Thursday, 25 September 2014

Pale September

Good Lord, the time's whizzing by. We're pretty much at the end of the month and there's much by way of updateables, so tilt yourself at a nice comfy angle and let yourself be gently coated in news.
Firstly we at Skwigly recently did our annual Encounters coverage, this time around covering the festival's 20th anniversary edition which included some excellent events, guests and new films. You can have a read of my competition and special screening highlights as well as Laura-Beth and Julia's top picks of the fest.
Skwigly meet Glen Keane. Pic via Encounters Festival
One major perk across the board was getting to meet Disney veteran Glen Keane, a legendary chap responsible for some of the studio's most iconic contemporary characters who's recently partnered up with Google to create the jaw-dropping interactive short Duet. Expect to see some brilliant insight from the man up on Skwigly in the not-too-distant future.
Another special guest of the festival was Yoni Goodman, who presented the Ari Folman films Waltz With Bashir and The Congress, both of which he served as Animation Director on. I managed to catch The Congress at last year's Sommets du Cinéma d’Animation (you can read my review of it here) and was glad to get a second chance to watch it as there's a great deal to take in. I have some ambivalence toward it as an overall film but visually it's mind-bending and, at times, truly inspired so I'm very glad I got some time with Yoni:
On the subject of Lightbox, last week's episode featured Canadian filmmaker Janet Perlman, whose relationship with the NFB goes back almost 40 years. Her latest short Monsieur Pug premiered at OIAF last week and is a very nice piece of work, so have a watch and keep your eyes out for it:
On the more experimental side of the NFB animation spectrum is Michèle Cournoyer, director of The Hat and Accordion whose most recent short Soif is an equally no-holds-barred affair, exploring the tragedies of alcoholism. The film also played at OIAF and got an honorable mention, you can read more about it and Michèle's work in our interview which went up this morning.
https://soundcloud.com/skwigly/skwigly-podcast-24/download
Also up today is our latest Skwigly Podcast, featuring extended interviews with LAIKA President Travis Knight (The Boxtrolls) and Yoni Goodman, as well as a chat with Jesse Cleverly of Wildseed Studios, a Bristol-based initiative for the development of new animated series pilots. Download, subscribe or stream below:
Laura-Beth also chats about her recent involvement with Animation Toolkit's first crowdfunding endeavour Pooch Proposal. The campaign has gone live as of this week, I lent a hand in putting the pitch video together and I recommend you all check it out. Should it go ahead there's some brilliant talent involved and the incentives are excellent, especially for prospective stop-motion animators in the market for high-end, professional grade armature kits:
You can also follow Pooch Proposal on Twitter and like their Facebook page for regular updates and behind-the-scenes goodies.
Another shout-out goes in the direction of Rumpus Animation, whose video game project The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle is soon to be released and currently up on Steam Community for a chance to get picked up. Head on over to their Steam page and give it a vote as it's sure to be a good'un and I hear tell it has some mind-blowing voice talent involved.
I like the guy on the left. Can't explain why, I just get a good vibe off him..

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Trolling

This Friday The Boxtrolls, the latest film from LAIKA will be released in cinemas in the UK. With all of us at Skwigly being massive fans of the visual style of Coraline and ParaNorman, this one's pretty hotly anticipated and we managed to bag some nice coverage in the lead-up to release.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqGff_9mYeo&list=PL-0qdHF_aune0e5I9HLJ_iy14qMqu-fi9&index=1
Up now we have the latest episode of Lightbox which features an exclusive interview with LAIKA President and CEO Travis Knight, a pretty huge get and a major player in the uniquely fascinating story of how the studio came to be (detailed very well in this article from a couple months back). Also featured in this episode is actor Isaac Hempstead-Wright (from Game of Thrones, as the EPK informs me) who plays the film's main character Eggs. This one can't be embedded for use of film clips, though they were provided by the PR company for press purposes so I'm not sure what the dilly-oh is, there. At any rate if you're in the UK you can give it a watch by clicking below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqGff_9mYeo&list=PL-0qdHF_aune0e5I9HLJ_iy14qMqu-fi9&index=1
 Many thanks to Tom Sanders for getting the interviews done. You can also have a read of Laura-Beth's review of the film from last week. It looks to be a good'un.
https://www.facebook.com/PoochProposal
Laura-Beth is also helping out with a new project by armature specialists Animation Toolkit, in which they'll be putting the equipment they sell to professional use in their own short film Pooch Proposal. It's early days yet but we have it on good authority that some serious animation talent will be involved, so follow them on Twitter and Facebook as it'll be one to watch.
http://www.skwigly.co.uk/jg-quintel/
Lastly here's a quick chat with JG Quintel, a very nice fellow who gave us some time at this year's Annecy Festival to talk about his series Regular Show which airs on Comedy Central. It's a fun one so if it's passed you by thus far I'd recommend giving it a look if you get a chance.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Patriotism

