Sunday, 31 May 2009

Classical Carrots

While I'm the headspace for it, I finally checked a long-standing 'to-do' item off my list today and re-scored a couple of scenes for Jennifer Gilbert's film "Don't Sit On Your Brother". Earlier this year I did the film's sound and editing and put together a piece of music for the end credits. There were two other scenes that warranted music which used some production archive cues originally. The limited allowance fair use of these pieces decrees meant that the film couldn't be screened internationally without paying royalty fees, and so the best compromise was simply to create an entirely original soundtrack. For the opening sequence I've used a slightly-modified instrumental track from my eternally-in-progress fourth Struwwelpeter album. It has a sort of 1950s big-band flavour that fits quite well with the era of the film. Another sequence is set during dinner, and for this I wrote a more classical type of piano piece. All dignified like, innit? Here's a clip of the latter scene:
I think the film works well for its target audience. As with Veronika's film, it's a very different type of story than I could come up with, so it was nice to get to be involved with them both. Let the brainwashing of our nation's children begin...

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Fully Booked

To quote the Professor: Good news, everyone!
Actually, I'm not sure what kind of news it is. Not bad, certainly...
Anyway, the 'House Guest' graphic novel has been selected by Lulu to be listed on Amazon, el internet bookstore-o supreme-o. I'm not entirely sure what their selection criteria is - not to denigrate my lovely book, but I'm guessing it may be random. I've been putting off promoting it properly before I hear back from a couple of potentially-interested publishing houses. Either way, this is helpful as it increases the book's visibility. Hypothetically, my book might pop up when somebody was actually looking for this:
Honestly, between this and that goddamn Sinbad movie...I'm gonna put a lot more research into all future film titles from now on.

The only issue is that they've automatically marked up the price, so take some advice from your soft'n'squidgy uncle Ben (me, not the rice guy) and buy it straight from Lulu. Well, you don't have to buy it at all, even though it could be the one vital thing that's presently missing from your life, but hey, I'm not going to pressure you. If you're a spendthrift (fair play to you) there's also the eco-friendly option of buying the digital download version at less than half of the price. You don't want to hurt those trees, do you?
Hey, let's keep talking about books!
In 2006 I put together a collection of various doodles, cartoons and comics I'd produced for student magazines, e-zines and anthologies mixed in with some stuff I'd scribbled out while on the can. Titled "That Isn't Funny, You Stupid Child", I kept it on the QT as I felt the humour itself veered toward the mean-spirited, callous and sometimes just plain disgusting. Looking through it again I think I was too quick to condemn it - there are no masterpieces of contemporary storytelling in there but you can see the seeds being sewn for my subsequent film work. Plus, compared to stuff like Drawn Together, South Park and pretty much anything on Adult Swim, the content isn't especially incendiary. In fact, the most unpleasant story featured - 'Honey The Hungry Hound' - is actually true, so it goes to show that my imagination is no match for the nastiness of real life.
Original layout sketches for the short story 'Cuckold'. A young altruist is savagely beaten while his vacationing girlfriend cheats on him. I'm not a mean-spirited person, it's just that sex and cartoon violence are both fun to draw.

As most of the publications that ran these pieces originally were low-budget, small-potatoes operations, the work featured was all in black and white. Having seen the quality of a full-colour Lulu book compared to a B&W Cafepress book (for the record, I still think Cafepress is the shizzle) I've decided to reuissue "That Isn't Funny..." in colour, as with the "Mitchells In England" anthologies.
With everything else that's going on I'm in no rush to get this done, but it would be nice if it could be ready by xmas.
My poor, poor relatives. If I actually finish the new album this year they'll all be doomed to a holiday season of having to accept my homemade pap with feigned, weary grace.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

I ate a donor kebab last night. If I'd gone on a killing spree I'd feel less shame today.

Weight loss has slowed down, still more or less on track but I'm gonna need to be a little more vigilant if I want to get to 95kgs in 20 days. I was sort of hoping I'd even wind up a little lower than 95kg at the rate I was going, but summer BBQs are starting up and I have less willpower than a sorority chick with daddy-issues at a frat party.
Anyway, currently at 96kg. Nearly nearly nearly.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Style Over Substance

Shortly after I finished 'Ground Running' and sent it to the first batch of festivals, I decided to keep it on the QT when certain similarities were pointed out to me. What surprised me was that the original version ended up getting into some of said festivals and garnered some pretty encouraging reactions.I've finally settled on an alternate opening sequence which, along with a few other new visuals that appear throughout the film, take it to between two and three minutes. It occurred to me, however, that if I'm going to change it to this degree, it may be worthwhile to extend the film in other ways. As most of the animation's done, it wouldn't take much effort to add clean-up and colouring, which would betray my original intentions (the whole point was to have a film entirely in pencil-drawing form, peg-bar holes and all) but, in all honesty, make the film easier to watch. The 'pencil-test' look has more appeal to me and my fellow animation-geek friends, but to the general public who are more or less conditioned to seeing cartoons inked-in and in colour, it probably just seems like it isn't finished.I have no intention of eschewing the original short - after all, it's done pretty well in its own right - but I'm not above making a comparatively slick version to appease its potential audience, especially if doing so will increase the film's visibility.
And if the whole thing turns out to be a horrendous, misguided disaster, I'll just pretend it never happened and finally get a real job.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Blank, Impassive, Beady-Eyed Faces...

The designer-toy-inspired character designs I posted a couple weeks back were quite fun to do, so I've been idly cobbling together a few more when I can. I'm trying hard to be as proactive as possible, to the point where I'm bringing a lap-tray to draw on into the john with me. I'm sure you all didn't need that visual, but I'm just a giving man at heart.
Here, look at these and take your mind off it:

As before, they all follow the same design principles, although I may adjust the head sizes on some of the characters during the CGI modeling phase.
I've also picked a song to use as the basis for the prospective music video. It's working title is '60s Pop' but I'm leaning toward 'Set You Free' now the lyrics are done. The retro style of the music I think will go quite well with these visuals. Click below to hear a clip.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Fuga? Musafir?

Got some pretty good news, both 'House Guest' and 'Ground Running' are going to be screened at the Romanian film festival Timishort (in Timișoara...they must have the same guilty penchant for delightful wordplay as I). This is especially cool as it's the first time both films have been screened at the same festival - hurrah! I feel like a parent who doesn't need to play favourites anymore.
They'll be included in the Panorama 2 screening at 4pm, Thursday 7th and again at noon on Sunday 10th. More info on the website.