Thursday, March 30, 2006

another mad one

yeh, still mad, good day yesterday it flew but I got a lot f drawing done.
the scene is much much better.
drawing into flash just seems to make my composistions and acting stuff weaker.
I prefer the paper, but then you get lost in a world of scanning and resizing and whatnot.
The mad thing is I'm roughing in Flash and then going to Paper once its working.

anyway , going up to dublin tommorow, some legal stuff in the morning and then auditions in the afternoon.
A bit scary dealing with actors - never done that before, Paul and Nora and her husband Michael have done most of the voices for anything we've done so far.
So tommorow I'm meeting a kid , Mick Lally and Paul Tylak.

Paul Tylak is doing voices on Skunk fu so maybe he'll be good on the illuminators.
funny guy by all accounts.

Mick Lally should be perfect for Aidan I'd say. Great thing is both he and Brendan Gleeson are fluent Gaeilgoirs so they should be able to be the voices for the Irish language version also.

I feel weird auditioning a kid, seems kinda cruel to try them out, knowing they'll be disappointed if they don't get it. I know how delicate it is with Ben,like.
Anyway we need to try. Its such an important role.

Its kinda like when people try out for roles on the film art-wise. Its the crappiest part of the job. I know how crappy it is to do a test , or a pitch, work real hard on it and not get it.
Even the worst tests we got, some poor dude spent a day or two on.
Thats kinda scary.

But , I was saying this to Remi this morning, and he agrees, its so embarassing and awkward especially as we'll all be back to testing and trying out for stuff in a year or so. But its important to get the right crew. Especially as we are the lead studio.

So maybe I have some idea of how tough it is for actors that way, trying out for parts all the time.

Right so,

Oiche mhaith agaibh,


Saturday, March 25, 2006


well, another week, spent most of paddys day drawing shots from the Royal Tenebaums, the composistions are so gorgeous in that film. Actually kinda flat and mannered in a sort-of-like our film kind of way. I just love the feeling of that film though. In fact all of Wes Andersons stuff rocks.
Adrien and Lily are big fans too, we are the Wes Anderson fan club of Kilkenny. heh.
Saw Sunset Boulevard again too, thats pretty classy also. drew some shots from that too, but want to do more. Its kinda a good way to really analyse the composistions and stuff. and its kinda like doing quick lifedrawings too so its good practise.

I drew loads , thought I'd post a few and one that Ben did that was pretty cool.
He really saw the shapes and the symatery.
I love that when Royal is leaving the kids he is kind of shot at the end of the table and in perspective , kinda distant and then when hes back talking to Margo and "The Baumer" the roles are reversed kinda and its shot the opposite. Ben picked up on that too.
He's gonna kick my ass at the ol' drawing soon.

this older studio is still having occasional powercuts and the new place is having teething problems so its kinda stuck between the two for now. We are gonna stay here at least until the server for our project is up and running. The Skunk Fu crew seem to be getting on okay down there in the new place. I must go down and check it out.

Remi has been going thru' all the boards which we've been drawing straight into Flash and making them into workbooks - looks kinda impressive all printed out in a big thick booklet form.
When you pick it up it feels substantial! Anyway its just 26 minute sof it so far, We are closing the gap on whats final in the boards and layout has been delayed until June so we have abit more breathing room than orginally thought.
JB is going in and tidying up some of the poses and stuff so its looking quite nice.
The scenes with the Scene Illustrations in them look well, and even with the scratch voices and temp music its starting to feel like a film.

I'll post a couple of the workbook pages.

We are having "The problem of the Prince" a little bit with Brendan though. the expressions on the other characters seem more ..well expressive so we are gonna go back into the model sheets on Brendan and try to make the poses less restrained . Loosen him up a little.
Also we are really hunting for the voice actor now - its a tough one. I'd love if Ben could do it but probably we need a kid with a bit more experience.
We sent the model sheets and script of Bro.Aidan to Mick Lallys agent this week so hopefully he'll be into it.
Nora wrote character descriptions for the actors too - they are really clear and precise. Its easy to look at them at a glance and see what the characters motivations and arcs are as well as their relationship to the others is.

We have two days booked in Ardmore Sound which is ,like the best sound place in Ireland, for May. I'm kinda nervous, only TWO days seems so short compared to the rest of the production.
Also directing actors? yikes. I'm gonna go to one of the Skunk Fu recording sessions before then just to get a feel for the set up or whatever, I was at the recording for Cuilin but it was very informal just a bits and pieces of "walla" as it was mainly done with V/O.

So also we are considering the clean up style, it may be just too labour intensive as is and maybe it'll be better to just clean up normally and try and add the thick outer line in Ink and Paint.
Its computery but at the same time , in movement , it could give roughly the same stained glass effect. They did it on the "Mr.Bean" tv show that way and it looked Okay. But still its a compromise, and probably the first of many. With a limited budget we have to be careful where we put the effort in. The style we were trying first took , like an hour per drawing and just think we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot trying to get an outsource studio to do it that way on the budget we can afford. Asterix and the Vikings had that style but apparently it was really hard and of course the budget was 5 times ours!
So we'll see, we are trying to organise a test with the Belgian Ink and Paint crew.

