Tag Archives: End of the Road

Liz Green – Bad Medicine

I’ve just completed a new music video, this time in stop motion!

The song is by the incredibly talented Liz Green, and is called ‘Bad Medicine’.

We were asked to put together an idea for the song a couple of months back. I had a craving to get my hands into a bit more paper animation, and thought it would suit Liz’s voice perfectly. I listened to the song on repeat until a story started to develop in my mind.

Almost all of Liz’s songs tell rather wonderful stories. She refers to them as adult fairy tales. Bad medicine was no exception, telling the story of a man neglected and worn down by the world. There was a sense of unfairness in the tone, and the lyric, “Every man wants more than he did before” which started the cogs turning. That sense of greed, and unfairness, coupled with the repeated line, “We’ve got no way out”, made it clear this would have to end in tragedy.

I wanted it to feel raw, and earthy, and above all, without end. I didn’t want to tell a story with a definite conclusion or happily ever after, but to show that pattern – a murder which would lead to another, and another…

To set the story in the Western frontier seemed a simple choice. It just fitted.

I joked that I wanted to make Deadwood in paper, and to some extent, that’s what I set about doing.

As usual with animations, it was a ridiculous schedule, without much room for sleep. There’s only so many times you can wish your hands where smaller before you have to question your own sanity. Talking to a cardboard tree as the sun came up was a definite low point, but I think it was worth it in the end. Hopefully you do too.

But of course you probably would, as you didn’t have to endure it all did you?

On that point however,  I’d like to give huge thanks to Glenn, Tobias, Clyde, Simon, Jason, Carly and Mr. K, who were all indispensable in keeping my sanity levels just about on the page.

Now here’s some clips of people messing about with paper for a while. Thanks for stopping by!

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End of the Road Festival 2012

Another year, another End of the Road!

This year was another great one, but that’s not really what I’m here to tell you about.

I’m here to tell you to watch an animation I made before the festival to get all you lovely people excited about what a great time awaited us!

So here it is:

 

I built all the puppets myself and shot it on my bedroom floor (I’m still finding bits of paper everywhere). It was great fun to get back to some real stop-motion animation again, and also to use the same paper technique I’d worked on way back at my art foundation.

I also shot a lot of time-lapse footage over the week of set-ups on the festival site, which you can see here:

 

Hopefully it gives you some idea of just how much work it takes to get a festival up and running each year.

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Shooting High and Low

A couple of months ago I nipped up to Scotland to shoot a new music video for indie folk band The Low Anthem with End of the Road Films.

Back in 2009 I worked on the animated video for ‘Charlie Darwin’; building sets and doing the odd bit of animating. That video came out very nicely, so I was eager to work with the band again, this time directing along-side Glenn and Simon.

The song, ‘Boeing 737’ is the first single off their new album Smart Flesh, and is based around an imaginary meeting with Philippe Petit in a bar at the top of one of the Twin Towers.

After first listening to the track, Simon came up with the image of high-wire walkers pacing through trees, birdlike in their appearance, stalked by men with axes below. Ben liked the idea, but wanted the axe-men to have more of a backstory. We chatted about the idea a bit more, and then I went off to draw up a storyboard.

I thought it would be interesting to imagine a world where tight-rope walkers were a species -indigenous to certain areas – who were hunted and sold on to circuses. Our axe-men would be from a destitute circus, who had worked their previous walkers to death and decided to catch their own this time (hoping to cut out the hunter’s fee).

We got Leila Watts on board again as production designer, so she got straight to work on the bird costumes. Most of the circus men’s costumes were borrowed from a theatre production my parent’s had been working on, while other bits were also made by Leila – for example both clown ruffs were made by hand.

For this video we also brought in a wonderful DOP, Pablo Rojo Guadarrama. This was my first time not shooting my own work, and Pablo did an incredible job (far better than I ever could have), along with 1st and 2nd AC’s, Thor Eliasson and Poom Saiyavath.

