February 2010

February 2010

Postby Barry » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:27 pm

February 7th 2010

A week without any culture must be seen as a disappointing week, and as such it was, but i have done some teaching, and enjoyed that, though certain colleges taking months to pay me is causing me to seriously crash. I did one workshop about lipsynch in a way I had not done before and it was curiously satisfying. I also had a trip to London to talk about a project a long long way down the road. It could be interesting, with a lot of work. I nearly didn't make it as I literally had to reach down the back of the sofa to find the money for the train fare. Come on, colleges, pay me the money I'm owed!
More writing on the projects, but Feather is being my priority, and having had it in my head for 15 years, I now getting excitedly nervous, and with the pressure gathering I'm now throwing out ideas that have seemed to have worked, and replacing them with fresh ideas, and hopefully making it all tight and able to flow smoothly.
Oh dear - a confession. I have ABBA playing in the background so things must be ok. Shine once more like you did before. Sing a new song Chiquitita.
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Re: February 2010

Postby Barry » Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:35 pm

February 12th 2010

Now that was a manic week, totally manic. Five big workshops and talks in mostly different towns, involving a lot fo driving, and a lot of talking, and a lot of thinking, but mostly great fun. I do find it so enjoyalbe when there is some response from the audience/students - it is hard work when there is sullen silence. One of the talks was up in a small theatre, a similar set up to the Garrick, over in Ramsbottom. I was a bit tetchy when I arrived as I had already done a session, and had a long drive that i had made worse by not being able to get out of Bolton. But I had a great ime once i had got there - an old cinema converted to a theatre but now starting to screen films again, and I was the first live event, and what a lovely warm reception. A very pleasant evening actually, but eventually a late night with an early start for a trip up to Preston which was again a great place to visit. Lots of old friends there and shared experiences. I'm trying not to associate the quality of the teaching and students with the catering facilities but Preston certainly has a great cafe with fresh omelettes and such. Stoke has its oatcakes/crepes and juice bar - these things are important. But there was a good buzz about Preston and some enthusiasm. So, a lot of colleges, and that has fair taken it out of me a bit.

Masses of work away from the colleges on the various projects - so much writing and developing going on, not all paid - it would help if they were as I could prioritise them, but as it happens i just can't squeeze everything in at the moment. Yes the stress factor is rising. Exciting but stressful.

And a lot of work on Feather. A meeting about the puppet, so that looks under way, which is so exciting. And I am thrashign out the storyboard as mcuh as i can at the moment. Some bits, after all these years, I am throwing away and rethingking, but it is pretty much the film that has been around all this time, but hopefully better. But a little bit of me is nervous about getting down to some real quality animation again after too many years of not doing it. Hopefully I can rise to the occasion. So much to do before I start filming. So much.

Can I justify a lie in tomorrow as I am certainly a bit whacked this week. maybe but my mind won't switch off and let me enjoy it. Guilt of being idle.
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Re: February 2010

Postby Barry » Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:25 pm

February 19th 2010

What a week....it's been full on and full of everything really. A lot of teaching that has seen some very enthusiastic students, keen to learn as much as possible, and then there were others. I enjoy it when I get response. I don't enjoy it when there are blank faces. However, we did get some very good results from some of the students, and that pleases me - to see a huge development in just a few hours is very satisfying. taking some of these students and tutors to Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake was a great moment.

I have been writing like crazy on all the various projects, and it has been so cold that my fingers have gone numb. I was delighted to recieve the first copy of my new book, and it really does look splendid. Obviously spae meant some photos gotleft out, but i don't think anyone will feel short changed. And talking about books, I found a book which I knew nothing aobut in which I hav a whole chapter devoted to sexual subtext in the films, and suprisingly there's a lot going on in Hamilton Mattress. I spoke to the publishers who were very friendly and may be a good lead to get my next, but very different book going. They did seem quite interested in it. I've got so much to do with various articles at the moment....so much writing. I've been helping a lot of students this week with their thesis, and there seem to be so many around just now.

