Thursday, 24 September 2009

John Otway...Awesome!

So last night was the second night of eccentric entertainment that I attended. Yes following form the success of Kinky Friedman I went to see Otway and Barrett. To those to in the know, that's John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett, together once again after, well only about a year, but I didn't have chance to catch their last tour. Before then though they haven't played together since the early eighties, as far as I know.

It was great to see what was, in essence, the original line up and to hear some Otway classics as they were originally performed back in the day before I even existed.

There was no real weirdness about this gig as I had company so nothing to report on that front. However, not wanting to let the night go by smoothly Brother Chris convinced me to go over and say hello. This was mainly due, for those who don't know or can't remember, to the fact that John Otway recorded the voice-over track to my graduate film Jonny The Pessimist. So an awkward conversation was had, made stranger by the fact that my PC blew up in the morning so I started moaning about that. At this point we wished him well and returned to our seats. Anyway, he did remember making the film and from what I could tell did seem to enjoy it which is nice. He mentioned how he'd been forwarding people to it via the John Otway forum and would link to it when his new site is up and running. Which is all great stuff.

So the gig continued, there were a few songs I'd never heard live before which was great. A highlight being The Highwayman, which was a definite influence on Jonny The Pessimist and if I remember correctly, the first Otway song I heard.

So once again another awesome night. Wild Willy Barret was excellent,a great straight man to Otway's eccentricities and a master musician. There were also some excellent and surprising destruction of guitars and a pair of Chekhov's bagpipes that it seemed would go unused until the finale.

So that's it for a few weeks, back to the day to day monotony of life, and the trials and tribulations a sucky, blowed up PC.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Kinky Friedman

I saw Kinky Friedman last night and a strange experience it was. If you don't know who he is I wouldn't blame you. I only know of him through my Dad who was a fan of his stories collected in The Kinky Friedman Crime Club which all feature Kinky as a "wise-cracking, cigar-smoking, cat-loving reluctant hero-detective and are based in New York" - says Amazon. Anyway, hes been trying to get me to read these for ages and I think it's about time I did. The reason I was so reluctant before was mainly due to the fact that I only read a work during my lunch break and the book was a big 'un, to big to carry in my bag. The other reason I know of him is through the song, "They ain't making Jews like Jesus anymore" which featured on one of Dad's tapes he used to play in the car.

So when I found out he was playing in Brighton, I must say I was interested but reluctant due to my current situation of money, however after Dad pointed out that I paid a hell of a lot more to see Kevin Smith (coming up on 10/10/09) I thought what the hell. And I'm glad I did.

At first it was a little strange as I had gone by myself I had a lot of hanging around to do. There's only so many times you can read the flyers on the table. That an the fact that the place is like a cabaret club it was a little off putting. But I stuck with it. The problem is whenever you find you have time to wait anywhere, and if conversation is running dry (or none at all in last nights case) you start to people watch. you try and figure out who's there because they're fans and who's there for a simple night out. You also start to judge people a lot depending on the way they're acting. Not in an evil way I might add. To give an example there was a group who throughout the night were collecting more people and hugging and laughing and by the end begin quite annoying with their talking, but I gathered they were on some kind of work-based retreat and were there for the sake of it. On another table were an older couple who from what I could tell were obsessives as they lit up when Kinky came out before the show to sign some books and they rushed over in excitement. And then there was me, strange guy on his own staring at flyers and practising origami.

This wasn't as bad as a rock gig where there's always a point when you see someone who's really annoying and then they forever turn up and seem to hang around you. But I digress.

Once the show started all was fine. Kinky sang, with piano accompaniment of Little Jewford (of the original line up Kinky Friendman and hte Texas Jewboys) Then there was a brief Q&A about his political career (he's running for Governor of Texas), an excerpt from his book and a final set of songs with a double encore. And just to state this wasn't a run out the back and wait for a couple of minutes encore, this was a go off the front of the stage and then decide to play a couple more songs encore. I'm not saying it wasn't planned but, I think, depending on audience reaction, he could have refused.

In a strange, coincidental note, for the final song of the night he played the folk song Pretty Boy Floyd originally by Woody Guthrie. This was strange due to the fact that only a week before I bought I CD of American Murder Ballads for that song. Bizarre.

Anyway, it was a great night after the initial weirdness. I then went over, shook the man's hand and left.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Here there be moaning.

The fifteen E4 estings have been announced and are currently on the website. I hav eto be careful what I say now as not to be simply brushed of as jealous ramblings becuase I didn't get in this time. With that said I will answer the burning question, are any of them actually any good?