There's some nice new content for y'all over in Skwiglyland. Granted everything that will ever happen, good or bad, in the foreseeable future has been rendered mere background noise after this week's Faith No More news, but on the ever-so-slight offchance that some of you aren't as affected by that as I then why not check out our latest episodes of Lightbox?
In anticipation of his latest short Subconscious Password screening at Encounters later this month, I've repurposed our Chris Landreth interview from our Annecy Special, wherein the forgetful soul talks to Steve about his process.
Keeping things Canadian, this week's episode features my old paisan Phil Vaucher who does things with sand and salt man was never meant to do. Very impressively, I might add. Many moons ago Phil sold me the very lightbox who posed for my mediocre CG intro that opens each episode.
Our third respectable Canuck of the week is visual artist Randall Lloyd Okita, whose NFB short The Weatherman and The Shadowboxer debuts at TIFF this Sunday. It's a beautiful piece of work, especially to those with an eye for good mograph and compositing. Have a read of our interview here.
That's all for this week. Go, disperse, be merry.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Even I'm Uncomfortable

Very late on in the game I was finally nominated by the lovely Laura-Beth to give the ALS Challenge a go. Here is the result:

Friday, 22 August 2014

Group Hug, Everybody!

Two very lovely occurrences worth bringing up have...uh...occurred this week. The first is the news that, after several months of development, pitches and meetings I haven't been in the room for, Project Group-Hug appears to be going ahead! Hurrah! Of course, naturally this means I can tell you what it's all going to be about. But I'm not gonna.
What I will say is it's all set to come together toward the end of 2015 and be out in the world sometime the following year, so try to stay awake until then.
Far more important news came in the form of this tweet which went up the other day:
https://twitter.com/faithnomore
OH SNAP, SON!
Regrettably I'd say this removes the foolish hope that Faith No More would have snuck out a surprise new LP before my birthday in October, but it's still a potentially brilliant development nonetheless. In the meantime I'll have to keep myself satisfied with this lovely video by Vincent Forcier for Mr. Patton's other band Tomahawk:
Puppet Patton is the shiz, yo.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Glory Box

After a short summer break I've resumed Lightbox, the Skwigly series of animation mini-docs I'm producing for our fledgling YouTube Channel. To get you up to speed here's Laura-Beth's exclusive interview with Ben Bocquelet, creator of the bizarrely endearing (or endearingly bizarre, either work) Cartoon Network series The Amazing World of Gumball.
Also in the lead-up to this year's Encounters festival, this week's episode features a chat with their 2013 jury member, special guest and great filmmaker all-around, Isabelle Favez.

Isabelle's work includes the shorts Valise, Tarte aux Pommes and my personal favourite Au Coeur de l'Hiver which accommodates my guilty penchant for cute cartoon things scampering about. They're also pretty chucklesome so if you manage to track them down they're worth the effort.
Don't forget to subscribe on YouTube to catch each new episode, plenty more a-comin'!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Abandoned Language

