certainly don't use accepted names and terms for movements. I don't think I know the technical theories, but I do know what seems to work and why it works. A week is not long enough really, and without proper solid dimensional puppets it is hard, but crikey, these students had grown over the week, and yesterday there was some very clean precise stuff being done, even with the msot basic of puppets. Very satisfying. So frustrating though talking about making our ideal films and langauage and structure and gags and subtext. the real world is not about that at all.
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December 11th 2006

Postby Barry » Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:39 am

Dear lordie...first day back at work and so much to catch up with that I couldn't even begin. I went straight into an edit and the emails and scripts jsut kept piling up.
And then the first rehearsal for Habeas Corpus. i know I'm guilty of losing one rehearsal but a lot of people seem to be disappearing for nearly two weeks over christmas. We managed to stage eight pages tonight, and we had fun. A few people look worried, and due to the bitty nature of the play, some people looked redundant. There are some strong personalites as with any group, but let me tell you morris dancing is a great leveller, and had us all exhausted after learning a mere thirty second section. I think most people are open to the approach I'm taking, but I've had a few 'well, when it was done at......' and 'the stage direction says....' so I embrace those who are open and willing to do something diferent, for this theatre, in this schedule, and not do a pale carbon copy of something elsewhere. The sight of twelve of them lined up morris dancing was highly amusing. And Bennett's script, if not the plot, is so witty. The plot is not going to keep the audience at the edge of their seats but the characters may.
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December 16th 2006

Postby Barry » Sat Dec 16, 2006 3:39 pm

After the week away in Holland, there was a week's worht of scripts, and camera scripts, and props lists and timings and so much else to squeeze in to an already full week,a nd i've not managed. Almost straight away into an edit of episode 15. A power cut caused considerable mayhem for a few hours. I've not really been able to get down into the studio much this week, as we headed to London for the recording of eight episodes. The cast make things so much easy for us now, as they can just switch on the character so instantly and accurately, and all the little extras jsut fall out. They are a tremendous cast and great fun to work with. I was amused when one let slip that she'd found me a bit scary at the audition, but now, as she said, I'm a pussy cat. Well.....
And just to show how tired and zonked out I am, the hotel was in the west end and I did not have the energy to see a show. Darn!
Christmas is way too close and I simply have not been able to do anything about it. a lot of small trivial stuff to catch up with, and I started rehearsing. The second rehearsal was pretty hysterical with much rushing around, and innuendoes a plenty. This won't be a dull play, that's for certain.
Trying to give Inigo as much time as possible as in spite of being the happiest, most affectionate, most involved cat, his body is starting to fail him.
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December 22nd 2006

Postby Barry » Fri Dec 22, 2006 8:43 pm

Well that's filming done for the year, and everyone has survived various parties, and we've kept the cameras rolling. One illustirous animator even managed 111 seconds this week which was pretty amazing. And good stuff too. We cut another episode which was an extremely tricky one, and involved lots of blue screen walk cycles. Doing these is enormously tricky. It's hard making the characters look as if they are in contact with the ground and are actually walking forward. I certainly enjoy piecing stuff blue screen stuff together in editing, but sometimes it really might just be quicker to shoot it for real. Certainly the quality is better but then that doesn't allow for any refinement or any tinkering or re-use. U think the shows are back on TV again this week.
Certainly looking forward to Suzie's Peter and the Wolf over christmas....I won't see it then but thank goodness for Amazon.
Well the rehearsals for the play are in full swing, quite literally, and everyone seems to be having fun, though the physical side is defeating a few of the cast. Others are revelling in it. But already I'm panicking at how much we ahve to do,a nd the standard that I want.
The book was a bit slow this week, though there are dozens of post it notes all over the hosue with strange things like 'king kong pliers' written on them.
Christmas, well I apologise for a distinct lack of cards this year, and thank so much to everyone who has sent me a card. I'm afraid I have just got snowed under, but please do have a look at this and giggle.

http://www.elfyourself.com/?userid=ce88 ... 1G06122210

Have a great few days everyone, and lets hope you don't spend it sleeping on an airport floor....!

