2015

Animated day to day happenings

2015

Postby Barry » Sun Jan 04, 2015 11:19 am

January 4th 2015

And certainly it's icy out there, but happy New Year to you all.

I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen this year. I start it officially out of work, but I'm hoping it is all going t kick off. I have a few random days of meetings and teaching, and the opera I am doing later in the year already being advertised (long before I've even worked out what is happening in the plot - yes it's Il Trovatore with it's famous wrong baby on the fire scenario), and the play I am doing at the Garrick in April on the way to selling out.

But animation wise, there's a project I want to happen above anything else. A project I have been working on since April, writing an hour every night come hell or high water. And it's in good shape. We just need the green light and I can spend time and make it in more that good shape. It's certainly a different film, most especially in the telling.

Plenty of stop motion on television over Christmas from Mr fox to a feast of Harryhausen. I wonder what a collective noun on harryhausen work is - a hydra? There was a rather raw but energetic Christmas special based on Elf - this came from Disney and was screened with not one credit. That was rather alarming, in many ways. Especially after skimming through the final Hobbit and their credits that made up for a tenth of the film.
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January 9th 2015

Postby Barry » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:21 pm

January 9th 2015
Well it was meant to be a week of catching up with life, but I found myself with three days work, and I do enjoy working, and at the moment there is so much going on, so much potential, that I have got to Friday evening feeling rather breathless, excited but breathless. Hopefully all will become clear shortly.
The play about Turing is a definite ad two months before rehearsals stat we are almost sold out. That's good but most of my friends can't book that far in advance. I've been doing a lot of work on the play script and have found my way into it. I'm looking forward to starting. A few festivals and teaching are also lining up and stating to clash with each other. I am also definitely doing Il Trovatore later in the year, though rehearsals are spread out over a very long period. I've also found my way into that complex piece. It's an enormously dark piece, but some of the music is so jolly......there's a lot of music that skips along. I've had to turn some festivals down already which is sad, but there is likely to be just too much on.
With both the big project, and the stage projects, I am breaking them down into pieces - working out how many costumes, props and so forth. I love this part of the process.
Well it was good to be back in the studio again.
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Re: 2015

Postby Barry » Sat Jan 17, 2015 12:12 pm

January 17th 2015
Officially four week since I have been out of work, and actually I seem to be putting in longer hours than ever. Even though I am at liberty to lounge about all day and see friends and movies and such, I have actually been at my desk at 9.15 every morning and working relentlessly on scripts and projects, all through the day and including the daily swim and an odd movie, I switch off the computer at midnight. There's potentially a lot to do, and what I haven't had when I was working was time to think, time to play with a scene or a phrase or to listen to a particular phrase of music. There still doesn't seem to be time and I'm ending these days breathless with ideas. Hopefully everything will fall in place in the next couple of weeks.

And with writing a film script, crikey there are days of doubt ad days of thinking 'yep, this is rather good'. The one I am writing is a very complex jigsaw puzzle where everything has its counterpart or parallel, so I must be careful when other people get casually involved and suggest cuts. As long as I have a reason for something, then it should be there. There are good arcs, and I think people will want to know what will happen next. I'm worried that there is not an villain as such, but there are certainly obstacles to the main character's aim, and time is a major factor. Watch this space.

Interesting seeing all the Oscar stuff this week......there was such a fuss that The Lego Movie was ignored, so I sat down and watched it, with my brain frying. An amazing movie, and very funny and truly spectacular. Who knows what will win, but it's good that animated movies are being treated seriously. It would be good to be there once more.
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Re: 2015

Postby Barry » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:47 pm

January 24th 2015

Everything for me is still in a state of being about to happen which is enormously frustrating and exciting. but hopefully by the end of next week things will be clearer, but heck, my brain is addled with the potential of various projects. As I write the English premier of Shaun the sheep is happening - can't wait to see that. If our feature happens, it will be somewhat different. I hope I get the chance to do a detailed animatic and work everything out. This feature is still growing in my head and everything I see is somehow finding its' way in. But watch this space.
Another quick trip to London this week for a meeting about the series, but sadly no matinee taken. I have a weekend of three shows coming up but am a bit alarmed that no trains are running to London from Manchester that weekend. Darn. Is the coach a viable and reliable alternative.
There's an add for Sainsbury's on at the moment that uses animated objects and a fridge, and here we go, my beef about double frame animation was illustrated in cringe making detail on national television. An object moving down the side of the fridge in doubles, whilst the camera moved in singles. The result was truly horrendous. Why didn't anyone see that and reshoot it? Very amateurish I'm afraid.
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February 2nd 2014

