MARCH 2010

MARCH 2010

Postby Barry » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:30 pm

March 7th 2010

March has kicked off in full speed, and looks like staying that way. It may be sunny now but the snow still seems to be threatening with small flurries every so often.

I have spent much of the week driving, which has been exhausting, but I've done more teaching and some of that has been rewarding. It's satisfying to see a student improve over a three hour session, when there cluttered kinetic animation suddenly becomes clear and reads.

I also had a good day with Nigel and Glenn talking about a project that excites us all but is a long long way away. exciting all the same.

Feather continues going well. The sculpting, under my misguidance, did go in a slightly wrong direction but is back on track and looking wonderful. This is a tricky film for me, and a tricky character as it is important that there is no obvious cultural reference. Our character, whilst he does have one, is actually just a man with wings, no more, no less. it's hard trying to find something so neautral but also beautiful and interesting. We are getting there. the painting will be the making of it. I'm storyboarding as fast as I can but there are numerous distractions, such as company tax returns for the company I have to recieve a small amount from the DVD's - a big mistake. This ahs been nothing but hassle and expense that negates the incoming funds.

And then Swan Lake.....well every visit reaffirms everythink I think about. It is an amazing work, so good that I often feel queasy watching it, as one's own work is so trivial in comparison.

Off on my travels again. I'm showing all the films, but it will be particularly interesting to see how Achilles goes down in the shadow of the Parthenon.
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Re: MARCH 2010 - and a trip to Athens!

Postby Barry » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:03 pm

March 14th 2010

A frantic week with many projects bubbling away but it all culiminated in literally, a day in Athens - outrageous but stimulating. Before my involvement with the Animfest 2010 I'd managed to race up to the Acropolis at first light. I was last there with Dave Sproxton and Richard Golieoskwi stopping briefly on route to Hiroshima. But it still took my breath away, albeit with a mixture of emotions. I stood there marvelling at its' beauty, its' aspect, and the sheer achievement. But part of me felt a guilt that my very presence was contributing to its' destruction. I was sad too that carelessness has helped destroy it, along with wars, vandalism, and tourism. That such a marvel should be lost is unthinkable, but what does the amount needed to restore it and preserve it mean to those sleeping rough on the streets of Athens - and there are plenty of those. Also looking at it brought back uncomfortable memories of Aladdin from last year, where the Acropolis features as one fo the underwhelming projections. But standing in front of the monument cannot but inspire awe. I didn't want to take photos really for being seen as part of the insensitive vulgar click and tick brigade, who simply do not connect with what is in front of them. Oh I cringed at the line of loud American tourists standing next to the skirted soldiers - snap and next! - with no acknowledgement of the person, the role, the situation or the significance. I was in something of a rush, but I did sit and contemplate the sculpting. Seeing them i such vital poses it is not hard to imagine a cinematic reality of the gods, of them actually sat up on Mount Olympus drinking nectar whilst deciding the fate of some poor mortal. I wish. I guess one fo the joys of being solo is that one can sit and cogitate over what and when you want. And I did cogitate.

I then moved on breathlessly to the new Acropolis museum - every inch of that museum is designed to remind you exactly of what it is about. Everywhere you look, there is the Acropolis towering above. A truly amazing musum, and I was very happy to wander, coming across unexpected joys, some of which made me giggle with sheer pleasure. But I didn't buy anything here nor in the flea markets later as part of me is, again, resistant to the selling of some real tat. Some is beautiful, but I am guess I am wanting a full scale statue or a huge collection of masks. But oh crikey, Greek art still excites me, and I hope it is a bit more cerebral that purely responding to a hedonistic lifestyle of running round naked after minotaurs.

I met up with the lovely festival organisers, for a glorious leisurely lunch with some familair and unfamilair animators - there was much apologising for the state of Athens, and the plane strike that had reduced my visit to one full day. We sat and ate outside, talking about everything. I felt I should have done something such as a workshop to justify the expense of getting me there, but I did a screening in the evening and gave good value there I hope. I was driven to it by two lovely ladies, Lisa and, yes, Aphrodite, who managed to be great company whilst negiotating the perilous roads and traffic of saturday night Athens. I suspect the traffic system is not one of Athens' finest achievements. As always I worry about who on earth is going to see the films of an unfamiliar animator - well, a good few did. We seemed to be sold out with people sat on the steps as well. A lovely cinema with great projection, and the films were greeted with great enthusiasm and 'Bravos' which was most satisfying. Rigoletto, particularly, seemed to strike a chord. Oh to be able to do something on that scale and intensity again. I talked and talked and it all went rather well. Two of the audience drove me back to the hotel - again a hair raisign adventure in itself. They promised to take me sailing next time. And hopefully it looks as if there might be a next time - certainly sooner than 24 years.

Such a brief visit. I'm a little haunted by the expressions of the rather tragic cats and dogs. Yes, the animal energy is definitely missing in my life, though it seems to be up on the screen in my films, writ so large. Birds and wings in everything. So what am I doing now - yes, you've guessed it. Wings. Perhaps one day I should go back to Greece and film Aristophanes' The Birds, Oh bliss.

