Diary 2013

Re: 2013

Postby Barry » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:06 am

June 23rd 2013

Today has to surely be the wettest Midsummer on record. Any thoughts of leaping around on my newly decked turret under the most spectacular full moon in ages, apparently, have been washed away.
But what a week. I've just started the last camera script for Toby - and then what? There are lots of phone calls going on in the studio as everyone else tries to see what else is lurking. Things are lurking but mainly overseas. We're certainly going out with some colourful episodes, such as a manic limbo episode, and the inevitable pirate one.
To add to this end of term feeling there was the wrap party for Postman Party. The Pat theme played live a la Beatles apparently was astonishing. I say apparently as, yes, you know me, my phobia of parties was well to the fore this week. My head really is elsewhere. Dear Doctor, why do I not enjoy parties? My fault entirely, but I simply don't have that gene. And then there was the launch of the exhibition of 'Creating the Illusion' , about animation in the northwest. Small but precious with a few iconic puppets. It was great to see Brian, especially in the gloriously Victorian setting of the Station House, and thank you Brian for the enormous compliment you paid me, as indeed a couple of new books have been most generous this week. All these brownie points are most agreeable....I do wish they would sometimes convert into phone calls of offers of interesting projects.
Almost there with the book, almost. The jigsaw puzzle of the photos is taking up much of my time, especially the different formats and resolutions. But we have some truly amazing stills in this edition.
Darn I must come back and write about last weekend, about Jonathan's lively concert with the Halle, and the wonderful afternoon at the BFI and the 50th Anniversary screening of Jason and the Argonauts. Watch this space. Off now to go and watch a lot of people audition for Grease......
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: 2013

Postby Barry » Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:18 pm

Saturday 29th June

Well any interesting week......we lost our internet at work yesterday and all of us in the production office were on edge and tense. And on Thursday I was without my mobile for the whole day as the screen was replaced. And I was agitated. Of course, the millions of phone calls I thought I would have missed did not happen. How did we get so dependent on such things - terrifying, and not a good thing to witness.

The end of term feeling on the set continues, and have to keep everyone going in this last stint. We have ten weeks left, and who knows what can happen, but I keep seeing various members of the crew lurking in corners on the phone, seeing what's around. I maybe one of them. After the glut of stop motion features last year, this year is barren. Can't grumble though as nearly two years directing a big, fun series is one hell of a stint these days. and I have a wonderful roof garden to show for it.

Well I could soon have a lot of time on my hands. Not only if the series finishes but I have made the reluctant but necessary decision to leave the Garrick. It has been an almost daily part of my life for the last twelve years, and beyond, and I have so enjoyed directing plays there, and really some of my best work in any media has been there.....Quartet and Glorious I think, but the time has come to at least have a sabbatical. The Garrick is an efficient, rather amazing venue, testament to a lot of people giving so much, but it is resolutely stuck in a box, (thanks to commercial needs, audience, tradition and other more human factors) and I have never, ever been one to be in a box. I have thought outside said box since I was knee high to a grass hopper. My efforts to stimulate and excite and challenge and be innovative are not what the Garrick are about. It could be. And probably needs to be, and maybe with the new artistic director it will limp in that direction, and I will regret leaving. But if I can't contribute there's no reason for me to be there. I am not going to reproduce safe copies of other productions, nor am I going to be belittled. There are some bright sparks still there who have yet to be extinguished.......and as the theatre motto suggests, I hope the flame will still burn in their hands....as it were. I'm going crazy with metaphors here. I shall miss the place, and miss the rehearsals, the community, but I was frustrated. I'd written out the application form for the Artistic Director, and it is certainly a job that I could have done and transformed that place into something vibrant, friendly and culturally exciting - a place where people would like to be, which could equate to being profitable. This would have meant uncomfortably challenging life long habits, and 'that's the way it has always been' . Noses would have been put out of joint, as they will anyway, but there we go. But I suspect I would not even have been given a chance to put my myriad of ideas forward. I seriously thought of giving up my animation life, as the theatre would have been a full time job. I am going to do Hitchcock blonde in the studio, but where now to get my fix of directing theatre. On many occasions The Garrick has provided the artistic satisfaction that sometimes animation has not. The Garrick has the potential to be one truly amazing place, and so many people put so much effort and time and talent into it. It is an extraordinary building, with enviable facilities, full of some hard working talented people, and oh those Monday night audiences, but it is not what it could be. Yet.