Postby Barry » Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:40 pm

Well last week was certainly full on and hopefully I've moved forward with big strides on a couple of exciting projects.
But here's a thing. Awards. The season has gone silly with awards, and as WSGilbert said 'When everybody is somebody, then no one is anybody'. Close at home our theatre is involved with NODA that has many many regional districts that give out their own awards, and there are several dozen categories, including three for programmes, and yet therenis not one for design (which is probably indicative of how design is seen in such circles), but there is one for staging, which is a rather loose term. And each category has so many nominations. But not every production is seen, certainly studio productions don't qualify. And reviewers, if you are there to review shows, it's sort of unfair to come up with an end of year list of Best productions, when you haven't seen them all. And in film, crikey there are just a ridiculous amount of awards, all with different criteria. I saw a short film boasting that it has received 107 awards so far. Of course, that gets you thinking that your own is terrible, but there are so many more festivals and awards now than when I started out. And short films, please do not add that wreath of laurel just because the film has been screened at a festival. That's not what it means. It's a victor's laurel, not a sign of being shown at a festival. Again, it negates the value of the symbol. And today there are so many, expensive and time consuming, ways to give your film a leg up into the award radar. Not every film maker has that advantage, even if te film is deserving of it. With so many awards the feeling is one of disappointment when you are left out, rather than feeling excited to have been nominated. I really do believe if awards are to have any significance or value, then they should be drastically rethought, and the sheer volume of them cut down. Rant over, and I'll go and polish the shelves of awards, but if I am honest, lovely as they are, I'm not sure they have opened a single door. For me, it has been the unexpected honour such as the Doctorate from staffs university that have really touched me. Best honour ever, though, was having a concert of Tchaikovsky music dedicated to me in Russia. Thank you.
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Re: 2015

Postby Barry » Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:00 pm

February 15th 2015
Frustratingly, no real developments yet. Very frustratingly. The bank balance is draining fast.
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Re: 2015

Postby Barry » Tue Feb 24, 2015 11:14 am

February 24th 2015

an odd month indeed; frantically busy with events and culture but not a penny earnt. Not a situation I can embrace for much longer. But the Twirlies is now on Cbeebies, every week day at 9.25 and 1.25 and very splendid they look too. Very easy to watch and to laugh along with. Am vey pleased to have been involved with this series, and I do think it is going to do well, and it won't be long before we hear mention of them, I'm sure, on some topical tv show. I tuned in early yesterday to watch the first episode and on the programme before, Bing, there was a voice I recognised at once - Mark Rylance. On sunday I had bee just a few feet from him all afternoon at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse watching him in Farinelli and the King, and utterly splendid were both the play and he. He has an ease and a stillness that is extraordinary. I've also been watching him in Wolf Hall. A great actor.

Much fuss in the aftermath of the Oscars, especially in relation to the animation. 'The Rock' was teased at having cried at The Lion King, because of course, animation is only for children you see, and animation was called a genre, which has got everyone's backs up. The behemoth that is Big Hero won the feature and Feast, the short that went out with that film, and so both films were uppermost on people's minds. Many voters have admitted that they never watched the shorts on their screeners. Not terribly fair anymore. The Oscars have come a long way since they were about rewarding the best; now they seem to be a PR fest for those that can afford to bully the voters. Of course, should any future film of mine be up for an Oscar I would be there like a flash, but it's all got a bit vulgar and uncomfortable.
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Re: 2015

Postby Barry » Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:51 pm

Saturday 28th February 2015

And just back from another two days in London, this time teaching at Central saint Martins. A rather impressive new venue - well an old grain store I believe, but full of space (and dead space) and surround by canals. Very light and airy. I did numerous tutorials with each of the students, and there were some very impressive ideas. As is common with students, the ending of the films need work, and invariably there was no title, and the sound was something to be thought of later. Hopefully I got them thinking about all these. Very little stop motion but there we go, but I loved their enthusiasm and warmth. Some places I go I meet a wall of silence, and an attitude of not wanting to be told anything. Here they were very friendly and open.

I had intended to go and see Gods and monsters and had a ticket, but these last two weeks have taken their toll on me, and the rather comfortable epic bed in the hotel won over traipsing to an obscure part of London to see what looked to be a rather basic stage production. My loss, but oh that bed.

So the Twirlywoos have settled in to their slot on Cbeebies and there's been some great feedback. I have a bit of a distance now and am happily watching them, and laughing. It is certainly a unique show, and I do love the sustained shots. I suggested to one student yesterday that he do his film in one shot which took him aback, but it will make the film work so well. Do try to catch the twirlies as they will make you smile.

So there is work coming in, thankfully, and I can't tell you how close a call this was, but there's still a lot of juggling to be done.
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Re: 2015

Postby Barry » Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:48 am

March 15th 2015

ah the ides of March.

Well that's twelve weeks of being out of work coming to an end thankfully. Financially such a lengthy period is a disaster and I have only just made it, bit emotionally it is not healthy for me. I still had the work ethic of being at my desk at 9.30 every day and doing a full day's writing, just in case. I'm sure here were things to do, skills to learn, places to see and shows to watch but I certainly have not been idle. As 60 looms, I still can't think about taking it easy at all. I wouldn't want to. So I start back tomorrow at the studio, and start directing play in the evenings as well.
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Re: 2015

Postby Barry » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:02 am

March 21st 2015

Spring is sprung and it certainly feels like it. A gorgeous day this morning - this time yesterday we were in the gloom of the almost total solar eclipse, and a strange murky grey green it was too. We had had the aurora visible a few nights earlier but I missed those sadly. So what next - any comets? An interesting thought to conjecture with. I wonder if Lewis Carroll had seen a solar flare as he was writing about the cheshire cat - certainly there were a good few minutes when the eclipse looked like a perfectly symmetrical and huge smile.

