Saturday, 29 December 2012

Festivals for the New Year

It's London Short Film Festival in a few days, and Hum is showing twice! We're screening as part of the general mixture of short films and whatnot on Thursday 10th January 2013, and then again as part of the Rich Picks programme. Rich Picks is very interesting, as this time around it is a selection of films about sleep paralysis. We sent off Hum, which is, er, partially about sleep paralysis, and thankfully we got in. I would have been quite sad if we hadn't, as the subject matter is so niche!

Also, whilst we are screening twice, we are actually screening two different versions of the film. In the main screening is the original version of Hum, but for the Rich Picks screening we entered a new edit. I would call it a directors' cut, but that suggests it is longer (as generally it tends to be with directors' cuts) - but in fact it is shorter, haha. It's a jerkier, more abstract edit which we wanted to have a go with, and we're quite pleased with how it turned out.

Anyway, Emily will be presenting the film at the Festival, so that's nice, and here are the details for the Rich Picks screening, which is also supported by the Wellcome Trust:

Hum is also showing at - for I think the third year in a row! - at Lightspielklub Short Film Festival's programme of British Shorts. The Festival takes place in Berlin in the New Year, and you can see more about it (including a very nice festival poster) if you click here.

Send me a postcard, drop me a line

It might seem like we've been letting the side down re blogging lately, but this is not true! If you go over to the Filmworks blog you will find many an entry by Emily and I.

Filmworks is now pretty much done and dusted - at least in terms of the regular meet-ups - and it's been quite an interesting experience. We've made quite a few new friends and contacts, learnt new techniques to help pitch our idea, and found reassurance that what we had been doing before had good points too. More than anything though, it's forced us to properly get our teeth into our fourth short film; one that has been in the back of our minds for ... oooh about two years. It's hard to prioritise a personal project when there are bills to be paid, but having 15 eager faces waiting to hear your synopsis each week has helped push Archy into the foreground.

For the big pitch in Bristol a couple of weeks ago, we produced a postcard pack. Would you like to see it? Of course you would, so here are some dodgy photos which don't do it justice:

Monday, 12 November 2012

This Autumn seems to have been filled with workshops, and all of the Liverpudlian variety.

Back in September, I ran an animation workshop with a group of military veterans, at FACT. They were a larger group than I have worked with before, and it was more like back-to-back sessions, so a bit of a different timetable from usual. On the morning of the first session I helped the group to come up with their story idea, and after some healthy debate (!) they wrote a script imagining the statues of the city discussing art. The military veterans do a lot of art-based workshops, so this script was a natural extension I think of their meetings.

A couple of the group members are keen photographers, so the animation style and process was based around that, however I mixed that in with some drawn bits and bobs, including lip sync. The script features the voices of the vets, which we recorded on a little digital dictaphone. I showed some of the group how to edit the individual sound snippets together and cut it with the storyboard frames to create an animatic. From there we pieced in bits of stop motion and animated whatnot, and now we have a finished film!

Statues Taking Liberties will screen later this month at FACT, along with photography and poetry by the vets (I told you they were an artistic lot). In the meantime, here are some stills from the film, featuring John Lennon, Ken Dodd, Queen Victoria, Liverpool Resurgent and Bessie Braddock, in statue form:

Sunday, 4 November 2012

La cu-ca-ra-cha, la cu-ca-ra-cha!

It's exciting times as myself and Anne begin work on our next short film, when I say short I really mean  long as it will be closer to 15 minutes, a daunting prospect! For now I shall say it is going to be a film and a musical about an outspoken and troubled cockroach who goes by the name of Archy, inspired by the fabulous series of poems by Don Marquis, archy and mehitabel.

We are developing our film with the scheme Filmworks, and we are part of a lovely and inspiring group. You can read everyone's blogs here and find out about all the wonderful ideas that are formulating:

We are all at very different stages in our production but it's very exciting to see how things are developing...

Friday, 2 November 2012

And ain't it a beautiful day

Hum will be showing in Bournemouth at BUtiful Film Festival. It's on in a couple of weeks, so if you are around that way you should go and see our film! I command you.

