This week I saw a film that i've been excited for since I saw a trailer in Tokyo. In fact I loved it so much that i've already watched it twice. The film that captured my heart and imagination was The Little Prince.
I saw the beautiful stop motion and I was hooked. Then I saw the stunning CG visuals and I was more confused than excited. What studio made this? Why hadn't I seen posters for this in the UK or Australia and how could I see it?
Then last week Netflix answered my animation request and put it on the site. This film was going to be realeased in early 2016 but it was mysteriously pulled . Instead it was released by Netflix in August. It has so far had positive reviews and has become the most profitable French animation of all time. The studio that created this film is a little hard to discover because a lot of people worked on it. It seems On Animation Studios (or Method Studios) in Montreal did the CG . They also created the quite pretty Chaplin & Co TV show. The Stop motion was also created in a Montreal studio and had great Stop motion animators such as Anthony Scott and Alexander Juhasz .
This is a really interesting little podcast with the two animators:
The Little Prince - Stop Motion Animation from A Scott on Vimeo.
It is a film based on a French children's book called The Little Prince. I owned a sketch book with this little guy on the cover a few years ago without knowing what it was. Boy, am I sorry I didn't know at the time. I remember a stranger being so in love with the sketch book that she ran up to me to ask where I bought it. I understand now why she was so enamored.
In this film a young girl with an over baring , but caring mother (Rachel McAdams) move into a new house so that they can be in the catchment area of a good school. The only catch is their eccentric neighbor (Jeff Bridges). Throughout the CG story we see the little girl befriend her old neighbor who teaches her lessons through his illustrated stories. These stories are all shown in 2d and stop motion and the animation is just beautiful. The designs and uniqueness comes through in every frame.
It is one of those stories that is appealing to kids , but speaks to adults on many levels. We debated in our house for a while about the themes of the film, which is surely what a good film should do.
Not only is it visually stunning , but the characters are full of charm and very endearing.
Mr Fox is my personal favourite. Especially in the CG world when this cuddly counterpart comes to life and is animated to look like a great muppet. I want to cuddle him!
It inspired me with its beautiful quotes and caused me to doodle a little fan art.
I can't recommend this beautiful film more.
5 stars *****
Friday, 26 August 2016
Monday, 11 July 2016
Tuesday, 7 June 2016
So we all know this famous Milt Kahl pearl of wisdom:
but sometimes there are days (mainly when you are fixing intersections) that your brain needs to escape and listen to something interesting. There use to be a great wealth of animation podcasts , but those fresh faced animators are now all directors and incredibly busy people so I had to go on the hunt for new listening material.
Here are my top 6 favourite podcasts to keep you sain on those fixing days:
. Imaginary World Podcast - Eric Molinskey has a created the perfect podcast for my geeky mind. He explores a host of imaginary worlds. From Sci - Fi's obsession with sexy robots to translating a comic book characters costume for film. I love them! It also helps that he use to be an animator on the Rugrats so he has a great insight into the animation world too. Start at the beginning and work your way through them ALL!
. How Did This Get Made - As far as podcasts go , this one is the king. Three famous comedians Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, Jason Mantzoukas (you'd know them all by sight since they are in every good show or film) and a guest start watch and hilariously dissect awful films. A few favourites of mine are here and here.
Awful films are a secret passion of mine and my Mr's. We both got so addicted to this podcast that we sit down at home like to old timey people from the 1940's and just listen to it instead of watching TV.
.Toon Talks - With the sad *disappearance of my favourite podcaster Clay Kaytis and his animation podcast, all animators were wandering the lonely animation wasteland in need of a new show. And then Sandra Ni Chonaola appeared. This bright and bubbly lady asks the questions to famous animators that I've always wanted to ask. Check out some of her incredible guests such as Pete Docter and Mark Oftedal
*I realise this sounds like something bad happened to him but it's the exact opposite. Clay Kaytis is busy directing his first feature Angry Birds.
. The Pixar Podcast - If you haven't heard this one yet then jump on board. There are some great interviews with Pixar animators talking in detail about the techniques and information about specific shots. It's a great listen and the perfect thing to listen to while you are waiting for the next Spine Doctors podcast (one of the original and best animation podcasts around).
