Saturday, 6 November 2010

Jenny Ringo Needs you...

Well it needed me actually. Here's my account of workignonf Jenny Ringo and the Monkey's Paw.

So there I was minding my own business when Brother Chris suddenly announced it, “I’m making a short film and I need you to do some animation.”

With nothing better to do I jumped at the chance...

...Ok so it didn’t really go exactly like this. Well actually, pretty much. This was before the exact details had all been worked out. You see it started as me filming 20 seconds of Animation, tops. Then it stretched to me becoming half of the art department. This naturally led me onto the Prop handler/wrangler and finally settling on general dogsbody, including a bit of Fake Shempery.

But I still jumped at the chance. If Chris could pull it off, this film would be mental, and prove that all short films didn’t need to be about two people arguing in the director’s living room.
Here be my experience on Jenny Ringo and the Monkey’s Paw.

I’ll split this into 3 separate sections due to the different jobs I worked on.


So my initial task was to use my animation skills to animate (obviously). There were two short sections. Now I don’t want to give too much away with any of this so I’ll be brief. I needed to animate a Monkey, which I can say, as monkeys clearly play a large part in the story. This was just a ten second clip to visualise a monkey doing stuff. (I’m good at hiding the spoilers).

For this I used my tried and tested technique:-storyboard the clip, film it to get timing right, start drawing on paper, frame by frame. I then scanned the pictures and composited the whole thing together on the PC. This sounds simple, and relatively is, but takes time. I think the drawing, scanning and compositing only took about three days max. After an evening of tweaking, the first scene was complete.

The next scene once again needed to visualise some stuff. I had a chance to elaborate a little with this though and managed to come up with a cool little scenario for a famed Russian playwright/Star ship navigator. Somehow this one didn’t take as long. Well, I say that, but when I finished this one it was the early hours of the morning. This scene ended up being about 15 seconds long.

There’s nothing too complicated with these scenes. But hopefully they help to take the film that extra level to show what can be done with low budget independent shorts.

Art Department/Props

None of this is chronological by the way. I didn’t animate until after principal photography had finished. Before that I was given the task of Art Department along with Charlotte my girlfriend, and we dived straight in. There were 4 major areas. The living room, kitchen, hallway and one bedroom.

We basically had to make Brother Chris’ flat not look like his flat but like someone else’s flat. With the living room we needed to make it look as though we hadn’t just added a load of cool looking things on the shelves but that someone actually lived there. This was fun to go round and collect what we already owned and buy a few odd looking objects to fill the spaces. Here are some of my favourites:

The Creepy Doll – Strangely I felt safer with this after I bloodied it up.

The Brain – You always need a brain.

With the Kitchen, we were tasked to mess it up. Not just mess it up, it needed to look like it had never been cleaned. As if no one had ever even thought of cleaning it. As if no one would dare clean it. The trick for this is canned goods. Beans, macaroni and cheese and the slightly worrying meal in a can. I think we chose the all day breakfast as we couldn’t find the one with the omelette in.

Messing up a kitchen is easy. Lay a few unwashed dishes around, leftovers from lunch, add more dishes for effect and cover with beans and so on. Please note this will create an unpleasant smell and a sight you hope never to witness in the real world.

Once the scene was complete we got to tidy the Kitchen up. Lucky Us.

The hallway and bedroom was simply a case of dressing doors or walls with stuff that the characters might have decorated with, whilst subtly revealing a bit of their character in the decoration. Jenny was always going to be spooky, gothy and halloweeny. Gavin was never really explored deeply. Just a slacker type so we opted for an assortment of posters torn from music magazines.

Fake Shemp and Everything Else

I also appear in the film in a couple of Fake Shemp roles. 1 looking terribly like the ghost from Carnival of Souls and another, well let’s just say I got the role because apparently I look smarter in a suit.

Further to all the above, I was generally there for most of the filming. Helping out where I could. Whether this was as a drinks wrangler, monkey wrangler, sound wrangler or safety pin wrangler; I was always happy to help out.

Yes the days were long, and there were a couple of occasions where I had to sit in a room on my own until snacks/drinks were needed; but this is all part of the fun; because at the end of the day, I was part of something truly original.

I just hope the curse never catches up with me when I cut of the monkey’s paw in the first place.


You can see more of Pete's awesome animations on his YouTube channel here and keep up to date with what he's working on next at his blog here (which you should follow to encourage him to update it more often!).

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

This is heavy!

If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour... you're gonna see some serious shit.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

I've moved again?