BUtiful is only in its second yeah (I think), so if you fancy showing some support and liking their Facebook page, I am sure they would be happy. While you're at it, you can like us too, hahaha.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Tate Collective Project

Anne and myself have been busy bees recently what with workshops and such. We very much enjoyed working with the Tate Collective of 2012, a group of talented young artistes.
We used our animation and film knowledge to assist them in creating a short and fun experimental film for the Tate Liverpool.  There was plenty of ideas from one and all and some great animation had, from paper cut out butterflies on a skies of blue, to face painted body parts escaping gallery walls. Here's a couple of clips from the sessions:


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

See you gotta work it out

Emily and I have recently been accepted onto this new pilot scheme called FilmWorks. It's a development/mentoring programme for producers/directors who have made a start and got into festivals and whatnot, and are looking for the next step. So that's us to a tee! haha.

The programme has three divisions based in Sheffield, Nottingham and Bristol, with 15 participants at each hub; we're in Sheffield. It all kicked off at Encounters Short Film Festival in Bristol, with a live stream of events. Each session will take place at a different hub, with a different masterclass being streamed and beamed across the miles for everyone to see. Modern technology...

We met the other participants at the first session a couple of weeks ago, and have since attended the second. The programme runs until Christmas, and our plan is to use it to develop at least one of the many ideas lodged in our heads, with hopefully an animatic and a full creative package ready to show off by the end.

Along the way, both Emily and I are blogging about the experience - as indeed are all FilmWorks participants - so, in case you're interested, you can read more about my thoughts here, and Emily's thoughts here. And why wouldn't you be interested, when all of our thoughts are so interesting?

Monday, 1 October 2012

Dance, dance dance

Hooray for Raindance! We had our screening on Saturday and it was much fun. Some great films were seen by all. A particular favourite of mine was Joseph Pierce's latest film The Pub, you can watch a trailer for it here

Also I loved this vegetable number, dancing vegetables!! Florette, when broccoli meets aubergine. A lovely and funny animation by Gus Filgate & Paul Miller.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

It's a shame I can't remember his name

For almost a year, I've been running a once-a-month workshop with a community group in Liverpool, called Tenantspin in association with FACT. We've been making an animated film, based on a script they had written before contacting me. It's been such a fun experience, and I think everyone in the group is really excited about the film we've finally finished! It's just a small group of three participants, all retired, and the film is about a local character one of the participants remembered from the '50s around Anfield. The film is called What's His Name?

Each month we'd work on a new section of the film, starting with an introduction to short animations of different genres, then a storyboarding session, then a lot of lip sync and character boils, and picking out patterns and a colour palette. We also did some stop motion animation using plasticine, paper cut outs, clothes, and shoe polish! Like I said, it was a lot of fun!! On the shoe polish day, we got a bit of a funny look when a visitor popped into the room we were using at Breckfield Community Centre...

The film will be screening at a special event in October at FACT. In the meantime, here's some stills from the finished piece:

Monday, 24 September 2012

Rain pours on everyone

Hum at Raindance this weekend! Don't forget to check out the trailer, hope it whets your appetites...

Saturday, 22 September 2012

I'm only happy when it rains

So a few weeks ago I promised Hum news, and here is that news: Hum will be showing at a prestigious film festival in London this month, one we've never got into before. If you're wondering which, look for the subtle clue in this post...

That's right! Raindance Film Festival! Emily and I are both super excited, as we'd held off submitting the film to other London-based film festivals, with the hope it'd get into this one. Raindance require a London premiere, you see.

Hum is showing in Shorts Programme 6 on Saturday 29th, and you can book your tickets if you go to the website which is here. Emily's going to the screening, so say hello if you see her!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

He's a part-time punk

Our second film, Spin Spun Span, shall be getting a little outing, as it's screening at the Steampunk Festival at the Asylum. Check here for a link to more details. Hurrah! It's quite cool, as when we were first given the brief for Spin Spun Span, we were told "steampunk", so I'm glad to see we've fulfilled that!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

If you're digging the past, who knows what you'll find

Remember Hum, our new film? We feel like we've neglected it slightly, but only because we've been busy at other studios over these last few months. Anyway, guess what, I have some Hum news!

Hum is part of Digging Deep, which is a big creative project thingy that encompasses social media things, zines, illustration, pyjama parties, and will culminate in a play at Contact Theatre next Spring. It's all interactive, and if you want to take part, and thus become part of the play and the whole creative process (all engineered by playwright/poet Nikky Norton Shafau), then you should click here:

There's various fun, random challenges which relate to the themes around Digging Deep, and which will feed into the play, which is still being developed. You'll also earn rewards for taking part...oooh enigmatic creativity...

