September 2006

September 2006

Postby Barry » Fri Sep 01, 2006 6:07 pm

September 1st 2006

A much better week in the studio, with technology being much kinder, though on tuesday a power outtage put paid to filming. Not much one can do in the dark. Lots of great footage being produced otherwise and we really are on our way. It's been about 100 days since we started filming and the guys are flagging a bit, but a short week this week helped. We do seem to be missing a lot of people through weddings (have a great wedding in Essex tomorrow Richard and Emma) and holidays and all manner of things. I have seen a complete episode, and it's certainly worth all this work. Oh, and circumstances led me to do a shot, my first animation since December. I think my eyes have probably not fared so well since then as I did have trouble focussing so closely. Still it was good to animate again, even if it was a simple shot. Not sure I'll get into the habit of animating again, as so many other people do it better these days. Letting others animate for you does bring huge unexpected pleasures, as well as some unexpected surprises.....I guess directing is reallyabout making everything so clear on the storyboards, and leaving no room for misinterpretation.

My spare time has all been taken up with Jekyll and Hyde and what a difference a week can make. This time last week, the set was looking ok, but I have to say it's looking pretty darn good at the moment. Still some work to do, but it has given me a huge amount of satisfaction, especially when it revolves round and the cast are draped in the shadows. Can't wait to see it lit. It's certainly gettting a good reaction from people who pop in,a nd the cast seem to enjoy being on it as it spins, sometimes at a surprising rate. Hopefully we'll get some good photos this weekend. Eager to see the show itself, though I shall miss most performances through starting Lady Windermere.

A busy week indeed, with very little time to sit and think, and ponder animation things for the book, but it is all coming out late at night.
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4th September 2006

Postby Barry » Mon Sep 04, 2006 8:48 pm

A day where my brain was shot to pieces. A busy sunday with two runs of Jekyll. Today I've been editing the title sequence of the tv series which was very tricky but satisfying, then the first night of Jekyll, which is being pretty sensational, and then my first rehearsal for Lady Windermere's Fan. I'm doing Parker, who seems to say 'Yes my lady, and little else, though I stood in for Agatha who says Yes Mama and little else. Mind you I had fun being her....at least she is a character. Parker does little else but butle. Ready for my bed tonight, that's for sure.
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8th September 2006

Postby Barry » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:13 pm

A truly exhausting but exhilerating week. the TV series has seen all manner of shows finsihing and new ones starting, and it is all looking pretty darn sensational. we have starting showing people now, and the response is just fantstic. Of course it doesn't make the pressure any less, and there's a lot of pressure. oh yes.
And then it's been the week of Jekyll and Hyde which has kept me busy, and rather oddly I seriously don't think I've had as many compliments about anything I have ever done as I have for the set for this show. The audience loved it, the cast loved working in that space, the crew loved it, and the director loved it. Hopefully it may change something down there, and possibly make others think that literal is not always good theatre.
And squeezing in around Jekyll I've not only tried to write as much of the book as I can but I have also started rehearsing Lady Windermere. I'm playing Parker and get to say 'Yes My Lady' a million times. Unfortunately he is not very significant to the plot and certainly giving him a character an attitude or character wouldn't really be appropriate, more like upstaging actually.
One hell of a week, and I had to miss the Aardman 30th Anniversary party in bristol zoo. The zoo bits sounds great fun, but I'm so hopeless at parties, especially other people's parties.
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15th September 2006

Postby Barry » Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:02 pm

A hugely significant week for us on the series, as thanks to some Herculean work by certain members of the team, a very significant delivery date was met, not without considerable stres, but the results are absolutely ravishing. We all feel we have finally got there, but crikey it's still a long way to go, and we really can't afford to let up any pace. But oh what a relief. I can't wait for these shows to start being broadcast in two months, and very much look forward to your feedback. I'll let you know when the website is up and running. Four year olds will not have seen anything this classy before. I am hoping that it won't be just four year olds who watch....adults will have a treat. Had a fun recording session and the actors are really so relaxed in their parts, and hit each take note perfect. It's a joy to be with them. Much hysteria.

I've missed Jekyll and Hyde this week, and have only had a couple of Windermere rehearsals. Being the Butler is less stressful and time consuming, but I have to be careful not to be too cocky as the many lines I have are very unnconnected to what is going on, and come out of nowhere, and really a little more than a list of names. A list that could get confused, as there's little logic to follow. And it's harder to make a line about having carpets fitted interesting. But I'm certainly trying to get my head round the central image for Habeas Corpus. It will certainly be different fromt he very dark and gloomy production I saw at the weekend, and I know a phallic maypole and the Cerne Abbas chalk drawing will figure largely, and possibly two hills that may bear a passing resemblence to mammaries. Such is the innunedo in the play. I'm tyring to keep the set absolutely minimal but still want to great an ambience of innuendo.

Defintiely ready for the weekend, even if it is packed with stuff.

