Sunday, September 18, 2016

48 hours - Team Super Furious Ninja Dragon

A crazy weekend in Invercargill, New Zealand with even crazier people - making a 5 minute film for the 48 hours film competition. I got to help Steve Woller with Art Department and it was my breakout debut performance as a STUNT SHADOW twice!

My wife Tracy did crew catering.

Later, I'll add more about the craziness of the crew and a link to the film once its on the competition website.

UPDATE 8 October 2016

The Loom of Doctor Flowers by Super Furious Ninja Dragon has made the Dunedin City Finals in the following categories.

The B-Team - Nic Bathgate, James Elworthy
Paddle Pops - Ruby Harris
Studio GIblets - Phil Davison

Stephen Lawrenson from Bus of The Undead
Grant McNaughton from The DandyLions
Nathan Kennedy from Super Furious Ninja Dragon
Harrison Kennedy from Paddle Pops
Phillip Schlup from Studio Giblets

Maggie Watts from Super Furious Ninja Dragon
Ola Szukiel from The DandyLions
Jemma Osten from Bus of The Undead

Begged Borrowed Stolen - Josh Wallace, Paul Green
Woof Bloody Woof - Bruno Willis
The DandyLions - Matilda McAndrew, Ola Szukiel
Studio Giblets - Phil Davison
Super Furious Ninja Dragon - James Wilkinson

Maddie Jones - Hot Chili
James Quested - Arrested Developers
Abe Baillie- Paddle Pops
Harriet Love - The Happy Little Peas
Derek Smith - Begged Borrowed Stolen

Arrested Developers
Bus of The Undead
Go Go All The Time
Begged Borrowed Stolen

The DandyLions - Matilda Macandrew David Prime
Super Furious Ninja Dragon - Matt Inns
The B-Team - Stu Mackenzie, James Elworthy, Nic Bathgate
Paddle Pops - Elliot Blyth
Studio Giblets - Phil Davison

Super Furious Ninja Dragon - Maggie Watts
Bus of The Undead

Symmetery by Go Go All The Time
Bronads by Arrested Developers

Encore Une Fois by Studio Giblets
Kit-astrophy by Paddle Pops
SYD by Cat in a River

Dead Meat by Team Super Best Friends
SYD by Cat in a River

The ‘C’ Word by Begged Borrowed Stolen
The Loom of Doctor Flowers by Super Furious Ninja Dragon
Encore Une Fois by Studio Giblets

Breathe by Hot Chili
The Lamentable Tragedy of Charlie Flower by The DandyLions
SYD by Cat in a River
Gaspodes Paradise by Woof Bloody Woof
The Kintters Nightmare by Balclootha

Announced on the Night

Announced on the Night

UPDATE 16 October 2016

The Loom of Doctor Flowers by Super Furious Ninja Dragon won the Dunedin City Finals last night taking out City winner with Best Film. And also got Best Art Direction  (Steven Woller), Best Cinematography  (James Wilkinson) and Best Actress and Best Makeup (Maggie Pirie).

And prize for City winner is

The Glorious APEE Statue + Certificate
$300 Cash Grant Courtesy of Wingnut Films
$300 Cash Grant Courtesy of NZFC
15" Pavilion Core I7 Notebook (valued at $1998) courtesy of HP

The Making Of The Loom of Doctor Flowers


Dr Flowers - Nathan Kennedy
Elsa - Maggie Watts

Directed by - Matt Inns
Produced by - Steve Woller & Matt Inns
Story by - Steve Woller, Matt Inns, Storm Reece, Sharon Reece, Rachel Kinsella
Director of Photography - James Wilkinson
Production Designer - Steve Woller
Production Co-ordinator - Rachel Kinsella
Production Assistant - Sharon Reece
Art Dept Assist - Mike Peters, Vicky Smit, Rachel Kinsella
Makeup Designer - Maggie Watts
Unit - Tracy Peters
Gaffer - Mei Ling Au
Assistant Camera - Iris Shao Wen

Monday, September 5, 2016

Lee Yeung & Lustre Effects Studio's Animatronic Gorilla

This mighty fine work on an Animatronic Gorilla popped up on The Stan Winston School Forum. It is by Lee Yeung of Beijing & Lustre Effects Studio.

"I'm Lee. Lustre Effects Studio went into operation in the Summer of 2015. It was formed immediately after a gathering with a group of young artists and professionals. This is due to our common belief that we should do the things we love provided they are magical and fun-filled.