More Hum news soon, I promise...

Thursday, 19 July 2012

I see you ain't a playa, you ain't ballin, And I don't even care who the hell you call in..

This week we have mostly been crushing, sticking and painting on ping pong balls. Well actually we've finished that malark now and this is what we have to show for it. Not for day to day wear mind, but for those sporting occasions that require a little more finery. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Ping-pong, sit and think for a while

We've been commissioned by Ping England to make a couple of ping pong ball gowns. Ping England is a cool organisation who put ping pong tables up in cities around the UK - London, Bristol, Sheffield, etc. It's about community and sports and being healthy, which are all good things! Anyways, they are having a couple of special ping pong balls during July at Canary Wharf and Kings Cross in London, and there you will find our dresses on display. Here's some pictures of me working on the dresses (whilst watching Lord of the Rings):

Emily did a lot of the sewing, whilst I did a lot of the drawing. Each ping pong ball has been "hand finished" - either painted or drawn on, and then squashed. The balls were then added to the dress with a glue gun, which hurts a lot when you accidentally burn yourself - Emily will tell you! She had a massive blister on her wrist...

No pictures of the second dress yet, but I'll post them in a few days or so...

Monday, 25 June 2012

First thing she said was we're the German Girls

Yey, I'm pleased to say that our new short Hum will have its German premiere next month at Film Leben Festival. Hooray for Germans and their excellent taste in experimental animated films. We are planning on editing together a trailer for Hum sometime soon, and we'll pop that up here when we do. Before that though, we need to make a dress or two from ping pong balls... I'll explain later...

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Girl get busy

Well, time flies. In the last two months Emily and I have moved house; we're now both based in Manchester, which is bad for National Rail/Megabus' profits, but good for us. It is nice to be in the same neck of the woods, and indeed the same flat!

We've been busy beavering away on animated adventures too. We are separately working on some television series. I am animating on a CBBC one, and Emily is illustrating on a CBeebies one. We've also got a couple of commissioned film projects which are almost done, so we shall certainly be shouting about them soonish. Soonish = in a month or two I guess.

But anyways, right now we have a screening coming up! Our old Poo film will be showing at Manchester's Cornerhouse cinema later this month, on the 15th, and Emily and I shall be both be there to introduce our film. The programme is called Filmed Up and features North West filmmakers. We are first on, so if you come along (and it would be lovely if you did) make sure you get there on time! That goes for me too; I don't often get to places on time. Here is a link from which you can purchase tickets and find out more: this link here!

Right, dinner time now. Here's a picture of a beaver.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Listen to Iron Maiden baby with me

Sunday 1st of April is Palm Sunday, and it is also the day of the Teenage Market in Stockport. This is the first year for this event, and it's been set up and run by Tom Barratt who is a local college student. That is quite impressive organisational skills there, I did not thinking of doing such things when I was at college, but I think it's a really enterprising idea. Screen Stockport are also supporting the event, which is cool cos we like them already. (Our opinion being not at all influenced by the fact they awarded Spin Spun Span with a bunch of accolades last year, ahem...)

Anyways, I'm sure you can guess what I'm going to say next - Emily and I will be running a stall at the market. As ever we shall be selling our hodge podge of crafty-illustrationy-animationy bits and bobs. I think it will be both of us too, unless Emily is house hunting. Do come along and check out the rest of the market too - there's loads of other stalls selling arty things, clothing things, vintage things - plus workshops in photography, live music, all sorts! I think it looks like it'll be really good.

Emily and I will also be mentors (!) at the market. This means you can come up to us and ask us stuff about the crazy world of animation freelance, and we shall attempt to give non-babbly "advice".

Check out the website for details of when, where, and who: The Teenage Market.

In a related note, we've also stocked up our online shop, oh yes!

Monday, 12 March 2012

His hands are busy, working overtime

If you're in Birmingham, perhaps you might like to toddle along to Flatpack Film Festival. We screened there in their mobile cinema last year, and they've asked us to screen again - this time it's Spin Spun Span. Our film will be showing in a specially curated programme called A Life's Work, a collection of shorts about people who work with their hands. I think the films will be primarily documentaries, so it's quite cool to be part of a different sort of line up.

