March 2006

March 2006

Postby Barry » Sat Mar 04, 2006 12:34 pm

Well this week could not have been busier with the series leaving me breathless, and every night I was out seeing something....my fault entirely but there seems to be so much on, and if it's here I feel I should make the effort. The series seems to be going well and I think we are on top of things, and there's lots to see, though not to hear yet. It certainly doesn't give me much time to sit down and think.
Friday was a manic day and I'm not sure how I managed to cram everything in. After a morning at the studio I raced over to Ormskirk to give an enthusiastic but probably rather disjointed talk about animation to some students, who are probably wondering what hit them this morning. I raced back from that, threw on a suit and headed over to the Bradford Film festival gala opening. Thick blizzards and the car didn't seem happy, but there was a real buzz at this gala. The opening film was the World's Fastest Indian, which was a great film and one that survived the World's Worst Title. A big dinner afterwards where Malcolm McDowell was honoured. Not sure about the choice of clips they showed; well they weren't clips but complete chunks of films, and certainly not the best moment. Shaun and I, stressed from work, managed to scrub up pretty well, and keep up with all manner of lofty and arty film conversations going on round our table.....though clips from Caligula inevitably lowered the tone. A great evening, but coming out into thick snow and minus 5 degrees was not much fun...and yes the car wasn't happy. And then the evening all started to unravel. Everything that could go wrong was in danger of going wrong, and though Shaun got the car going everything died on the highest motorway in Britian (and the coldest and bleakest), and I ended up sitting in the cab of an AA van chatting about the glories of early french cinema to a very friendly AA guy. I was surprised at my own prejudice....why shouldn't an AA man be interested in classic movies. Surreal surroundings to be chatting about the finer points of Peter Sellers comedy and Fay Wray's heaving chest. This could have all been a horrendously bleak experience but I have to say that the kindness of strangers still comes as a heartwarming surprise. That kindness was out in abundance in the early hours of this freezing morning. I got home, cold but calm at about 4.0 thinking, yep this is a strange career, but I'm thankful not to have to work rescuing others stranded on shockingly cold motorways. I am very lucky to have a job where I am paid to be sublimely silly.
Last edited by Barry on Sun Mar 05, 2006 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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"AA"

Postby Peter » Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:12 pm

Not sure if the 'AA' exists outside the UK - but just in case anyone thinks Barry is a rescued alcoholic, the AA in this context is the Automobile Association.
Barry once got a rude rebuke from the landlord in our local pub for taking way too long to drink his glass of cider!
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March 12th 2006

Postby Barry » Sun Mar 12, 2006 12:21 pm

March 12th 2006

As the snow falls heavily today I'm sat recovering from a pretty hectic but immensely prodcutive week, and one that I have enjoyed. The series is starting to gel, with all the elements coming together slowly. New people are joining the team as it really does look as if we'll have fun together, working with people we like and respect.....always good. There's no doubt it is going to be one hell of a hard and fast paced year but I'll enjoy it. But i like this stage where storyboards are appearing, puppets are nearly finished, sets are being dressed, voices rehearsed, music demos coming in, and so on.

And yes of course I've got to the stage where I am waking up at night worrying about it all, or thinking of new storylines. It's lodged itself quite firmly in my head, but I've still managed to find space in there to think about other projects. I'm certainly feeling creative at the moment and running round with more energy and adrenalin than I had ten years ago. I've even booked a couple of evening classes for the summer. But I had some photos taken yesterday whilst I was on my falconry day, and well whatever looks there were have well since gone. Everything seems to be sagging and drooping.....darn. I'm going to have to rely more and more on charm!

And yes it was the week that contained both the Oscars and the British Animation Awards; Wallace and Gromit winning at the Oscars and Corpse Bride at the animation. I'm so out of that loop, those days are so gone, that actually I nearly forgot both were happening. Times have certainly changed from when I would religiously stay up and watch every second of the Oscars or was submitting an entry into the Animation Awards.

