Friday 19 August 2011

Home Grown Talent 2011 Trailer

The Home Grown Talent 2011 Trailer is online now!
It has been an exciting few months of filmmaking once again. View the trailer below for a teaser of the films to be premiered at Canterbury Anifest!

These films will be premiered to the public on Sunday 2nd Oct – 3.00pm at Canterbury Anifest as part of the Community Programme

Read more about this years Home Grown Talent here!

Tuesday 12 May 2009

The joy of local news...

Back in October last year, my local news station asked me to create a short introduction piece of animation for them. They provided me with images of their presenters and the cheesiest of all voice overs and i went to work on it. I produced all of the models and animation, with the help of a wonderful assistant.

I really enjoyed the job, and thought I'd share it here. The two models and set took two full days to produce and the animation took me 10 hours straight to get it finished. The whole project was a lot of fun though, from sculpting the characters to working out the timings and actions, and most of all the animation shoot. I loved working in a team, going through the dope sheet and working through the tracking and development of the scene. Animation is a real team game, although there's plenty of us that like working on their own too. I do love working with other creatives on a project and this projector was one of my favourite jobs.

Having an assistant meant an extra pair of eyes and hands to over see the tracking device, software and dope sheet were the main tasks, but the secondary tasks of tea making and good company are the other important tasks of the role.

Monday 11 May 2009

Camera Shy

Image Copyright Ben Anker Photography

I thought I'd link to a set of photographs that talented photographer Ben Anker has put together. Ben who I met while working in a supermarket during my students days six years ago contacted me about taking some pictures. He explained that he needed a short series of portraits for an accreditation, so of course being the shy retiring type at first I refused, before biting his arm off!

On Ben's site he has a real variety of photos and is well worth a look, my shots can be seen in the portrait section.

The mad/crazy/'should be sectioned' director pose is my favourite, lots of fun producing it and a great little shot.

Friday 10 April 2009

Best Journey Ever!

I have produced lots of animation workshops over the last two years, but none have been more rewarding the project I set up last year 'Home to Home'. The project was a two week scheme, to make films with unaccompanied asylum seekers in Kent about their experiences. Home to Home was set up by Wendy Catterick from the KRAN group at the Riverside Center and myself and funded by Media Box with support from Canterbury Christ Church University. The four films produced are very touching and can all be seen on my webiste and youtube pages and

Last weekend I visited the Leeds Young People's Festival where I had two films made during workshops. I traveled from Canterbury along with Zana a young Iranian who made the film 'Our Country' which can be viewed above. I wrote a short account of the trip to thank the festival organisers and Media Trust who funded the trip, so I thought I'd share it here:

The reason I hadn’t written before, was because it’s taken a few days to take it all in, and I also wanted to speak with Zana before writing my account. I met with Zana this morning at The Riverside Centre’s Fair Trade coffee morning to have a chat. As he strode in he was still buzzing from the trip, and gave me a warm welcoming hug and hand shake. He greeted me and then said just these exact words “The best trip ever”.

One of the last things Zana had asked me about on our long train ride home, was where he could buy a digital camera from. When he arrived at the coffee morning he proudly presented his bright blue Fuji camera. On the train he had described how he would have liked to have kept a photo journal of his trip, so wanted a camera for his next journey. I was happy to see him with his camera that he had brought the day after his return from Leeds, and his interest in this new medium. On inspection Zana had not even peeled back the protective film on the camera’s viewfinder, as he wanted to keep it perfect. Zana started by asking about the other young filmmakers from Canterbury who had also travelled to Leeds, and also asked if there were any other festivals his film could be shown at. His excitement was obvious, and we were soon joined by another young Iranian boy who became deeply involved in a Kurdish conversation about Zana’s film and his trip to Leeds. He seemed to talk about his film with a lot more confidence than he had when I met him at Canterbury train station the previous weekend.

When I met him at the train station last weekend, Zana found it hard to understand that other people wanted to see his film, and that anyone would pay for him to go to a festival. Every thing I brought for Zana from a bottle of water to a train ticket, he questioned me asking if it was because of his film. You could see in his face how happy he was at the thought of showing people his film and he couldn’t believe he was getting everything provided. On the journey up to Leeds we sat with two young people from Leeds, and we explained the reason for our journey. Zana found their accents really interesting as he had not heard their regional accents before. I described to him about the various different accents in the U.K and he explained how he found it hard to understand people from different areas back in Iran. Speaking to Zana more on the train, we spoke about his last big journey the one he travelled from Iran to the Britain. He described how this trip was a hundred times better in comparison to the journey through various different countries.

On arrival at our Hotel in Leeds, Zana could not believe how big his room was and that he had his own shower and double bed. At the shared house he lives in, in Canterbury he has to share a bathroom so was excited that he had his own in Leeds. When he saw the price of the room, he said he felt it was very expensive and offered to sleep on the road to save money. I told Zana that he deserved the room as a reward for his hard work on his film. That evening we went into Leeds to get a meal, and at a restaurant we spent half an hour speaking with a couple from Leeds who had Iranian friends. Zana really enjoyed speaking about his home country and described the couple as very kind people.

The next day we went into Leeds town centre and Zana was amazed at the amount of shops and how busy it was. Zana was by this time filled with a mixture of excitement and nerves, and kept asking how long before we needed to be at the cinema by. While in town, Zana wanted to find a new pair of trainers, so set us the task of finding a pair of yellow, blue or green trainers that had to have a large sole and could cost no more than £20, or £25 if he really liked them. After two hours and endless amounts of stores searching, we gave up and headed to the beautiful Hyde Park Picture House.

