Friday, 24 September 2010

Wait - wuh'happened?

Received this in the post today along with a program for the Festival of Nations in Austria. On the surface it seems pretty cut and dry, apparently 'House Guest' was in a festival on June 19th that I didn't know about until now. It's happened from time to time, every couple months I self-google and find the odd screening I didn't know about.
Here's the bit that doesn't make sense - the film screenings ended on the 18th. And there's no mention of me or the film in the program or on their website. And there's no record of me ever sending anything to them in my emails or the ponderous Excel spreadsheet that has all my festival submission info.
I suppose I could get to the bottom of it but I'd rather not take the chance it didn't get in after all and not be able to add the festival to the list of ones it got into. Denial, my friends. It's a beautiful state of mind.On a somewhat similar note, this website is stating that 'The Naughty List' (the Santa-in-his-underwear film) will be part of the Iaşi International Film Festival this October, which would make its international debut Romanian and not German as originally thought. Again though, there's no mention of my film or any of the 2010 program on the Iaşi site yet. So I'll get back to you on that one as to whether it's actually happening or not.One thing I do know for sure is that I've finished the first of what will hopefully be several showreels tailored to different skill sets. Up until recently I'd only had enough experience to cobble together showreels that encompassed all my visual work - live action, animation, post-production, vfx blah de blah de blah. Turns out (as pretty much everyone I know in the industry had already told me) companies don't feel quite as at ease with freelancers who purport to be able to do a whole bunch of different things as they are with specialists. Ideally if I have different showreels and CVs for specific areas of animation/post-production/design and only refer to whichever one is appropriate when pitching for a job it'll cut through the treacle.
To that end, this is the first one that's just animation. The grand plan is to, further down the line, have separate showreels for different areas of animation such as digital, traditional, motion graphics etc but this is a start for now. You can watch it on Youtube (in HD if you can handle my sweet, sweet definition) and also Vimeo. Because that's a video website too. Yep.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Adieu, rotting duck thing.

I woke up this morning to the dramatic thump of something large and cumbersome being pushed through my letterbox. Turned out to be the bulky (and very pretty) program for Anima Mundi along with the return of the last 'House Guest' screening copy. Thus ends my zombie duck's reign of terrifyingly adorable shenanigans on the international festival circuit. As I have so vainly documented, it's had an astoundingly good run given that it was both my first film and a student film made for literally nothing. A little over two years since its completion I cannot really explain what a humbling experience it's been seeing it do the rounds alongside other films by friends, contemporaries and even some of my heroes in the industry. I know that on here I write like a self-aggrandising ass most of the time, and maybe some people who don't know me in real life might not pick up on the irony, but the truth of the matter is that we're living in pretty rough times where to keep afloat in the industry you have to drink the Kool-Aid for the most part. Sometimes it can be a lot of fun but generally speaking when you work for a company or someone else's project there are plenty of moments of second guessing and self-doubt. As 'House Guest' was always mine its completion and positive reception have kept me inspired to keep hammering out my own projects, hopefully with an equal balance of confidence and self-awareness. So thanks once again to everyone who selflessly helped with the film, all the festivals (big and small) that gave it a chance and everyone who contacted me personally to say nice things about it.
They also threw in a 'participation' certificate. Which is both a new one on me and pretty nice of them.

So moving on, first I want to mention the Babelgum Animation Film Festival which currently has a whole bunch of shorts online you can watch and vote on. Nothing of mine in there but some friends' films such as 'Wherever You Go There You Are' by Sara Barbas, 'Ami' by Dominique Bongers and 'Noesis' by Sophie Klevenow are all worth a look. I haven't had time to watch the others but some that I'm familiar with and enjoy include '8-Bit Waterslide in Real Life', 'Marcel the Shell With Shoes On' and 'Pigeon Impossible'.Finally, yesterday was the last day you were able to hear my new Struwwelpeter song 'Set You Free' as part of BBC Introducing. If you missed it, I of course recorded it myself and you can forever listen to it here.
If you want to hear the song without the intro and strange backhanded editorialising at the end it's part of 'Digital Stimulation', a download-only EP available now and completely free. It includes three songs from 2006's 'Agnosticaust' and three from the forthcoming album 'The Book of Women'. All the tracks are alternate mixes/edits to the ones that appear on the albums themselves and as such are completely exclusive to this release. So download it and spread it around like a delightful musical compote!Download 'Digital Stimulation' by Struwwelpeter
Alternatively you can stream the EP on SoundCloud.
Now for a weekend of showreel editing and updating. Try to contain your envy.

Friday, 10 September 2010

"Introduce Yourself (Right On)"

Some very cool non-animation news this time around. Tune in to BBC Radio Bristol this evening to hear the radio debut of my track 'Set You Free' from the new Struwwelpeter album 'The Book Of Women'! It will be playing as part of BBC Introducing which is broadcast 1am-3am, the peak time for all the happening youths to be at home listening to their radios. But if you can't catch it live then the show will be on-demand from saturday onward for about a week via BBC iPlayer.Happy weekend!

Monday, 6 September 2010


After the low note last week ended on, I've had a bit of a turnaround in disposition being presented with a couple of reasons to cheer up.
Firstly I was very happy to see that, for the time being at least, one of the animated segments I produced for Channel 4's SuperMe project is the first thing you're presented with when visiting the production company Somethin Else's website.
That's right, I screengrabbed it. I'm that type of person.

Nice to have the extra exposure while I can get it.Next up is the very welcome and sooner-than-expected news that my third animated short 'The Naughty List' will be making its festival debut this October at Internationales Köln Comedy Festival, with a TV broadcast thrown in. Merry xmas!What makes this especially good news is it gives me an excuse to visit my Cologne-based friend and frequent collaborator Veronika Broscheid whose own film 'The Lonely Socks Club' makes a cameo in mine, playing on Santa's TV.
The film within the film.

She also helped out a lot with the film in cleanup/post and provided some last-minute German subtitles for the screening copy, so it's really fortuitous that it's first screening will be in her city.
Festival specifics to follow, as always. It's looking to be a good week.

Friday, 3 September 2010


As alluded to earlier, the main focus for the rest of the year as far as personal projects go is a new graphic novel I received an advance for after pitching it during my recent jaunt overseas. This one is pretty autobiographical save for changing names and likenesses (kind of the opposite of 'Mitchells In England', where all the characters were named after real people but the stories were completely fictional) while hopefully being sort of amusing.
The working title was 'Throatfukt' which has been shortened to 'Throat' as my first concession to its potential publishers, it's also a little less on the nose. The story is essentially an illustrated adaptation of thoughts I'd jotted down during a pretty significant and sobering health scare I went through earlier in the year, with dialogue added and a lot of the plodding, self-involved, morbid streams-of-consciousness shit edited out. Apart from this blog I generally don't keep journals - not being either a girl or, y'know, twelve, - but this was kind of done on impulse as a coping mechanism. It took a lot of the drama out of the situation and helped hugely when it came to moving on.
Concept/(possible) cover art for 'Throat'

The drawing style is kind of new territory for me. It came from a rather stressful period during a work commission where none of the concepts we were coming up with were quite hitting the mark, so I wound up just throwing out as much variety as possible, including this loose, thick-line style. In the end we went with something more conventional, but the style really appealed to me as it doesn't really look like anything I've done before. There's something Ralph Steadman/Dave McKean/John Callahan-ish about it that seems to complement the medium of graphic novels and the writing style rather well, so I decided to pull it out.
Here are some character designs, not coloured or properly textured at this point but they should more or less set the tone.