Dutch Elm Productions
wood with a subtle twist of pestilence

- in which our plaintiff strives to make some magic image box trickery, in order to insinuate himself into Dame Marjory's will. Constable Blackthorpe, however, has suspicions.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Keeping it Unreal

Glenn Sadler, colleague, thespian and translucent all round sound egg came up with a good point the other day.

He's seen the sets and the description of the The Wallpaper and raised a concern that it may not make best use of the animation medium.

His thinking? It looked too real. Why use animation to tell this story if the set is going to be realistic, and the subject matter grounded in every day dramatic events.

He is of course right, and I was happy to reassure him that the tale takes a real left turn about mid way through when poor Anna starts hallucinating. At this point animation can come into it's own, as I'll be able to depict what she is experiencing and seeing in a "trip sequence" or three.

Glenn's case study for reference was Aardman. Famed for their Creature Comforts style interviews, Nick Park said thing really started taking off when he stopped making clay people to use as visuals for the interviews and turned the characters into lions or penguins.

Keep it unreal, why not? You can animate anything!

What I did on my Film Today: Production to resume tomorrow - some time at last!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Sorry no post of any quality today - manic day!

Please talk amongst yourselves, back tomorrow.

What I did on my film today: Chance would be a fine thing. Much like myrrh, also allegedly fine.

Monday, November 28, 2005

"There was a girl - under the kitchen sink."

A Tale of Two Sisters by Ji Woon-Kim was without doubt my favourite preternatural existentialist sibling meta-reality hallucinocentric Korean film of 2003.

No, I'd go further and say it is right up there in my top films of all time. I've already banged on about this film to Julian (who as mentioned has built my sets) and most other people have heard me praise this film.

Some may say that not a lot goes on in this film, but for me that's the point in a way. The beautiful and meticulous heavy-coloured gothic house in which the film is set starts to bear down on the inhabitants over time, as atmosphere sweats out of every frame.

I love this film, and it has influenced what I'm trying to do next in quite a big way. I saw another Woon-Kim film last week called The Quiet Family. Now there's a mental film.

Tale of Two Sisters - I'd urge you to see it, then ask yourself what you just saw, then see it again.

Perhaps sleep in between.

What I did on my film over the weekend: More writing, some pondering over a new set, test shots.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Son of Ken

Film Network is the BBC's excellent short film showcase website. I often call in there to have a quick look at some of the offerings on display, and there are some real gems to be found.

My undoubted favourite so far though has to be Geoff, World Destroyer. It's only 90 seconds long but is one of the most complete narratives I've seen for a long time. Give it a look - anyone who doesn't find this funny is probably dead.

The studio involved is Son of Ken - well worth a look for their politely surreal "Other Animals" series, which involves a texting cow, a pessimistic horse and a breakdancing, rocket building genius guinea pig.


What I did on my film today: Embarked on the "Male Point of View" rewrite as mentioned yesterday - 2 pages done!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Points of View

As previously mentioned, "The Wallpaper" is an adaptation of a short story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1899, called "The Yellow Wallpaper".

It isn't very long, and can be read online here.

It's the story of a nervous woman who is gradually driven mad by the cossetting and misplaced care of her physician husband, who treats her like a child, and isolates her in an old country house.

The story is written in the first person, using the point of view of the woman herself. A poet, she sits down each day and writes her thoughts onto "dead paper".

Initially I was going to shoot the animation using the same narrative, ie from the point of view of the woman, and wrote a shooting script to this end.

However I started to think about the husband and how he would feel, when in trying to do his best for his wife, ultimately dooms her. So my next step will be to write from his point of view, and then compare the two.

An interesting exercise and I hope to be able to design a better film for it.

What I did on the film today:Not a lot, too much day job work. Curse these bills.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Techno Techno Techno

There are many routes towards doing stop-frame animation, but a clear division is between using a computer or non computer route.

I won't labour this post as technical talk sent Rich running for the hills yesterday, but I'm a full blown computer exponent.

For THE WALLPAPER I'll be using:
A Canon G3 Powershot
A Nikon D70s
A Spy Camera
A PC equipped with
Stop Mo Pro
And a bunch of other stuff

This turns it all into a bit of a solitary practice, which like Tim says takes forever. This method of film making isn't for most humans, just ones who clearly detest human contact or sunlight.