We faced a lot of problems in the beginning. Luckily enough, we discovered from the internet the forums of Stan Winston School Of Character Arts, where we gained inspirations, knowledge and technical know-how.

Our workshop is made up of a passionate staff. We gathered all possible resources to research and learned by trial and error to finally give birth to our first production of the animatronic gorilla.

Why the gorilla and not anything else is because through the process of making it helped us to strengthen not only our skills but our will as well. We had to overcome difficulties, just to name a few, the complexities of the skin, the thickness of hair and installing an animatronic device to make it look awesome and cool.

The animatronic gorilla has yet to be perfected. But it is a work that bears witness to our keen efforts. It is only the first step. We will move forward to give our gorilla companions and build other fascinating creatures to share with you.

Our studio is an open-ended workshop. We will only be too happy to communicate and interact with you all. On behalf of my teammates, I would like to thank you all to let us share our story. Do the things you love. Just go for it.



You can learn more about this Animatronic Gorilla and how it was made here on Lee's original forum post.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Wes Anderson Collection The Grand Budapest Hotel

On a recent trip to Dunedin I finally bought a copy of The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel from the University Bookshop. What a treat of a book.

Published in 2015 by Abrams and written by Matt Zoller Seitz it is packed with interviews, behind the scenes photos and is worth every cent. I saw the film last year and loved it.

Abrams specialise in publishing Art books and have a website.

Wes Anderson assembled a great crew to work on the film The Grand Budapest Hotel. The film employs a lot of old school visual tricks and makes great use of miniatures. I really like this film comedy.

Walter O. Koenig wrote in his review on Amazon:

"The author of this new book Matt Zoller Seitz, also published "The Wes Anderson Collection" which covers the first seven Wes Anderson Films. I own the book and all the films and greatly enjoyed reading the informative book. This new book follows the same format, but instead of covering a film in 35-45 pages, we have 256 pages about "The Grand Budapest Hotel" only. Lavishly illustrated with many photographs, stills, production drawings and illustrations by Max Dalton, this book is very informative, not only about the latest Wes Anderson film, but also his method of working, research, sources and filming. A lot can be learned about the world of Wes Anderson by reading this book.

The book is divided into three sections, "The Idea of Europe", "The Snow-Globe Version" and the "At The Algonquin Hotel". Each section begins with an interview of Wes Anderson by Matt Zoller Seitz. The first interview concentrates on the characters and the actors, the second on the making of the film and the third on the sources of the film, in particular the works of author Stefan Zweig. That said, many other subjects also come up in the three interviews. They make for interesting reading.

There are also interviews of Ralph Fiennes, who played Gutave H. the main character in the movie, cinematographer Robert Yeoman, Production Designer Adam Stockhausen, Costume Designer Milena Canonero and several others. Each one of these are interesting to read and we learns more about Anderson's well thought out meticulous style and manner of working.

Interspersed are many photographs from the film as well as reference photographs from other films such as "The Shop Around the Corner", "Amadeus", "The Red Shoes" and many others. There are vignettes of the careers of Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum and other actors. There is a whole section on the role of the narrator in this and other films such as "Barry Lyndon", "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Big Lebowski". There are also some pages of the script, the building of the model of the Hotel, excerpts from the writings of Stefan Zweig and most fascinating to me how certain scenes were shot. In short this is a gold mine of information about the film.

A well written and informative essay by Ali Arikan "Worlds of Yesterday" offers one of the most interesting interpretations of the film I have read, and of its structure and meaning.

The book is well printed and bound as books published by Abrams usually are!

My guess is that you will do what I did when I finished the book and that is to watch the movie again."

Some other useful links

Berton Pierce a film model maker shot this video while working on miniatures for the film.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Happy birthday Lotte Reiniger

Lotte Reiniger was the first pioneer of animated film. She did all the work with cutout paper silhouettes.

Born 2 June 1899 in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, she was a German film director and the foremost pioneer of silhouette animation. Reiniger made more than 40 films over her career, all using her invention. Her best known films are The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) – the oldest surviving feature-length animated film, preceding Walt Disney's feature-length Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) by over ten years – and Papageno (1935), featuring music by Mozart. Reiniger is also noted for devising a predecessor to the first multi-plane camera. (From Wikipedia article)

Google had a Google Doodle link to her today in honor of her 117th birthday and the great work she did all by hand. I really like what she did. Silhouette animation has a lot going for it. There plenty of her films on YouTube. Here is a documentary made about her back in the 50's I think.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

David King 1943 - 2016

I recently read Red Star Over Russia: A Visual History of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the Death of Stalin written by David King

David King over 30 years collected a vast collection of visual material from the Russian Revolution. A priceless resource for historians and film makers interested in that period.

