I’ve just finished some work at Jagex in Cambridge on their Transformers Universe project. Jagex are a huge independent games developer best known for their massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) Runescape. They have loads of tremendously talented employees, fingerprint-access talking doors from the future and their very own TANK (called Bertha). A fun place to work all told.
The transformers in the game look nothing at all like this:
Me and my brother had this toy when we were kids. It broke really quickly, was replaced and then broke again. It was the only gun-shaped toy we were ever allowed. Look at it! It’s rubbish! A disturbingly realistic gun (for kids!) that turns, seemingly as an afterthought, into a terrible excuse for a robot. We had quite a few transformers and so working on a video game set in their universe was another tick for my list of fulfilled-childhood-fantasies-that-never-occurred-to-me-when-I-was-actually-a-child.
Last weekend I spoke at Watersprite, the Cambridge student film festival. Of all the film festivals I’ve been to, this was certainly the one with the highest number of costume changes and the most beautiful venues! Thanks to Bernadette Schramm for inviting me and to all those who came and listened to my rambling. I hope it gave you some idea of the things a character animator does and thinks about. Thanks especially to those who hung around for extra chat afterwards, I think that was the best bit!
Aside from my talk I took part in a number of other events including the award ceremony in which I was very pleased to don a dickie bow and present the award for animation to Iria Lopez for her brilliant film Jamón. Here’s the trailer:
It was great to see animated films nominated (and winning) in so many other categories. Too often animation gets segregated away from live action into one category but at Watersprite animated films won for their Screenplay (Jamón), Cinematography (Nyosha), Soundtrack (Nyosha) and Sound Editing (Jamón). Yes, two films really swept up this year! Here’s the trailer for Liran Kapel and Yael Dekel’s beautiful film Nyosha:
The highlight of the little bit of the festival I attended was Helen Brunsdon interviewing stop-frame cinematographer Tristan Oliver who shared many a fascinating film-making tale, praising plywood and Nikon and grumbling convincingly about stereoscopic 3D and the slow demise of matte painting. The dashingly handsome fellow cinematographised many of my favourite animated films including Fantastic Mr Fox, Paranorman, Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Wererabbit so hats off to him.
Flatpack Festival is an enticing mixture film, performance and spinny things and I’m extra happy that my film will be shown there. They’re also showing The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) by Lotte Reiniger to which my little film owes a big debt.