JUNE 2009

JUNE 2009

Postby Barry » Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:34 pm

June 5th 2009

A long week beavering away at a million projects, all for little or no money at all. I'm excited that I am designing a show for the edinburgh fringe, but a little daunted by how little money there is and by the restrictions of getting the show in and out so quickly every performance - but that is also what is exciting about the fringe. It really is making a silk purse out of a sows ear.....stretching econmic creativity to the limit. Still I am having great fun working with the director, and a couple of days down at his lovely georgian house by the coast was a most agreable way to have production meetings. The piece is a glorious musical, and I'd love to do it on a bigger stage, with a set that doesn't have to be packed into the back of a van. But even so the director will be inventive enough to make this a great fun evening, and it certainly comes with good creative credentials.

Everyone is getting excited about heading off to Annecy...darn I wish I was going, especially with a new project. Henry Selick and Adam Elliot are both there - it would be great to catch up with them both....and to finally see their new films. I've not anything for ages, that's where the lack of any finances is really hurting me. I'm not worried aobut clothes or eating out or anything, but not being able to go to the cinema or theatre is certainly like cutting off my oxygen. And there's so much good stuff around at the moment.

So if anyone on here, and I have to say it has gone rather quiet in these pages, is going to Annecy, do write on here all about it.
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Re: JUNE 2009

Postby Barry » Fri Jun 12, 2009 4:51 pm

June 12th 2009

The demons have been getting seriously closer this week. A real downer. I've definitely felt in a vacuum this week, isolated and not directly involved with anyone or anything. Not good. It hasn't helped that Annecy has been on, and last year I was such an integral part of it. Though bizarrely, I was there in a documentary that's been shown several times. I've heard good reports about it, though my section was filmed five years ago I think, shortly after coming back from New Zealand which must have coloured my perspective of things. Annecy seems to have been fun - I wonder what the theme of the closing night event will be and what Serge will be wearing and how he will arrive on stage. Sat astride a huge wooden elephant was pretty spectacular last year.

But workwise it's been a thin week. I've handed in a play treatment, waiting for reaction to the book, and generally getting my head round the Edinburgh musical. But that's not enough by any means. Writing to dozens of students having watched their final year films has been fun, but am I inching any nearer getting a film off the ground....who knows. Well we are hoping for some news at the start of July.
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Re: JUNE 2009

Postby Barry » Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:38 pm

Friday june 19th 2009
An exhausting week with two trips to london, but these trips certainly aren't as arduous as they used to be. I left the house yesterday at noon, travelled by train to London, thence to Pimilco for a three hour session of auditions and a production meeting, a quick drink and back again, and I was in my house by 10.00 - feeling very confused. A full day at the other end of the country crammed into only a few hours. As I walked out onto Stockport station car park the heavens erupted, throwing all it had at us. Rain barely describes that prescipitation, nor the thunder that set of every car alarm, nor the lightning that seemed to cause sparking on a nearby pylon. It did look as if the special effects guys were being a little over generous. But the train, when it works, is so quick and easy these days. One could almost commute to London, and i'm sure some do who can afford it - I would get tired of trying to work out which Millie's cookie I was eating very quickly.

So London, well the last time I was there was to see War Horse eighteen months ago, and walking past the theatres I was aching to go in and see something. But which as there are so many things I need to catch up with. I did get to sit on the stage of Mamma Mia which was fun, thanks to a dress rehearsal that was about to start for the new cast. That set is quite ingenious and so visual. Can it really be ten years since that exploded onto the stage? Just walking round Soho I'm not sure i was impressed by so much pompous film speak and so much pumped up tanned muscle. Both worlds that are somewhat alien to me.

The auditions yesterday were held in an interesting but odd and vaguely sterotypical building. Opera was being rehearsed above us at full volume, and level with the windows in the basement where we were were fat inquisite chickens looking in, intrigued by glamorous ladies playing the saxophone. Putting on a show for the Edinburgh fringe is certainly going to be ingenious and will demand a lot of favours. The actors won't be doing it for the money that's for certain.

I've certainly been busy this week but quite how productive I don't know, and certainly financially the week has been disastrous. A lot going out but nowt coming in, again.
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Re: JUNE 2009

Postby Barry » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:04 pm

June 25th 2009

Well the week has seen both the summer solstice and midsummer night, so that's half the year gone. Too quickly, and i've certainly not achieved as much as I had hoped......not through want of trying or through being idle. The year certainly got off to a truly disastrous start with the panto, and i'm still recovering from that in many ways. I had hoped I would have been filming, or in a long term job by now, but at least I have travelled a lot and done a great deal of teaching, but it has all been so frustratingly bitty. I have been speaking to as many people as I can about films and such, but it really does not help when faced with silence or indifference, but that is my usual rant. There was that big job I had hoped at least to get an interview for, with a major animation company, but after 130 days of silence I guess I can kiss that goodbye. That silence is simply unprofessional.

