AUGUST 2011

AUGUST 2011

Postby Barry » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:07 pm

AUGUST 5th 2011

The bags under my eyes should be enough to tell the story of this week. A good weekend at home in the sunshine but then at quite short notice I headed off to Budapest to do a workshop. I confess my geography is not what it could be and I looked on the map initially near Turkey - well that's better than a friend who wished me a good trip to India. I was met by the lovely Szandra at the airport bearing a sign saying Dr Purves - yes I like that. We went straight into a meal with the 16 or so students and staff, and I was nto quite sure what I eat but it was delicious. Budapest was only glimpsed out of the window as the university (out of term of course) was someway out of the city. I had two full days, very full days, and this included a talk about the nature of animation, a screening of most of my work, workshops, and a screening of the students very impressive work. Watch out for a film called 'In the Country' . Rather amazing actually. I wish I had it in my power to give such courses more time, and certainly more equipment, much more equipment. Some of the students were experienced stop motion animators, others came from other arts backgrounds, but were all very enthusiastic and chatty, and some did some fantastic controlled work. Others couldn't slow the movement down or let it read. I showed all my films, with me to one side with my head buried in my hands, as I fear I just cannot reach the standard I attain to. This may be due to a limit of my skill, or it may be down to budgets/schedules or a combination of both, but the result is that everything is rougher than I would like. Still the films still seem to work. I screened an episode of Rupert Bear, and I had totally forgotten doing that episode, and I have to say it did not make sense at all. At it's heart was a nice idea about contrasts that i had come up with, but by the time it had been through various others, and committees and had an educational slant put it in and made more 'toyetic' it really did not work. Some episodes are very tight and clean and have a great compact story. Others show the confusion at the heart of the whole production. And I fear too that the combination of stop motion and CG, for all its skill, it still an uncomfortable combination. They simply look too different. Of the other films Next still wins huge fans, and the glimpse of Plume seems to disturb everyone - fantastic.

Bubbling away whilst I was in Hungary were numerous chores to do with trips to London, to Moscow and visas and all that. complciated paperwork that needs time. It is certainly going to be a frantic two weeks ahead. A lot of taxis and airports and train stations.

I did manage a few hours in one of Budapests oldest baths. A huge domed room with a pool in the centre. Chinks of coloured glass in the dome let shafts of light filter down. Beyond the supporting pillars lay gents in various stages of relaxation, chatting or reading papers, or being massaged. A very friendly atmosphere, and the flesh coloured loincloths rendered everyone as if pixellated in a censored movie. But what stunning atmospheric architecture, and sounds of water and muted chatter. Loved it, and I felt an urge to stage a play there, with the audience sat in the central pool whilst something like Duchess of Malfi happened among the pillars and glimsped corridors.

Just back and off early to London to introduce three movies at Somerset house tomorrow, and to sort out this blessed Russian Visa - a feat worthy of a military expedition.
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Re: AUGUST 2011

Postby Barry » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:11 pm

August 9th 2011

A little distracted by the mindless horrifying riots that are going on in manchester. What the hell is happening out there?
Yes I had a fantastic evening at Somerset House and in that cocoon I was unaware of the riots in London. But oh yes it was a great night. Somerset House is a beautiful house and the audience was piling in getting ready for their marathon session of Tremors, Gremlins and Troll Hunter, whilst Tony Dalton, Neil Marshall and I showed various monster clips and tried to talk about what made a monster, and what made Ray Harryhausen's films/animation so good. Needless to say we talked and talked and our time went so quickly. We must do a longer event. A great meal in the restaraunt and then back to a fabulous hotel, and then back to the reality of Virgin trains on a sunday.

Masses to do organising the trip to Moscow and the next trip to London. I wish there had not been this break with tchaikovsky as I've lost a bit of momentum on it and am, out of necessity, thinking what happens next. Not sure there, but I will be glad to throw myself into the last stages of Tchaikovsky and to complete the film.

The 2003 Kong is on tv at the moment. An amazing achievement really.
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Re: AUGUST 2011

Postby Barry » Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:32 pm

Saturday 13th August 2011

Forgive me if I drop a few rather heavy names, but it has been that sort of week. I have been home so little this month, and I am weary and think I have strained my back from pulling a suitace half way round Europe/London.

