MARCH 2011

MARCH 2011

Postby Barry » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:55 pm

March 4th 2011

Quite an amazing week where it has been full of a million different activities, and at the risk of dropping some very heavy names, I seem to have come across famous conductors, very well known TV presenters, sitcom icons, brilliant animation voice performers (from Penguin to Ibsen's Nora), australia soap star turned pop star turned musical lead, animation legends (and I mean legends), famous directors, reknown opera performers to name but a few. Most of this has been in a social setting after they have been doing their stuff - but actually it was all about working alongside them, and I'd certainly be up for working with one or all of them.

As for my own activities, I have been in four cities in four days doing workshops and talks and that has been exhausting. The day at the Stoke Your Fires festival was a joy - spending time with fellow passionate artists is such a pleasure, and here we had the lovely Vivien Halas talking with refreshing openess about her parents, and Tony Dalton talking about Uncle Ray (Harryhausen) with such informed affection and detail. It was a moving joy to look at Ray's early photos, and inspite of all the technology, sequences such as the Jason Skeleton fight still take your breath away and deliver in spades. I am enormously privileged to know Ray and to enjoy only a few degrees of separation to lead back to Kong and the very core of this wonderful art. I'm still sick to think that I could not make it to his 90th birthday celebration. Simply could neither afford it nor juggle the frustrating logisitics necessary to get me to London from a remote french town in time. Forever that will be a big regret.

I finally recieved the rather lovely and quirky Outstanding Achievement award that had been awarded me last year - this is enomrously pleasing but I still feel a fraud. My output is so small and so invisible. I would love to work on features and do animation inserts - it would be good to have that choice between a high profile feature film or a low budget short that doesn't let me pay the bills. Yes I could pretend that it is about the profile - actually it's not. It is about the budget that allows me to finesse my work. the budgets I am on now just permit me to point and shoot, and that's it. A decent budget would allow me to perfect and develop. I'm not sure I am even where I was twenty one years ago when I did Next. The budgets are so small now and inevitably things look shoddy and rushed compared to the more polished craft that I know I am capable of.

The raw set for Tchaikovsky has arrived in my house, and all involved looked at it and enjoyed the sheer tangible quality of a real set necessary for stop motion. I've also managed to squeeze in a bit of writing, and a voice over, but I still haven't done enough nor earnt enough this week, nowhere near. Nor seen much of the real world. I did stop to enjoy my garden full of crocii.
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Re: MARCH 2011

Postby Barry » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:11 pm

11th March 2011

Crikey what a week. A lot of talking about animation - and I mean a lot. On Monday was a talk in front of about 600 at wrexham, and then Manchester, then Stoke, and I am just back from Bournemouth where I did rather go at full pelt, and certainlyran over time, but no-one seemed to mind. I seem to make sense these days - maybe it is because I have had to think aobut things sriously with the two books. I'm ready for another book and a rather broader one. But Bournemouth was very exciting. A nice chatty bunch of students, and seeing their own work afterwards was enormously refreshing, probably the highest standard I have seen recently. Some beautiful looking films and I would love to go and spend some real time down there. A comfortable hotel and a long long walk along the beach this morning could be part of the appeal. I got a bit emotional on the beach, actually, thinking how Ma and Pa would have enjoyed it, but also thinking about how someone else would have enjoyed it......and that would ahve been Inigo. I have never seen a cat on a beach but if there had not been aggressive dogs or such he would have enjoyed walking along with me. He was very much a walking alongside me sort of cat.

