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Five Tip Top Hints to Wordualise a Literary Hit

Here’s a fantastic article that Ian found written by Bournville College. I’m putting this up here mainly because I know I’ll loose the link and regret never being able to find it again.

The article explores George Orwell’s 5 rules to good writing, including an inspiring smackdown quote from Ernest Hemingway. Here are the rules. Slosh about in the original article HERE.

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figures of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous.
Here’s Ernst to lead us out with a buzz phrase to look down thread super bitched up on the street:

Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.

The Great Animation Challenge

The last week involved a few lovely screening/social events. Here’s the first.

On Tuesday was The Great Animation Challenge at the Lighthouse, Wolverhampton, which started off with brilliant round up of animations from last year’s Flip Festival. My personal favourite was about a man who’s slipped coordinates in 3D space and is trying to fix it by being hit by asteroids. I can’t tell you the name of it yet as I don’t know… (Skhizein, directed by Jeremy Clapin) I also missed the first half of it. Maybe that added to the feeling of just watching a snippet of someone’s life, rather than going through the whole process of setting up the character. I quite enjoy watching films half way through or without the sound on. You have to piece together a story which is probably no where near as interesting as it seems because it’s turned into a puzzle, everything they do suddenly becomes potentially important.
After that bit of reflection, came the screening and announcement of the winner of the Animation Challenge itself. The prize rightly went to Joe Lea’s interpretation of Underwater Fax of Death, which thanks to other people’s attraction to the song means I’m still singing that song in my head 4 days later. Afterwards, I got to catch up with some familiar faces and chat to some new ones… which was nice.
P.S. I’ll find out the name of that animation and see what I can link to.

The Claw Hands are Coming!

You wanna know what it feels like to be an animator?! Huh?! Well 4mations’ Madevi Dailly (pictured) will tell ya what it feels like! HERE! I guess you could say it felt somewhat familiar.

Just realised that the photo above looks like a catagorisation of species. The pasty, hunchbacked Claw Hands are coming… to an obscurely tedious job near you! Although I think Willard Wigan already got there.

Machinarium, Beautiful New Game by Amanita Design

In true Video Wall tradition I don’t normally post videos up on their own (You’re too busy for that nonsense!), but this needs savouring. Machinarium is a beautiful new Flash animated computer game brought to us by Amanita Design. I don’t really waste much time playing computer games anymore but I’d happily sit in front of this for hours I think – Just as long there’s no overblown loading times. Clicky, Clicky Mr. Close Button.
Mmmm… suck it in.

Fair Trade on

Louis stumbled across animation site XtraNormal the other day, and I’m already hooked. It’s a pretty powerful online animation tool that lets you make your own animated films without so much as a clue of how to animate. All you have to do is pick a setting, pick some characters, and type in a script for them to read out. I had a play with it by putting one of our sketches called Fair Trade into the system, you can see the results here:

The only downsides are the robotic voices, but to be fair, they aren’t that bad. It isn’t likely to be free for long, so get your creative juices flowing soon.

Need to write a story fast? Use Frankenstory

Using Frankenstory you can create a sort of blind story writing tennis match. You write 40 words, of which the next contributor can only read the last few words. When you’ve done 4 entries you have your story.
Ian served up the first 40 words, which ended with:

“…the park and before he knew it something terrible happened.”

I accidentally lost the rest of it due to me serving it onto Tom (you can’t play tennis in three’s apparently) so here’s how the rest went:

… St Mary’s apple orchard had vanished. What was left? Biscuit crumbs. Tons of the stuff. This was the work of Fat keith. ‘No more cider for Jack’, he weeped as he sprinted full pace with his hands failing towards the devastation. The child wept as the chilling events unfolded before him, surely that old woman couldn’t have been right? The blind man, the prostitute and the ferrel child scrambled for the last rust encrusted wrench.. Only one would be beaten to death. The sky gods turned their eyes away in disgust. There was no fight. There was no picnic. Just appalling rust induced hugging. ‘What hope can there be if they can not learn to hate properly?’ said Hovis the God of Elasticity. He backed off momentarily, catching his breath before allowing the last remnants of blood to dribble down his chin. He should have know all along, who else but Eamonn Holmes could have done this? He held his shins praying for death.
You can get to Frankenstory here:

Video Wall 7

Some crackers in this one.

