Teasers for two new shows.

Holy what-do-you-know! Some tops people helped me make TWO entries for Movie Extra’s Webfest contest. Prize is $100,000 to make your show, so I figured, “yep”.

Arran McKenna and Adrian Calear in "Pickups".

Arran is a cartoonist, actor and all-round happy chappy, so I cast him as a gangster’s aide who is secretly an undercover cop. Aidzee is a comedian, comedy producer and YouTube star, so he plays the colleague who will kill Arran once the pair of them have taken care of a number of cash “pickups” for their boss, Renn (Renn Barker). The seven episodes would see Arran and Aidzee visit six criminals in one very long day. How long before Arran realises his head’s on the chopping block? Without any means to contact his fellow cops, can he escape Aidzee and Renn?

It’s (kind of) dramatic, and it’s live-action, neither of which I have any experience making. I rewrote the script several times, including on the day when Azza had a very good idea. Luckily I had the help of an experienced video producer, Dave Oakley, who made the shoot very smooth indeed. Things I will keep in mind for next time I shoot live-action:

  • Have someone around to shoot stills of what’s going on.
  • Have someone around to do the lines the characters hear over the phone. I was doing the lines myself (later rerecorded by Renn), and as a result I couldn’t pay attention to directing the actors. Luckily, they were good without my input…
  • Know how the hell the sound will be recorded before arriving at the location! Turned out we needed something with more juice than my Zoom H2 to make the lapel mics work. This almost killed the day.

But I think it came out good, all things considered.

Bret and Sally in "The Bret Braddock Adventures"

Bret (Adrian Calear) and Sally (Katrina Mathers) in "The Bret Braddock Adventures".

This one is, of course, more my speed. A horde of great designers and animators helped with it, namely: Sandra Chiang, Daniel Luke, Paula Hatton, Marta Tesoro, Christien Clegg, Astri Setiono and Kathryn Parker. And it still took me a whole year to finally finish off my shots!

Obviously it’s based on the comics I’ve been doing about working for a jerkoff in the TV biz.¬†Adrian Calear does the voice of Bret Braddock. As always he is a champ. Katrina Mathers is Sally. Both of them were in my old film, Herman, The Legal Labrador. I love the fact they’re both still up for doing stuff with me after all these years; really hate the fact I still can’t pay them for it.

I think we’re inching closer to the day when that changes. Of course, if we win this contest, it comes a lot sooner.

Hint. Hint.

Go here to check out Pickups.

Go here to check out The Bret Braddock Adventures.

We worked very hard on them.

New Precinct cartoon: BE A MAN!

Scene from the Precinct cartoon BE A MAN

Holy shit, I just made a new Precinct toon! Since following the progress of The Precinct was the original point of this blog, I think that’s worth celebrating!

Like with the last one I did for the Sydney Opera House’s GRAPHIC animation contest, I made this new toon for a competition. The Australia Day Council of NSW are running a contest wherein they’d like we, the public, to make short films about what we think Australia is.

I thought I’d tell them a bit about Aussie males, and how we love making things out of other things.

Naturally, it has nothing to do with the fact that, for a year, my “coffee table” was a cardboard box. And that that box has now been downgraded to (and is still in use as) “side table”.

It’s a really great box, though.

You can go RIGHT NOW to the Australia Day Council’s site and watch (and vote for) Be A Man. I’d really appreciate it.

Scene from the Precinct cartoon BE A MAN

Yay Precinct! Thanks to the animator-heavy cast, who did tremendous voice work, and to Sandra C (for inadvertently helping with BGs) and Kathryn P (for letting me know one of my gags had been done on Top Gear, and supplying an alternative).

Here’s the Precinct stuff from the Opera House contest

I entered and was a finalist in the Sydney Opera House’s GRAPHIC animation competition! I’ve whacked the stuff I had to make for the contest on YouTube.

First, there were two video diaries:

My head looks larger and pinker in the second one, but the clip is shorter and has a better ending.

And here’s my complete entry. The contest had 3 rounds, and we had to make 20 seconds of action for each round. I tried to make it a cohesive Precinct-type story even though we had to include specific themes and objects in our entry (“seven years” and “recovery” were two of them):

It was a lot of work, but a very nice experience overall. I went up to Sydney for the GRAPHIC festival, which was pretty kickarse, and met most of the other animators!

Thanks to Dave Thomas (who won the contest — congratulations, Dave!) for sending me thru this pic! I swear I was smiling in the other ones.

You can check out all the other animations here.

Opera House Follies

I spent the weekend in Sydney at the GRAPHIC comics/animation-related festival/event-series/thing! It was a very nice com/an-rel fest/ev-ser/thg which I certainly wouldn’t have gone to/been able to afford if I hadn’t been a finalist in their animation competition.

I did not win the animation competition! Dave Thomas, Canadian, won it. He’s a very nice chap, so I refrained from bringing up THIS more famous Canadian Dave Thomas, who I’m sure he gets compared to all the damn time.

My favourite parts of the weekend:

  • meeting Shaun Tan again. Less favourite part — letting him get away before I had a chance to grill him about what he did while working at Pixar.
  • talking with Dave about storyboards and him immediately recognising the “beggar hand”! Obviously a force of evil worldwide.
  • seeing favourite Sydney comics dudes such as Leigh Rigozzi, David Tang, Matt Huynh, Ross Tesoriero, etc etc.
  • getting a chance to chat with comics dudes I hadn’t had much chance to before, namely Anton Emdin and Andrew Weldon.
  • showing up next to John Retallick every time he was trying to have a romantic interlude with his lovely girlfriend.
  • Kevin Smith’s hilarious intro to the big Neil Gaiman reading, and, the following night, Neil’s hilarious intro to the big Kevin Smith talk.
  • Gary Groth slagging off Todd McFarlane. It’s unnecessary at this point, but still enjoyable.
  • Checking out the last Little Big Shots screening. It’s a kids film festival which has nothing to do with Graphic but is run by my friend Chloe and just happened to be at the Opera House also.
  • my friend Lada NOT dying at the hands of a cab driver who fell asleep at the wheel and rolled into a gutter at speed.
  • my free train ride to the airport thanks to Cityrail industrial action.
  • Circular Quay being smug but nonetheless attractive.
  • the Neil Gaiman after party, where Neil and Eddie Campbell performed the whole story again, this time using little hand puppets, accompanied by Kevin Smith on kazoo and hand-clicker.

That last one is a lie.

Thanks to the Opera House people, particularly Anthony Pollock, for the fun time and the free tix. Nice meeting you all! Now, back to work.

Precinct is kicking goals in Opera House animation comp

Haven’t had time to post properly lately as I’ve been extra busy. Hopefully the Tweeting makes up for that. The good news is that things are going splendidly on all fronts!

  1. I’ve been doing new Precinct animation (well… really a jumped-up animatic with some colour) for the Sydney Opera House’s GRAPHIC animation competition, and it’s paying off — The Precinct is in the finals! Winning would mean $20,000 of production money coming our way, which is very exciting. If you want to help us win the audience award, voting opens July 26. Follow me on Twitter or become a fan of The Precinct on Facebook if you’d like updates about this. Or just keep checking this blog, I guess.
  2. We did our first sound recording for John Howard’s Knees this week. It went fantastic. I’d encourage people to become a fan of this film on Mr Facebook as well. Do it. You won’t regret it.
  3. I’ll be freelance again in September! Who needs some cartoons, storyboards or animation?
  4. I just turned 30, and my wife took me to a salami-making class for my birthday.

So everything is going great.