Anyway three days in London, juggling various events. We managed to finish the picture of tchaikovsky and it looks very rich. It certainly did on the monitors we were working on. It looks pants on my TV...every DVD does for some reason. I can't wait to put the sound effects on the film now - though I am a little apprehensive about setting off travelling again and being away for a whole week; for somethign that really won't take that long. It will make a huge difference to the film. And then the film will be finished - and what will it be? I'm not sure. It is just thirteen minutes long and that is little time to say much about a complex character, let alone with one puppet and a low budget, but something is communicated, and it's emotional, and the character finds some release from a torment. And it's beautiful. But I have now been lugging the heavy hard drive and the puppet around London. In the last two weeks Tchaikovsky has been to London, to Budapest, and down to London, and then Monday, some sort of home coming.

But I was also in London to be part of the Empire magzine Big Screen event at the O2. Happily a very smart car and driver ferried me back and forth from that extraordinary wastleland. Just what is that place. It is amazing certainly, but do people really go to those stunnign cinemas - it is in the middle of nowhere. I met up with Tony in the green room which was full of hustle and bustle and very actors flitting in and out. I managed a quick chat to Mark Gatiss and tried not to make a fool of myself. Oh how I'd like to work with him. He was whisked away and introduced clips from the new Sherlock. Anthony Daniels was introducing the Blu ray Star Wars. Harrison Ford had been there the night before. All manner of people wer flitting about, and lots of minor people trying to look important. I think one of those was me. And so we did our talk about Ray Harryhausen. We were joined by mark Waring fresh from the set of Frankenweenie, and by the truly beautiful Caroline Munro, fresh from, well just fresh and radiant. I loved being with her and chatting about some favourite films and people, and much more. Tony had brought the centaur and the miniature Caroline from the Sinbad movie. rather bizarrely we weren't able to show clips, but that did give us a chance to chat to the audience more. In this particular company I felt something of a fraud, as my short films are pretty insignifcant really, and how uncomfortable I feel not having a big feature on my CV. But I was there with ray's blessing and that counts for a lot. We did chat, and then Caroline and her daughter and I were a little abandoned. there was a signing but I felt awkward for Tony and Caroline as it had not been advertised very well. The main area was certainly spread out, and they sat hidden amongt memorablia stalls somewhat overshadowed by some stunning Bond cars, Alien costumes and so much more. I did go and watch a presentation with some of the Harry Potter animals and sat there grinning hopelessly as the aniamls did their tricks - except for Hedwig who was finding things a bit hot, and kept his mouth open, making the delivery of the letter a little hard. A bit earlier I had asked where these anmals were and was directed through a door, straight onto the animal stage, seconds before they started. But I got a great close up rendezous with the animals.

And that was Day One, and i had supper with a good friend, who used to be an escort. Something else to addle the brain.

Day two began with breakfast with Ray H and Tony. I confess to being a little apprehensive as to how frail Ray might be but I'm happy to say he was in fine form, and very sharp and quick witted, and we roared with laughter. I am very privileged to have spent a good few evenings with him, interviewing him on stage, here and in the States, but even more privileged to have his friendship, and his respect for my work.That rather takes my breath away. I still feel sick that I did not make it to his birthday last year, but I really would have felt out of place in that company.

So good to see Ray and anecdotes came pouring out of both of us - both having a love for myths and movies, and stop motion. With Tony we bundled Medusa into the car, along with a Jason Skeleton lying snugly in a little coffin. Medusa is too big to be wrapped up and people were pointing in the car as we stopped at traffic lights. Everywhere we went with her at the 02 today, she caused much admiration. I can allow Tchaikovsky to be happily upstaged by this grande dame. We did another talk, but no Caroline today as she was off to a Doctor who convention in Yeovil. Some good questions, and today we did have clips. A lot of activity at eh 02 and i wanted to catch many of the presentations, but the need to get home was overwhelming me, and the smart car drove me back to Euston, and then the reality hit with a vengeance. A few hours later I was emptying the bins, doing the washing, paying the bills (almost), feeling a little odd that I had had breakfast with ray Harryhausen, been on stage at the 02, and was now back home.