  • Her Morning Elegance by Oren Lavie – Directed by Oren Lavie, Yuval and Merav Nathan. One of those that slowly build, and you start thinking, ‘Wow. I wish I’d thought of that.’ Found via the Flatpack Festival’s blog.
  • How To Tell If A Relationship Is Over – Tony Roche. Tight ‘as a toiger’ sketch/short film from people who’s names you wouldn’t have recognised in 2003, but would have said, ‘Give them a Job!’. Someone did. Tony Roche has now now worked with Armando Iannucci and written for ‘The Thick of It‘. Whilst more clearly starring The Mighty Boosh‘s Julian Barrett. I do think he’s a bit better than Noel. Maybe he just hasn’t SO obviously sold off his integrity. Maybe Noel doesn’t give a flip about integrity and just wants a laugh and some fruit loops.
  • Snake by Frightened Rabbit – Bluestar Animation. For some reason when I saw the front image of this I wasn’t too bothered. But for some other reason I decided to click on it. Glad I did. Very fun.
  • Owen Benjamin Ep2: Bad Breath Friend – Crackle Comedy. Bit of fun here from the Americans. Surprised there hasn’t been more of an innitiative in the UK for well funded comedy content for the web.

Long Awaited Video Wall 6

No particular reason for not putting up this video wall, just didn’t make the time.  Soz. If you want to see most of what goes on here first. Check out our favourites on YouTube.

  • Star Wars: Retold By Someone Who Hasn’t Seen It – Joe Nicolosi  In his own words “…I took out my voice recorder and asked her to start from the top. I then created some very basic animation in Final Cut to go along with her narration.” Interpretative goodness.
  • Green Grass – PhylactereCola. This company’s based in Quebec and they have some really, really nice ideas and techniques. This has got a making of that I’ve included at the bottom of the post, which makes the video even better. 
  • Presto – Pixar. Awooga! What more do you really need to say. It was oscar nominated and it’s by Pixar. Possibly their best short yet? It really harks back to the Tom and Jerry times of writing.
  • New MacBook Wheel – Onion News Network. These people are just amazing. The resources that go into it out strip any comedy that appears on TV in the UK at the moment. Why’s it all so cheap and rubbery now? Anyway. I get annoyed with all the Mac obsessives queuing up to do indignant favours for Steve Jobs. He has lots of money now, just give him a steak sandwich. Yes, Mac does a lot of things incredibly well, but it does make some poo too, which people are more than willing to swallow (I won’t make a link for that one).

Here’s that making of I told you about:

Brothers McLeod get BAFTA nominated!

The Brothers McLeod’s film, ‘Codswallop’ has been nominated for a BAFTA in the Short Animation category! 

It’s a nice coup for the Midlands considering it’s running against Aardman’s, ‘Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf or Death’, and will be featured in a BAFTAs crammed with Oscar winning ammunition. Ian also did a nice interview with Greg McLeod for 4Talent at the UK premiere of ‘Codswallop’.
Well done lads!

Video Wall 5

Did someone say, “Veritable fun feast for the eyes”? No? Well, it’s on your plate now. See what you can manage. Now we’re at the start of a working week again, here’s some audio-light displays which I feel may help ease those uneasy work sensations.

  • ‘All I Want For Christmas Is…’ – Paul Rayment. A Christmassy highlight for yow. This guy made a very nice music video for the Super Furry Animals in a similar style and got featured on da ChewYube.
  • ‘I Met the Walrus’ – Josh Raskin. Academy nominated animation made to the recording of a 14 year old’s impromptu interview with John Lennon. If you don’t like the Beatles, don’t worry, it’s all about the intense interweaved animation and spot on cue hitting. Here’s the story about it.
  • ‘Superhero Fashion Emergency’ – Mike Parker (or at least he has the most credits).  Made for College Humour TV. Good little mickey take and the site is also good for general smut and funnies.
  • ‘Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! – [adult swim] – Chan’. Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim are endless powerhouses of wierd chuckle nuggets. There really must be an inbalance there – they make A LOT of stuff.  Good stuff. Really Good Stuff. I’m stuffed. Adult Swim is also well worth perusing.