I have been watching with some cognititive interest the saga unfolding on Broadway with Spiderman - Turn off the dark, and what has happened to the amazing director Julie Taymor. She has been relieved of her duties on the show but much of her work will still be there but not her vision. The show will re-open and it will be a compromise, a watered down version. Someone will be reconstructing her elements. I'm sure she could have got it right it she had been left alone - crikey her track record is amazing. You can imagine why i am so interested.

yes so I am exhausted from all this necessary teaching, and frustrated that I have not been able to spend as much time as I need on Tchaikovsky (it's getting so close), but all that rather pales with the news from Japan today. Very little one can say there without sounding trivial. My heart goes out to everyone there.
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Re: MARCH 2011

Postby Barry » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:06 am

March 21st 2011

Ah the spring equinox....I should be doing suitably frisky and pagan but I'm up late working and singing along to Cabaret on TV....is that film really forty years old. I remember it as yesterday, and exactly where I saw it. Still a masterpiece but oh the imitators it has spawned. And what would drag queens do without it? And amateur actors endlessly copying Joel Grey's sensational performance.

Well what a long ten days it has been. So many talks, that it becoming a bit 'eight shows a week two matinees'. One of these talks was in Lille on a bit of a flying visit. Hopefully I manage to spurt forth a few pearls of wisdom - hopefully these talks are a good balance of showbiz and teaching. If i was to do too many more, and I've done about twenty five this year, I might find myself on autopilot - not yet though. I've sort of wandered into talking about the nature of illusion and artifice - I find it interesting, but I hope the audiences don't come just expecting how I made such and such, or to hear about behind the scenes of big features or endless shots of armatures.

Much teaching around the country, and equally much frustration as well as students are indeed a strange colourful bunch with their own rules and ways of doing things. That may not be terribly useful in getting things done.

Tchaikovsky is coming along very very nicely and today we put up the initial lights on the set, and suddenly we all got very excited. There's a film on the way, and crikey how ironic that it might be finished before anyone sees Plume. But filming Tchaikovsky is going to be hectic. I shall only be a few days ahead of myself on the shooting with the homework. So much to do.

I so enjoyed the live screening of Frankenstein and got excited about the joys of live theatre and wanting to be part of it. There are so many plays and things combining animation and stage work. A new ballet apparently has some magnificent animation in it. When these producers are putting these shows together, and need animation, where do they go, as they certainly don't come here - I wish they did. Betty Blue Eyes is just opening and that features an animatronic pig and mis expected of her. Apparently she is cute and cuddly but really only moves her head, and they had to go to Australia to get her created. Very frustrating as we could have given them a pig that walked, ran and danced across the stage.
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Re: MARCH 2011

Postby Barry » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:58 pm

March 28th 2011

Whoah, that week ran away with me, but today has been our first day's shoot on Tchaikovsky. How ironic it would be if we finished this film before Plume was finally finished. Certainly the process of the two films is very very different.
The shoot went surprisingly well today - after a week of getting the lighting rigged (and me getting rather giddy as the first lights splashed across the set), and it is looking truly beautiful, elegant and slightly surreal, but just right. Between Justin, Barbara, and Joe, it's is certainly going to look amazing. And then the puppet arrived late last week, and has so much presence. He has great dignity, and it will be hard for me to do anything too skittish or ridiculous with him. He has real bearing and majesty, and of course I am terrified. He managed a decent walk today but towards the end of the long and complicated shot (walking through a door is never easy) he started to get a little twisted and I cut it a few frames shy. He needs a cane but oh darn that's hard to animate and to hold. Dots on the floor are keeping that in position. The technology is taking a while to settle in, and it was never going to be ideal shouting in my house, my quirky wobbly floorboard house, but that is what this beast is. A small budget film, and I am tryng to conceal the budgetary limitations and produce something extravagant. Trying. It's good to be shooting again. being in my house, it still does not feel like a job. We all have to accept this is not ideal and jsut get on with it, and if we can maintain today's standard we should be ok. It was a decent walk through the door, now I have to get his character - make him dignified which will make his breakdown's and flights of fancy more interesting.

Squeezed in with all this has been plenty of teaching (but no sign of any pay......help, I mean seriously, help!), and vague preparations for High Society. I nearly lost it with one individual at our production meeting who was not playing ball at all. we are all under pressure, but hey let's try to accomodate each other in the name of the show....this person was just being obstinate for the sake of it, and unpleasant with it.
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