“The Bret Braddock Adventures” animation

Making a little animated trailer for another contest. This time it’s a trailer for a webseries based on me comic “The Bret Braddock Adventures”!

Here’s some of the characters. I’m at the stage where the characters are being “built” (prepared for animating).

We had a recording session for this toon a couple weeks ago which went really well. In fact, it got quite heated and emotional, which I wasn’t expecting.

The story in “The Bret Braddock Adventures” is about a poorly managed entertainment company run by a grouse bloke/Aussie entrepreneur/ignorant dick named Bret Braddock. It would be incorrect to say that it’s based on a single company.

However, several of the voice actors involved (and myself) have had experiences similar to what’s depicted in the trailer. Recording these performances reminded me how raw you can feel, even months or years later, after having been mistreated at work.

At the same time it made the toon feel like even more of a worthwhile thing to do. So hopefully we’ll have it done in the next few weeks.

John Howard’s Knees: recording session 01

So I’ve mentioned that I’m working on a new music short film called John Howard’s Knees, about the ex-PM and his bewitching patellas.

Everybody wants to smash ’em!

We had our very first proper recording session last month. Prior to this, I’d recorded a fairly crap demo track featuring me singing the song over a lush bed of cheap Korg synth (Poly-800, if you want to know).

The idea with this session was to get two people in. One is my friend Sue, who’s an opera singer. I wanted her to take a crack at singing some of the song so I’d have something less nasty than my own voice to listen to on the demo. Also, I’d never heard her sing and I reckoned she might well be awesome.

As it turned out, she was (and is)! So she’ll be on the final track. She did an amazing job in the studio considering he had a cold, and this was our first rehearsal, and neither of us quite knew how the melodies/harmonies were supposed to go. Nao, the recordist, helped us out a bit with this (thank you, Nao).

The second person is sort of a hero of mine; Tony Martin (of The Late Show, Martin/Molloy and Get This, not Blue Murder, Wildside and The Interview). He agreed to drop in and be the voice of John Howard in the fillum.

I felt a bit shitty for asking him to come and do some schtick he’s been doing for twenty years (you can hear a bit of his musical Howard here!), but hopefully seeing his Howard as a cartoon character will be a bit of fun for him.

One challenge will be matching the design to the voice. The Howard impression he does is more a characterisation than a true “accurate impression”. If I was to compare it to a cartoon, I’d say his Howard is a Tandberg. So my Howard design is along those lines. It might need to be a little simpler even. I’m obsessed at the moment with the idea that maybe his mouth goes “vertical” when he yells, but this is a rip on Ren from Ren & Stimpy, so I may chuck it.

Anyway, the session went well, and swiftly, and, as with my recording of Shaun Micallef a few years back, he was swift and good-humored. And I kept things professional. I even did a dialogue list and remembered to get lots of little “uh!” “weh!” “yaaa!”-type noises out of him to use while he’s being chased, etc (this is important).

I didn’t get any session pics! I had two hours off work and we packed ’em with recording. Next time.

Before I get the singer/s into the studio to do the song properly, I’m going to do a MIDI file with the melody and harmony lines in it so they can study it beforehand. Will also record the other actor voices soon.

I’m thinking of not bothering with a storyboard for this film.

Animation time again!

The MEGA pitch went really well! Unfortunately, none of the broadcasters or entertainment types Justin invited actually showed! True, the pitches were happening right in the middle of the work day, but still… not good enough, ABC and SBS. You really had something better to do?…

TEN THINGS THE REPS FROM THE ABC MIGHT HAVE BEEN DOING INSTEAD OF ATTENDING MY PITCH

  1. Flicking through lists of reality shows, trying to find ones they can buy or produce that are superficially “classier” than the ones on the commercial networks
  2. Watching the hot new young guy, Tino, on Gardening Australia, touching selves lightly
  3. Latte-sipping
  4. “Lefty shit”
  5. Repeating the word “vodcast” over and over while staring, shirtless, into a mirror
  6. Thinking about where they were the day The Glass House got axed
  7. Establishing exciting new online initiative, closing down yesterday’s
  8. Ironing wrinkles out of Triple J presenters
  9. Searching for an even more wanky way to say “documentary” than “factual programming”
  10. Commissioning somethingorother

Obviously I kid. I do it because I love them so!

I’m going to do a video of the pitch so you (and they) can see what I presented on the day.


From the animatic

From the animatic


Meanwhile: it’s about time to make this John Farnham-related Precinct short I’ve been talking up for a while. Now that MEGA’s over I’ll have time to finish off the animatic. Then, it’s animation time.

I’d love to get it done over the holidays, but I can’t do it all myself. What I’m thinking is that I’ll set aside some money and hire on some help! I know a lot of animators who are suddenly out of work

The problem, of course, is that I can’t afford to pay people what they’re worth (or even what they’re used to being paid, which is another, lower, amount). I’m thinking that maybe I could assign individuals a maximum of one or two shots, to minimise the pain.

Not that I’m against abusing animators. They should just know they’re going to be abused before they sign up!

The Precinct: Playing To Win is going to be an “illegal” short, too, in the sense that it’ll be using copyrighted music by John Farnham. The idea is that w’re going to show it to John Farnham and he’ll like it enough to agree to get involved with the show (i.e. sing the theme song!). It so badly needs him.

So: can you animate like this?


And do you want to be abused?

Precinct ep 06: Blam!

I stopped working on the animatic for the John Farnham episode because I’m doing something special this weekend: myself, Adam and two of our Precinct voice-maestros, Thomas Pullar and Adrian Calear, are going to perform a reading of the episode 6 script for a select audience at a secret location. SO MYSTERIOUS

We’ll be assisted by some weak puppeteering and the pitch boards I’m drawing now, which we’re projecting on a big screen. Pitch boards are storyboards like the ones I’ve posted earlier, but fewer drawings: only the relevant “beats” we absolutely need to show the story progression.

Most of them are all grey and scratchy like the Farnham boards, but this one frame I coloured up nice because it’s an EXPLOSION!

'80s flashback: Sarge & Sandhurst escape an explosion. Sarge saves his axolotls.

’80s flashback: Sarge & Sandhurst escape an explosion. Sarge saves his axolotls.

Bonus link: Go here to read John Kricfalusi’s heartwarming story about what it’s like for a cartoon genius to pitch a movie idea at Dreamworks nowadays.

Precinct ep 00b: Eras of Ackersley

Eras of Ackersley

Eras of Ackersley

As with Farnham, in the new Precinct cartoon we’ll be seeing Ackersley at different points from 1986 thru today. I think ’93 Ackersley is my favourite.

More animatic done now:

Do The Precinct Cop Action Survey!

Do The Precinct Cop Action Survey!

Please go to the Precinct site and try out our Cop Action Survey. We need some info about what people think of Cop Action and how they watch it! I’ll post more extensively on the idea behind the survey later.

Precinct ep. 00b: Eras of Farnham

Eras of Farnsy

Eras of Farnsy

For the upcoming Precinct animation: obviously “You’re the Voice” Farnham is familiar, but here’s sketches for some later era Farnhams. Click for a larger version.

Many of them will appear in this cartoon: basically he’ll be changing costume for every shot. Pain in the arse, as it means more character builds. But we’ll be using the eras of Farnsy to help show the passage of time, so it’s necessary.