Inigo is doing well, i(n spite of not being a hundred percent,) and being so tactile and friendly and purring away.

crikey what a year this has been.
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Greetings from Inigo

Postby Inigo » Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:20 pm

Happy Christmas from me too :-)

Inigo
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December 27th 2006

Postby Barry » Wed Dec 27, 2006 5:20 pm

Well fresh back from bracing Ireland, and the first concern to see if Inigo was OK, and here he is perched on my shoulders purring away. He would have enjoyed Ireland and the walk we did, though not sure what he would have made of Amanda's cats (or rather what they would ahve made of him), or of the sea. We had a spectacular walk to the very end of Ireland.....next stop America. We were somewhat unprepared for the lengthy walk, let alone stopping to think to take any sustenance. The last half hour seemed to be almost vertical with huge cliffs falling away on the other side. Thoughts of giving up crossed through my mind but how do you give up when there is nothing around but the elements, no convenient cake shop or telephone or bus, but just gorgeous bleak countryside, and miles and miles of it. I didn't give up and felt all the better for it. Amanda and the boys strode on though we all felt it in the evening, and dived straight into the jar for vital restorative mince pies.
The only animation glimpsed over Christmas was an episode of Rupert, though the very discreet Lord of the Rings crew jacket was nearly ripped off my back whilst standing on the quayside watching people jump in to the sea.
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Postby Peter » Thu Dec 28, 2006 5:11 pm

The only animation glimpsed over Christmas was an episode of Rupert

And Jemima Puddleduck and friends?
Oh yes - and those eyes in the hands that you kept doing from Pan's Labyrinth
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2006

Postby Barry » Sun Dec 31, 2006 6:41 pm

December 31st 2006

Well I guess that really has been the busiest year for work ever, and thus also the less social. But I really can't complain for lack of work. I've been responsible for three hours of decent children's animation, learnt masses of new technology, written 250 pages for a book, trained animators in Holland and Manchester, done four plays at the Garrick (Turn of the Screw, Jekyll and Hyde, Lady Windermere's Fan, and Habeas Corpus), hosted various awards evening, been abroad only to one festival but the retrospective in Buenos Aires was most exciting, only managed to get to the cinema a couple of times, but certainly saw a lot of live theatre - with only a few days off, it has been exhausting, and i've tried to swim certainly every other day. All that adds up to a frantic year. I'm still no nearer to getting my own stuff made, which is disappointing, but what a busy year. The oddest moment of the year was surely hosting Super Girl Doll (Pop Idol) in China. The film moment of the year was the child eater from Pan's Labrynth, the most exhilerating theatre moment was probably being covered in snow at Slava's Snow Show. The animation related moment was probably, and sorry to be indulgent here, the surreal night in China, though hosting the animation awards evening in Bradford was most pleasurable. It was a celebration of animation, and I saw the real joy we get from aniamtion and aniamtors. Can't say that many of the animation features have particularly grabbed me this year, and I can't actually remember many of them as they have blurred into one amorphic shape of talkign animals, but look at the quality and class in Suzie's Peter and the Wolf half hour special. And not a celebrity voice over anywhere.
For next year I would love to see more adventurous animation, and animation that is not afraid of culture. I would hope that my book isn't a disaster, and I would hope to direct a film that I can instigate and shape and have a real creative input, esepcially one for adults. I would hope the phone might ring with a few choices. And i'd love to get back to New Zealand. Oh and a holiday would be welcome. And I hope we are all still here. I fear little Inigo won't be with me this time next year but hopefully we'll get through a big chunk of it together. He is sat on my head as I write this, making me look like Davy Crockett, and so that's 2006.
I hope all of you have a great healthy and creative year ahead, and join us on this site as much as possible. We're a small site but a steady one, and a hugely friendly one. Thanks to Peter and Amanda for looking after the site, and fending off Russian porn sites that sneak in every so often.So hopefully some of us will meet up somewhere along the way.
Ok, so let battle commence.
Thanks to you all for everything, and see you next year.
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