So, time to get down to it all. From tomorrow I'll be leaving a "what I did on my film today" update at the bottom of each of my posts, so the world can witness my battle against all-consuming Suffolk strength inertia.

A shipment of aluminium wire arrived today.

Time for a cuppa.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Let it go, Draper...

It's official, the Lancrab Film Festival is out of reach of this project.

It's a relief in a way, as I'm now committed to producing a better film than the usual race against time knock-up.

It'll be a wrench to be at the festival without anything to show, as last year's showing of The World of Film with my brother was a highlight of my decade so far, but I'm looking forward to sitting back and enjoying a number of talented people show off their wares, including Tim & Kim's long awaited Hope

"The Wallpaper" is going to be a different film to others I've worked on in that it isn't a comedy - for some reason comedy seems to come easiest. I've just felt it's time for something a bit different.

I want to see if I can creep people out instead.

Monday, November 21, 2005


I suppose everyone has a style, alhough it can be hard to spot your own.

I like older styles, and most of my creative musings are influenced by recalling an age where people did things "properly" and with a certain degree of respect. Like most nostalgic thinking, this era may not have actually existed, but I like to think it did.

Short stories, novelettes and films in particular that have stayed with me:

Most of M.R. James ghost stories , especially "O Whistle, and I'll Come to you, My Lad" and "The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral".
Algernon Blackwood's short stories.
JS Le Fanu.
Doctor Who (Baker Years).
"Terror by Night", "Pearl of Death" and other Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films.
The "Dead of Night" British Horror anthology.
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's tremendous ad-libbed witterings.

And a bunch of other stuff.

I'm never quite sure how people say they like to write when they don't like to read, or like to make films when they don't like watching films, it strikes me that they'd have trouble or at least I would.

With this new animation I'm finally trying to come up with an adaptation of an older traditional story. I've wanted to do it for a while now, and nearly embarked on adapting Edgar Allan Poe a few times before.

We'll see how it turns out!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Collaboration's what you need

#If you want to be a record breakerrrrr...

Ah Roy Castle, face of a amiable plumber, trumpeting of a god.

This blog is ostensibly about filming, and my new animation "The Wallpaper". This short film is the zth one I've embarked on now and I was just musing over whether it's best to work alone or collaborate.

For me, it's collaboration every time. I am often quite an isolated person and think I work quickest when sitting on my own and getting my arse in gear properly (this is the first and largest hurdle - the motto "Apathy over Reason" rings true here.)

However, when it comes to film making unless you are perfect at everything:

Technical (sound, lights)

Then working alone becomes folly and frankly an uphill struggle. However, if you're a control freak like me then that's hard to give up, so it becomes more of an ensemble piece of work.

I'm no pro at this but over the past few years have picked up a few tips on what it takes to get stuff done, and I have to say I live in one of the most fortunate environments that someone who has an interest in film could live in.

If anything is required, there is a friend nearby who has done it or knows someone who has and frankly that's amazing.

This year I've had the good fortune to have some great sets built by master craftsman and rocker-to -royalty Julian Stodd, but will also be speaking with Suki Supersilk Singh and a few others when I come up against another technical wall - and reach into my brain only to find cerebral tumbleweed.

Collaboration, education, marvellous. Long may it continue.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Quality vs Tangibility

A dilemma has been whether to rush this film through in time for the good old Landcrabbe Filme Festival or whether to take extra care and pull out all the stops on it.

Currently erring towards the latter but I have my own mercurial (treacherous) brain to deal with, so who knows.

Either way this years festival looks to be packed with talented people showing off marvellous creations, should be another bumper jamboree by the sea....

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

mad·ness ( P ) n.
1. The quality or condition of being insane.
2. Great folly: "It was sheer madness to attempt the drive during a blizzard."
3. Fury; rage.
4. Enthusiasm; excitement.

Anxiety, a constant and low frequency form of stress, can be a wretched garden path leading up to the front door at the house of madness.

Why do we often ignore our fellows when they are on this path?

Occasionally we are complicit in that final push over the edge.

This is what happened to Anna.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

There are no such things as enemies, only strangers you've not yet met.

Is that right?