So suddenly, with the series winding down, the book almost finished and the Garrick gone, my head is a huge echoing cavern. And as I am incapable of being able to sit and relax, I'm certainly ready to get fired up, as only Dr P knows how. Bring it on.

I know, I'll do a production of Twelfth Night on my new roof terrace, under the stars. Oh hang on.......
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: 2013

Postby Barry » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:35 pm

JULY 6th 2013

I much prefer it when the studios are so hectic that we don't have time to breathe. It has not been like that this week. The number of weeks left is in single figures, and whilst the animators are still working so hard, the production team have found big gaps in our time. And having the internet down for three days made this worse, and a heat wave increased our lethargy. We've not been idle but the pressure is somewhat different. Maybe a lifebelt will be thrown soon.

I have missed any involvement with the Garrick this week, and I am so sad to have gone, but oh crikey the space in my head. I do need something to fill that.

And so it was my birthday on Wednesday, and I was fretting the night before. The usual times of 'have I done all I good' and all that came sweeping over me, but rather bizarrely there has been a surge of comments about Next this week, and some amazingly flattering ones. On top of this is the news that finally the DVD of our films is now available in the UK, through Amazon or through the British Animation Awards site. I've not been involved with this, but there it is. I would have loved to have added Plume and Tchaikovsky if I had known this was happening. Anyway, there seems to be quite a lot of interest in the disc.

I went to the repeat screenings of The Audience and Twelfth Night and they were joyous, though one had bad sound and the other started earlier than the advertised time. Not great.

And the sun - oh what joy.
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: 2013

Postby Barry » Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:06 pm

July 14th 2013

Well performing Twelfth Night up on the roof garden is not a bad way to spend a gloriously sunny evening, even if it is a little strange. But there we were, twelve us - the men dressed as women, and the women dressed as men and then, well you know what happens in the play. I certainly know this play so well, but I still get concerned over a few plot points - why does Maria not speak up for herself after the letter has been exposed? Why do Olivia and Sebastian not get to vocalise any resolution to their story. Sebastian is certainly willing to go with things, when all the time the sea captian is making unresolved pleas of his affection. But it's Fabian that troubles me - who the hell is he? And where does he come from? He marches into the big scene of the play, takes control of it, but where's he been all this time? Still we had fun, and the play survived, egged on by the setting sun and the rising moon (that scene in taming of the Shrew would have been confusing). I was Olivia, looking like a Stepford wife that had been rejected. We had all the props and everyone was gloriously in costume. A few pots of trailing ivies doubled nicely for the box hedges. It had been quite an effort to pull all this together, and various people dropped out along the way, but there we were lighting fireworks as the last 'wind and the rain' echoed into the night. Our gathering segued into a rather more alcoholic affair with a party downstairs, and this morning there were a few bodies draped dribbling over the sofas, a token cross gartered yellow stocking betraying the activities of the night before. But there we are we did it.

Works saw th animators sweating away in the studio - the pressure is still on them to keep coming up with great work and a lot of it. I feel guilty as the pressure in the production office is not quite as intense as it has been for the last few months. I'm nearly there with the book, but have the pressure there of the pictures to organise and all the permission forms - all 150 of them.

But once again, oh this lovely weather.
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: 2013

