FEBRUARY 2011

FEBRUARY 2011

Postby Barry » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:52 am

February 4th 2011

Two big teaching sessions at the beginning of the week got things off to an exciting start and I was buzzing. I would still enjoy it more if all students learnt at least to express whether they enjoyed a film clip or not. When faced with utter silence it turns things into a lecture and not a friendly healthy discussion about things we love.

Another trip to London to work on the feature film script was satisfying, and we have reached some sort of milestone, but oh the journey and the catching up took it's toll on me.

But the rest of the week was hard, and a few comments from different sources about different things and a very difficult situation have forced me to evaluate every single frame I have ever shot, and to ask whether in fact I'm any good or have constantly either got away with it or just not come up with the goods. This of course ignores the good comments I get, but that's always the case. In a way, to just accept that fact that I'm distinctly second rate would remove a huge amount a pressure. The constant drive to come up with the creative goods, especially in the lack of relationships and dependants and other such life filling things, is draining. It really is. To lose that and get a job that is about just getting on with it, could only make things easier, but there is still something in me that wants to be creative. There's always been a shadow following me - a shadow shaped as something I can't see but everyone else can. It's back with Salieri and mozart again as I talk about in the book.The fact is that perhaps I am merely getting away with it. Anything I may have achieved is tonight looking remarkably fragile. And I have seriously questioned what is the role of a director, and actually what is animation. When todays budgets are gathered from many sources there are many more people to please, and perhaps the role of the director is diluted. It's more about committees and pleasing a lot of people rather than instinct and inspiration but that is the nature of the business the world over now from big features to small shorts. And we are talking as if we all had the ideal situation in which to make films. We don't. But if you can't stand the heat, they say.....and I'm still cooking, sort of.

All very melodramatic,and it's not about ego at all but there has to be one person making the decisions.

One of the other smaller incidents was someone saying that someone else had implied I had ruined Screen Play by doing the cinematic sequence - I should have just left it as the theatre section. I'm not sure I ever really considered that, though apparently it was suggested before filming. If I had done that it would just be a simple story. With the cinematic section it is still a simple story but with a few more layers and narrative tricks. I'll never know now what effect that would have had. Or is the issue that I did not listen to advice and was pigheaded about knowing what was right.

So any students out there, make sure you have the passion to get through all this still smiling and still pleased with your films. These are tough times indeed.
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Re: FEBRUARY 2011

Postby Barry » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:33 pm

February 11th 2011

A tired and emotional week certainly, and last week's them has carried on, but with some no small degree of being productive and a rather surprising compliment, there has been some sense of validation. Tchaikovsky is the project that hasn't had enough attention this week, well my bits anyway, as I have done a lot with the set, and the costume, and retiming the board. I just haven't moved much further this week. Sadly the Swan Down Gloves hasn't even had a look in. Simply not enough hours in the day. I've done considerable amounts of teaching at three colleges, and with all the driving and preparation that involves. Teaching is certainly changing these days, and I was despairing that it's less about inspiration than about meeting targets, when suddenly I get a letter asking if I would accept an honary Doctorate of a university, for inspiring and things....well I was well chuffed actually and got rather emotional, especially as I could hear Ma and Pa. No seriously Doctor Purves is well chuffed. Thank you.

The highlight of this week, no any week, any year was the concert by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra at the Bridgewater. To some extent I rather resented a full appreciative house as they have been the personal soundtrack to the last twenty five years of my life.....as it appears they have been to so many others. A gloriously eccentric, sexy, sensual evening that had me smiling in the way that not much else does. A trip to the garrick for a farce written by the guy who wrote Don't Dress for Dinner that I directed last year. As you get familiar with farces, you can see the formula, and here comes the speech that is going to sum up the whole evening in one go, here comes the confusion, here comes the gender swap, the role reversal, the tongue twisters, and so on, but give in and go with it.

I ended the rather long exhausting week with a sauna at the leisure centre. A play is formulating in my head around the wierd and wonderful and colourful characters there, and their reactions to new comers and so on. So much material for a comedy, or even a tragi comedy. And the conversation, well you couldn't make it up. Take the clothes off someone and much more is bared.

Winding down the night with a cup of earl grey and the promise of something sweet and gingery.
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Re: FEBRUARY 2011

Postby Barry » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:47 am

February 18th 2011

This week has seen me in four universities across the north west, and naturally I have seen the teaching system at both it's best with insipiring tutors and inspired students, and then those whose enthusiasm for animation, on both sides, is definitely uninspiring. Maybe I've been slow to learn, as it were, that teaching is also about being a nanny and a therapist - these last two qualities perhaps are not my strengths. However I have been working with some great students who so want to seize this chance, and this is enormously rewarding. I would so love to set the syllabus for a university course, as I do think there are many aspects missing - well I guess it depends what the point of a university is. Is it to prepare a student for a career in his chosen profession, or is it about maturing that student in all aspects of life, and getting him to think? I am, however, concerned that in some areas of animation teaching, vast important chunks are simply not dealt with, and I'll try my utmost to correct that........

.....along with trying to get my next film going, finishing the last one, getting the musical up and running, and trying to look after my own interests by putting myself forward for some big projects - and there are some big projects lurking as you may have seen in the papers this week. I do feel sad that I have not managed to be involved with the big stop motion feature films, and I do see that to be some sort of failure on my behalf.
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Re: FEBRUARY 2011

Postby Barry » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:29 am

February 25th 2011

Much talk of animation in its broadest sense tonight, on the Review show. They loved Frankenstein for it's re-animation of a classic and for all its' talk of animation. On the other hand they hated the visualisation of the the poem of Howl in the film of the same name. Interesting that the two sold out shows in London are War Horse and Frankenstein both dealing with animation. Oh I am itching to see Frankenstein, but not only are all the london performances sold out but the live cinema screenings are all sold out as well. Darn. The Frankenstein obviously means much to me as an animator, but it is odd that I simply would not cross a road to see any version of Dracula, but Frankey - and I am there.

Only two days teaching, but much admin and catching up with festivals and interviews and student essays and such, and I'm exhausted. And Tchaikovsky is getting closer and closer....this time last week I was stuck on a plot point (well I say plot but there is little narrative as such) but happily I have got through that through sheer banging my head and much thinking outside the box. But it's only a month away and I have all the music to get my head round, doing the bar sheets and working out the piano. I hope I have time and resources to do that, and I don't just have to fudge it. But time and money is short. Plume is still not finished but nearly.

Teaching was fine this week though I was rather taken aback to be asked a question about how it actually works - to me the concept is strange yes, but not impossible. A flip book usually helps. Also someone suggested to me that some students are quiet because they simply don't know how to talk about animation as it is such a strange thing. Not sure about that.....you can always say if you enjoyed it or not, or if it made you laugh or cry, or you enjoyed the music or story. In my current experience students are not as eloquent or lucid as I had hoped they might be. I'll keep trying to draw it out of them. I hate delivering three hour monologues.
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