Well, it's good to be back in the studio, getting ready for recordings. A bizarre fact that as I approach 60 I even working even more. I'm certainly not going to go quietly. So I'm knee deep in scripts at the moment. And as it would happen this same week I start rehearsing the play, Breaking the Code - not a play to be treated lightly. An enormous amount of maths and equations all being metaphors for other themes. And yes, I love rehearsing too.

On my one evening free I went to see the RNCM's production of Midsummer's Night's Dream. And however beautiful it was, and it was, dear Mr Britten there was no need to make the opera much, much longer than the play itself. some extraordinary soundscapes, and exquisite, if a little obvious, visuals. Ah yes, as we came out Wyn was asking me what I had been up to, and I mentioned the Twirlywoos. A very Cheshire lady in front of us swirled round and announced in a voice that could have been heard in Chester that her grand children adored that programme. A lovely moment, segueing from the less than easy pleasure of Britten and Shakespeare to Twirlywoos.

A day off today, well apart from getting the scripts ready for recording, getting a props list together, catching up in the house and a million other things. I wouldn't have it any other way.
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Re: 2015

Postby Barry » Sun Apr 05, 2015 7:22 pm

April 5th 2015

another intense day of doing the voice recordings for a series. We managed five in a day which is pretty tough going, but the cast are so up to speed. .We are lucky to have all three of the actors in the same booth at the same time....it would be a nightmare to do as other series do and have just one actor in at a time........the patchwork that must cause is too much. I'm lucky too in being allowed to have all the breaths and stutters that I encourage. Some broadcasters prefer to have very clean voices, but an animator loves having a cough to animate to. A little bit of unexpected vocal performance ties the voice to the puppet.

Otherwise, much camera scripting and waiting, and waiting for other developments.
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Re: 2015

Postby Barry » Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:13 pm

april 18th 2015

production of camera scripts and things theatrical - it's been full on. But grab it whilst it is there, and I have the energy to meet things full on.
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April 26th 2015

Postby Barry » Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:50 pm

A truly epic week, with a normal working week (no, strike that, nothing is normal), but having also squeezed in seven performances of Breaking the Code, and all that implies, and particularly the distress of this particular production. Work is OK. I'm just beavering away by myself on camera scripts, whilst another production gears up to go into the studio. Again we had some very interesting visitors this week, causing much giddiness. But I have got to the end of the week drained and emotionally exhausted, but no let up just yet.
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May 2nd

Postby Barry » Sat May 02, 2015 2:41 pm

A strange week, and whilst there were no Boys bands, there were plenty of other unusual things. it is odd not to have the shadow of the play in the evening not lurking, and even more odd to suddenly have a huge amount of space in one's head - though as always the experience of working on such a tormented character lives on. The immediacy of the play in such a small venue has such a strong impact. I went to see a play in the main house this week, and it seems like a barn and the experience of a play there much diminished.

I was involved in a shoot over in Cottingley, and stood where the fairies had been photographed and filmed in the house itself. Now that was unsettling to be part of such history. Well even though it was all a hoax, it is still history, and the repercussions immense. What a story and what a cast of characters that included Conan Doyle and Houdini.

And then I went to see the new film of Far from the Madding Crowd, and these characters are very much part of my dNA, not just because of the glorious 1969 film, but because of reading the book at school. and this film is a leaner but still emotionally powerful version....though I missed sergeant Troy riding his black beauty in the circus. The equivalent reappearance was rather limp.

and today I have been with the Tudors on tour in Tatton, and full marks to the company of actors working their butts off in the cold and for confronting unabashed ignorance....I loved it all, and the costumes and patter well done. I even got to dance with Anne Boleyn.

Meanwhile the circus continues.
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May 9th 2015

Postby Barry » Sat May 09, 2015 2:59 pm

May 9th 2015

Many interesting artists pop into work but yesterday I came face to face with Scott Tracy from Thunderbirds, and he sent all manner of shivers down all our spines. And what a beautiful puppet he was; not so disproportionate as i remembered. A puppeteer held him up and walked him across the carpet, his feet and legs perfectly in synch. A real thrill to him so close up. Some fine sculpting. The new tv series, for all the magnificent model work, has not been pulling in the viewers as expected. I only saw one episode and then it disappeared into some twilight zone of broadcasting. But the model work was glorious. seeing the puppet also brought back wonderful memories of the two man stage show Thunderbirds ar F.A.B. - and complete with rockets on their heads, they were indeed fab. The puppet sent us all into a giddy mood.

Just getting ready for another recording, and I have been doing a great deal of writing. I've also read a book about writing. I tend to write with instinct, and get a bit uncomfortable with books that tell you that this must happen, and then that, and finally all wrap it up with this. They are good though for making you think about your own stories to see if they work. I'm thinking the feature film script is in good shape. I just need the time to go through it again.

Elsewhere there have been royal birth and a surprising and shocking general election. That's not what we wanted, thank you.
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