Wednesday, 29 October 2008


A bit late this post but being the last week of animation on Little Face I have been a bit busy.

Anyway, last Friday I unexpectedly found myself flying to Santiago De Compostela in Spain for the awards ceremony of the Curtocircuito short film festival ( They rang me on Thursday morning to tell me that my film John and Karen had won the prize for best animated short and wanted me to come and pick up the award. That evening I was checking in to a hotel in Stansted for an early morning flight.

Once in Santiago De Compostela I discovered that I was sharing the award with Jeremy Clapin for his extremely excellent film Skhizein. I'm not really sure why I was sharing the award since Jeremy's film, being as extremely excellent as it is, should logically have won the award alone. I'm not complaining though.

You can learn more about Skhizein here;

Also, Felix Massie (co-worker and flatmate) received a special mention in the same category for his single-flash-file epic Keith Reynolds Can't Make It Tonight. So that was good. He wasn't there though. But he was in Chicago so I don't think he minded.

You can visit Felix Massie here;

I was only in Spain for one night but it was a good night (not sleep wise however).

Sunday, 19 October 2008

new pen and cartoon (2)

I bought a new pen on Thursday. A brand new medium non-permanent green Stabilo marker to replace the old one. With five great british pounds in my pocket I went down the road to to Stationary World to buy the pen. There was a moment of panic when all of the pens they seemed to have were Staedtler. There was a brief moment of weakness where I contemplated a medium non-permenant Staedtler marker but then I thought no. No.

Fortunately after scanning the pens for a few more seconds I spotted a box on the floor filled with a variety of dusty Stabilo markers. They cost £1.75 each so I bought a green one and a red one. I am not sure yet what I will use the red one for but it looked suitable for making some nice big ticks or crosses on a variety of things.

The route sheet is now nine deep green boxes closer to completion. Sixty to go.

Now, to make this post a little less pointless then it already is, here's a cartoon...

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

the medium non-permenant green Stabilo marker

Two and a half weeks of animation left on Little Face. Progress has been made but a disturbing development has developed. My green pen, the one that I use to colour in the boxes on the route sheet, is running out.

The deep rich green of previous boxes is slowly becoming pale and unsubstantial. What was once a beautiful block of colour is now becoming an uneven gradient. Rather then one smooth satisfying scribble to fill a box a now have to apply pressure and move the pen slowly and deliberately to make a mark. Sometimes I have to make two or even three passes to achieve a suitably visible shade of green.

I fear that after only a few more boxes the pen will be making marks barely visible to my already short sighted eyes, particularly in the low light conditions of the long evenings ahead of me. I may end up having to make so many passes that I will be spending more time colouring in boxes then I will be animating which in turn gives me fewer boxes to colour in which will create a reductive cycle that eventually leaves me colouring in a single box forever. Not only is it counter-productive it also means I have to re-assess my continued use of the pen. This is unfortunate as the pen, a medium non-permanent green Stabilo marker, saw me through the entirety of my previous film Operator and has made it through the majority of Little Face. I have become quite attached to the pen and, with only a scene and a bit to go, it is sad that it looks like it is not going to make it until the end of the film. This is largely my fault for making a film with so many shots and using an already well-used pen to fill in the boxes.

A natural solution would be to discard (or at least put away) the green pen and use another working pen that I have to hand to colour in the remaining boxes. This is of course a ridiculous solution. To use another random pen will ruin the consistency, symbiosis and psychological constant that the green pen and the coloured-in boxes provided me. I have not been creating a patchwork. I have been creating a solid bar of beautiful green colour that represents my progress through the film, much like the red bar that will show viewers their progress through the film when they watch it on YouTube (although at 12 minutes I don't think it will fit on YouTube). The bar must be maintained and nurtured through to the end, otherwise it will just be like the point at which the viewer clicks the back button when they realise the film is 12 minutes long. The bar can not change now.

I have only one course of action. Tomorrow I will go to the stationary shop down the road and buy a new medium non-permanent green Stabilo marker. If they do not have any medium non-permanent green Stabilo markers I will go to the stationary shop up the road and buy a medium non-permanent green Stabilo marker. If they don't have a medium non-permanent green Stabilo marker then I don't know what I will do, but I will do something.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Thursday, 2 October 2008

little face as of now

This is my workstation at home, I took this photo today. It is situated in the corner of the living room and has been where I have spent most of every day for the last two months. The large, partially green, chart to the right is the route sheet. This represents all the shots I need to animate. When I have animated a shot I colour the corresponding box in green. When the entire chart is green all the animation is complete. This is a very useful chart to have, it helps prevent me sleep at night and gives me high blood pressure.

To the left, above the computer, is the production schedule. This allows me to see how much time is left before the deadline and count the days down accordingly. By cross referencing this with the route sheet I am able to successfully ruin my appetite and weaken my immune system.

You can tell how complicated the film is as I am working on two computers at the same time.

the subtle hues of nathan taylor

Here are my costume designs for Nathan Taylor, the main character in my new film Little Face. They aren't so much costume designs more trying to work out the colour palette and whether or not he should wear a shirt under his jumper.

I went with the shirt in the end and here is Adam Buxton as Nathan during the shoot.

and while on the subject; here are some photos from the shoot...

The film was shot on about seven locations around Bedminster in Bristol over three days. My first experience of a live action shoot and I loved every minute of it.

little face catch up

I am currently deep in to production on a new short film entitled Little Face. It is being produced by Calling the Shots for Southwest Screen and the British Film Council as part of the Digital Shorts scheme. It is about a man who has a chance encounter with his imaginary friend from his childhood and they spend an afternoon becoming re-acquainted.

It is my first live action film, although I haven't strayed too far from my comfort zone as Little Face is being achieved with the magic of animation. The shoot was completed in June and since then I have been mostly busy animating Little Face and struggling with the complicated nature of believably compositing a yellow blob in to a live action environment. Fortunately I have some good help with the compositing, unfortunately I do not have any help with the animation so time is running out and there is still quite a lot to do.

I was intending to post some Little Face stuff on a blog but never quite got round to it so I am now going to post some Little Face stuff on this blog in a retrospective manner. I figure a good place to start is near the beginning so here are the original images that I created for the pitch to Southwest Screen. I used my flatmate and co-worker Felix Massie as a stand in for the character of Nathan (eventually to be played by Adam Buxton who is a better actor then Felix Massie and is on the radio and TV and I have never heard Felix Massie on the radio or seen him on TV but I look forward to when I do).

As part of the pitch I also made the following storyboard for a scene that didn't make it in to the final film...

That was the pitch. It all seemed so simple back then. 'How hard can a film about a yellow blob on legs be?' I thought. Turns out it's quite hard.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

new blog

I have set up a number of blogs in my time and this is the latest. I have decided to do something a bit different with this blog however; I am going to update it regularly.