So I was checking my old posts an realised that my last proper post I was monaing about moving and what not, then realsied I've since moved again. That's just how little imagination I have for this blog.

I really want to get back into it but time is precious.

So why now, well I'm here to sing the praises of Tim Robbins an the Rogues Gallery Band.

There was a great assortment of instrumentalists onthe packed stage, including a saw player. No one seemed to take video form last night but here's a bit of a random one.

You find more form this youtube video here

In a completly different style I saw Barenaked Ladies at the beginning of September

I only ever had one album, alsways meant to get more and I think I shall.

Once again the latter part of the year in Brighton is much more fun than the first.

Jonathan Richman is next.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

It's like The Wrestler...

...except it isn't at all.

I've stopepd blogging. I know. I had a brief burst of energy and work time to blgo in, then work time got taken up with actual work so I stopped once again.

Just as a taster I've been workign on a short film - Jenny Ringo and the Monkey's Paw for Brother Chris.

See here for great detail -> Jenny Ringo

I've been a set wrangler, a prop wrangler, an animation wrangler, a food wrangler, a sound wrangler, a camera wrangler, and acting wrangle and sometimes a people wrangler.

Based on this wide range of task I've been involved in during the making of the film, in a similar blog to Brother Chris, I plan to write my own behind the scenes experiences of the life of a crew man.

For now, I'm to bed.

PS the final Scott Pilgrim book come out this week. I'll blog about the series as a whole at some point too.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Feeder video...

I wanted to see it. It needs a stage. What better stage than this.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A little normality here please...

Ok, so nobody said moving flats was simple but I never anticipated on it being this complicated/annoying/hazardous/idiotic/stupidic and most of all toatally stressfull. And I've kind of done the main part.

Anyway I've been trying to get back to normal for a while now without the slightest bit of luck. For a short time it was working, begining with character sheets for a new script I'll be workign of with Brother Chris'. However with his impending wedding and writing hiatus I may go it alone for a while.

Then things got stressful once again and I lost the ability to write (this wasn't really due to the stresses of life more the joys of life when I replaced my TV/Monitor with a larger TV which I temporarily use as a monitor so any prolonged exposure to slowly burns out my already damaged retinas.

Anyway the latest adventure of normality I had was showing the music video I finished before Christmas, Bitter Ruin's Soldier, at Son of Moviebar last night. The crowds seem to be dwindling, which is a pity as the nights are always interesting but the film went down really well. I managed to spit out a few sentences this time around and was excited to find out that someone in the audience knew the story of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, on which the video was based. So finally a small victory it would seem.

Anyway, I'm cutting this short as I need to do some "proper" work. Breaks over guys.

However, before I go, without further ado, the most excellent Scott Pilgrim trailer:-

It really is awesome.

Friday, 26 March 2010

The It's Alive baby is back, but this time there's three of them...

Yes this bears littel relation to the actual blog, apart form the fact that for now it looks like new life has been injected into it in the form of a new job with internet connection. No I'm not stealing time with a sneaky update I'm having a quick break from scanning endless files.

Alas there is too much to report on. Nothing particularly interesting films wise more life wise.

So as for now that's all there is. I need to ease my way back in.

Plus this break is going on for quite a while.


Saturday, 23 January 2010

How long will this thing last...

Here's a review of 2009 which seems ages ago, and this is a little late. Plus as I blogged for most of it there's not much I wanted to say.

2009 - Left old job, visited Manchester, visited Cardiff – evil dead play (Awesome), moved to brighton, wrote Jimmy Fight script, old PC died when editing the making of Dark Furutre, bought New PC, Ten Dead Men DVD released, left another job, made another E4 thing, geeked out at conventions, attended Phantasmagoria – Uwe Boll, Neil Jackson and Michael Armstrong, got a new job, went to see Kevin Smith Q&A, Showed some films at Moviebar, completed Bitter Ruin video "soldier".

Here's some music I witnessed live:
Bird Eats Baby, Supersuckers, Wednesday 13, Devo, Kinky Friedman, John Otway, Alice Cooper.

And some films: My Name is Bruce, Coraline, Star Trek, Drag Me To Hell, 500 Days of Summer, District 9, Inglorious Basterds, Zombieland.

Finally games I played.
Batman Arkham Asylum, Rock Bands, Guitar Hero, Alone in the Dark, Darkness, Kane & Lynch, Fallout 3

Also discoverd Scott Pilgrim, really looking forward to the final volume and the Edgar Wright movie.

That's that done. I may be back...