February 2006

February 2006

Postby Barry » Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:14 pm

February 3rd 2006

I left New Zealand exactly two years ago today after a pretty amazing experience, of creativity, amazing scenery, great people, and very decent salary. The subsequent year, for which we have just done the tax, couldn't have been more different. I actually did not earn enough to get taxed....oh dear. This year is much better, and if all goes to plan, there'll be some security, some creativity, some order, a lot of frustration, a lot of hard work, some satisfaction and again a sensible wage - so it really is swings and roundabouts. Anyone entering into this extraordinary business should be very prepared for total unpredictabilty. I guess that keeps it exciting. Anyone wanting a coherent life, should apply elsewhere.

A frantically busy week on the series, with more and more things appearing and more and more decisions to be made. It's getting hard to focus on one thing. We are in the usual position of being creative but with our hands tied. I guess that is television, and it seems to work.

But wouldn't you know, just as I can sort of predict what I might be doing for the next year, all manner of other work is being dangled in front of you, interesting trips abroad, interesting writing projects. Some I'll be able to juggle to fit in, others I'll have to wave goodbye to or pass on to others.

It's certainly going to get busy, and i'm glad I still have got some decent stamina.

In Manchester next week is a science fiction/fantasy convention with a pretty impressive line up of guests, including Andy Serkis, and Brent Spiner. I'd normally avoid these things like the plague, but I'm tempted to go along just to see Brent Spiner in the flesh and to chat about, no not Star Trek, but Sunday in the Park with George as he was in the original cast on Broadway, and the DVD of which I have almost worn out. Sadly I won't be here as I wil be watching Sunday in the Park with George in London.
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sunday 12th february 2006

Postby Barry » Sun Feb 12, 2006 5:09 pm

Well an exhausting week rewarded with a fantastic 24 hours in London, packed with people and culture and inspiration and reaffirmation, but dear lordie, why do trains at the weekend have to be such an ordeal in this day and age. The two hour ten minute journey took five hours today. Anyway I needed to sneak to London to see some culture, and was ennovated by Sunday in the Park with Geroge and The Andersen Project, two pieces that complimented each other amazingly. I walked with Shelley back to her house after the shows, through Spitalfields, a piece of London I don't really know, but crikey it was teaming with strange bits of history and shocking bits of history. Very gruesome stories.

I need this after a very stressful week on the series, where things notched up another turn of the screw. There is a lot happening, and it's getting exciting. We are a small crew at the moment and there are some questions that I just can't supply the answer to, but somethings I'm very at ease with at the moment. It's going to be one busy year. I will have to get my cultural fixes somewhere along the way.

I was a bit alarmed to be given the latest copy of the Animation Directory and to have disappeared totally. Ah well.
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17th February 2006

Postby Barry » Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:30 pm

Other's illnesses, and delayed flights in snowbound JFK airport have added a huge pressure to my work this week, and I've been answering questions that I wasn't sure about, and finding it hard to settle down to what I should be doing. But I've got through the week with a huge amount of productivity, and there's a consdierable amount to show for this week. The series is definitely much much nearer. So much to see now, that we can almost grasp the shooting of the series. This morning F and I recorded the first four scripts for timing, which was a hugely interesting process. Things on the written page that work very nicely, can fall to pieces quickly when spoken. F and I had a good laugh doing this, though I'm not sure our vocal skills are what we'll be best remembered for. This was a necessary process to go through, to feel the rhythm and structure of the pieces. I'm still reluctant to use words to explain something when a good striking visual can do the job more economically.
But I'm itching to get going with all this now. Next week is going to be just but with a lot more people starting to get involved. It's going to grow, Topsy.
But boy am I ready for a weekend to myself.
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Friday 24th February 2006

Postby Barry » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:59 pm

Auditions....I love them and I hate them. I enjoy the working with actors, but hate, simply hate, the fact that you are working with hugely talented people, and have to reject so many of them. Inevitably it must seem as if they aren't good enough, but it's sheer mathematics. I hate the idea of 'you're marvellous. Next!' That night they may be giving the greatest and most complex Lady Macbeth ever, but their voice for an animated butterfly, for example, doesn't impress clients. Fair enough, but it is so cold and callous, but I guess this is the business we are in.

This week has involved a lot of auditions for the voices for the series. I love the process of being sat with an actor discussing character and physicality and meaning of words and rhythms, and I love reading in the other parts (but hate hearing my oh so awful voice!). It has taken a lot of concnetration and energy, and effort to be fresh and spontaneous, but I feel sad at the rejection that we will be causing. Hopefully I can approach this voice direction a little differently from other series I ahve been involved with. I am very keen to have a liveliness and energy to it, and not want everything perfect and dry. I'm always all for grunts and groans and ad libs and riffs, as aniamtors love animating the accidental details. It's these little unplanned moments that make animation alive, especially stop-frame. It won't be long before we are doing the voice recordings, and then all hell breaks loose. This week saw the pressure going even more than last week, and I have been rushing round ridiculously, with fingers in so many pies, but actually rather loving it. We are getting so close. There will be similiar feelings of sadness when we come to select the animators. A lot of people are very interested, and we will turn down so much great talent, and friends, for reasons purely of mathematics. But, hmm, let's see, have I ever been rejected and turned down. Oh yes! After thirty years, it is still hard not to take it personally.

Saw some episodes of Fifi that I'd worked on, and really enjoyed them. I was lucky enough to get some good chunks in the show, and I have to say, that even though they were shot out of sequence, I feel rather smug as my bits certainly flowed from shot to shot...comes from a lot of reading the storyboard and thinking ahead. My acting is probably not as big and as pushed as the others, but it does flow nicely, and certainly the characters relate to and interreact with each other, something I am so fussy about.

But a manic week with so much to do, but I've still got it in my head to write a new play, read someone's novel they have sent me, review a book that has been sent to me, try to write some ideas for my own films, and think about the possibility of two books to write that may come my way. Needless to say, this has not been much of a social week, and I did rather tragically find myself texting my mobile phone to see if it was still working. There's not been a text or a call for six days!

I'm breathless but buzzing and doing good!
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