If you ever get the chance to work with any of them I would seriously recommend it, and hope to do so myself very soon.

We also had the opportunity to shoot on the new RED – The Mysterium X. This is the same camera ‘The Social Network’ was shot on last year and it captures a ridiculous amount of image data. That meant a lot when it came to grading the video, but also allowed us to shoot later in the day as the light began to fade. In fact some of my favourite shots in the video were captured just before dusk, as the light turns silver.

Of course you can’t have a video about tight-rope walkers without… well… tight-rope walkers.

Fortunately, we had some of the best out there; Jade Kindar-Martin, and his wife Karine Mauffrey. Both had previously worked as part of Cirque du Soleil and Jade has broken Guiness World-Records on the high-wire. They were brilliant to work with, bravely facing the freezing Scottish weather in little more than leotards, and still giving beautiful performances.

For one shot we had planned to digitally add the falling figure of a walker, not imagining it would be possible to do in reality. That was until we discovered that Karine was in fact a professional stunt woman and would be up for doing in on a harness. Brilliant! One simple wire removal later and we have an absolutely stunning shot.

Okay, before I rattle on any more, here’s the final video. Have a look if you haven’t already, and if you have… maybe refresh your memory.



But what’s that I hear you ask? Who were those dashing circus men?

Well, from left to right; Charles Wemyss, Jimmy, Jason Lehmer, Tommy and Diego Cazzetta.

Diego and Jason have worked with us on videos before, building sets, and are part of the team behind End of the Road festival. We figured it was time to stop wasting their good looks behind the camera, and thrust them into the lime-light.

The woodland we shot in actually belongs to Charles’ family, while Jimmy and Tommy are the past and current generation of groundskeepers.

They all graciously agreed to try their hands at acting, and it turns out they’re pretty damned good at it. For such charming individuals, they manage to come together into a pretty nightmarish troupe.

One last thing before I go. I’m always impressed by how close to the initial storyboards our video’s come out. So here, mostly for my own entertainment, but maybe for yours too, it a short comparison of shots.

Okay.

That’s all.

Scram!

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End of the Road 2010!

I’ve just come back from End of the Road Festival in Dorset, where I’ve been helping set up, documenting, and then running the children’s animation workshop over the weekend.

To begin with, here’s a little time lapse I worked on with Glenn Taunton (mine are the piano stage and nighttime shots). For extra fun, keep an eye out for some wandering shoes, and Keiran’s hat.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I also painted up a rather oversized hardback, for Julian Mash’s literary addition to this years festival.

With a little help from a handpicked team of highly skilled illustrators; Owen Davey, Kai Wong and Chris Boyce…

Owen Davey and Chris Boyce, along with Leila Watts, were also new on the team for this years animation workshop, which was as popular as ever. It’s always rewarding to see parents being dragged to our corner of the field by over enthusiastic children as soon as they arrive on site, and this year was no exception.

Another year, another success. And now it’s straight into another project, with many familiar faces from the festival.

That is to say that I’ll be working on a new music video with Simon Taffe for indie-pop band Allo Darlin’ over the next few weeks.

You’ll be hearing more about that as soon as it’s finished. For now, I can tell you it will involve cardboard.

Lots of cardboard…

(All photos are courtesy of Owen Davey, who took them. Well done him.)

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Efterklang – I Was Playing Drums

Hello! It’s been a while I know, but I like to think we’re like old friends, who can always pick up where we left off… Right?

Well anyway, I’d just like to let you know what I’ve been up to.

Having finished my dissertation – and therefore my degree – I dove straight into another project with the guys from End of the Road festival, directing the new video for the wonderful band, Efterklang!

The song, ‘I Was Playing Drums’ is fantastic, and creating a video to go with it was an absolute joy.

After several days dragging an actor named Andrei Alen around in the mud, buying out the local knitting shop and scaring a dozen dog walkers, we had something we felt really rather proud of.

Have a look at the finished video here:

The masks were designed and made by the very talented Leila Watts, whose website can be found here.

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back with more soon.

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