Tuesday, December 18, 2007

3 awards scooped for 1000 frames 1000 years!

2007 has been the 1000th birthday of Oxfordshire and in conjunction with Oxford Inspires , the Animation Station co-ordinated "1000 frames, 1000 years", an animation project to celebrate the event. I facilitated workshops for 2 films over the summer at the Animation Station and one at Queensway Primary School. On Saturday 15 Dec the young people saw the results of their work on the big screen at the Odeon Banbury.

I collected three awards on behalf of the young people and the Animation Station for Best film, Best special effects and Special achievement award!
You can see the "best film" and "best effects" films animated by 9-12 years olds below. Congratulations to all the young people who worked together to make such great films!

Oxfordshire 2007 celebrates the county's 1000th birthday through a year of special events, festivals and anniversaries, turning the spotlight on the wealth of talent which exists in the county today.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bio Mation - Aspergers

I thought I'd share some picutes from the BioMation Aspergers workshops, which have been taking place at Lime Trees hospital in York over the last few weekends. The project has been a partnership between Arts Action York and York Hospitals Trust and supported by the Pulse Awards.

This resulting collection of films, which we edit next week, is the personal artistic vision of young people with Aspergers syndrome. From the spoken word to animated artwork, the result is a collection of short but powerful personal experiences; social, emotional and scientific, that paint a picture of a life with Aspergers. The breadth of materials used, from paper cut-outs, paint and sand to digital techniques match the spectrum of human experience, from the humorous to the serious. This has been a true collaboration, with artistic and medical practitioners imparting their artistic knowledge, empowering young people to explore their experiences though the boundless power of animation. Special preview screenings take place at Lime Trees next week.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dreams launch in Salford

Verd de Gris cross-generational arts project Dreams starts a 12 month exhibition across venues in Salford, Rochdale, and Liverpool today. I worked with year 6 pupils in three schools to make their own film illustrating their hopes and dreams. The aim of DREAMS is to try and broaden our knowledge and understanding of our culture and how we live today, for example: how much young people are influenced by the technological and material world in which they live; and how much our society and culture have changed over the last 60+ years.

In January 2007 Verd de Gris began meeting older members of Salford's Yemeni community. Established over 70+ years ago the community has strong links to the history of Salford Quays and the shipping trade between the UK, Aden and the Middle East. They met Yusuf Bagail and Mohamed Alnomire at the Yemeni Community Association who made it possible to meet some wonderful people and hear some amazing stories and memories.

Venue: Salford Museum & Art Gallery, Community Gallery, Peel Park, Salford
Dates: 5th November 2007 - 3rd February 2008
Launch: Wednesday 7th November 5 - 7 pm

Cat man do

Tandem have done it again! Simply one of the funniest and best short animated films I've seen is "Cat man do" from Simon Tofield at Tandem Films. It is a masterclass in observation, timing and characterisation. I remember Disney animator Glen Keene telling us at animation school that an animator has to know and fall in love with what they are animting. Well Simon Tofield knows cats in and out. Cat man do, shows the artform of the drawn animator like few other films. Tandem Films are the masters of short film. I worked as an drawn effects animator on their award winning short "How to Cope with Death" and of course on "The Tigger Movie."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I'm really excited about this....! BioMation is a pioneering science and youth arts project in York. It involves artists and clinicians working with young people at York Hospital to explore health issues. These projects show how powerful animation can be as a communications medium. I missed the first phase due to a heavy workload and am delighted to join the team for the Aspergers project. These tests, produced by young people with Aspergers aren't about the condition. That's all to come! They are fun explorations of animation for animations sake. Each test was produced during a two hour workshop. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cooperative Young peoples film festival

The National Media Museum is certainly where the action was at! The air was electric for the Co-operative Young peoples film festival. I’ve never seen so many young filmmakers under one roof! As well talking about animation, I did a couple of fun workshops. Lots of people had a go making flipbooks. Here they are!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Proud to call him my head teacher

My headteacher, Mr Dennis Richards at St Aidan's CE High School, Harrogate, won The Ted Wragg Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Teaching Awards 2007 yesterday!

I always knew Mr Richards was the best headmaster you could possibly ever have. Now everybody knows! Read the full report!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Goole Silent Movie Premiere at National Media Museum

I'm a bit biased, but this is a great film!
Nicola Dixon, Project Manager

Your Dreams are worth living for! Peruse them!!!
Paul Arrowsmith, writer

You all made writing the music very easy - the film was brilliantly acted and put together. Well done and all the best for the future!
Dave Bainbridge, composer

Great fun great film! Thanks you.
Dave Robertson, actor (Ships captain)

As Chaplin said: “ ! “
Paul Vates, Genre advisor

It has been an absolute pleasure working with this group of people and I hope they will all feel proud of themselves as we do of them. xxx
Madeleine Frost, Performance director

This is only the beginning! Never stop discovering! Never stop dreaming! Never stop Believing! Gook luck!
David Bunting, Producer/Animator

Only you have the power to make your dream a reality. The future is yours to own. To a great team one and all. All the best and until the next time. Good luck & good furtune.
Peter M Kershaw, Producer/Director

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Peace Mala International Awards for Youth 2007

From left: me, Pam Evans (Peace Mala founder) and Delia MacNamara (Managing director, Imagine dpm) at Peace Mala HQ.

I traveled to Cardiff for the awards ceremony at The Welsh Centre for International Affairs, Temple of Peace in Cardiff for the most colourful and lively celebration of peace and faith I've ever seen!

The animation was premiered during the occasion, and it was really overwhelming to hear appreciation come from so many influential people. I've been told it even made some people cry. I've included photographic highlights from the event and stills from the animation.

Animation Stills

Goole Silent Movie VIP screenings

Pictures from the amazing opening screenings in Goole. Click on any of them to display full size and download. Demand was so high, we packed out 3 screenings back to back in the Gate Theatre! The red carpet was out. The cast, dressed up as stars they are, even arrived by limousine . An truly amazing and unforgettable time was had by all.

The premiere takes place at the National Media Museum in Bradford this Wed. I can’t wait!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Production progression

Well it’ been a hard slog but after all the blood, sweat and tears, animation is finished on “Peace Mala” and looks great! It premiere this Monday at the Peace Mala International Awards for Youth 2007 taking place at The Welsh Centre for International Affairs, Temple of Peace in Cardiff, which I can’t wait to attend.

So many people contributed to making this animated piece. On Sunday, the Sunday school at Wesley Chapel, Harrogate gave the production a big push forward with stunning colour rendering.
Also deserving special mention are Graphic Art and Design graduates, Sophie Truelove and Debbie Harman. Debbie was my animation apprentice on Goole Silent Movie and Sophie is a talented artist from Debbie’s course at Leeds met. Both contributed hugely to the traditional colour rendering. Sophie also animated a beautiful shot of Sufi whirling dervishes.
Sophie majored in film and Debbie in film and photography. They are both taking as much work experience as they can get to enhance their careers and I wish them every success. I recommend them unconditionally!

I thought it might be interesting to show some of the production stages in the opening shot, which proved to be the most challenging technically to produce.

The storyboard Imagine DPM provided underwent significant changes as we crafted the sequence. However the first shot remains largely unchanged, with the dove flying down to Earth from space, creating a rainbow as it swoops over the planet.

Using the storyboard as a guide, I produced a CGI shot in Softimage XSI, of the Earth and Sun.

Once the camera move was approved, we copied the computer sequence onto registered animation paper, which Debbie traced by hand to obtain a good hand drawn quality to the artwork. At the same time I animated the dove using the animation plates as reference. You can see the line test in the last post. It took a whole week for a team of young people in Hull to colour the 121 drawings of Earth needed for the scene in pencil crayons. I rendered the dove onto a separate layer. To composite the two images we also needed to produce hand drawn animation matts, to separate the dove and Earth. You can see the results of all of this work below.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Check out this rough edit for an amazing project I’m currently working on with Imagine dpm, to promote the work of the charity Peace Mala. I’m directing the animation sequence with features the charities mascot of a dove flying over symbols of religious faith around the world. Finally, the dove drops the Peace Mala bracelet it is carrying onto the hand of a child. Peace Mala contributes to education for global citizenship through promoting understanding, respect, tolerance and peace between communities, cultures and faiths. Each coloured bead on the Peace Mala represents a spiritual path or faith and carries the universal peace message known by many people as the Golden Rule. This rule encourages us to treat others as we wish to be treated. By focusing on the Golden Rule, people of all faiths can cooperate with one another without having to participate or believe in each other's particular belief system.

It’s an incredibly powerful and captivating message and I had the pleasure to meet the charities founder, Pam Evans, and talk over her vision for the sequence. To draw attention to the charities work with young people, all the backgrounds, animation and final rendering, except the dove and childs hand, have been drawn and animated by children and young people. I animated the dove which I hope will give it an ethereal quality.

All the animation is compete in this rough edit. You will see some computer fly over’s which will be transformed into hand rendered drawings. This edit is the first time we’ve brought in the music and you will hear a gap in the sound. Of course the biggest element missing is the colour, all lovingly added with coloured pencils.

The animation will be premiered at the Peace Mala youth awards at the United Nations building in Cardiff later this month. Stay tuned for updates!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cartooning in York

Animation artist artist Ralph Shephard and myself were in York on Wednesday, running a comic themed animation workshop run as part of the Event for York Youth services.

Ralph is an amazing artist who taught me way back when I was at Harrogate College and has worked for Cosgrove Hall and Aardman amongst others. He was granted honorary membership of the British Society of Painters in 2004. I last worked with Ralph at Splash so it was great to team up with him again. York Library brought along a mobile library so young people could find some cool comic references before designing their own character. Ralph showed how animation and comic characters are designed and I then helped them bring their characters to life.
Here's a glimpse at some of the magical flip books they created!

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I hope to work with Ralph much more over the next few years. Check out his web link to London Art in my animation friends links.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Animating on Goole Silent Movie

A big thank you to all our animators who worked tirelessly to finish animation on "The Lost Princess." After a big push, the drawn animation is complete and the cells have been painted! Debbie and myself are finishing off the last few remaining title cards and I now have a big stack of artwork to film at the close of the week. Check out the behind the scenes video when I somehow got roped into tracing lots of drawings on the last Saturday of animation!

Aboive: Sam animating the final sequence in the Lost Princess.

Animating Lost Princess

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1000 years of Oxfordsahire.

Well, it's the summer holidays and I'm having a ball working around the country on some really fun projects. We've just wrapped filming on Goole Silent Movie, and from that I went stright onto The Animation Station at Banbury.

It's a big birthday party in Oxfoidshire - 1000 years and the Animation Station came up with the brilliant idea of capturing 1000 years in 1000 frames. 1 week and 2 films later, I've got a bundle of brilliant animation from the children waiting for post production. Work in progress versions of the two films have already been shown at the Summer Screen Festival for young people in Oxforshire. There's even a video blog featuring the making of one of the films. We are on the end of the film dated Fri 3rd Aug. They seem to have mistaken me for the eduction officer, (sorry Clinton) even though I was flicking though animation at the time! Guys, I'm just the animator!

Tommorow I'm taking Wild Wonders at the National Media Museum in Bradford for two days. Over and out!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wild Wonders visits National Media Museum!

Wild Wonders is coming to the National Media Museum in Bradford for two days over the summer on 8th an 9th August! Visit the museum website for details.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dreams on Radio 4

This Friday morning at 11.00 on Radio 4, two girls who worked with Nina Perry at Clarendon Rd as part of verd de gris "Dreams" project will be 'appearing' in Nina's new broadcast piece for radio 'Mirror Mirror'. Have a listen!

On Monday at St Andrews Primary there was a 'coming together' of the 3 schools involved in the project. Representatives of the local Yemeni community, Yusuf and Mohammed from the Yemeni Community Assoc. also came and were so impressed by what the children had achieved and how respectful they were to them as visitors, to the school and during the poetry reading in particular.

I've just completed the edit for the animation. News on the Dreams exhibition soon.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Festival 07

It's festival time again!

After a hugely popular animation flipbook tent last year, I am pleased to be back for a bigger than ever Festival ‘07. Thursday 5th July is aimed at secondary school children, Friday 6th is aimed at primary school children and Saturday 7th is Youth Arts Festival day. I'll be in my tent for the full three days. Saturday is open to everyone - you can find me from 5-10pm.

There is also an opportunity to see some of the films I've produced over the last year with children and young people in the film tent between 12-6pm.

The films being shown are:

"Flipbooks 06" (The best flipbooks from Festival 06)

"Jack and the Beanstalk", Stepney School & Creative Partnerships Hull

"How Wilberforce Stopped the Slave Trade", Stepney School & Creative Partnerships Hull

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar", Bricknell School, BBC Hull

"Around the World in 80 Days", Animation Station

Last year, the festival attracted 900 Secondary Students, 1000 Primary Children and 2500 Young People!

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Half-term Cartoon heaven!

Check out this new project which finally swung into action over half-term. Biomation is a pioneering science and youth arts project in York, UK. It involves artists and clinicians working with children and young people at York Hospital NHS trust to explore relevant health issues. We're using animation, digital media, sound and creative writing to produce short films, animation, stories and music. The project is unique within the UK. I spent the half term in the children's ward of York Hospital making flipbooks. Brilliant stuff! Can't wait to see this project take off.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Busy busy busy

Well it's so manic that it's hard to find time to blog right now. I had a fantastic time at Clifton Nursery School in Hull, as part of the Think Smart programme for Creative Partnerships and the Beverley Road Network Learning community last week. We made an animated film with the 3 and 4 years olds based on the story they are reading, Michael Rosen's brilliant "We're going on bear Hunt." The animation 3 and 4 year olds can do has to be seen to be believed. Amazing stuff.
I spent the weekend in Goole for the Goole Silent Movie Project, which is really getting exciting. Check out the blog (it's taking up all my blogging time right now!). "The Lost Princess" has entered pre-production with screenwriter Paul Arrowsmith and actor Paul Vates joining us this week. We are also pleased to welcome The National Media Museum as project supporters. They are staging the premiere for us in the Autumn.