Postby Barry » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:32 pm

July 19th 2013

There was a ripple of controversy this week with the director of the RSC not being aware that this year was the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth. To be fair, I guess it's not that significant an anniversary, and let's face it we should celebrate him every day (as we did on my roof last Saturday with our production of Twelfth Night), and what are anniversaries anyway. It did cause me to think that this is my 35th year of animating. I'm no sure it was a career that I ever thought I would pursue, but it does make sense. To be honest, the days when I have not enjoyed these larks can be counted on one hand, and those days were probably me not seeing eye to eye with someone over some artistic interpretation. It's hard to think of this as a job really, when I still wake up and get excited that we are going to create something. This week on the series there have been a couple of shots where we have all gone 'yes, that's the reason'. OK I instigated them but the shots were superbly realised by the crew. I'm itching now to cut those episodes together and put sound and music together. It's so good that I still get excited about the work. On previous jobs I have met people who have no interest in animation and see it as a chore......and it hurts to see them rise up the ladder, but hell how can they not enjoy what we do, and want to be the most creative we can. It is a cliche, but it is a drug. I'm somewhat unlikely to have another 35 years of doing this, but darn, I hope I have a good few yet. A couple of interviews this week have caused me to think about all this, and you know what, I would perhaps have liked more projects, bigger projects, projects in the different arts, but I have enjoyed these thirty five years - which is where we came in. Remember that? Blame a glass of cold cider on the roof top as I watched the setting sun for this burst of unfettered enthusiasm.
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: 2013

Postby Barry » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:57 pm

28th July 2013
I've been rather at full speed all week, on the series, and in the last stages of getting the book together. So many permission forms to send out and so much juggling with photos, but it has been a satisfying week, and a hot one. The animators were melting in the studio - need to keep them going for the last few weeks. It's all to easy for us to flag. a grand night on a murder mystery spy train perked a few of us up. We'd all made an effort and the train and food was splendid, as was chuffing through the sunny countryside. I got a bit left behind with the murder, and was distracted by the champagne. But a great night.
Yes everyone is tired but there's still a good sense of working together.
I edited one very funny episode, and struggled with another one, but I think this latter looked due to lack of any sound effects.
Crikey the heavens opened tonight.
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: 2013

Postby Barry » Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:21 pm

August 9th 2013

Two weeks since I last wrote and the weeks left on the series can almost be counted on one hand. I think we had a slump a few weeks back, but we all seem quite buoyant now. There are suggestions of things, exciting things, lurking, and I think we all know there will be a break, but hell, in this business to have worked straight through for 90 weeks is quite an achievement. I think we are all sad the series is not immediately going into another one, but who knows. We are certainly producing colourful and epic footage. The first few episodes were rather tame, but I have tried to incorporate as much circus stuff as I can, and the colours and set are lovely. And some of the stunts we have done are pretty impressive, especially for a tightly scheduled tv series. I had two visitors, a father and son, who had seen the animation exhibition in Manchester and had tracked me down. They came round yesterday and were quite giddy with it all - as that's great to see. I still love this job.

The book is going through the fine details of checking captions and getting the best photos we can, but I sent it off ten days ago. My third book, in effect - how did that happen. I know I have two books at least in me. I have an answer now for people who criticise my books. I simply say that they can write about that in their book. It rather shuts them up. It's not easy to have the discipline to write a book, and it's all the stuff that does not make it in, the choices that are made that most people don't see. I think I am pleased with this one. I'm quite lucid and make some hopefully pertinent points that should get people thinking. It's not often Hamlet and Wagner has a whole page to themselves in an animation book.

Yes buzzing a bit this weekend, and this could be a very interesting, if hectic week ahead.

Oh and I seem to have been given another lifetime achievement award.........all a bit secretive but rather thrilling. More anon.
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: 2013

Postby Barry » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:49 am

AUGUST 20th 2013

Just back from a few revitalising days in Ireland, ready for the last few weeks of the series. It was pretty crazy last week with a recording for some pick up lines (crikey those actors just manage to get right there again even after a few months away from the characters), and dub of some excellent episodes, directing in the studio a bit, and then a long day down south visiting another studio. I was certainly ready for many swims in the crystal clear, but cold, waters off Cork. I was slightly ready to go pop - my head just too full. But all is good, and exciting, even though I suspect that there will be some serious juggling ahead.
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: 2013

Postby Barry » Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:18 pm

24th August 2013

An easier week at work, but I got home last night and at 9.00 sank into an involuntary slumber for over twelve hours. The guilt this morning, but my brain is rather addled with a lot going on. Technology has been getting the better of me this week. I've been trying to pull a showreel together for an event, and there are simply so many different formats which really does not make life any easier. Many of my films are relics from previous formats long since extinct and I can't get their initial quality back. Everything now is a copy of a copy or a copy. And festivals now want everything digitally - I have been trying to transfer the films to a format that can send them over the net to south of the Equator and am ready to punch someone's lights out. So frustrating. You just get used to not sending actual film out, by submitting everything on DVD, and now it is totally digital. I simply don't have the facilities to keep up. I went to buy an ipad today and a very helpful but overenthusiastic lady assistant just succeeded in totally confusing by asking too many questions, in what seemed like latin. I came away empty handed and in need of a very strong cup of tea, fully understanding the meaning of the word Luddite. All made the more frustrating by watching young children tapping away on the various tablets as if this was their first language, and it probably is.

