Friday, 2 December 2011

12 days of Universitmas

It's been just a couple days (3 weeks) since my last post, so I felt it's about time for an update. At this very moment in time, I'm sitting on the cusp of week 12 of this semester. That fairly tedious information until I mention that the semester is 13 weeks in total, which means, as one can imagine, hand-in dates are looming, tensions are rising and haphazard explosions into lyrical verse are at an all-time high!

On my personal basis though, remember how I expressed before about how I wasn't happy with the place I was at in my work? Well I feel a little better on that front now, having gone a little bit in the way of rectifying that. The idea for my final film, 'Jess Sturich', was pretty locked before I returned to uni this year. I'd even sorted out my storyboard by the beginning of september. This put me in a better position than a lot of my class before the year even began. So with that sorted, I didn't really consult my lecturers with it, instead letting them get on with other students and focusing on the other projects we have. It was only until about week 7/8 that I properly went through my story with a lecturer and was given an honest evaluation of the impossibility of my idea. To say the very least, that meeting didn't go according to plan and sat me behind of schedule, going some of the way to prompt that post from earlier. However since then I've been prepping the pre-production elements of 'Jess Sturich' like finalising a doable story, character designs, colour schemes, a storyboard and getting some of the way through a script. While I'm not in a perfect place, and there's still a lot to do, I feel in a better position now.

All this probably goes some of the way to explain why I haven't had the time to post anything. I've been working pretty hard on a live professional brief as well as and devoting some time to our dreaded dissertation. It has been a busy few weeks. But why should you have to take my word for it? Shouldn't I put up some proof of my labours, huh? That's what you want to see really. Well...that's where I have to let you down. An excerpt from a partially completed dissertation would be boring. Posting the storyboard for 'Jess Sturich' would be even more boring and I'm not even sure how much I can say about the professional project (even though I'm probably being far to particular for my own good). But rest assured, soon a torrent of imagery will come, bear with.

But in the meanwhile, here's a couple videos I found for my very own University of Wolverhampton. I think they're in the same vein as University of Lincoln adverts. They look pretty fun!

Wolverhampton University Ad from Charlotte McCabe on Vimeo.

Wolverhampton University Viral from Patrick Fowler on Vimeo.

University of Wolverhampton - Viral Advertisement from Graham D. Lock on Vimeo.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Pop goes the Lichtenstein

I wanted to post some research sketches I've made in preparation for my final film codenamed: "Jess Sturich". I've been looking into the style of Roy Lichtenstein a famous American artist known for being a big figure in the art movement called Pop Art. I don't know if 'movement' is really the word for it, since it was a pretty big advancement in the way art can be produced but it's greatest cultural impact was providing an easier way to print the Funnies in newspapers. Regardless, we've all seen this kind of drawing before and I've always enjoyed it, but that may be my love of cartoons talking. And now I'm in the position to replicate it. So here's some initial sketches to help me get the style down. First I tried drawing images already out there:

Then I tried to draw myself in the style. Beware, the results are horrifying.

Using these I'll work on character designs for the characters in Jess Sturich.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


I worked out that today marks the halfway point for this semester. Currently I'm in week 7 of a couple 13 week modules, and with Wednesday being the midpoint of the business week, I'm now closer to the end than to the beginning. What a scary, depressing thing to realise.

On review, I think I've spent my time as wisely as I could and I've learned a little bit, but on retrospect of my progress is, I don't feel satisfied with where I am. The workload got very heavy immediately and juggling the several balls that were thrown my way left my final film (the project I most want to work on) on the back burner. My final film in particular will require a hefty amount of pre-production in order to get going. In fact, the setting up of backgrounds, characters and scenery elements is going to be the hardest part of the task, not even the animation. And I should be, by week 7, well into producing those parts. Nevertheless, because of animation social distractions and professional practices, I'm barely out of character development stage. It can get slightly aggravating. However, now that I've assessed and realised my situation, I can take steps to rectify it. I mean, it would be much worse if I was behind in my work and didn't realise it, at least now I can do something about it...and hopefully without upsetting my professional practices.