Flatpack Film Festival takes places from 14-18th March. Whoo!

Monday, 20 February 2012

It's rolled out of my hands, where it stays in second place

Emily and I went to the British Animation Award public choice screening at the BFI on Friday, and it was really good. A lot of films stood out, but my favourite (and I think Emily's) was Thursday by Matthias Hoegg.

Each shot was really well composed with some lovely transitions, and even though the style was very flat and graphic, and the performance of the characters was great, especially the blackbirds. We also saw All Consuming Love (Man in a Cat), which I first heard about ages ago when I saw linetests on youtube. The film was really great, very original and funny. You can see Thursday here, and All Consuming Love's trailer here.

Whilst we were at the BFI (the storyboarding workshop went well by the way), Animated Exeter was taking place, and guess what - we won second place in the Screen Out Loud category! Coming in first was...All Consuming Love (Man in a Cat)! I am happy to come in second to a good film that I like, so that is all okay. A good weekend!

Let's talk about movies

Don't forget Billy and I will be at Cornerhouse tomorrow to talk about the making of Hum. The discussion will focus in particular on the production side, and how to work with funders. There may also be babble.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

We can work it out

Emily and I will be conducting a storyboarding workshop at this year's BFI Future Film Festival, much as we did last year, but with an additional 365 days worth of widsom multiplied by 2 (because there are 2 of us you see). Check the BFI Future Film Festival 2012 website for more details, and perhaps we shall see you on the 18th!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

You know how to get along humming

We have finished our third film! It's called Hum, and it's an abstract animation about sleep paralysis.

We developed the idea for the story after meeting with Nikky Norton, a playwright and poet based in Manchester. She's working on a big project with Contact Theatre, mixing sound, animation, illustration, theatre, poetry, and performance art, which Hum will have a part in.

That's not until next year though. In the meantime we have plans... We're pleased to announce that Hum will premiere at Exposures Film Festival at Cornerhouse in Manchester next month. The film will show on Tuesday 21st at 5pm, along with a live action drama also commissioned by Cornerhouse at the same time as ours. Afterwards there will be a Q&A session with me and Billy (Hum's composer), as well as Mark Haig, who directed the other film. Emily can't make it unfortunately, but hopefully Billy and I will be enough. Tickets for the premiere and Q&A event can be purchased here:

Hope to see you there!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Now you've got a story that's worth talking about

My zine, Expectations, is featured today on Dab & a Dash blog! You can check it out here. The blog entry as about books. Books are good. You can buy Expectations and many other zine-y treats at our shop.

What's this? What's this?






Thursday, 26 January 2012

Working in the corner, peeking over shoulders

Big news and happy news: we are really pleased to say that we are now represented by Factory for commercial work. We've been friends with them for a little while, and now we are officially part of the Factory stable! And here's the webpage to prove it:


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The lions and the lambs ain't sleeping yet

Look at this sheep, it is literally jumping for joy, just like us, because...

...Spin Spun Span has been shortlisted for Best Commissioned Film at this year's British Animation Awards. Supercool! Fingers crossed we make it to the final three finalists...

Also, don't forget we are additionally nominated in the Public Choice category, and screenings are all over everywhere at the moment. I am going to the one at BFI Southbank with Emily and the aged P's.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Now who here among us still believes in choice?

I'm really chuffed to say that Spin Spun Span has been nominated for a British Animation Award in the  People's Choice category. Leading up to the BAAs in March, our film will be showing across the country and loads of venues in pretty much every city. We are in Programme 3, along with a bunch of other very good looking animations, and screening throughout January and February. Yey! Check here for the venues, I think I will try and go along to the Cornerhouse one in Manchester.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

I read the news today, oh boy part 3

Some more literature for you: here's an interview with 1883 online magazine which we did a little before Christmas, following the OneDotZero screening at the BFI. Great stuff!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

I read the news today, oh boy part 2

I'm know I'm slow with these things, but here's a nice link to an article about the OneDotZero screening we were in at the end of November. Read it here at Red Mist Reviews. The author describes Spin Spun Span as "some colossal mash-up of a Magritte exhibition, Fantasia and a trippier moment from Sesame Street", which I'm definitely fine with.