At the cinema, we were greeted by friendly staff from the festival and met with Andy and Sarah who were also film makers from Canterbury. Andy and Sarah chatted with Zana and the four of us, sat and watched the under 14 category before the over fifteen section which we’d travelled all this way to see. It was at this point that Zana was filled with stage fright after realising the host would invite him to the front and ask him questions about his film. Zana asked if he could be excused as he didn’t want to offend anyone by not understanding the questions. I tried to assure him that he could just go to the front and receive his certificate but he didn’t want to, so lapped up the applause in his seat. He received some great feedback from the judges who thought that Zana’s film really helped educate other people about individuals from other cultures and a Organiser from a Bradford film festival encourage Zana to enter his film into the Bradford festival.

On the long ride home, Zana repeatedly said what a great time he had on his journey to the festival. He loved seeing his film and wanted to know if there was another animation project he could do so he could come to Leeds again. We arrived back in Canterbury just before midnight and I drove Zana home, before arranging to meet him at the coffee morning in the week. On a personal note, I felt really proud of Zana over the two days as he was so polite and respectful. He enjoyed every minute of his journey and I really hope that he sees that if you work hard at something you get your rewards. Zana worked very hard throughout the animation project and hopefully he will continue with his English course at College and use the reward of his trip as a reason to focus more at college for the long term rewards of his education.

At today’s coffee morning, it was great to see Zana still so happy about his journey. The Fair Trade morning was at The Riverside Centre where I first meet Zana nearly a year to the day, to discuss the animation project for the first time. A year on and I would never have expected to have met such an inspiring young man, as I have with Zana. As I left Zana he told me how he would like to start a hairdressing course in September, which I felt was a great choice as he is a very creative individual and has a great personality to work with customers, not to mention his own funky hair style.

Hopefully the next time I see Zana he’ll be able to show me his next media project, some pictures on his new blue camera!

Monday 6 April 2009

Green Fingers

I thought I'd produce a time lapse of my garden being cleaned as I only do it properly once a year, so captured it as evidence.

As for the silent movie score, well what else could I use????

Friday 6 February 2009

In Car Animation

Nothing special, nothing new, just something to keep me entertained on a journey to work returning animation kit.

I was taking a laptop back to work, when I had the idea of using the laptops built in camera for a time lapse sequence of my journey. I opened the laptop to it's widest position and propped it up on several bags and then belted it in, as well as tying it to the seat with my coat! I really should have taken a photo of the set up as it looked hilarious.

I shot this piece capturing two frames every five seconds.

It made my journey a little more interesting although the exposure is poor and the framing terrible, I need a laptop boaster baby seat next time!

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Blur-ing my face

Here's a picture that a good friend and I knocked up a few months ago. The image is using the simplistic style of British artist Julian Opie, who created that iconic LP sleeve for Blur.

I wanted a picture of myself for the wall, but didn't want either a posey pic or painting. So went for this style as a happy medium. The image was produced by tracing a photograph in a combination of Photoshop and Flash and then printed onto a square canvas for my front room!

Sunday 18 January 2009

A True Inspiration...

My heart sank today when I heard the news Tony Hart had sadly passed away. With my own craft show launching this week, I feel we've lost a true great. This guy wasn't a Michelangelo or Leonardo, although a very talented artist, for me and other British kids, his work was a lot more inspiring. As a child in 80s Britain, I never got into art from looking at the Mona Lisa, it was from seeing this silver haired gentleman using simple lines to create artistic wonders.

Being a stop motion animator, the influence of Morph is obviously a massive reason I wanted to start bringing plasticine characters to life. But Morph wouldn't of worked as a 60 second animation thrown between Blue Peter and News Round. The thing that made Morph was the relationship with Tony. Today children's television is dumbed down and patronising, with presenters dramatically interacting with their puppets. The relationship between Tony and Morph was different, there was a genuine chemistry between them. Tony's mild manner and authoritative voice made you believe that if this great man was talking to a clay figure, then the clay figure was real!

I mentioned before in a previous post, but during filming for the show, I realised how tough it is, to be friendly, informative, remember lines and be entertaining. Tony Hart seemed to do it with ease, and this made you feel you could do everything he made. I'll post the series up this week, but feel they aren't a patch on a genre he really made his own.

There's a really nice video produced by the BBC online, it shows how creative he made his shows and reminds you what children's television is missing today. I love the pixelation of Tony on the cart with a paintbrush in his mouth, and wonder how the director broke that to him. I guess Tony felt if children would find the demonstration entertaining and engage with art, then it was worth it.

I was planning to send him a copy of the series, and tell him how inspiring he was to me, and how much respect I have for his work. I won't get to do that now, all I can do is try and inspire kids to be creative in the same way he did for me, passing on what he did for me.

Friday 2 January 2009

The 3 little Piggies build a Studio Set

Note* In this story there is no big bad wolves and no sets were huffed and puffed down...

Here is a short piece of time lapse footage I produced showing the Set being constructed for the animation series. I used Stop Motion Pro 6.5 and set the counter to capture every 10 seconds. The set took roughly two and a half hours to finish, and here it is...

By the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Hope it's a good one!

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Tis the season...

to be jolly???

I'm off for Christmas now, so thought I'd leave with the one piece of creativeness I've produced which isn't to do with an animation craft show. Today I was editing together an interview for the series with Aardman's Richard Goleszowski. He gave a really interesting insight into the creative process behind putting an episode of Sean the Sheep together. In the show the interview is only three and a half minutes long but I've got 15 minutes worth of chat, which has some really nice content, I must throw it together later on next year as there is some interesting stuff which isn't suitable for a series aimed at 8-12 year olds.

So here's my Christmasie effort for 2008... It's an envelope but could be a xmas card, gift tag or reindeer enthusiast journal cover???

Merry Christmas one and all!