This book is really great. Lots of material on how that history was rewritten and retouched by Stalin

Other books published include

David King Obituary by Richard Hollis
The Guardian 

22 May 2016

David King, who has died aged 73, was a graphic designer, writer, artist, photographer and, above all, a collector. On Level 4 at Tate Modern is a room hung with 40 framed magazine covers by John Heartfield, the German political artist and pioneer of photomontage; in the centre, open in a display case, are two copies of King’s last book, John Heartfield: Laughter is a Devastating Weapon (2015). Over several years, a larger Tate room showed dozens of Soviet posters from the David King collection, items from which will be displayed again in 2017-18 in the exhibition Red Star Over Russia.

Amassed over several decades, the collection is made up of 250,000 photographs, books, journals, posters, documents and newspapers dating from the Russian Revolution to the Khrushchev era. Added to this was material from the Weimar Republic, the Spanish civil war, American labour organisations and Mao’s China. King wanted to make his collection accessible to the public, and in recent years it was acquired by the Tate.

King’s skills were those of the eye: he could speed-read an image for meaning and context. He was born in Isleworth, Middlesex. His father was a bank manager. He began his training in 1959, after leaving school, in the design department of the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts (now the London College of Communication). His political apprenticeship came from working with his teacher Robin Fior, the designer-typographer, who was then designing the weekly Peace News and covers of the quarterly International Socialism, and was a member of the anti-nuclear Committee of 100. Fior introduced King to Soviet constructivist design and political graphics.

After a time in an advertising agency, where his favoured copywriter was Elizabeth Smart, author of By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, he went to work at Queen magazine. In 1965 he joined the Sunday Times Magazine, where, under the overall art direction of Michael Rand, he was art editor for 10 years. The magazine won awards for its picture stories, arranged cinematically and uninterrupted by advertising. King took only a morning to lay out Don McCullin’s celebrated photographs in a multi-page feature on the Vietnam war.

King later worked on books with former Sunday Times writers, among them the art critic David Sylvester, and with Bruce Chatwin on his Photographs and Notebooks (1993). In 1972 he was co-author with Francis Wyndham of Trotsky: A Documentary. Trotsky became so much a centre of King’s career that Fior referred to King’s Islington house as “Trot-ski-lodge”. In the garden King constructed a personal dacha, set up a bust of Marx (left over from a film set), and laid down in brick mosaic a five-pointed star.

In 2009 King published Red Star Over Russia: A Visual History of the Soviet Union from 1917 to the Death of Stalin. The introduction to the book is an anecdotal account of his research into Soviet history. He enjoyed telling stories, sometimes cloak-and-dagger, sometimes comical, of his search for material over more than 40 years – in pre-Glasnost Russia, in eastern Europe, and in the US. This quest won him friends in many parts of the world. The dramatically orchestrated presentation of the documents is matched by a sensitivity to the human suffering they represent.

Red Star Over Russia marked the unique character of his mature book-making: writing, designing, scanning the images, all from his own archive. His frequent collaborator, Judy Groves, tells how he laid all the pages out end to end on the floor of his studio, “coupling and uncoupling them like carriages of a train”, until he was satisfied with a complete view of the story unfolding. He did not use a computer in designing, but he put the text, perfectly judged for length, in emails to the typesetter. Proofs of the typeset version were then taped in position with prints of the scanned images, printed to size.

When King first went to Russia in 1970 and asked to see pictures of Trotsky, he was told there were none of “that fascist”. He made the repeated response to his enquiries into a catchphrase, “not possible”, uttered in a heavy Russian accent. But a diligent search in many countries eventually made an archive possible. By the time they came to do the book, Wyndham remarked that there were now more photographs of Trotsky than there were of Marilyn Monroe.

King’s interest in constructivist artists led him to the studio of Alexander Rodchenko, who had died in 1956. Opening a book – he was there to look at the artist’s book designs – was, he said, “like looking on to the scene of a terrible crime”. Rodchenko’s grandson Alexander Lavrentiev explained that his grandfather had painted over the faces of “enemies of the state”: to have been found with them risked the attentions of Stalin’s secret police.