Interesting things going on...more next week.
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: 2013

Postby Barry » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:39 pm

6th September 2013

Well we are nearly there. This time in two weeks we will be emptying the studio and feeling very odd indeed, and indeed there is a very odd feeling in the studio today. We are all aware that we have done something pretty remarkable over the last twenty months. Eight hours of quality television is an achievement by any standard. But we are all still uneasy about what happens next - lots of balls in the air, to use an appropriate juggling metaphor, but we don't know what will be thrown our way. Toby is being transmitted every day now, and it's interesting to view the early episodes - we have grown, and I have certainly pushed the visuals and the sound effects. Some of the episodes coming out at the moment are truly epic, and this week we completed the shot of the series - from an inevitable Pirate episode, but there's a mighty last ten seconds. Very proud of that last sequence - every department raised the bar.
And it has taken me twenty three months of intention to get to see the Blackpool Tower Circus. I made it there last weekend, and was mightily impressed, especially for the slickness of setting up the complex rigging and safety nets and floor coverings, but also for the acts, but mostly for the fact that they do it three times a day some days and it still looked fresh and spontaneous. And yes that rings floods at the end of each performance in a matter of seconds, and then is gone. I have so long wanted to see that. In this instance the actual water act finale was a bit half hearted - basically two girls pole dancing in little islands and a girl doing contortions in a last cup with fountains all around her - but she was made hard to see by too much fancy lighting. And guess what, the clowns were funny, very funny. I had a good chat to them in the interval.
I've been judging a television award and have watched hours of programmes over the last few weeks - some great drama, and some wonderful children's drama, but oh the comedies I have watched have gone against all trade descriptions. Dire beyond words.
Lots of talks for me to do over the next few weeks - my loins are girded.
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

September 15th 2013

Postby Barry » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:17 am

Well that was a week and a half. Though the end of Toby is in sight (next Friday), the pace hasn't let up actually. A lot of rushing round making sure we have everything covered before the cameras stop rolling (if digital cameras can stop rolling?). We did a dub of three episodes, one of which is probably the most colourful and spectacular so far. Thor entering the circus ring in a pirate ship surrounded by purple mist is a joy to behold. I think what we hav done in these twenty two months is quite an achievement, and yes more would be welcome. DVD's are on their way, and the show is now on every morning.

The big event of the week for me was going down to London for Ray Harryhausen's memorial service. It was held at the St Paul's Church in Covent Garden. Inigo jones designed a space of simple elegance and is the church where Eliza meets Professor Higgins, and My Fair Lady was Ray's favourite show, and On the Street where You Live was played during the service, along with some Rachmaninov, Max Steiner's King Kong, some Miklos Rozsa, and the Laurel and Hardy theme tune. So many tributes and fruity anecdotes and so much love. I was thrilled to be there. A reception at the London Film museum, where we were greeted by a ten foot Medusa, and then in the evening a smaller meal at Joe Allen's. It was one of the few social occasions I did not want to end. I was certainly chatting to everyone as much as possible but still not manage to get round to everyone. Some old friends, new friends, and some rather impressive names from our industry. I was a bit giddy by the end of the evening, and went back to the hotel feeling happily melancholy. Losing Ray is the end of a hugely significant era, and if his films were music they would have been the soundtrack to my, and to so so many others, life. I can remember where I was and who with when those characters first burnt themselves into my head. And here I am doing what I enjoyed all that time ago. Thank you Ray, and thanks for welcoming me to be part of your very extended family. I came back to Manchester full of enthusiasm and creativity and a joy of what I do. And seeing the brilliant production of Cabaret on Saturday only confirmed that.
Oh and I forget to mention the trip up to Penrith for the Animated Eden festival. Those who missed it missed a treat. The few people that were there had the same passion that was celebrated at Ray's service. There is something unique about animation, something very special.
And I'm glad to be part of it.
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: 2013

