Monday, 25 June 2012

Back to the Box

While “Bullies” is progressing in a more or less entirely digital manner, a thought occurred recently that a potentially effective way to promote “Throat” might be to put together a teaser trailer for it. After contemplating the motion graphics angle briefly, I figure it would be better suited to proper, traditional animation so as to be truer to the overall look and feel of the panel art. Which means it’s time to dust off ol’ Molly the lightbox (who’s served me well as a very effective coat rack since I bought Cindi the Cintiq) and get back to some lovely, ol’-fashioned pencil-on-paper animation. The idea is to pick several excerpts from the book that might translate effectively as brief 2-5 second animated vignettes, edited together in a way that doesn’t reveal much of the story but hopefully percolates the interest of people who haven’t read the book yet. I’m still in the throwing-stuff-against-the-wall-to-see-what-sticks phase but here are some sample layouts:
As mentioned above, “Bullies” has been pretty much a completely Cintiq-centric affair, but in keeping with the old-school theme, here are a few pencil sketches on which some of the layout and background work will be based:
And with that I think I feel the familiar twinge of carpal tunnel coming on. How I missed it so!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Something for the whale'n'feline comradery enthusiasts out there...

I recently did a bit of moonlighting (read: coattail riding) for my lovely friend Jane, aka Upstart Thunder, who's been hard at work on an animated collaboration with comics writer/illustrator Jamie Smart. I didn't do anything visual for this one but I whipped up a musical soundalike to replace the temp track the animation was timed to. It was really nice to get a chance to do some music for animation as it's been a couple years since I last got the chance to. Anyhoo, it's called "Friendship" (featuring Jamie's character Looshkin) and can be watched online here:

"The Naughty List" meanwhile continues to live on via the tellybox, despite being fairly out of season thematically. Two upcoming Canal+ Xtra screenings will be at 4:30pm on July 5th, followed by a 1:25am broadcast on the 17th for the night owls amongst you. So brew some of that fine Spanish coffee and check it out, amigos!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

"Good news, everyone!"

Episode 3 of the Skwigly Animation Podcast is now up, and I have absolutely no qualms about unabashedly confessing that I think it turned out great. This edition includes a chat with Nancy Beiman - Disney veteran, Sheridan lecturer and author of some essential animation texts, such as "Animated Performance", a fantastic guide to advanced character animation you should all check out.
We also discuss the impending new animated series of "Ninja Turtles", the rules (yes, it turns out there are rules) of Road Runner and the approaching new season of "Futurama". The latter is especially timely as, in defiance of my expectations at such an early stage of the podcast's run, I was able to chat with one of my generation's most prolific and versatile voice-over actors, Billy West!
I'm sure most of you will be aware of his characters from "Futurama" (such as Fry, Farnsworth, Zoidberg and Zapp Brannigan) as it's been the main vehicle and longest-running showcase for his talents as a performer. On top of this, to me he will always be an essential component of "Ren and Stimpy", the show I've frequently cited as the main reason I pursued a career in animation. Whatever your take on the politics of the show's behind-the-scenes turmoil (mine being that it's not really any of my business) I'm a staunch defender of both the show's pre and post-John K vitality and ballsiness. Going by the paraphrased expression that animation is 90% sound, Billy West's voice work as Stimpy - and later Ren - as well as a host of supporting characters was an essential ingredient for the show's overall success.

Just some of the iconic characters Billy West has voiced over the years

Of course it was the chemistry between him and other players like Gary Owens, Cheryl Chase, Alan Young, Harris Peet, Jack Carter and, of course, Kricfalusi himself in the early years that guaranteed the flow, as it is now with his current "Futurama" co-stars Katey Sagal, Maurice LaMarche, John DiMaggio, Phil LaMarr et al.
So, as you can imagine, this particular interview was a little more daunting and saw me less grounded than I am with most others, but he was tremendously cool, open and honest to talk to, bearing with me when my jerry-rigged Skype alternative shit the bed not once but TWICE. At the end of the day I'm over the moon that I got the opportunity and I really hope the podcast audience gets a kick out of it too.
You can listen to the whole thing below or download it here. Joy!
   Skwigly Podcast 03 (18/06/2012) - Nancy Beiman & Billy West by skwigly

Monday, 4 June 2012


I recorded a video blog just before the MCM and then completely forgot about it. Which is pretty much exactly in line with the number of cylinders I've been firing on lately. Anyway, I remembered it yesterday and gave it an edit and a spruce up. Basically it's just about "Throat" and all it's various editions, I figured actually showing them would possibly convey things a little better than I've done on here so far. There's also some screening news as mentioned on here already and some podcast plugging for good measure. So, without further ado, here's my first - and possibly only - vlog!
As mentioned in the video, firstly "The Naughty List" will indeed be screened this (distinctly-non-Christmassy) month, on the 11th at 7:21pm in Spain on Canal+ Xtra. Full listings on the Canal+ page as always.
Secondly I have started a "Throat" Facebook page which will eventually feature news and exclusive material as the promotion of the book continues. Not a lot up there now but g'wan and give it a 'like' whydoncha?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Yep. Definitely have a cold. There goes the weekend...

Good news regarding the short film side of things (remember back when that was something I did?), there'll be a double screening of my cartooney cheeriness this month at Porto7 Oporto International Short Film Festival which takes place in Portugal from June 13th-17th. This rather happily marks the Portuguese debut of "The Naughty List" some 58 festivals down the line (ditto for "Ground Running", which is also being screened, although the in-progress version did get some Portuguese exposure a few years back). Happier still, however, is that between my three films to date this will officially be the one-hundredth festival event to publicly screen my work! Yay for triple-digits!
While I don't see a parade in my honour coming this way I suppose I'll have to settle for some type of sense of personal achievement, in accomplishing something I - and I'm sure a fair few others - never thought possible. On top of that it serves as something to show for nearly four years of sticking with an industry that has taken a massive slug to the gut, entirely on my own.
But a parade would've been nice. Just sayin'.
Or failing that, maybe something that resembles enthusiasm from the direction of a few more of these locally-based animation studios. That'd be nice too. I'm right here, folks! Animator for hire!
OH WELL, keeping things positive I'm sincerely flattered as always that there are still places out there willing to give me some exposure, especially as production has begun proper on "Bullies" after its 'get "Throat" finished'-induced hiatus. Speaking of which, here's a little glimpse at an in-progress line test. What a shock, it's something of mine that features unnecessary nudity...