Welcome to the wierd and colourful life of Doctor Purves.
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Re: AUGUST 2011

Postby Barry » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:39 pm

August 26th 2011

Well this has been a truly epic week and a half. No sooner than I was back from the 02 event than I was off again to moscow. What a month. What a journey really - the whole journey of Tchaikovsky began when I was five, and listening to my sister's blue EP of four scenes from Swan Lake, narrated by Margot Fonteyn. I was hooked, and loved the music at once, and I still do. And that finishes for the moment as I sit clutching a DVD of the film. Well almost finished, as we are just doing some tweaking of colours having had time to reflect on it all. I'm not sure what will happen to the film as it has not got a distributor just yet, but there is good reaction so far.

It has turned out to be a more intense film than I thought or hoped. The other seven films in the series are much brighter, more spectacular; their CG cutouts allowign for infinite changes in scenery and numerous characters. but perhaps my solitary figure alone in one set is its strength. I feel we have again taken a puppet where a puppet has not really been before, and thanks to some melancholy narration, the film has become a real reflection of life and death. It almost parallels Hamlet. The narration has come about not quite by accident but almost. I was not keen to have a documentary narration full of dates and facts, and only agreed to a narration if it could come directly from tchaikovsky's letters, and Irina has chosen some superb extracts, and then I read them. Normally I would laugh hearing my voice trying to be serious, but in this instance, this cracked, deep unpredictable voice is just right. There's one section so full of restrained dignified pain that it is pretty distressing. I can't really control my voice and I could hear it changing during the six hours that we worked on the dialogue. Going back to match earlier takes did not work as I sound so different but actually that's no problem. There's a great texture to my voice that seems appropriate for this puppet. I also did the voice for the film of Bach.

It was good adding the sound effects to the film and the puppet suddenly lives even more. As always we can be in danger of being too literal with the sound but there are some good abstract sounds, and the way Ivan treated the swan Lake music has made it very internal. Yes the whole film is an intense internal monologue.

Working in Moscow is very different. Personally I like to be very precise and know what time everything is happening, and just get there, do it, and go away again. But his was pleasantly very socialable and rather dictated by mobile phones. Doesn't matter as it all got done. I also managed to do a big show in a gallery that I was in last November, and two big TV spots, where we took the puppet of Tchaikovsky back to the Conservatory. i only had a few hours to be a tourist, and of course I ended up in Red Square marvelling in bewilderment at St Basils. I went inside and was even more confused. I had expected some sort of open area for the congregation but it was full of ornately decorated passageways leading to numerous chambers. There did not seem to be much room for any congregation at all...maybe this was all about show and not participation. I wanted to take a boat down the river, which would have seen the Kremlin walls on one side, and a monstrously huge roller coaster on the other. I wanted too, to get to a banya, but did not manage. I certainly saw the suburbs of Moscow and passed those monumental statues designed to intimidate.

I can't say I picked up any language, nor made sense of any of the words. I got to recognise much of the writing, but speaking it was beyond me.

Eight days in Moscow, especially after the month I have just had, saw me get a bit tetchy and anxious towards the end and I was ready to get home. I was nervous about the journey, well exhausted from lugging the suitcase through another airport, but I got home ok. Too many bills and hassling mails awaited me. Never form a company to recieve money from another country as royalties for a DVD...this company has been an absolute bane and has cost me no small fortune. I certainly have not earnt a penny from my DVDs as a result. Comapny returns, corporation tax, company accounts - it just does not end.

I'd promised an anmation enthusiast, tom, that he could have a go with the Tchaikovsky puppet when he was done, and so he did as soon as I got back. It was an odd feeling to watch someone else handling him, and of course I got possessive, but tom did some good work. Even better work would come with practice, but I could see the cogs in his head grinding as he began to realise that it was not just a question of moving it.

Apart from catching up with so much, I have this week been trying to get a car. As always, it's not been that straightforward, and I am caught between buying a new no frills car that comes with the warranty and all that, or getting an older car that has a few more gadgets and style about it, but may need more looking after and maintenance. I fear in this instance, and much against character, I will go for practicality over style.

And what terrible weather. Bank holiday, and I feel I might just sleep all the way through it. What a stressful few months this has been, but I have got a darn good film out of it. I will have to let Tchaikovsky go, as joyous company as he may be, he's also been very heavy. Maybe something bright and silly could be next. With that in mind I did audition for a live action puppet series that could be shot in Manchester. Not exactly out of my comfort zone, but a different way of thinking. I'd love to do it.

But first, sleep. And no suitcases.
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