Blog

Gregory is a Dancer to screen at LOCO 2015

Screen-shot-2014-01-06-at-10.05.20-630x340

Fun news! Gregory is a Dancer will be screening at the BFI for LOCO London Comedy Film Festival 2015.

The screening is at 16:10 on Saturday 24th January in NFT3 at The British Film Institute Southbank in Comedy Film Showcase One.

LOCO is one of our favourite festivals. We won the inaugural short film prize with Man in a Cat, judged the shorts competition the following year, and screened Don’t Fear Death there last year. Now Gregory gets his chance to shine at the BFI.

It’s always a great time at LOCO and we always wish we could see more than we do. Come along! Check out the rest of the programme here.

 

Leave a comment

We’re doing a Q&A at University of Worcester

Louis and I will be doing a talk and panel at University of Worcester this Sunday 16th November. We’ll be showing some films, chatting and answering questions about animation and how we work as Dice Productions. Joining us will be friend and bearded wonder Steven Spencer of Nice Monster.

The talk is 11am-1pm on Sunday 16 November at The Chapel CHG012 & CHG014, City Campus, Worcester.

Nov16_14_ww2_A3Web

Leave a comment

Introducing the cast of Duckmanboy

As you may or may not know, we’re making a new short film for Nickelodeon called Duckmanboy. And as with most short films, we need a cast. And now we can reveal it.

Please be introduced to Rasmus Hardiker as Dwayne, John-Henry Falle as Sir Richard Battenburger, and Mike Wozniak as Neil (flanked by Louis and me).

DuckManBoy Cast

 

Dwayne – Rasmus Hardiker

DwayneRasmus Hardiker plays Dwayne, our naive, gung-ho, half-duck wannabe hero.

Rasmus is an actor and voice artist that has appeared in many sitcoms and animations. You might recognise him as Steve Coogan’s sidekick in Saxondale, or from his roles in sitcoms Lead Balloon, The Wrong Door and Funland (which I think is criminally overlooked). Rasmus is also an established voice talent and is soon to be appearing as not one, but two of the Traceys in the rebooted Thunderbirds Are Go series.

As a bonus, Rasmus is from our neck of the woods. He’s a Birmingham lad and it’s nice to have more Brummies portraying half man, half duck superheroes.

NeilNeil – Mike Wozniak

Mike Wozniak plays Neil, an uptight half duck accountant and reluctant sidekick and older brother to Dwayne.

Mike is a stand-up comedian and actor. He was nominated for the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2013 for his live solo show. He is also a regular cast member of Channel 4 sitcom Man Down with Greg Davies and the late Rik Mayall. Mike has appeared with another former Dice collaborator Kevin Eldon in his BBC2 sketch show It’s Kevin.

He is often seen sporting a glorious moustache.

Sir Richard Battenburger – John-Henry Falle

JoBattenburgerhn-Henry Falle plays Sir Richard Battenburger, the kindly, revered TV naturalist with a dark secret.

John-Henry is an actor and comedian who is one quarter of sketch group The Beta Males and 100% of The Story Beast, a character in the thrall of mythology and lore. We first met John-Henry at London Comedy Film Festival in 2013 when we as judges selected his film Womble in the top 3.

John-Henry has been seen in The Boy With Tape On His Face’s comedy pilot and is soon to feature in Bill, the Horrible Histories feature film. We urge his casting in many other things. He’s very good and a lovely chap.

The Process

And now, for anyone interested in the process of animation or filmmaking, I thought I’d talk about how we go about casting for a comedy short. It’s one of the most fun parts of the process for us alongside the voice recording itself.

We tend to start the casting process with quite specific ideas of people we know or have seen live or on TV. Recommendations also help from people in the biz.  Often, we’ve written the parts with people (or voices) in mind so that gives us a strong starting point.

When it comes to choosing people to audition it’s all about the voice and the character. Name, popularity, and look don’t come into it. If they’ve got the right voice and the comedy chops to interpret the script then they’re the right person for the role.

We particularly like working with comedians. We’ve been lucky to work with some great alternative comedy talent so far (Mayall, Eldon, Long, etc). Comedians have a natural sense of timing and can add to the performance in ways that some voice artists cannot. That’s not to say pro voice artists aren’t good. We’ve worked with some great ones and their versatility and range is the thing that marks them out as special. For this project, we thought comedians and comic actors were the way forward.

So after some head scratching and research we held the auditions at Nickelodeon’s London HQ and we saw some very talented people. We gave a 20 minute slot to each performer in the Spongebob room and did a recorded read-through of the script, with Louis and I filling in the other parts. It’s a testament to the skill of the actors to react to our terrible line-readings and fluffs.

We give a small amount of direction in auditions, but mainly want to see the performer’s interpretation of the material and their energy. Animation often requires quite big vocal performances and sometimes it can be difficult, even for actors, to break out of their shell and go nuts. Cartoons are often big, vivid worlds, so the voices and performances often have to be too. In this case, we wanted to mix big and wild, with some understatement and restraint.

After the audition we took the tapes away and listened to the takes, combined with the self-taped auditions that were sent to us by performers that couldn’t make it on the day.