The travellign was fine, and I certainly went through different climates. At nearly every passport control I went through they commented that I had a beard - ah, I hadn't noticed. I slept a bit on the flights, as I'm not reading anything particular for pleasure at the moment. I'm in that state of feeling guilty of reading anything that is not to do with any project that I am working on. I've got two work related books on the go. One was a wildly interesting and well written and lively book looking behind various Victorian stage illusions and lost stage tricks. A bit fo a detective story and a bit of showmanship, and a joy really. The other book could be more different whilst dealing with the same subject. The dullest and driest book I have ever read, and the author clearly swallowed a dictionary whilst writing it. A hideously written book, pompous, and just dead, when such a subject cries out for a bit of flair. I simply can not read it. Each sentence is a convoluted string of ridiculous words, so far removed fromt he heart of the subject. There are times when a spade has to be called a spade and not described in several sentences hinting at the social and economic function of a tool made out a combination of elements. It is a spade. Maybe I am frustrated because my second book is by comparison, utter simplistic. But I felt cheated by this book, as its' tone was not fair to its subject. There was no thrill at talking about magic and special effects.

So that was a week. I've not written much about Feather but that was nto without incident this week. My teaching session involved only two students, but that was actually good fun, and we did some useful work.

I have to say I am fair pooped! Flying to Athens for the day....honestly!
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Re: MARCH 2010

Postby Barry » Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:40 pm

Monday March 22nd 2010 - Stoke and Lille

Well last week began we me coming back from a festival in Athens and now I have returned from an equally brief but fun festival in Lille. In between I have done a huge amount of work on the film with the producer, written a couple of articles, and done some teaching - a truly frantic exhausting week, and one that took a considerable amount of organising and juggling to get it all done. Yes a busy few days, but financialy disastrous again. Just virtually no money being earnt at all, and thanks to colleges being slow to pay, absolutely no money physically being paid into the account.

Anyhow, the festival at Lille was low key and good fun. The new experience for me was the Eurostar and how easy was that. I've had to do my homework since I have come back and read up on what is truly an amazing achievement, and has restored some pleasure in travelling. So quick and without the hassle of all the seraches and waiting for baggage, and travelling from the airport. I was a little disappointed that there was no fanfare of any sort a we dived under the channel, nor a map showing where we were. I didn't really get to discover Lille but had a lovely meal with Benoit and his family. A moment of real France. My screening was packed again, and a thoroughly responsive audience. A very bohemian cinema cum cafe bar, with everyone crammed into a million different sofas and cushion, with the smell of coffee and alcohol floating about. All very casual and friendly. Last night saw some other British programmes and this had an odd effect on me, as I suddenly feel like a grande dame of ballet in a world of hip hop. All the films in the other programmes were variations of CG, with layer upon layer of textures, graphics, retro references, cut-outs - all overhwelming in its density. My films with their pure untouched imagery look so old fasioned and quaint and look as if they should be in a museum. But oh the legacy of Creature Comforts lives on. So many films now have the formula of a real non actor voice telling a personal and moving story whilst being accompanied by whacky graphics and texts and all manner of different techniques. It's almost becoming a whole genre in itself. However I do have a new favourite film - Happy face. a gorgeous, simple and moving film. Watch out students, I will be showing it to you soon.

And so I'm back with so much to catch up with, especially writing to colleges, pleasing with them to pay up. That really should not be necessary.

Another highlight of the week was Amanda and Peter going to see War Horse. Had finances allowed I would have joined them but oh I enjoyed it so much by proxy, living every moment as it happened 200 miles away. And yes of course they were truly bowled over by it. Simply the best.
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Re: MARCH 2010

Postby Barry » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:35 pm

march 27th 2010

I started this rather stressful week in Lille, then had three trips to Stoke, and ended up with a good workshop/talk in Birmingham, but yes it has been stressful. Money has been a huge worry again. I've had over a year of this constant financial pressure and it is taking it's toll on me. one crisis got briefly averted, but it looks as if the car has done it's last journey, having given out on me, just off, thankfully, the motorway - thanks too, to the AA for being so efficient and friendly and prompt. No thanks to the drivers who hooted at me stranded in the rain, or called me a wanker for delaying then all of the ten seconds it took to drive past me. I shall remember that.

Some good sessions in Stoke, teaching and working on the animatic of the film, which I think is looking great, and i'm itching to move forward. Just a single piece of music every so often on it brought it to life extraordinarily. I thought that perhaps 15 minutes might be too long but not at all. It has a clear structure, but I fear that others may not see the board as I see it; which is only a loose indication of what the film will be, but see it as a literal, accurate representation. The board does not allow for the puppets contribution, nor the practicalities, or is that compromise, of filming. Though having seen Alice as well this week, I'm looking at my film of one major puppet, against black, moving through jerky, supposedly, or obvious (more honestly) stop motion, with no swooping camera moves, no dazzling CG effects, just a puppet acting - it all seems rather pure and simple, and perhaps obstinately technophobic.

Had enough travelling for the moment, but the talk at the Birmingham Flatpack festival was surprisingly fun. I was frustrated by having to talk in a dazzling white room with huge windows without curtains on a sunny day - the films simply did not look their best projected under such conditions, but the audience seemed to enjoy all that I was showing, and I was certainly talking ten to the dozen. I was particularly touched by a hearing impaired gent and his signer apparently enjoying and appreciating what I was doing with Screen Play - integrating the signer into the action.

Exhausted now.
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