Ok there are a couple that look pretty, and couple have nice ideas, however the majority are just far too simple to be interesting. This year I had noticed how many featured similar ideas. There were a lot of video game influenced entries and a coupl made it into the final. However a bad couple, this first, similar to mine, takes a level of a video game but is just bad. At least mine looked like is was a real game. The other shows a series of Nintendo Game & Watch style games but has a really erratic edit style and really looks a mess.

I also want to mention a live action entry with a girl wearing a shredded E4 on her face blowing in the wind for the ten seconds. It made the final. I just don't know what's wrong with the world these days.

If I enter again next year I'll remember that all is needed is some pointless crap moving whilst the e4 logo moves around. Very little is needed beyond that.

So my bias got the best of me by the end, I just hope that my friend wins becaues of what I've seen, at least I know he'll be able to come up with somethign good for the treatment/storyboard section of the competition.

In a random note, just seen this on Youtube. Can't quite work out if its good to see Matthew Broderick or just depressing due to still trading on Ferris Beuller lines.

Side note, even though its old, Obama needs to find a better cameraman/editer.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

No mini-crumble for me then.

I thought I'd best update as not to look like a fool. I'm guessing that I haven't made the final of this years esting competition as a friend has just informed the world, via facebook, that the sting he contributed on has made it. Therefore, as I have received no email I can only fear the worse.

I am happy for the guy but a little disappointed. It would have been nice to finalise once again, especially with my current feeling about the competitiveness, and not to mention CG-ness, of the current animation industry. It will be interesting to see what the quality is like this time. There were a few dud ideas last year, some that even won.

So back to that drawing board I go.

For a final time, this is what the world was missing out on.


My memory sucks.

So I'm trying to remember how this years Esting competition is going to work. I know from the 800 entries there will be only 15 finalists (whether this changes due to the amount of entries) and then those 15 get sent on a secret mission of sorts. I just can't remember when. I know it was supposed to be sometime in September, 15th I think, but I can't be sure.

Anyway, no point worrying about that when there's more on the cards. Today I finished principal photography on the music video. I say that but there's still a bit to do, but most of it now takes place on the computer, which failed to turn on for the last two days. Seems fine now though. So that's coming along until the next hiccup.

Alongside the music video I'm doing some editing for OpenBook having filmed their London event a couple of weeks ago. I need to edit this into a 2/3 minute trailer for future events.

Having edited making of footage before, I don't feel this will be that challenging, however I've never really filmed events before so I'm not sure what the coverage will be like. I did film a live dvd a few years back but this involved a roaming camera and a base camera. I manned the base camera. Anyway, here's hoping all is well. However I've never used a Mac before nor Final Cut pro, and I had a whole checking my options in life moment this weekend.

This was mainly due to above fact and the following. There's more and more students graduating each year, and each year technology improves. If the universities have the money they'll get the new kit. Compared to me, who not begin the richest person in the world can't afford new and interesting programs let alone a Mac, so continues to use the programs I was trained on, setting me back about five years. If you want to compete, like everything, it seems you need money.

But as I realise, I don't think I ever really wanted to be an animator. I just got the skills is all.

Anyway, so I'm up to date on the music video, I'm doing some extra experience work, I just need to find a job and things will be...not on track. Things will be at a level where I cam earn a little money, enough to live, and then start thinking about quiting my job in order to follow a career in something interesting. That is unless the job I miraculously find is interesting.

Beyond that I pick up the scraps left by Brother Chris to develop my writing.

So we're all up to date. In more pleasant news I saw 500 Days of Summer t'other day and was well impressed. It's a different (and far superior) take on run of the mill romantic comedies. Starring the always excellent Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was wasted in G I Joe, and Zooey Deschanel, who also always gives a good performance, it revolves around Gordon-Levitt character falling in and out of love with Deschanel. With a back and forth storytelling style, and some neat visual styles, it does not fail to impress and gives you a good feeling on the way home. Plus it had a cool soundtrack.

It reminded me a lot of In Search of a Midnight Kiss which I saw a couple of days before. This is a lot closer to Woody Allen's Manhattan, but in Los Angeles. it centres around a lonely guy not wanting to spend New Year's eve alone and sets up and ad looking for anyone to kiss at midnight, hence the title. It's an independent film from Alex Holdridge and is very similar to the films of Richard Linklater. I realise I'm just saying what other films it's like but my blog mind has come to an end. If you like any of the films mentioned then you should check it out.