Thats about it , things are going roughly apace and theres not a whole heap more to report.
Fabs is animating the wolf tests now and they are looking well.

Oh yeh , I saw the film "Birth" - jeanny its class. I saw it in the cinema before but bought a copy there last week and watched it last night with Liselott. Class. Nicole Kidman is a deadly actor too.
and the little kid was amazing.
and I'm not working and I should be!
over and out,


Saturday, March 18, 2006

some more designs

from 2001-2004

evolution of a design

hey here are some images from down through the years of how brendan evolved.
From basically a secondary character to the main character.
also you see how the design style changes and flucuated a lot ...


hi again,

i thought it might be cool to do a short post about the way the film is financed and how it will be made.
I would have loved some inside dope like this back when we were first figuring this stuff out so I hope this is helpful to any one out there thinking of trying to produce something.
Well, also this is primarily a personal blog so I should say this is my take on it and how its shaped up for us so far, I guess no two projects are financed the same and I am surely no expert on these things.

But anyway - Brendan is a co-production between Les Armateurs in France , Vivifilm/Walking the Dog in Belgium and ourselves in CS.
The project orginated as a basically totally different story set in the same period and with similar characters here in CS. We brought a trailer (which we made straight of college with some funds we got from a government scheme through Young Irish Filmmakers) to an event in Germany called Cartoon Movie.
Cartoon Movie is an event hosted by an organisation called Cartoon, which is funded in part I think by the EU (though you pay big bucks to go to it) ,and basically its a forum to pitch projects to potential investors/distributors and co-producers.

We partnered up with Les Armateurs who had had great success with Kirikou and were just begining production on The Triplettes of Belleville at the time. They were working with Vivifilm and Walking the Dog in Belgium on some 3d and 2d parts of Triplettes.

The budget of 5.35 million Euros was raised in each country, with each country raising their part of the finance to cover the part of the production they would take control of.

So we are looking after the pre-production up til layout and 20 minute of animation here in CS.
Les Armateurs are looking after additional BGs , 35 minute of animation (which they will outsource to Kecskemet Film in Hungary) , post production and music.
Bruno Coulais is the French composer who will work with Irish group Kila to do the score.
Fabrice Ziolkowski is the screenwriter brought on board by Les Armateurs who helped redefine
the story and characters.
Didier Brunner is the producer for France.

Then in Belgium, producer Vivian Van Fleteren is raising the cash for the CG elements and 20 minutes of animation. Then she is working with production house, Walking the Dog to do the actual artwork. They have a beautiful studio in the centre of Brussels. Ace animator Benoit Feroumont is heading up the 2d team there with Anton(Toon) Roebens on the technical end of things. The Belgians will also handle ink and paint. They will fund the clean up also which is outsourced to Eastern Europe most likely.

So this, complicated and spread out production/financing method is almost standard now in Europe it seems, some great movies have been made this way and a few not so hot ones too I guess.

Its a big challenge and its all ahead of us still, but we hope with enough planning and good design upfront we can pull it off. I know our partners are experienced in this way of working but I'm sure it'll be a bumpy ride at times. We hope to do a good enough job to raise the money for another film, that hopefully won't be as spread out or as low budget.

The cash from Ireland was raised from The Irish FilmBoard, the national broadcaster RTE, distributor Buena Vista Ireland and then we shared in the international deals with Celluloid dreams and Eurimages and so on.

It took about 5 years from the first version of the film until production began to raise the finance and find all the partners and there were long stretches where it seemed like a pipedream in the distance while we strugged to keep the studio alive with service work and commercials.
We invested about 200,000 Euros in to the project in swaet equity and expenses to raise the budget we did.

I hope thats interesting...for me starting out this stuff boggled my mind, and it still does. A set-up as complicated as this has so many pitfalls, but we are determined to make this thing now, and like a snowball, it seems to be rolling ever faster and getting bigger.

So , eh, thats it as they say.
I'm off to meet up with a potential life model so we can get life drawing going again in the new studio.
nice one.


P.S. added some colour sketches by Todor Polson, just to liven up this texty entry!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Lá Fhéile Phadraig

heres some more random things from my desktop -
a colour model for aisling based on martins clean up drawings
a page of sketches from when we were trying out different hairstyles for Brendan.
and an old scene illustration of a deleted scene by Adrien Merigeau characters drawn by Jean Baptiste .

its the end of the week cos tommorows paddys day. ah yeh parades and all that.
pity everyone will be mainly getting sloshed.
i suppose we have a stereotype to maintain. sure feckit i may as well join in.

anyway just a quick note - good news today that Brendan Gleeson has been confirmed as the voice of Abbott Cellach - He is a class actor probably his face at least is quite well known by now.
He's perfect as the Abbott - he is a long time friend of the project and was orginally slated to play the lead character in a previous incarnation of this project many moons ago.
Its great that he'll be involved now.
So thats cool anyway.
The other cool thing has been all the comments and feedback.
thanks to all who stopped by. I clicked through a few of the blogs of people who left comments -
amazing amount of excellent artists out there doing their thing.
Big thanks also to for mentioning us - esteemed company to be sure.