And so the Feather puppets continues, and there is now a physical lump of plasticene taking shape alongside a huge pair of cardboard wings. The wings are still somethign we haven't got our heads round. I'm busy with the storyboard, but I'm writing itas if I am a dancer and will manage to get some amazing choreography out of it...I hope I can rise to the huge immense challenge.

Yep not much wasted time this week. Add to that sunday lunch with Ed Hooks and Tony and that's not a bad week at all.
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Re: February 2010

Postby Barry » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:17 pm

February 27th 2010

Literally all over the country this week, and at great speed. First port of call was two days over in Norwich. Certainly not the easiest of places to get to, but a good hearty breakfast at the B&B set me up for a great two days of workshops at the Norwich Puppet Theatre. A beautifully atmosphereic venue in an old converted church. After I left I gather there was to be an evening of Burlesque - a venue of a variety of performances indeed. I was a little disappointed we didn't have many for the workshop, just scraping into double figures, but actually what a great set of people, with a surprisign amount of different backgrounds, but all linked by a love of puppets. I showed lots of films and led a discussion about what is a puppet and why do we need them. And i think over the two days we answered that very clearly. it was good seeing the reations to new films and clips. On the monday almost a packed house for a screening of my films....mainly students who were initially grumbling that they would have to sit through a minimum of two hours with me....we three horus later, and after many books were signed, we left the building. A lot of happy faces.
A logn journey back in the sleet and fog, crossing the Fens which can be bleak even in daytime. As I drove past Ma and Pa's cemetery, I did get a bit emotional. Being there, being lost in the fog with not another car for miles, beign exhausted, I did question a few things, but I was glad to get home.
No time for any rest as the feather puppet is taking shape nicely. I can't believe i've got a new puppet on the way. He does look a bit like a tuetonic cousin of Achilles, but he won't when he is painted and moving. I've managed to secure some flying rigs and such from the ex Bob the Builder studio. I seem to remember in my new book talking abut making a film where the main character swims or flies a lot is best realised in a technique different from stop motion, and what does my chappie do.....! still seeing a flying rig, and I got excited. Sad, I know.
More teaching down in Stoke which was quite fun, but I was getting agitated at all the other paper work and projects and everything piling up. After Stoke I reluctantly led a workshop at the Garrick about acting. I was reluctant as there were not many people and I got grumpy at the indifference inherent in the Garrick. But once again the group dynamics were excellent, and we were only eight, there was a wide variety of people. We launched into reading and discussion O for a muse of Fire, with me allocating at random a couple of lines each. As we read them, the actor's characters found new meanings, and this developed into being a group of eight lively characters getting ready to put on a play, but through the lines we could see which actors would go on to play which character and their relationship. It worked surprisingly well, and allowing for not being able to remember the lines perfectly at such short notice it was a great five minutes of theatre by the end of the evening. But I was knackered and panicking about how much I had to do so I turned down a trip back down to Stoke for the Stoke your Fires festival. I just really had too much to do and too much to catch up with, but in doing so I made a mess of things as I gather I was to be presented with an award. I felt a heel and should ahve raced down. I was very touched indeed, but having a day dto catch up with things did allow me to be productive, and that's quite important.
I also managed a visit to Opera North to see their hugely enjoyable reinvention of Ruddigore. A great night with great company, and i've also enjoyed catching up with the talk from the opening performances of Love never Dies, and the first screenings of Burton's Alice. The clips of HBC talking to the frog footmen about her miissing tarts makes me laugh every time - though 'has someone stolen three of my tarts' is a very clumsy longwinded line, unless three is important. Love never dies doesn't quite seem to have reached boiling point yet. Even the team are announinc that there is a lot that isn't working yet but also that there is a lot that is great. Does it really take until several performances down to realise that. Surely in rehearsal you get a pretty good idea if the story is coming across- especially with all the experience those guys have. The big disappointment seems to be the design and some rather naff automata - after the glorious iconic design of the first show this would be inevitable. still I'm intrigued to see it, misplaced bathing beautes and naff automata et al.
Some week indeed, but still all these colleges are taking ages to pay. I'm earning but there really is little sign of it coming in.
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