But I did end the week on an absolute high with this falconry day. I can't pretend it was absolutely freezing, nor can I pretend that I managed to get my head round the knot. Holding a huge bird of prey on a gauntleted hand whilst trying to tie a knot with the other totally defeated me. Maybe it was age. But oh what joy to be flying hawks, eagles, owls, vultures and masses of other birds. To have them sat on my arm, staring right into my eyes communicating something, well that was good. The highlight of the day was the hawk walk through the muddy fields. Two hawks following us then swooping down to take food from us, then swooping off again, and back and off and back. Their precision is breathtaking, as is their trust. But being able to stroke them and have them brush their heads against your cheeks, well yes I was getting a bit overwhelemd really. How Pa would have loved to have seen this. At one point in the walk I had both hawks perched on me quite happily. I was giddy. In this scheme of things though, you wouldn't want to be a day old chick. There's always some lower down the food chain. It's a great birds of prey centre, and the birds seems very healthy, and hopefully accept that being tethered to their perch is part of being looked after and fed and protected. But I won't forget these huge birds swooping out of the sky, responding to my signal, with such speed and such precision to land on my hand. Marvellous. Thanks Amanda for that christmas present.

Culture wise I only managed one play this week, All My Sons at the Garrick. A very straightforward, but devestatingly moving production. No gimmicks but it just let the play, it's awful dilemma, and the characters come through. But the new brochure from the Lowry came through, so I have now booked a lot of shows for the rest of the year, so what with the car being fixed, an alarming number of bills flooding in at the same time, and the Lowry, this has been an expensive week....but productive. Don't tell anyone but I even went to a party for a short while, though still only managed to drank a quarter of a half a pint of cider!
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saturday march 18th 2006

Postby Barry » Sat Mar 18, 2006 3:17 pm

No profound thoughts about animation this week, just hard slog. As the series gets nearer to moving into the studio, there are a million different areas to think about. Well, one set moved in and it looked fantastic and certainly different, with high production values. It is going to be cramped in the studio and most of the sets will be there the whole time. I hoep no-ne gets cabin fever. we'll have to move the animators round. I think we have a few reasonably quiet weeks then it's going to be all out for eighteen months. I do like the luxury of working and then sleeping in my own bed at night, but I do wonder if I'll get to work abroad again. Still hanker after New Zealand again.

I'm still trying to get other things moving but it is hard to devote enough time and energy to them. There are all manner of competitions, such as a palywritign competition at the Royal Exchange, but I've just not been able to get my ideas formulated in time.....little wonder with 52 ten minute episodes hatching in my head.

Hoorah, after trying to get myself organised for nearly two years, I've finally got Broadband. I nearly went mad setting it up, and the livebox nearly flew through a window, but there it is, and how quick it is. It is scary how qucikly technology is changing. I still remember the marvel of faxes, and I think I only got e-mail about five years ago, and surprisingly a mobile phone only just over three years ago. How did we cope......! I was watching a Victoria Wood sketch last night where she talked about an actor forever playing in Dial M for Murder, and how it got renamed over the decades....it's now Text for terror.
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March 24th 2006

Postby Barry » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:57 pm

An even more exhausting and exciting week, and a hugely productive one. One where I've felt the pressure to come on the series. There's just not enough time to get everything done....but is there ever on any television show of film. Actually I don't think we are doing too badly at all. We are still smiling and having fun. We did some hysterical but exhausting voice recording in London, and suddenly the characters are inches away from living. The first puppets tiptoed gently in front of a camera today, albeit a still camera for publicity. A couple had stage fright and posed so as not to reveal unfinished bits, and the others shone perfectly like seasoned pros. They just seem....right. Well as Mary Poppins sang in the show this week, they are Practically Perfect in Every Way. Very odd after months of seeing the characters in a million bits to see them on a lit set looking at each other as if they've been there the whole time. They just look as if they belong there. Animators hands around the building were starting to itch. This show is definitely going to look very classy.

A hugely strenuous week not helped by a spectacular attack of food poisoning that saw me impossibly weak for a day, and definitely lacking any sparkle. I did have to discreetly leave the voice recordings for a bit which I hated doing, and suffering the trials of travelling back from London on a ridiculously crowded train did not help. As I had spent most of the night huddled on the bathroom floor with no dignity so I spent most of the journey home huddled on the train floor with even less. Ah the glamour of showbiz. Well swanning into the best seat in the house for Mary Poppins with the writers is glamour I can cope with.

I got home late, and drained, and went straight for a bath.....which I fell asleep in, and was woken an hour later by trusty Inigo, perched perilously on the edge of the bath, literally prodding me to see if I was OK. You could love a cat like that!
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Postby Inigo » Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:43 am

...purrrfect in every way 8)
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