On a different note, we went to London today. Here's a picture of me with a living statue:

You like that? Good. It was an alright trip. It mainly involved walking around, looking at artwork, walking around some more, looking at historical artefacts and walking around looking for the lost people who weren't walking around fast enough. Also, despite my earlier ranting, I've managed to assemble a test of the opening scene of my film, the name of which I've codenamed "Jess Sturich". This is just to test the timing of the opening scene, none of the visuals are not those intended for the final piece.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

That living Plymptoon they call Bill.

65 year old, Oregon born, drawing fanatic, crude businessman and wonderful animator Bill Plympton attended the FLIP festival this weekend; and I've had the pleasurable honour of being in his presence. I would've put this with my FLIP day 2 post but I had so much to say on the man I felt it demanded it's own entry. First of all, a bit of frank honesty. Before Friday, I'd never heard of the man before and had no idea of his work. While that admission would cause a sharp intake of breath amongst certain circles, it's true that a lot of his work has flown over and around my radar. On the run up to FLIP though, his reverence grew more and more apparent until the moment I actually attended his masterclass and he proved his salt with a passion in his marker, a twinkle in his eye and the justified pride of an American animator who's been in the game since 1987. So I guess I'm trying to sum up what, in the short time I saw him, I learned from him as well as my impressions of him as a whole.

Bill sketching two guys
During his masterclass, the first thing that struck me was Bill Plympton's recurring habit to draw a sketch during his talk. At first he seemed to treat it like it was a necessity, as if he'd been commanded to do lots of drawing throughout the talk as a favour to admin or something. But soon enough who could tell he was drawing a manic amounts of sketches because he genuinely loves drawing. So much so that he doesn't think it at all weird to interrupt his own seminar to do a little doodle. It was quite remarkable. During the talk someone asked him how much he'll draw in a day and even though he couldn't be entirely sure (differing sizes and sketchy-ness of drawings and such), his roundabout, ball-park figure was around 100 drawings a day. 100 drawings a day! That's astronomical! He said he loves drawing so much, he could happily wake up at 6am and draw till 10 at night. And when he says that, I believe him. The fact that he couldn't help himself to applying boardmarker to paper not 30 seconds ago supports that. Also striking was the speed at which he'll finish a sketch. It was amazing. Of all the sketches he did, not one of them took more than 2-2.30 mins to do. Now I use the word 'sketch' in as strict a meaning as I can because they were just very basic sketches, but even still the way he was able to communicate a body shape, character, emotion and even top it off with shading is an incredibly admirable ability. I love drawing as much as the next guy, but to be able to convey what Bill manages to convey would require an entirely focused 30 minute session with just me and my pad. Meanwhile Ol' Plympton is banging out random lines on an office clipboard with a permanent marker while holding conversation and coming up trumps. It's daunting when I think about it but the man has had a great many years experience so I'm not too disheartened.

The angel from 'Idiots and Angels'
One thing he seemed to do was put his signature on the sketches of his characters that he ripped off of the clipboard. Again, it seemed like the staff at FLIP were holding his favourite pet chihuahua hostage for some signed work, but then you could see that it was all on him again. He was signing his work (I imagine) just in case. Just in case it went missing so he'd still have a claim on it, or just in case he could sell it. To me, that showed a rigid formality that (I guess at his age is inevitable and probably appropriate) becomes apparent in a lot of what he does and how he must conduct himself outside of the animation studio. Bill Plympton is an animator, yes, but he is also a business man. Throughout his talk (and this is part that made me doubt what my expectations actually were when I heard the term "masterclass") he was talking about his methods for making enough money to survive, going to his distribution methods and where to expose his work and making products that will just sell easier. Later in the day, he was sat at a desk selling his books and DVDs. One offer he had was that with a £25 purchase of a book, he would give the buyer a caricature of themselves, a nice little keepsake for the day. When I got to the desk, and asked specifically for a caricature, I was enlightened of the offer and that there were no books available. Although disheartened, he quickly picked me up by saying he'd draw me for £10. Excited, I ran to the nearest cashpoint for funds and got my face depicted a la Bill Plympton. It was partway through my frozen posing that I realised I didn't try to haggle with him at all, and he seemed to pluck the figure of £10 from thin air. That made me felt partially responsible for setting up the precedent of £10 per caricature price tag for all those to follow. If there was a chance I could've knocked off 2 or 3 quid, I'm sure it would have been appreciated. But putting my poor financial skills to one side, the man was all about selling his wares and making money. When he asked an audience member where he had seen one of his pieces before and the response was "the internet", he showed, though comically, disappointment (I imagine) at the lack of revenue from that customer. I understand. A man's got to live. I never wish to be as money motivated as him but understanding the simple business premise of keeping costs down and profits high is something that needs to be kept in mind.

