March 13th 2017

Animated day to day happenings

March 13th 2017

Postby Barry » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:33 am

oh heck, where have the weeks gone....well actually they've gone through intense filming, rehearsals and performances of the Secret garden and with several talks, and a trip to Barcelona.....all of which have been great fun, but have left me little time. I must return and waffle on about the design of secret garden and the production itself.
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ReMarch 21st 2017

Postby Barry » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:39 pm

and yes I promise, I will sit down for a whole afternoon and catch up, but now I'm recovering from a giddy and frantic and joyous four days in Venice at the Ca'Foscari short film festival. Being picked up by shiny wooden motor launch and then that trip across the lagoon to Venice was pretty special, but the whole trip was unique. The hotel and the company of the other judges were pretty special. this may not have been the biggest festival but it was certainly international, with film makers and films from all over the world. I lost track of the languages spoken, just as I lost track of myself down all the side streets. No, that's not quite true as I know my way around Venice these days, using various mask shops are landmarks - and I certainly indulged in buying masks, from the family that did the masks for Kubrick's final film and many more. Lots of pizza and pasta, and much sitting on the water buses just going with the flow. To sit in venice talking to fellow film makers, mainly live action film makers, was such a privilege. A long way from Twirlies, but my head is so full of sights and sounds, and actually not the smells, of Venice - that light, those church bells, the crumbling brickwork, the smart waiters in San Marco, the pigeons, the food, the elegant people - ah, a great few days.
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April 9th 2017

Postby Barry » Sun Apr 09, 2017 1:07 pm

Counting down the days till the end of production on twirlywoos. I shall miss this gloriously silly family and the fun they have given us, and the challenges. Some ten new episodes have just gone out, and they go so quickly, when each episode for us is a good few weeks one way or the other. But over the three years we have become less daunted by some of the technical challenges and just get on with it. Life without green screen would be very different, and the scenes where the characters appear to be running in the grass or on a beach are utterly convincing. A lovely series, with quite a following. But life after Twirlies is looking a bit bleak at the moment. For the first time in ages, I don't have a project of any sort to occupy my aging brain. I hate that and feel a slump coming on.

I did have a refreshing holiday with my sister and family down in Cornwall - the small plane trip reinforced that it felt like being abroard. Visiting the amazing Minack theatre was one thing, but the epic history and majesty and outrageous location of saint Michael's mount was breathtaking. We watched two films together - A Monster Calls, and the wonderful Hidden Figures, but I must do some research about the true story there.
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April 22nd 2017

Postby Barry » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:59 pm

Ha, after all these years I still haven't gotten my head around organising these entries. A project for the summer perhaps, and as it happens I am going to have plenty of time. When the series finishes in just under two weeks, for the first time in ages, I am facing unemployment with absolutely no hint of a project or work. This is a bit bleak really as I have recovered from the nearly a year out of work before this series of Twirlies, and now all that's going to go out of the window. It, this career, was ever thus I guess. It's bizarre as in the studio at the moment we are working like crazy, with full crew. We still have a lot to shoot but with everyone's help we will get it done. It's taking a lot of precision organising, having the next shot ready to go straight away. Immensely satisfying when all this works. A rest will be welcome but I can't see unemployment as a rest. I have a million ideas, and numerous books are being read and things written but there's no interest or doors to be opened.

I did go to a very interesting evening of animation at the sale Waterside, called animation Unlimited, that really did show the diverse nature of this craft. I do get a bit restless with some shorts though that are just moving images or an incident. I'm so hung up on story telling and reversals and arcs and everything being there for a purpose.

I treated myself to a glorious afternoon in London watching 42 nd Street then got depressed at the sheer scale of the production and all the skill involved on stage and off. At the same time I have been ridiculously excited about Bette Midler opening as Hello Dolly on Broadway. it sounds a glorious evening and she seems to be having a ball, somewhat breaking the fourth wall that never really exists, but it's the show I have a problem with. Shallow and annoying and about so little, but I would of course sell anyone's grandmother to get to see it. And her.

