Thursday, 13 September 2012

That episode before Bristol Encounters...

I have decided to create a two-part post, where the 'before and after' scenario will hopefully give you guys a full chronicle of this years Bristol Encounters Festival. As you may well know, our animation was successfully submitted and now proudly sits amongst many International competitors on the programme page of the website. It all seems a little daunting because you immediately start criticising your own animation and compare it to others; I have already noted the length of our animation (being one of the shortest). And yet, I recall the 2010 festival where one film screened a run time of 13 seconds and that went down very well. We have been placed in the category named 'Tooth and Claw' with another ten films and the description for this group is as followed:

An outstanding collection of films featuring mammals and strange beasts. Whether the creature is endowed with human traits or the story explores the uses of animals, one thing is for sure: there’s nothing more appealing than a set of singing teeth... 

This is a befitting portrayal of our animation, although there is an underlying meaning that May (head director) wanted to depict. It is a greed related moral story, but poor Barney had no real chance in understanding this from those 'paw-print' warning letters he received. I have uploaded The Money Tree animation once again for those who may not have seen it or to refresh the memories of those who have.

Saving the best until second from last.

In preparation for this festival (where there will be guests such as Nick Park, Peter Lord, David Sproxton, Sam Fell and Paul Bush) I have reprinted my business cards and also have a collection of my CVDs ready to take with me on this animation pilgrimage. Because I still believe in chance meetings. I believe that one extraordinary moment amongst such talented and inspiring people could change the course of anybody's future. It amazes me how encouraging the people involved in this festival are, where the exchange of business cards is not a polite gesture but a genuine request to contact them for nothing less than a jovial conversation.

On a slightly different note, if you are wondering where you can design your own badges to pin upon your attire then wonder no more! I have found a terrific website that is very easy to use and delivers your product within three days. I have designed a few badges for the Money Tree crew as we mingle through the crowds in Bristol hoping to attract some attention. I did consider designing some t-shirts, but alas, time is of the essence and all my money is going towards accommodation. Henceforth, I settled with the 'badger badges' due to the cheaper nature (but I still think they look bloody marvellous).

It's 3 for 2 so snap this offer up ASAP!

The Goon, Mugsaloney and Zee. The guy at the front was selected as the 'official' entry. 

I stumbled upon something rather interesting not so long ago; a Dark Horse Comic competition. This was advertised briefly on Twitter, so I have to praise this networking buddy of mine once again. People  sometimes undermined social networking websites and think they are just a fad, when really it has become one of the most useful tools for freelancers, studios and University alumni. I 'follow' hundreds of people and studios involved with animation, film and creative arts, and they all offer so much to whoever is listening (or reading in this case). I have constant access to information, advice & tips, video links, websites, new releases, film reviews, workshops, events & exhibitions, images and so forth.  And the most important factor within this fountain of knowledge is that you can interact with these people quite easily and they will happily message you back! So don't knock it until you've tried it my fellow Internet chumps. 

Aside from 'tweeting' you with more of my ramblings I must return to my original topic concerning this DC competition. The drawing above was my entry, however, it was only meant to be one character design (but I just kept on drawing!) as it was based on some vagabond named The Goon. It was a 'revamp' type of competition, i.e. a fresh design for an existing character. So fingers crossed for some feedback. Failing that it has certainly rekindled my love for character development and design (so I ought to keep up the sketching).

Event: Creamfields. 

Location: Daresbury, Cheshire

Resembles: Dagobah

Quote? And I thought they smelled bad on the outside (General Solo talks about tents).
Not much I can say could suggest this festival was aesthetically pleasing to the eye. In fact, the only time there was a blink of sunshine was when my fellow ravers and I were blind drunk and failed to remember the essence of warmth. We partied hard on the Saturday night to Alesso and Avicci and arose the following morning to a sloppy soup of mud, piss and shit (the latter two were for effect). We decided a hasty retreat was necessary.

I have decided to wind down this post and leave you with something positive, albeit a little haphazard. Zabrina the Zebra has been mentioned many times and only appeared once or twice on my blog, therefore, I have included a test animation that was perhaps based around camera angles, lighting and mouth pieces more so than thoroughly animating the puppet. It is not a long test, but hopefully it will set the mood for any upcoming animations starring Zabrina.

These are my last two paragraphs concluding my thoughts on Bristol and what this festival has to offer. I have already booked my train, hostel and extra tickets (due to popularity) such as the Aardman in conversation gala event where Park, Lord and Sproxton all take to the stage and enlighten us with, let's face it, absolutely anything they wanted to say! There is also an Aardman 'Early Years' event I would like to see which begins two hours after my train arrives. So no dilly-dallying for me as it was many of these animations from the 80's and 90's that inspired me as a child (to name a few; My Baby Just Cares For Me, Adam and The Wrong Trousers).

Many of the contacts I follow on Twitter are travelling to Bristol, namely graduates from all over the United Kingdom, my team from Staffordshire University, and prestigious freelance animators such as Drew Roper and Gareth Hirst. So this is a really big opportunity to brush shoulders and talk to hundreds of people within this wonderful industry, so I am incredibly excited. There will also be a screening of the new Paranorman animated film. A theatre full of animation enthusiasts, watching a stop motion feature... this can only end BRILLIANTLY!

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