And popped into Safeway after swimming tonight, and they are selling Christmas Cakes and advent Calendars. dear NOOOOOO!
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Jekill and Hyde pictures

Postby Peter » Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:00 pm

Pics from the production of Jekill and Hyde with Barry's set design.
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22nd September 2006

Postby Barry » Fri Sep 22, 2006 6:16 pm

Firstly, good luck to Suzie Templeton and her premiere of Peter and the Wolf at the Royal Albert Hall tomorrow, complete with live orchestra. It has been a long time coming this project, and I think they've been workign up to the last minute, but how fantastic to have its first screengn at that venue. well done Suzie and all your team.

Back in my strange world, it has been such a strained week, with my brain getting slowly more and more addled. Next week is going to be even worse. It's just the logistics of such a huge series that can be so exhausting, with each of us having to wear many different hats all at the same time, but often in different locations. Still the results are worth it, and we've not cracked yet. Transmission is less than two months away so the publicity will start cranking up soon I hope..

Add to the series, the book, the rehearsals, getting ready for a training scheme, an invitation to do a weeks training scheme in Holland, another play, and new for this week, an evening class of tango lessons and you can see why things are geting addled. the tango was brilliant as we went right back to absolute basics, and here I really wish I'd had every aniamtor with me. The teachere was talking about the clean shapes and the musicality of every gesture, that things don't have to move to be musical. It's what I talk about the whole time.

I got very upset this week watching a documentary about the Birmingham Royal Ballet working with 200 kids, most of whom had had the most difficult of childhoods, the most violent, the most abusive, just the hardest of times. and suddenly they are thrown into an environment of extreme discipline, extreme physical pressure, of being honest, of working together, and what a shock it has been to them. As the stories of their past kept unfolding my jaw kept getting lower and lower, but to see them working on the dances with professionals, and the smiles, and the sense of achievement, well I don't know who was smiling more. I shall certainly be watching this series that will I'm sure, provide as many tears and smiles. There is no doubt that art, if we have to use that word, can have a deeply profound and transforming effect on people's lives, a real effect not some pleasant diversion. But can animation. this has been what I've beens triving to do, but it's certainly not going to happen in this climate. I'm sure we can make a film that can enrich those who watch it, or maybe it is the making of the film that will be the enriching element, but I'm not sure at the most we are doing much more than providing high quality entertaining baby sitting. Have we really pushed animation as far as it can go? I don't think so. There are so many more emotional buttons to push and genres to explore, and I'd love to be the one to at least push with what I can. I think my practical chance has gone, but my enthusiasm hasn't.

Cosgrove Hall had a raffle today of lots of animation related goodies, and some not so related, and ironically, i won the Wind in the Willows box set.

Thanks Pete for putting up the link for the Jekyll photos. do have a look at them.

By the way, I'm so enjoying reheasing Lady Windermere. It's such a superior piece to Earnest. there so much more substantial feelings going on, and is really far more of a tragedy interrupted by variosu loud and colourful people that a sparkling comedy. Sure there are witty epigrams but at the heart are some nearly very unhappy people about to make a huge mistake. We had a good discussion about what the fan means tonight....my answer was probably the nearest. As the fan is bandied aobut and lost and found again, it certainly resembles the reputation of both mother and daughter.
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29th September 2006

Postby Barry » Fri Sep 29, 2006 9:53 pm

Definitely felt the pressure this week after what has been probably the hardest week in ages, and certainly the longest in terms of the hours I was worked. I really could not have squeezed any more in, and yet I still cannot say No to festivals asking me to do something or colleges wanting workshops or to people writing for advice. It's just great to be asked, nd I do love talking about aniamtion and being involved, but by the end of this week, I was flagging and desperate for a long weekend. Not this one though, as I start the training scheme, and have rehearsals. But by the end of today, friday, I came home, and my brain was just numb. There was nothing going on in it all, and I sat down with Inigo and was gone in a matter of seconds. I woke up just in time for rehearsals, with Inigo, rather bizarrely, perched on my head like a Davy Crockett style hat.

A lot of the week was spent editing parts of three episodes, and I have to say that I am getting more and more savvy with the computer, and enjoying making shots in post. But i have to be careful though that I don't fall into the trap I've seen elsewhere of getting lazy on the studio floor because 'we can fix it in post!'. I'm enjoying the way the computer is enhancing what we are doing in the studio. I am very relaxed now about the computer and this will show in future storyboards, but the ones going through at the moment are still all a bit literal and constricted by what is on the set itself. Transmission starts very soon, so watch this space.

A new series started alongside us this week and is looking very good already. Very different of course but the aniamtors are getting excited.

So tired......I don't think aniimtion has ever been just a 9-6 job for me....it really is a way of life, or is the life itself, as I'm certainly waking up fretting about shots, or story points that I think I might have missed, or questioning the logic in a show that already pushes logic into strange places. Certainly, I'm not switching off, even as I'm being Lady Windermere's butler, I'm still fretting about trying to work out how to get everything done for the next day. But with this series, at least, it is worth it.

At Cossie, various photos are being put up from the last thrity years. Oh dear, it's nice to see a waist again, but definitely not nice to see a threadbare moustache, let alone the braces and cravat.

I wonder how the screening of Suzie Templeton's Peter and The Wolf went in the Royal Albert Hall alst week. The stills look epic.
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