I'm reviewing half a dozen animation applications - that's a bit frustrating, dishing out the possibility of work to others.
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May 1st 2017

Postby Barry » Mon May 01, 2017 11:18 am

May 1st 2017
Heck my head is a spaghetti of animated films just now. I went to Dublin to be on a panel awarding some grants to some short animated films. Some great ideas and all though through -I enjoyed this but part of me was very frustrated as their generosity is certainly something long gone in England. I just do not know where to turn to get a project off the ground. And back home I have spent every second of my free time trying to get through 118 short and alarmingly not very short films for a festival I am going to next week. I have to say this is a rather excessive amount, but i'm trying to give each one absolute concentration. There's a lot of technology involved in these, and not much stop motion. There's little dialogue but a lot of grunts and groans, and there are a lot of butterfly effect films, and plenty, as ever, scratchy films. Some seriously messed up imagery, but I have enjoyed watching them all. I still think that there is an attitude that because a film is animated it can get away with anything, and break all the rules of structure and such. This is fine, but you still have to acknowledge that there is an audience watching and you need to keep them.
And so we enter the last week of the tv series. It's been fun but I am exhausting, and will be sad to see those characters go. I feel rampant depression just days away. If only there was another project lined up that I could contribute to, and be paid for. It's certainly going to be a summer of discontent.
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May 8th 2017

Postby Barry » Mon May 08, 2017 1:55 pm

Am just sat in a hotel in Bologna waiting for a car back to the airport, trying to make sense of the last week. So we wrapped on twirlywoos - 100 episodes in the equivalent of three years, and it has been a joy. I'm going to be lost not getting up for work, not fretting the night before about the shots, and not running round the studio trying to schedule and reschedule, and not having creative problems to solve. What next, I'm not sure. nothing at the moment, but as soon as I left the studios, I was on the way to Bologna for the Future Film Festival. And this has been pretty amazing, and I have to say that they have worked me hard. A long workshop about storytelling, a possibly awkward workshop with children (raffia, and coloured card and plasticine had been purchased but I veered away from that.), and a big workshop about puppets, and then I was on the jury trying to award a main prize out of the 110 films we had watched. This eventually went to a French film called Garden Party, which blended two very different stories together beautifully. A tremendous film. And then I had a late night retrospective, and oh lordie, the response to that was incredible. Genuine film critics for national papers and magazines were gushing with their praise for the films, and Rigoletto, which I always feel uncomfortable about screening in Italy, were down a real storm, loving the visual concept of it. Oddly that is what I would change most. And on top of all this was the European premiere of Alien covenant, which was bloody and noisy, and just juggled familiar tropes into a different order, and threw in more blood and much mythology. And all the meals here, and the chat, and the autographs and the people. A sensory overload, that being back in Manchester this week, and out of work, will seem very unreal, especially as I took no photographs ergo did it ever happen.
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May 24th

Postby Barry » Wed May 24, 2017 6:59 pm

May 24th 2017
Where is this time going? So Twirlies is all wrapped and there is tumbleweed blowing through the studios, and it's an odd feeling to have nothing lined up. oh I could pretend things are lurking, but actually there's nothing. I have however been ridiculously busy, catching up, trying to sort things out, writing a huge article for the Puppetry Journal, having a few lunches with friends, swimming a lot, reading a book I'd kill to film, and yes, I headed over to Athens. I think it was Athens as all I saw was one main street, not even a glimpse of the Parthenon. I was at an event between Be There Corfu and an audiovisual festival......please save me from performance art and such. well intentioned but hard to watch. I can't pretend I had much of an audience, but there was much enthusiasm and talk of me being a true port and all manner of interpretations of Plume. The flight out was great, the flight home was not.
And i'm just unpacking and am off again. I confess to being somewhat shattered at the moment and have seen my share of animated films for a while. I love these events, and the people I meet, but I do feel awkward about having to have such strong opinions about other people's work.
I got home and then Manchester was shocked to its' core by a suicide bomb at a concert for teen girls . I can't write about it.
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