Bill Plympton's caricature of me

On a more personal front, Bill Plympton was asked who his influences were...and I felt it necessary to list them as well! I think it's good that he named film makers and artists as well as animators. When I'm asked that question, I always feel required to name animators, even though I enjoy people outside the field. Some of Plympton's inspirations include Disney, Tex Avery, R Crumb, A.B. Frost, Carlos Nine, Saul Steinberg, Charles Addams, Milton Glazer, Hayao Miyazaki, Quentin Tarantino, Joanna Quinn (which I'm surprised came this far down his list, but she is younger than him so maybe not necessarily an 'influence') & Richard Leicester. The man he admires the most though is a man called Winsor McCay, a cartoonist and animator who died in 1934. He loved his surreal little world that he animated in. Plympton enjoys him so much that he remade a Winsor McCay piece called "Flying House", updating it to the 21st century. He got it funding through a scheme called Kickstarters where people around the world donate to a project and they get their name in the credits. If that isn't some form of love for a man's craft, I don't know what is.

The female lead from a piece in development by Bill
So finally, when offering advice on how to make a living being an independent film maker, the Bill Plympton way, he gave three simple rules. Make your piece short (the attention span of a viewer can wear thin and that can hurt your chances of getting picked up by television networks, festivals etc.), make your piece cheap (particularly encouraging people to avoid hiring different roles and trying to take on as many as you can) and make it funny (because everyone wants to see something funny). Once you've made your piece, you want to get it seen. Here's where you send it out to every festival under the sun. He even included the Oscars and Cannes film festival in his list. I don't know if he was aware he was in a room of at least 40-50% students but I may try submitting for those for fun...I mean, the worst they can do is say no, right? And he said some factions of media where he's made his riches is from theatrical release (which he hasn't done a lot of), television (which he has done a lot of, to tv stations all over the world apparently), DVDs (like the ones he was vending on the desk later), Merchandise (like his books and any toys, a bit early for me maybe) and commissioned work.

The nice sketch of the Dog he did for me

So I think that's all I've got to say. I think, if you've stayed with me till here, you must be able to tell that I believe Bill Plympton is quite a guy. He's a shrewd American out there to make a buck, but the amount of ability he has in his little finger makes it all permissible. I think it's a shame that he says he prefers to work alone or keep his team very small, because I think he has a lot more to offer. He wants to keep costs low and keep the animation and drawing style of his films as succinct to his own as possible, which are valid reasons I guess. Sadly, he couldn't stay for the second day of FLIP since he was travelling to Germany for another talk. It doesn't matter though, since I'll keep an eye out for him now. We've definitely not heard the last from Bill Plympton.

From left to right: Ravi Maheru, Bill Plympton & Myself

FLIP - Day 3

So I went to the second day of FLIP today (well the third day, technically), and attended a few more animation related events. A couple discussion talks and a couple Open Shorts later and I can evaluate that while today wasn't as good as yesterday, it was just about worthwhile to validate the weekend pass.

I started off with the Aardman Showreel and Q&A. It was hosted by one of Aardman's head model makers, Jim Parkyn. I have to say, while he mentioned that Aardman have been using CGI in some of their produce, unless you had a great interest in the processes behind model making, working with clay & armatures and, by extension, an interest in stop-motion animation in general, you wouldn't have found it entertaining at all. He showed off a fantastic showreel of Aardman's works over recent years (which was like eating a great-animation flavoured sundae topped off with nostalgia sauce) before going into the work behind achieving the Were-Rabbit from "Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and the work behind Creature Comforts. He also showed off behind the scenes videos throughout the presentation which was the only thing keeping me awake was genuinely interesting material.