Anyway this week has been pretty crazy. The musical is not straightforward, and it seems to be like a deck of cards at the moment - quite fragile, but i have started with the set, so I have got other people involved. I hope the same does not happen to them as did with Aladdin.

I know I finished the book a month ago but i have sent out the permission release forms, and actually made a bit of a mess of that. Well with so many photos I was bound to get something wrong - such as the return address. Drat. In the month that I finished the book many new photos have come in, some even just yesterday, so I am quickly rewriting and restructuring it. It's odd to come back to it after a month, as I think I had put it at the dark space at the back of my mind. I'd forgotten a lot of it.

Other projects, mainly speculative ones, have demanded a lot of time. And yesterday I went up to Newcastle to spend a day with the post grad I am mentoring on his short film, and sat with him, clicking the utton and talking him through his every frame. Rather than me sounding bossy or patronising, I think it all became very much clearer to the animator. I have to say the set and the lighting look amazing. The shooting space of a small broom cupboard has been transformed into an epic space. this is exciting and I wish I could be there more. The trip is a long one but so pleasant going through some truly stunning countryside, and vistas with Durham cathedral standing proud above. And the journey home was unexpectedly quick and enjoyable thanks to some splendid company. Among the drunk nurse celebrating her graduation, some irritatingly loud business men, some gaudy ladies returning from a days shopping was a student back in the uk from studying in Russia. Surprising the conversations one has on trains, and how quickly a long journey can go.

I have also just watched the documentary L'epine mentale, about seven animators - one being me. A beautifully shot and perceptive documentary. I hope I can get a dvd soon. It was shot a good few years ago, with me pontificating in Dunham Massey and sat at home in glorious black and white with Inigo curled up on my lap looking very content. The other animators were perhaps more intellectual, but I was clearly in my passionate mode.
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Re: JUNE 2009

Postby Barry » Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:01 pm

june 29th 2009
Various parts of Italy.

That's some 24 hours. I arrived at Manchester airport in shorts, only for it to bucket down. Out came the trousers, but a few hours later I stepped out on to the tarmac at Milan airport and was wishing for shorts again. Crikey it was hot and dazzling. A long drive with the very amicable Martha and Paolo from the 'Castle of Puppets', the puppet museum in the heart of Parma. we had a meal, and planned tactics for todays meeting. We had a quick wander round the city and I started to get a bit giddy with an overload of culture. Opera, particularly Verdi was everywhere -w ith more to come in a surprising context. Parma and Milan are rivals over claims that Verdi belongs to them.
Anyway this mornign I met all the staff at the museum, which is housed in a spectacular old monastery with jaw dropping frescoes casually lurking on the walls. Long cool corridors with the museum at one end. On the way was the numerous rooms housing the Verdi research centre, crammed with original letters and manuscripts and designs for the operas. This was unexpected. The lady who ran the place was kindness itseld in showing me endless artefacts. I wanted so many people to experience this. And then to top this I was introduced to another lady who happened to be a direct descendant of Verdi. I'm arrived I gushed an hugged and embarrassed myself. This was a treat. We didn't get to see inside the opera house just over the road but they have invited me back for the Verdi festival inOctober. Yes please.
So I had to be dragged away from Verdi to the puppet museum, but the first puppet I saw was....Verdi. I got stuck in a time loop here. And next to Verdi was a puppet of a character from his opera...not Violetta or anyone, but Rigoletto himself. There's a huge connection between puppets and opera here...as there is in my life. Very odd. But oh what a museum. I sort of glassed over actually as even though about 600 of their 3000 puppets are on display, a handful would have satisfied me. Here I was gorging on feast after feast. Simply sensational and beautifully laid out. I was then put on show in front of the Minister of Culture and sold him, though he didn't need selling, just how wonderful this collection was. With puppets in mind i showed the team clips on youtube of War Horse and walkign with dinosaurs - War Horse makes me well up just talking about it.
And then I was got from Parma, my mind full of a million faces and textures, wanting to call people like Ronnie and Ian to come and look at this collection, and wanting to help them. But in the face of these puppets I'm pretty insignificant. I did have Engie Benjy in my bag but he stayed firmly hidden.
And now I am in Turin getting ready for a tough week with students, and trying to do something different this time.
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