https://soundcloud.com/skwigly/skwigly-podcast-23/download
What's new, folks? How about this latest episode of the Skwigly Podcast, eh? Out today, full of goodness, from my hard drive to your awaiting earholes. Don't say I never do nothin' for ya.
I'm happy to say that, over two years in, putting these together is still quite exciting, especially with such high-caliber guests. In this episode we have Bonnie Arnold from Dreamworks, producer of the How To Train Your Dragon movies, Toy Story and, rather awesomely, The Addams Family. The good version of The Addams Family. Also from the world of Dragons we have an extended version of our chat with Dean DeBlois which featured on the last episode of Lightbox. On top of this Laura-Beth talks to Disney talents Patrick Osborne, Kristina Reed and Jeff Turley, director, producer and designer respectively of the upcoming short Feast which we managed to get a look at in Annecy.
Meanwhile, in a less traffic-heavy corner of SoundCloud, I've bunged up an old track from an obscure LP I worked on under the moniker Silverfish. I don't think I've ever brought that particular project up on here as it was slap-bang in the middle of my MA and I did a pretty crappy job on the production. The album was made up of two soundscape EPs The Bug Chaser and The Gift Giver, shmushed together. It has a mix of songs and noise pieces generally darker and less marketable than my Struwwelpeter albums and I never felt that motivated to push it, only knocking out fifty self-pressed copies to give away at shows. Listening back I reckon it actually has potential to be quite an interesting little record if I took some proper time redoing the production. This track is my first such experiment in that regard, one of the more 'song'-type songs which always been fun to sing live. I sprinkled some Reason magic over it and it makes a world of difference. Have a listen:
Just for the record, the above is as 'radio-friendly' as the album gets.
Lastly, this week is crunch-week as far as Project Group-Hug goes, so any of you out there who might wish me well (for whatever baffling-yet-appreciated reason) do keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Tssst

What, you never seen two celebrities chippin' about or sumthin'? Tssst.
This is myself and Lyle 'Chip' Chipperson, international sensation. After a superlative set of his in Montreal this past weekend I managed to get a quick snap with the brilliant comedian and performer Jim Norton, known for his standup, The Opie and Anthony Show and, of course, this animation I did back in 2011:

He's lost a lot of weight since then (from "gahn t'the jahm'n ate'n beh-tehr") so if I ever have time to do another one I'll have to redesign his character to have a neck.
O&A has been a background staple of my working life since 2008 and, as some may be aware, it appears to be no more after Anthony Cumia fell prey to the media hypocrisies they've so astutely ridiculed over the years and got his over-passionately-tweeting self fired. I could rant about it but many others have voiced my exact issues with far more articulacy and wit than I could, especially magical man-giant and all-around top bloke Penn Jillette:
  
Sad times. But I got to meet Chip regardless, and Ant's starting a new show on August 4th which I expect will be pretty decent, so the world appears to still be turning.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Still Skwiglin'

Just a quick fumble to keep you all appraised of some Skwigly updates.
The latest episode of Lightbox is now up and features the amiably amiable Dean DeBlois, director of How to Train Your Dragon 2. I'm more of a casual Dreamworks fan and, while I certainly enjoyed the first film, the sequel is a genuinely solid, witty piece of work which I'd definitely recommend checking out when it opens in the UK tomorrow.
There's also more Annecy 2014 coverage I haven't yet mentioned on here, have a read of some of the short film highlights and special events. Also the first piece from our time with Cartoon Network is up, wherein Laura-Beth chats to Ben Bocquelet, creator of The Amazing World of Gumball. Laura-Beth has also stepped up to design and animate this month's site banner:
These are getting to be a really nice way of engaging out writers and readers alike. You can check out an archive of prior banners here, including two personal favourites by Rumpus:
...and Sophie Klevenow:
Both of whom fall firmly into the category of people I periodically have to fight the urge to call up and say how awesome I think they are, mainly because it'd doubtless creep them out.
Some news to end on is that I've been told that Project Group-Hug is in the final stage before getting the go-ahead or not. As I've never elaborated on what it even is I appreciate that any interest in said news is probably less than nil. But it's worth keeping tabs on should it proceed. And if you never hear of it again...well, consider it a massive, derision-worthy failure. If I can offer you all nothing else than schadenfreude it's surely the least I can do.