Next, founders of Cosgrove Hall Films, Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall had a discussion with Marc Silk (voice actor) about their life and times in the animation world of yesteryear. These are the men responsible for Danger Mouse, Count Duckula, Wind In The Willows & Postman Pat and you could visibly see Marc Silk's childlike abandon as he barely contained the gleeful screaming little boy within him who just wanted to thank the men that made his after school hours that little bit richer. Sadly, this wasn't a feeling I could replicate since their work was popular in a generation before my time. I mean, I'm aware of Danger Mouse, Postman Pat, etc. but I didn't follow them episode by episode, day by day. Danger Mouse was cancelled the year after I was born, and Count Duckula ended the year after! Whether I was aware or their work or not, hearing them was nice. It was a very personal and intimate affair (despite the fact that they were on stage in an auditorium with at least 30 people were staring intently) were we heard about their woes and work ethics. Mark Hall said that when he was 9 he was playing with marionette toys, which clearly showed his interest in puppetry at a young age. Brian Cosgrove cited that one of his loves in animation is when you film a cycle of drawings you made in sequence. Watching it move, he called it similar to creating life.Then again he also said the way some people (including himself) are willing to draw morning, noon and night and enjoy it can on be the result of some kind of disease so, swings and roundabouts I guess. On a more professional front they also talked about their treatment of voice actors in Danger Mouse (and how they liked the human inflections invoked on a character of their creation through just a human voice) and some of the troubles with budgets and finding a cheaper method of animating rather than through cel. A talk worthy of note, from two legends of the field. I'm almost sad that the appreciation was lost on me but at the very least I can understand the work it takes and the ability they must possess to achieve what they have.

A storyboard for Count Duckula handed out at the talk

Finally, Midlands-born, award winning duo, The Brothers McLeod presented their new half hour film, "Isle of Spagg". I really enjoyed it. The animation was fluid, the colours were beautifully complimentary, and the humour was top quality with just the perfect amount of edge. Though I didn't particularly like the character designs and drawing style in general (the crazy lines/distorted perspectives of the environments was just too off-putting for me in this one), I laughed my head off and had a great time watching it. Beforehand Greg and Myles they went through their work process, explaining (in a strictly enforced 30 minutes) everything from artistic inspirations to script writing through to production. Their influences seemed very long-winded but all necessary apparently, and hearing their work process (and the fact that both brothers are colourblind :O) was quite educational. It was a great session, the best of the day in fact, with two great practitioners and two funny, amiable men that serve as an inspiration in their own regard.

There were a couple other events and showings but I chose to leave it there. I attended a couple of the Open Shorts showing throughout the day as well. Notable pieces included my friend's Gary Jones' "Overtime" & Ravi Maheru's "Caged". Also "The Marking of Longbird" Dir. Will Anderson (which I'd seen before), "All Consuming LoveDir. Louis Hudon (which I'd seen before and would love to see again and again), "Lighting in a Bottle" Dir. Jennifer Padgett, "Gato Encerrado" Dir. Peque Varela (though it's length was grating), and strangely enough "Hogan" Dir. Peter Millard and "Moxie" Dir. Stephen Irwin had its moments. Nevertheless, being shortlisted is a wonderful honor and no matter who wins the competition, all film makers should be very proud.

And like that, FLIP festival has come to a close for another year. Next year I'll be a graduate and the next in line to showcase my talents at the festival, hopefully riding the flag high with my final film for myself and for Wolverhampton University. Can't wait.

Friday, 28 October 2011

FLIP - Day 2

The FLIP festival started yesterday. But Day 1 of FLIP only had 3 events on and the general consensus among my friends were that they weren't interested and though I was interested in the OperaVox, I decided in the end it wasn't worth going to.

So Friday 29th October at FLIP was pretty good all-in-all. I arrived at 11am and got back home at 11pm. First there was the annual showreel review talk, this year chaired by Mick Foley. Reviewers included Barry Purves (Stop Motion Animator/Director), Glen Holberton (of Loose Moose Productions) & Michael Nagasaka (of Frontier Games). They had a discussion on the state of animation in todays world from each of their perspectives (which was mundanely fascinating at best) before granting their opinions on four individuals showreels. It was an interesting listen, and while very nice, the reviewers were appropriately critical and after talking to one of the applicants afterward, quite helpful. One point I was slightly confused by was Barry Purves commenting that a decent duration for a showreel is around 5 mins but it was of my previous understanding that snappier than that was better, at around 1 min. It was also brought up that a potential employer of an audience member used a "7 second test" where if he wasn't impressed in the first 7 seconds of a showreel, he'd turn off. A very informative session.

One of the events meticulously scheduled into the diary was the drinks and networking session where lager was provided (courtesy of one of the funders; Saint), and casual conversation was encouraged amongst the patrons. It's always hard to break away from the comfort zone that is your circle of friends but I did manage to talk to a couple people. Not as many as I wanted but met some good people nevertheless.

As well as throughout the day there was a wealth of short films shown in the 3 'Open Shorts' segments. Most of them fantastic, but of course there were some I didn't get. Notable films from Open Shorts 2 include "Das HausDir. David Buob, "The Skeleton Woman" Dir. Sarah Von Den Coom, "Flea and Fly" Dir. Fernando Miller. From Open Shorts 3 "Dead Bird" Dir. Trevor Hardy, "Plume" Dir. Barry Purves and particularly "Iluzia" Dir. Udi Asoulin & Uriah Naeh were great pieces of animation and film.

Overall, a positive experience, and it's pretty late so I'd better get off. Need enough sleep for Day 3, don't I.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

That Flippin' Festival.

So this coming weekend brings the FLIP festival to Wolverhampton. The future of FLIP was a little up in the air last year with funding issues and a lack of public interest and whatnot, but huzzah it's here for one more year. The organisation team left it a little later than usual to get the programme up but it's up now and looks alright.

Key spots that stand out are the Bill Plympton masterclass and the Aardman: Workshop. Bill Plympton, being a bit of celebrity in animation circles, is going to gravitate quite an audience. Same is true for Aardman, one of the biggest animation companies in the world despite the handicap of being british-born, who have one of the more fun, family-friendly aesthetics both to create and to see. Bill will be making/signing original work and Aardman will proably be going through development of their new film Pirates: Band of Misfits!

Outside those a few of the Open Shorts are always a treat. Especially with Ravi Maheru's "Caged" and Gary Jones' "Overtime" playing at Open Shorts 5 on Saturday. The Operavox looks interesting too as well as the "Drinks and Networking". Though I always hate when the word 'networking' is added onto the title of something. It makes supposed light-hearted social affairs awkwardly official and gives the entire thing the feeling of being on edge for a reason you're not entirely sure of. It's essentially the difference between sending a private message on facebook and sending a private message on LinkedIn.

Oh, and finally, yesterday was the day of a pretty important professional pitch. I'm not sure how much I can say about it (and I'm probably being needlessly secretive) but it was a pitch concerning a potential short clip to be played on a big television network. I did the best I could and presented my idea with as much clarity and professionalism as I could muster. Although I was up against some very good career rivals/talented contempories I hope the potential in my idea came through and that I get called back for a follow up.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Sketches on Walls

So I've been doing some character designs for a mum and a boy. Just thought I'd drop them here. I learned a couple things and borrowed a couple shapes from some other cartoons but hey, what's wrong with that?

Also, Shorts on Walls was today. It was a pretty alright little shindig that took place in the little courtyard in the Light House, Wolverhampton. Sadly, the piece I submitted didn't make the shortlist but some of my peers work was shown including Peter Taylor's 'Source', Gary Jones's 'Overtime' & Ravi Maheru's 'Caged', as well as other regulars cropping up from the usual circles. Topped off with a nice chat and a couple slices of pizza, a pleasant evening was had.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Fan Service

So I realised that I was 4 posts into this blog and I haven't posted any artwork yet. Well yesterday my lecturer cunningly set the class a sketching task. The session involved drawing random objects. So here is the produce:

That's a picture of a button.

And that's a picture of a ladybird. Which, funny story, was trapped underneath a stone when I found it, and rather than set it free from its rock tomb, I callously used the ladybird for my own sick, twisted, artistic needs and only when satisfied, did I choose to release it from the prison the ladybird had found itself in. It's a strange feeling when a seemingly small task becomes a moral trial between life and death. But hey, isn't it a pretty picture?

Thursday, 29 September 2011

"We've got all this picture and no sound and they've got all this sound and no picture..."

 -A quote from my lecturer, describing the basis of what's soon to be a hopefully long and fruitful relationship between animator and music producer at the University of Wolverhampton. Today, I went networking.

I'd actually been looking forward to today. Excited, almost. But it was until this morning that I realised that I'd invested no prior thought as to how I would conduct myself, or what questions I would ask. Basically, today the animation class took a trip to the Walsall campus to meet the third year music students. The idea was that we'd all meet together in a room, get talking, and see if we could scratch each other's proverbial backs. We have to create a final film. That film is going to need music. The music students have to create music. That music needs a film. Can you feel Hollywood stealing another movie plot?

So the meeting was conducted in a very casual manner. It was held in the campus' lounge area to the main hall; ornamented with a plethora of leather sofas, wall mounted flat screen LG TVs and fresh new carpet, all of which using a colour scheme not too dissimilar from a modern day McDonalds (...sorry, it needed to be said). The number of music students outnumbered us by around 2:1 so we planned to talk and mingle in groups of such. The original plan was a strictly regimented speed dating-like set-up but thankfully we managed to abandon that plan while still keeping all the inherit awkwardness that comes with.

I think it well. I meet a good ole' bunch of people and would definitely enjoy following up our haphazard assembly with more correspondence and collaborations. At some point beforehand I surmised that I was really looking for someone I would be able to work with closely, on more of a friendship basis, as opposed to a client or a business contact of some sort. I think together, we'd be able to produce better quality sounds than with the separation a professional front brings. Yep. A couple emails definitely need to be sent.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

First Week Review

So after just over a week back at uni I've now experienced an introduction to all the modules I'll be working on and essentially what the final year of my animation degree entails. Wow. This is looking to be quite a year. If I could liken it to top trumps the stats for my card would be:

Social Activity: 0
Well Rested: 0
Healthy Diet: 0
Normal Sperm Count because a laptop ISN'T sitting on your lap day in, day out: 0
Solid animation to make it all worth it: 

So I felt I'd give a small review of the week and introduce the modules/projects I'm aiming to work on for the next few months.

First day of the week, Monday, first module of the day had me face the granddaddy of all modules. Everything that my university education at Wolverhampton had been gearing up towards. The Major Project. This is the module that will drag and haul from me my final film. The film that I take out into the world to showcase my abilities and craft. I'd be thinking and working on my final film for a fraction of the summer beforehand so I was in a slightly better position than one who hadn't. Thankfully, my lecturer decided to use the time for a basic introduction to what's going to happen over the academic year and what's expected of us. He spoke with a kind understanding that this process towards the final film will be a gradual one and a personal one. The road needs to be tread carefully, but with a sense of organised urgency...eight months will pass by quickly.

The same day, brought along the Professional Animation Project. The brief involves finding and working towards the completion of a live project with a real client. The overall aim I imagine, to help us go through the motions of finding jobs as budding animators in the real world. After saying that, I'm not sure if it somewhat undermines the idea when several jobs and options were laid out in front of us for the picking. These were largely an assortment of stings and competitions, including making a sting for the prestigious British Animation Awards, making a sting for e4 (although the competition isn't open, we presume it will be), entering a piece for the 11 second club, as well as possibly entering a piece for the DepicT competition. I am very grateful to have opportunities laid at my feet and excited as to what I could make based on the varying assignments. On the other hand, this is only day 1 and now I've been tasked with my final film as well as several professional pieces. The lesson ended with the idea that decisions and ideas needed to be made and had by the next time we meet. My timetable is packed already.

Fast forward to Thursday, or the new Animation Club day. This is the day used to host the (now 1 year old) animation club. Between the hours of 10am and 12pm, this is an organised time to come in and ask questions to not just the tutors but other students too. In the past we tried to set up some running projects (that may or may not have fallen into obscurity) but mostly we'd be able to get on with work with the help of all those available. For the first club meeting of the year, some of my peers and I organised for the motion capture suite to be open to us so we could take the new 1st years through a tutorial of how it works and the possibilities they have. The trial went less than admirable. A combination of remembering how to use the program and just getting the system to work in the first place made for around 40-45 minutes of faffing around a PC while 30 students stood bored in a small white room wondering if something was supposed to happen soon. Eventually they just left. And I don't blame them. I imagine they were contemplating it for a while but it just took one brave individual to pioneer the movement. I'll tell you, the embarrassment you feel when 30 animation students just walk out of your failed tutorial is something slightly comparable to a very audible fart in a public situation. It's uncomfortable. And your the source. Everyone knows it. And no-one will say it.

On Friday I had the first Pre-Production lecture which was great because it's main brief was to tie in the work with the Major Project with that module. Essentially get the final film work to a certain level to match the hand-in dates on that lecture. I think it'll be useful for driving my work forward at an acceptable pace and also good for the ole' timetable for the fact that it's the same work that I'd already be working on. If 'Pre-Production' were another module entirely like 'Sound Editing' with it's own set of assignment brief and deadlines then I'd have a whole new host of other stuff to work on as well as everything else. So I'm happy the work is still at the same level.

Friday also brought our first dissertation lecture. While originally supposed to be on Tuesday, it got shifted to Friday so I was cheerily without introduction to (apparently) the only thing that validates my university course choice as a BA degree. The brief is a 1200 word dissertation research proposal by week 5 (3 week froms now) and the 4800 word dissertation in for week 13. As expected of the paper, it must be overly researched and stuffed to the tip with critical opinion from people I'm sure no-one's ever heard of. I'm going to detail right now that I have a huge disdain for the essay module. Not my lecturer. She's a lovely woman and tries very hard. But the idea that a single essay is the one thing that makes an Animation BA, an Animation BA, as in, without it, it's not a proper full fledged degree, is disgusting to me. The requirement for a written submission for a subject as obviously far-detached from writing as Animation sounds like a crazy old elitist law that someone in the grand library of legislature lost the manuscript for anyone and/or hasn't bothered to revise yet. I'm not bad at writing, I tend to find essays fairly easy, I just disagree with the premise of it whole-heartedly, yet am enforced to part-take of it. Starting with damn-near deciding the dissertation topic then and there and promising two appropriate research sources by next lecture.

Well it was a lovely week, that made me feel after 5 days (only 2 of them actually) that I was already behind and would be spending the year catching up. Even though I don't think that's the case, that's what I feel, which I think is a good feeling. That feeling pushes me to work. Not only work, but work efficiently. It's exciting and worrying. Terror and anticipation. Joy and LSD. Yeah, something along those lines.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Shorts on Walls

One thing I forgot to do in the previous post is a tad bit of shameless self-plugging! I'm available in a few popular spots over the internet.

Find me on Twitter at #JoshuaFamaksAni

Find me on Google+ by searching 'Joshua Famaks'

I'm also on Vimeo, check out some of my work.

You can also email me at if that takes your fancy.

I also realised that I should post about an up and coming animation event called Shorts on Walls. It's a casual experience where anyone that's interested struts in, has a few nibbles, a drink or two watches a couple short-listed animations and hopefully strikes up a conversation with someone they've never met before. I've submitted a piece for the event, and while I've no confirmation of anything yet, I'm still hopeful I get in. I also tried to convince a couple classmates to submit their work so we can make it a bit of a trip if a couple of us get in. It's happening in Wolverhampton's Light House on 13th October. Here's the page, for more info.

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Game start! Pawn to B3.

Now that we've broken the ice with a chess opening move joke allow me to welcome you to my blog. I plan to use this as a platform to display my work and progress in my animation career. And who knows, you may even get the odd spillage into my ideas and thought processes. I've never been the sort who was able to keep a diary so documenting my work in this format sounds pretty challenging at first. However, the reason for my abundant trail of bare-paged journals always stemmed from an inability to remember that the darned things existed. When the thought process to go upstairs to your bedroom, grab that little book from under the bed frame and let the emotions torrent through your pen like a squirrel on heat doesn't occur, keeping a diary is difficult indeed. But the advantage of this, I imagine, is that it's, like, on the computer! And I'm always there! So it should be well easy, y'know? No? Well, I'm choosing to believe it because it's my only hope of keeping this going more than this article.