.I Was There Too - Each week Matt Gourley talks to extras or bit part actors that were in your favourite movies. These cast members talk about what it was like on the set and share tid-bits about your favourite films and directors. The episode where he interviews all of the people on the bus in Speed is fantastic. Mainly because each person has a different version of events. It's really interesting and done in a light hearted manner that appeals to my nerd love of film and comedy. A great listen.
. The Canon * - This list was made a 'top 6' at the last second because I discovered a gem of a podcast only yesterday. I'm only a few episodes in but the Canon seems great. Two hosts, Devin Faraci and Amy Nicholson battle it out to decided if a certain film deserves to be placed into the Canon of 'greatest movies of all time'. Most of the time they argue like cat and dog , which only adds to the wonderfulness. They are both stupidly knowledgeable about films and both add depth to their arguments. Somehow I came away from the Temple of Doom episode agreeing that it didn't deserve to be in the Canon (?) . It's worth listening to with your ear holes.
*I have listened to a bit more of this and I can't bring myself to stop listening BUT I hardly ever agree with their opinions. Saying this , they do have a good insight to films and I think sometimes being forced to question why you love something such as Blade Runner is a good thing. It can be frustrating because you want to argue back at them but I would recommend this show still. Just try not to get to angry at them.
Special mention: Ted Talks - This isn't a podcast as such but I LOVE listening to them. They are stupidly inspiring and leave me overwhelmed most of the time. If you don't listen to Andrew Stanton's Ted Talk and want to instantly pick up a notebook and write stories then you are crazy my friend!
Now you see it - This is not part of the main list because you really need to look at it to appreciate it. These little talks about film making are delightful. His love of the old Simpsons and Brad Bird may also have swayed me into loving this.
Happy Listening x
Sunday, 15 May 2016
This week I hit a wall.
Not an actual wall but a proverbial animation barrier.
For weeks I've been over the moon that my work has been coming so naturally. I thought back to uni Tania and chuckled to myself. Then suddenly past Tania got her revenge. It was if all animation skills fell out ofmy head. I could blame the crazy weekend I've had, the stress of a new project or a million other things. Whatever it was I didn't like it.
So I wrote into google 'how to be an animator' and even though I've been doing it for 9 years and could probably predict every step that each website would advice for a beginner, it inspired me.
Most of the advice was basic skills, so I forced myself to sit down and come up with my own advice.
What would I tell another animator if they wanted to get out of their head?
So just for all of you out there who are having a bad day? Here's my tips for getting back on track.
1. Step away from it.
Go make a coffee, get up and walk around. Literally do anything that means you don't look at the screen for ten mins.
2. Do another creative task.
Draw on a post it, make a model out of blue tac or try your hand at origami.
It feels like you are taking time from the scene, but it activates the right side of your brain. You've probably chastised the creative part of your brain so much that it's turned off. The right brain is a delicate creature.
3. Delete keys.
Ok this one comes with a warning- Save first!
Create a file just for your little experiment. Go through the parts that are bugging you and delete the thousands of built up in-betweens that are bogging you down. What I normally find is that I have keys and secondary poses that are working, but I get lost in all those little flickers. The fact I know it's a
experiment means I normally try something a little different without fear and 9 times out of 10 I end up keeping the experiment.
4. Get a second pair of eyes
Yes, it’s not looking like you want it to so you aren't proud of it ,but that's why you need help. It's not weakness and people don't judge. When someone shows me there shot I have fun talking with them about it. So I imagine they feel the same way when I show them my work.
5. Listen to something inspiring.
It might be music that reflects the feeling of the scene or a quick podcast from an animator you admire, but it helps to rev those engines.
I'm animating snappy work right now so sometimes I just play happy classical music since it's so ingrained with Looney Tunes that I can't help but get excited. ..that or I watch a few seconds of Presto or Pocoyo. Those wto never fail to inspire.
Everyone has bad days, but don't let it drag you down. Let it be the spring board to learning something extra.
Happy animating guys.