Anyway sin é anois, I'm off to watch the Royal Tenebaums with the missus,

oiche mhaith agaibh,


Monday, March 13, 2006

old school and new school

hey thanks to all who stopped by!
was down in the new place today - skunk fu moved already.
its lookin nice. should be cool maybe a bit packed but the "newness" will be nice.
so, turns out we are lacking a layout artist, so anyone reading this who is interested please do
get in touch - we need an experienced person who is willing to live in KK, actually experience is only kinda nessesary being good at drawing and able to use photoshop is moreso.

anyway heres something a little crazy -

the future eh? I found it on, in the tech section was thinking of getting a cintiq or a tablet pc but was checking what people thought about it when i stumbled on this. we were all oohing and aahing at it today.
we have this running joke in the studio about the ANIMATRON 2000 a computer that animates for you - you just say "more appealing, jump! - higher! now do it with emotion!" and so on.
this seems like a step in the right direction.


anyway heres something more old school - some of Martins clean up on Brendan - (which i guess is gonna appear at the top of this message) - anyway it was gas to look at this "future" yokey and then go and order old school stuff from chromacolour for the clean-up - pencil, gloves even cels!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

one for the road

I tried to find a photo of the current studio to put up but found this instead - a two year old photo of the crew on Cuilin Dualach -

from top left - Jean Baptiste Van Damme ,
Ross Stewart, Paul McKweon, Paul Young, Fabian Erlinghauser, Nora Twomey (director of Cuilin)
bottom row - Aidan Harte, Sean O cuilin (producer for sonta productions) Tomm Moore (me!!) Martin Hayes - (fiddle meastro and composer on Cuilin)

well, the sounds of people moving computers in the next room is reminding me that we will be moving studio very soon, the new place is about ready, its very exciting but also a tiny but sad.
the young irish filmmakers have been part of my life for nearly as long as i can remember.
we have been in this building since 2000 and its really old,cold and grungy but its become home.
still the constant power failures are reminder enough that its time to go.
whats ironic though is that my son Ben, who is ten now, has just joined the filmmakers today.
he's arriving as i'm leaving, which is all for the good and quite fitting really.

a big shout out to Mike Kelly of YIFM - thanks!

cool house

here, i was just reading the "house of cool"

blog this morning - besides the fantastic art on their site - the things ricardo curtis says about running a studio and all ring so true.
and also his "in the beginning" post is very close to how i felt in college vs. now.

I gave a talk in ballyfermot last week, its cool to go over the history of the place that way.
i enjoyed it in the end, but i got the vibe that the students were mainly into CG now.
That kinda worries me sometimes - that we have become really too into our flat and pushed stuff and it'll alienate people. I just don't know, I have always loved , like Dick Williams stuff and things like that. Todor sent me some books by the Provensons, they are really sophisticated "flat" types designs, but I dunno, maybe as a kid I might have rejected them. Gavin, here in the studio was talking about our attitude to the arty National Film board of Canada stuff as kids vs. now.
Now, as an animator I love the boldness and designy-ness of a lot of that stuff but then, as a kid it seemed just weird and I probably would have rejected much of it as un-good compared to something like the Don Bluth stuff i was into at the time. Ironically that Don Bluth style is what I try to avoid now in favour of some thing more "out there".

This week Stewie and the lads were working on the sequence in the Abbots room, I wanted to push it as far as possibel into an abstract space with the pattern of his plans on the walls acting as framing devices - but being sure we have'nt gone too far can be tricky sometimes.

anyway heres a couple .... see what you make of it...


hey ho,

these are from last weekend, i was reading about grainneuaile and was inspired o do some images of her. there were some nice guys over from france doing some layout tests, must be so hard to come to another country and do a test in a strange studio. I stayed in here over the weekend with them and between doing the boards I did these illustrations. they are'nt really finished but what the hey. posting them makes me want to do more.
could be a good film or comic in the graineuaile idea...just thinking about it for now, actually i feel these are a bit too much in my usual style now i'd like to push for something different.
Anyway things are going quite well on the film, a new guy, Martin Fagan has started to work on the clean up - check out his beautiful line - like ink eh?

man these images are uploading all wonky ...sorry - the image of aisling is martins clean-up.

Anyway watched "Elizabeth" an english movie with Cate Blancett as Queen Elizabeth - really a gorgeous movie and really good story too. but the artdirection and shots are fantastic. I love all that costume and stuff from that period- also watched Napaleon Dynamite , like three times in the past two days - freakin' sweet movie .

So the scene illustrations are proving to be really useful...i'll do another post with some of the latest.

hey, if anyone is out there - please leave a comment - would love to see whos reading this!

(if anyone)