Postby Barry » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:33 pm

September 21st 2013
And so after 425 shooting days, we have wrapped on Toby's Travelling Circus, and it has certainly been an adventure. No real clashes of egos, no dramas, some pressure, and some cracking episodes. Whatever, we have made some wonderfully bizarre characters come to life, and in spite of the relentless schedule we have managed some pretty impressive circus stunts, particularly impressive for being stop motion. I'm sure there will be a second series but where we will be by then I don't know. It is sad to see the circus move out of town/the studio but I have a few weeks doing post on the last six episodes. I have enjoyed this experience enormously - there have not been many animation experiences I have not actually enjoyed. Many have frustrated me, and some have been disappointing, but I shall look back on these two years with a smile. Crikey 52 ten minute episodes is quite something. It will be sad to see ur team disperse. We'll all see each other around, but the little tight unit has gone now. An various parties, drinks dos and such made sure everyone wasn't going with a bang.
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: 2013

Postby Barry » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:16 pm

28th September 2013

So a week of taking a breath after the aftermath of Toby, and actually being enormously busy editing the last few episodes, I ended up in Bournemouth University being presented with a life time achievement award. I'm rather fond of Bournemouth to begin with, and now I like the place even more. They had had a festival with lots of big name industry professionals giving classes and such, and last night there was an awards evening, with the last award being mine. My good chum and producer Glenn Holberton read a tribute - if I ever get down I should just recall his amazingly kind words. And so I was presented with the award, and the packed audience rose to their feet. I was a little choked. I don't really know what I have achieved, but I'm still here, and i'm not jaded. I still love what I do, and still want to share the passion. Who is to say what the merit of my small films are, and they do look small next to the slick juggernauts such as Frankenweenie and Paranorman - but give me a chance to work on those and we'd see. However, the audience last night seemed to love the work, and at the do afterwards, there was much, much kindness. I'm just amazed anyone sees the work and is keeping score, as my films are only really seen early in the morning or at festivals. But I'll happily accept the award for all the other stuff I have done with animation. I think that is my third such award. There's an irony that my last films and series have gone largely unawarded or unacknowledged but I seem to be sporadically picking up these rather touching awards. Awards are an odd thing. It's tempting to be a bi cool about them until someone else gets one. I think the problem is that there really are so many awards now that perhaps they have lost some worth. Also, it's not always affordable or practical to enter one's work, but to have this personal award is something special. Thank you. And thank you to those who have produced the films and made the puppets, and filmed the films, and edited.....and so forth. Like an iceberg, I'm above the water but much is going on under the water.
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: Diary 2013

Postby Barry » Sun Oct 06, 2013 12:54 pm

Sunday 6th October 2013
And now the studio is empty save for all the props and sets wrapped in bubble-wrap all pushed together in a corner. Already our spaces are being taken over by other teams. We are done and dusted, though I still have some post to do. A few things lurking but I'm still not quite sure how I fit in yet. And so my mind is winding down, and I don't like that - that feeling otherwise unknown to me, of boredom, is creeping up on me. Stay away please. It's turn to time my attention to the short films that got put aside -new ones are fighting to get born. But how the hell to get them made. And a feature - oh that would be good.
I fear October will be a very dull month and very unstimulating. November is a bit crazy however.
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

Re: Diary 2013

Postby Barry » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:35 pm

Saturday 12th October

Yes the sound of a whistling wind and tumbleweed rolling across the studio - very sad. Still one of our animators has commandeered a corner and is making his own rather impressive film, grabbing favours here and there, but that's how short films are made these days. Gone are the practical budgets of the 90s.
I have been onlining and dubbing a few more episodes of Toby. Just three to go. We have certainly grown over the series. One we did this week was a huge epic, certainly giving the audience value for money. darn I shall miss this intense process. Lots of bitty things over the next few weeks and a rather interesting and exciting trip to a studio in London this week.
And on the radio today was a documentary about Cosgrove Hall -try to listen in the next few days if you can...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03ccz0r
User avatar
Barry
 
Posts: 2126
Joined: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:48 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Diary 2103



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron