Thursday, December 12, 2013

I wish I went to Ecaudor now on TrueTube

"I wish I went to Ecuador" is now available nationwide as a school resource on the educational website, True Tube. Another amazing feat for this film still screening worldwide. Congratulations to all at Bricknell Primary School, not least the amazing Victoria Jones who's real life story inspired the film.



Saturday, November 23, 2013

BAF award for Bricknell Primary School!

Congratulations to everyone at Bricknell Primary School who are celebrating after their animated documentary of school life was awarded the Young Animators Award at Bradford Animation Festival, beating films made by children and young people around the world.

Me, pupils and teachers and the BAF judges
A child’s view of life at primary school, from the first day to the last, “My Bricknell” features interviews across each school year, stop motion and flipbooks to illustrate the children’s’ individual journeys. From fears of exams, to the wonder of childhood, My Bricknell reveals what it is like to grow up through school in 21st Century Britain. The professional BAF jury, said, “The clever balance between the children’s voices and mixed media creates a moving and personal portrait of this school.”

Remarkably, this is the 3rd BAF award Bricknell Primary School have won, a feat never achieved in the festival’s history, in a special partnership with professional animator David Bunting. The collaboration has resulted in a series of internationally celebrated films and a total of 14 awards in just five years that has put Bricknell Primary School in Hull on the animation map. Their last film, “I wish I went to Ecuador” (2011), was screened at the worlds largest Environmental Film Festivals, the U.N. climate change summit, won the support, praise of Al Gore and a Hollywood award.

The film’s tutor, animator David Bunting, who this year worked on Children’s TV favorites, “Shaun the Sheep” and “Chuggington” said, “Bricknell Primary School is a very special place. The school’s ethos of using animation as an educational tool for learning, and the commitment and recognition of the value of that art is unparalleled. With schools finding it harder to engage and finance creative work like this in the curriculum, the BAF award is a timely reminder of how innovative creative excellence and risk taking in education can make a lasting impact on school children. Everything in this film was made by the pupils. Flipbooks felt the perfect medium for children to independently visualise these memories in a unique and personal way. In many ways, I feel My Bricknell is the most pupil centered film we’ve ever made.

Bradford Animation Festival is the country’s biggest and longest running animation Festival which this year celebrated it’s 20th anniversary. Deb Singleton, Director of the Bradford Animation Festival said, “BAF Kids and The Film by Young Animators Award have become an important feature of the BAF programme, with the number of submissions increasing each year along with the quality and variety of styles. Our Films by Young Animators Award encourages and recognises the development of new talent and we hope young film makers will continue to make their films and submit them to BAF in the years to come. Congratulations to all the pupils at Bricknell Primary School.”

Currently celebrating it’s 80th Birthday, Bricknell Primary School is a large primary school home to over 600 pupils, serving a culturally diverse community close to the University of Hull. The school’s headteacher, Tim Attwater, said, “We are so proud to have received this award. It is a real credit to the hard work of our talented pupils and staff. This film is really special to us as the entire project was led by the interviews and comments from our children and the lovely things they have to say about our school."

Monday, September 23, 2013

BAF nomination for My Bricknell

Congratulations to everyone at Bricknell Primary School who's new animated film "My Briknell" is nominated for an award at Bradford Animation Festival this November.

A child’s eye animated documentary of life at primary school, from the first day to the last. Featuring interviews across each school year, the film uses stop motion imagery and flip books to illustrate the children's individual journeys.


As Bricknell Primary School celebrates its 80th birthday, opening in 1933, “My Bricknell” takes a reflective journey of school life, told by the school classes of 2013. While the context is local, the film speaks universally and honestly of contemporary children’s experiences. From fears of exams, to the wonder of fun of childhood, My Bricknell reveals what it is like to grow up as a child through school in 21st Century Britain. Bricknell Primary School is a large primary school home to over 600 pupils, serving a culturally diverse community close to the University of Hull. The area is one of high density housing with 7 primary schools and one secondary school close by.

This is the fifth film made in a special collaboration between Bricknell Primary School  in Hull and animator David Bunting. Their collaboration, utilizing animation as a creative learning tool, has resulted in a series of internationally celebrated films and 14 awards to date. The last film, “I wish I went to Ecuador” (2011), a  was screened at the worlds largest Environmental Film Festivals, the UN climate change summit, and won the support and praise of Al Gore.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Boarding at Aardman Animations


I had a great time storyboarding in-house at Aardman Animations on Shaun the Sheep series 4. Such a special studio filled with the most talented group of artists, it’s hard to express how special it was working with them again on what is going to be a superb new series. When a group composed of the most talented and super critical artists gathered together for the Friday rushes and laughed though them all... you know its going to be good! And for a storyboard artist, seeing how the animators brought those single sketches to life was very special. I can't wait for the series to be broadcast so I can share some storyboards. For now, here's a silly picture of me and the fox.



 I've got a busy quarter coming up with new TV projects - more news to come - and I'm excited to be dropping into Sunderland University one day a week this term to teach their BA animation students storyboarding, and give advise to the MA students working on their final films.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Using Animation as a Storytelling Medium

Thanks to ToonBoom for this in depth article highlighting some of my recent educational work.
They said they were writing a big piece, but I wasn't it to be this BIG! Some brilliant projects here made my amazing young people and animation students who I'm very proud of.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Storyboard Pro training at Lupus Films

I was very excited, a little nervous and rather honoured to be asked by ToonBoom to teach Storyboard Pro to Frank Gladstones storyboard students at Lupus Films a few days ago.  Frank was my story mentor at Aardman Animations 5 years ago and was tickled pink to be in the same room with one of the worlds true great animation tutors.

Lupus Films and Creative Skillset teamed up to provide an excellent FREE training opportunity for storyboard artists.  They are running two courses – an intensive four week program for experienced professionals, and also a one day introduction to storyboarding. The last masterclass is this coming Saturday in London. If tickets are still available, go, go, go!


And we're off! My POV at Lupus Films of Frank Gladstone's (far right) very talented storyboard students. They all learnt storyboard pro today and produced a short storyboard, which they pitched. A great group.

Official... "Better than the X-box"!


My blogging has a lot to be desired. Especially as there's been such a lot of great things to report...
so here's a quick catch up...

2) Zoetrope Animation workshops at Cannon Hall


I love inventing animation workshops from museums collections and last month I was given the opportunity to do just that at Cannon Hall Museum and Gardens, a country house museum set in 70 acres of historic parkland. It doesn’t take much to get me excited about animation and museums, but this workshop was a real highlight of my year and a very special workshop.

Funded by the Arts Council, a huge number of school children will be invited into the museum over the next 2 years to discover the beautiful collections and practice all manor of creative arts.

I hunted around the museum for a day, looking for inspiration for a 2 hour animation workshop. I found my inspiration in a glass bowl, which on close inspection, I discovered featured a running lioness and cub. Could it be this was an example of sequential animation, actually in the museums collection? I got very excited about this and we arranged for a photographer to come and photograph each engraving. I then took those images into an edit to covert them into a movie. And gosh, is it breathtaking. Here’s a video of the animation.

videoNow, not only is this utterly AMAZING, but it reminded me of one of the earliest examples of animation, depicted on a 2000 year old Iranian clay pot. And of course it reminded me of the Zoetrope.

So being utterly spoilt, we were able to create a really exciting Zoetrope workshop with a historical and scientific underpinning.

In an age of technological innovation and ipads, traditional hand made workshops are sometimes forgotten, and doing these pilots, using cardboard, paper plates and a pencil, made me remember that good old hands on invention can’t be beaten. And that’s not a 30 something fuddy duddy talking. That’s the children. My quote of the week came from a child who simply wrote – Better than the xbox!

Look out for examples from the zoetrope pilot workshops at Barnselys new city museum this summer. 




The Energy Show

My blogging has a lot to be desired. Especially as there's been such a lot of great things to report...
so here's a quick catch up...

1) "The Energy Show" - The Science Museum

In June I was invited to join the animation team, headed by theatre designer and director Nina Dunn to stroryboard on animation scenes for the Science Museums big summer live family event spectacular, The Energy Show. I was also invited to contribute animation ideas and do a script pass - which was a whole lot of fun. Here's me sat in the garden 'working' hard on the script. Can you see the pressure? Fortunately refreshments were supplied by little Lottie to keep the creative juices flowing. (below). Catch the Energy Show at the Science Museum in London, 22 July - 31 August.



Thursday, April 25, 2013

ToonBoom blog

Thanks to ToonBoom for posting this great post about my recent workshop at Thomas Ferens Academy using FlipBoom Cartoon!

Friday, March 22, 2013

3 hours, 30 iPads and a 30 pupils from Hull

Something to get you in the weekend mood... completely bonkers and one of the most joyous times I've had in a classroom...ever!! A big thanks to Andrew Richardson for inviting me to Thomas Ferens Academy earlier this week. My good old fashioned animation story improvisation class blasted into the 21st Century.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Musicians of CuxAire

An amazing premiere yesterday at the National Media Museum.
Here's a few stills from the film.





Lord Mayor Dale Smith makes a guest appearance!