Following some deliberation and thinking about the characters we had difficult decisions to make.  In the end we decided on our core cast of three based on their unique angle on the voices. The voices we’ve ended up with aren’t exactly what we initially thought, but that’s fine. We go into casting hoping to be surprised. Sometimes you can’t prescribe a voice to someone, you just have to hear it and decide from there if it fits the bill (duck pun intended).

Once the formalities of contracts and fees are sorted it’s onto the voice recording which hopefully I’ll talk a little bit about in another post. We’re really happy with our cast and the performances we’ve captured, and all that feeds into the next stage of production. Onwards!

Leave a comment

Come to the Dots & Loops animation night in Birmingham

Dots & Loops animation Birmingham

Birmingham’s Flatpack Film Festival is returning to its roots by putting on a night of animation screenings this Wednesday 15 October from 7pm at The Oobleck, Custard Factory, Digbeth.

The event will feature guest animators Peter Millard and Ben Cady. The night will also be attended by local animators Brothers McLeod, Nice Monster, Yamination, Second Home and us, Dice Productions.

Come along to say hello, have a drink, and watch some great animated films.

Leave a comment

We’re making a short for Nickelodeon

Louis and I are extremely pleased and excited to be able to say that we’ve been commissioned to make an animated comedy short for Nickelodeon!

Dice Productions Nickelodeon Animated ShortsNick took over 600 pitches from around the world for the Nickelodeon Animated Shorts Program 2014 and we’re in the top 8, so we are very proud to be part of the tiny selection of international shorts to be produced.

The shorts will air on Nickelodeon as well as on all Nickelodeon platforms, and will also be considered for long-form development. Louis will be directing and animating and I will be writing and producing.

Here’s the first image of our short DuckManBoy…

Duckmanboy

The new short commission comes after our recent shorts Don’t Fear Death and Gregory is a Dancer which we wrote, directed and produced for Channel 4. You can watch them on our videos page. It’s our fourth original film commission alongside a whole host of other projects.

The announcement was made by Nickelodeon at Cartoon Forum. Here’s the news at Variety, Kidscreen and Animation World Network so you know it’s legit.

To keep up to date with our progress, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Vimeo and YouTube channels.

Let’s make this thing!

2 Comments

Vote for Gregory in the British Comedy Awards

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 09.46.18
Gregory is a Dancer needs your votes! It has been selected in a long list of online comedies for a shot at a mega-prestigious British Comedy Award. It’s a straight popularity contest, so all you have to do is click this link  and hit vote below the video.

We’d quite like to be patronised by Jonathan Ross, so it’s for a very good cause. We won’t be spamming people with this as it is unseemly and ungentlemanly, but you can go nuts and spread it far and wide. That’s fine. Thanks!

Leave a comment

Don’t Fear Death wins at Anibar Animation Festival

We’re really pleased to say that Don’t Fear Death has won the Public Award at Anibar International Animation Festival!

Don't Fear Death wins at Anibar

A Public Choice award is always a gratifying thing to win as it is chosen by the audiences and hopefully shows we’ve made a connection. That’s always the aim, so having a little trophy to say we’ve done it at least once is a lovely bonus. They said:

The audience really enjoyed your film, the black comedy of it, and the plot twist at the end.

A full list of the festival winners is available on Anibar’s website.

You can catch Don’t Fear Death at several upcoming screenings including the 20th Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival which runs from 16-21 September 2014 in Bristol.

1 Comment

Gregory Is A Dancer at Leeds & Reading Festival

Leeds & Reading Festival

Artist’s impression of the Film Oxford Cinema Tent

Gregory Is A Dancer is screening at Leeds & Reading Festival this Friday at midnight! Directors Notes have curated a series of late night screenings that are happening from 12-3am in the Festival Republic Stage (aka Film Oxford Cinema Tent). If anybody’s going it’d be great to get a recording of the audience reaction.

The film will be showing alongside the likes of Ben Mallaby and Dan Castro. Our friend and yours, Will Anderson, will also be in Reading on Saturday showing Big Dunc Loves Finder. Here’s the full film line up:

Final Reading Full running order14 copy

1 Comment

Don’t Fear Death at Rik Mayall tribute screening

Don’t Fear Death will be playing at a Rik Mayall tribute screening at the Mockingbird Theatre  at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham this Saturday, 16 August.

rik

We’ll be going along to watch Rik’s classic moments on the big screen including The Young Ones, Bottom, Blackadder, Comic Strip and a full screening of Drop Dead Fred.

The screening starts at 6pm, tickets are £5 and all profits go to the Headway Charity which was set up to tackle brain injuries. Get tickets here.

Leave a comment

Gregory & Don’t Fear Death at Encounters

DFD-10 Death pilot copy copy

Gregory Is A Dancer and Don’t Fear Death are going to their first festival together at Encounters in September. The secret is obviously using extreme closeups with pinky-red backgrounds.

Don’t Fear Death will be screening in the Late Lounge and Encounters had this to say in the programme description:

What makes this programme most poignant and a must-see is to hear Rik Mayall deliver a coincidental yet almost prophetic script on what ultimately comes to us all.

Indeed. Late Lounge is Friday 19th September, 22:00 – 23:30 at Watershed Cinema 1.

And another little factoid for you, Gregory is a Dancer was actually conceived as an idea on the way to and from Encounters when All Consuming Love (Man in a Cat) screened. Gregory’s going home!

2 Comments