MAY 2010

MAY 2010

Postby Barry » Sat May 08, 2010 7:48 pm

So I began this month standing with no clothes on, freezing under the wing of Concorde with hundreds of other naked people - a long story but needless to say that Spencer Tunick was in town, and I volunteered for one of his shoots. Great bizarre fun, though I might regret it when I see the huge blown up prints on display at the Lowry and I realise just how near the front I was.
I also had a morning mentoring a student, who had done some very impressive work developing some ideas we talked about a while ago. Beautifully thought through. We had our meeting in the coffee room in Victoria Station, and my jaw kept dropping at the architecture there. Definitely faded glory but what glory days it must have seen.
Then back down to the NFTS for a week of animation exercises. I think the students were initially disappointed to be given basic blocks of colours but there is method in my madness. a great bunch of students, but all so different. It was exciting to see some shape emerge out of the initially scattershot animation. In some of the exercises they were wonderfully controlled and clear, and yes, they did let it read! Mission accomplished. The week was building up to each student replacing a 'play' in my film Next. I was fretting whether six seconds would keep them busy for the day and whether I should have given them two plays. One proved more than enough. I tried to impress some sort of realistic discipline and schedule but students are students and facebook and mobile phones can get in the way, and concentration and focus and preparation are arts yet to be learnt. They will be. They will have to be. Such an essential part of animation. But they all did some great exercises, some great walks and swimming scenes. As for Next, I think working with the regimented needs of the music was a bit of a shock, but there were some suitably creative results, and cutting them into the film made me smile. Jack tackled the Seven Ages from As you like it. A very nice idea but perhaps we overcomplicated it by acting out a scene - perhaps we should have found one pose for each age, but he finished on time and it was well thought through. Anna had swishing arras, poison bottles and a wonderful ghost sweeping round the scene for Hamlet. Tim's Romeo poisoned himself with excellently choreographed glugs. Alistairs Shakespeare/Titania was suitably adrogynous in an equally suitable flowery trippy bower. Gervaise's Antony got a bit lost but by the end met a very clear and bloody death on his sword.....great pyramid and sphinx! Iria's black and white Prospero had a whole bag of tricks, and appeared in a musical puff of smoke. John's Titus frantically and very animatedly picked off his many victims like lumps of meat on a skewer. Great fun. Maybe I should do the whole film with plays done from animators from around the world.
In the middle of the week, Andy Serkis paid us a visit. Great to see him again, and the students were on a high. Not many colleges would have such artists just popping in. With him was an ex student - I hope we paid her attention too.
Back home totally exhausted and worried about a few things, real and otherwise, that were lost this week. There was a bit of an underlying current of melancholy, but oh I was glad to be home for a few weeks, and not to have to pack a suitcase for a while. My own bed and no pervading smell of Macdonalds - oh bliss. But I do like working at the NFTS. I feel at home there, and am flattered by the students responses. I would like to spend longer there working in great detail.
Now to catch up with all the other projects, and i heard the first bit of music for Plume, and darn exciting it is too. What a great start to the film it will be.
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Re: MAY 2010

Postby Barry » Sun May 16, 2010 10:29 am

Sunday May 16th 2010

As I sit in an overcast Manchester I'm wishing i was down by the sea at the Theatre Royal Portmsouth, where this afternoon they are having a screening of my favourite film, The Boyfriend, complete with Ken Russell and Twiggy, and Murray Melvin and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. To be there, at the theatre they filmed it in, with those guys, well I would have been beyond happy. Such a shame that Russell's films have not been on DVD. Where is The Music Lovers for heaven's sake, and The Devils. Happily Women in Love is available. I found it in a small DVD shop in Wellington and that film almost defines my time there. Russell's early films are tremendous and imaginative without being campy and bizarre as they became.

Talking of New Zealand, I had to turn down a trip this week there. I just couldn't fit it in. I've had the offer of so many trips recently, that I have become confused with them all, but I can't do anything for the next few months. France is all. I'm still struggling to find time to learn more french vocabularly.

The puppets, pending approval, are finished, bar sealing the paint, and they are just perfect. Just bending them slightly and they become alive. This is certainly going to be a film unlike anything else I have ever done, though there will be a lot of my familiar black and there are, of course, the ubiqitious wings, as there are in every film, but never quite like this. I am getting nervous, nervous about the schedule. It will be tough to try to do the animation that is in my head with this schedule, well any schedule really. I will have to make it very clear from the beginning that every second on the studio floor has to be about the filming. I cannot be slowed down. But i am getting very excited. And scared.

I've tried to give some time to the other projects, and tried to think about packing, but there's just so much going on. I'm still very grateful for the comments coming back fromt his second book. And yes i would like to do a third one.

Even though I am busy with my own projects, I would still like to be included with the various big projects going on here. I'm hoping that my sense of exclusion is because I am busy. Even so.
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Re: MAY 2010

Postby Barry » Tue May 25, 2010 6:22 pm

25th May 2010

Whoops, where did those ten days go. In a blur really, of working on the puppets, schedules, some work with students, a trip to London. It's all getting a bit near to going to france, and whilst I am ready for the film, I'm not for that time away. Always an upheaval really but my fingers are itching to get going. The puppets are itching to get going. With all thisand other things I am feeling a bit stretched thin, but excited.
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Re: MAY 2010

Postby Barry » Mon May 31, 2010 1:49 pm

May 31st 2010

And another week rushes by at a delirious speed, and it's hard to think what I have achieved. We are brush strokes away from having the puppets signed and sealed and approved. I got to play with them a bit this week, setting up some photos, and they all instantly come alive. The main character will be difficult, no doubt about that, as he is heavy thanks to a lot of silicon muscles.....i really do not like silicon but it does have an essential durability. It feels dead to me compared to lovely lively latex. The flying sequences will be tricky in terms of rigging, and just what i make the wings do. They are certainly going to be a character in their own right, and I will be able to get a huge amount of expression out of them. The face is probably no more expressive than Achilles but hopefully I can get a lot out of a little. The trouble i am going to find is that I can't focus as close as I used to be able to. Keeping this guys' eyes focused will be very difficult. I'll need to get some very close up glasses. But i am sat here fretting about making the movement interesting enough. The music, and we have five minutes of it so far, is beautiful and appropriate and perfect to animate to.

And am I ready to head off to france?

It's going to be a long few months, as I must work on the other projects as well. And hopefully have some fun in France, and maybe go up and see Paris a few times.
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