In the merry month of July I had the privilege of running another animation workshop with the St. John’s Int. Women’s Film Festival’s FRAMED Workshops and “For The Love of Learning”. Over four days, this group of young adults practiced flip books, took turns at experiencing animating and flipping pages on light tables, watched some classic films, and then created a group film in stop-motion animation.
Our animation directors included:
Erin Power Granter (best name EVER)
Workshop assistants: Stephen Dunn, Karyn Dwyer
I’ve just come home from a visit to Kalamazoo and nobody at home believes me. I may as well have said I was going to Timbuktu or Lake Titicaca.
Kalamazoo happens to be the home base of a new, innovative circus and Kalamazoo should be proud.
Allison Williams of the world renown Aerial Angels is writer and director of STAND UP EIGHT, a theatrical circus show that brings you closer to the performers and sometimes right up onto the stage, along side them.
After a great deal of development and investment Allison and the Angel’s co-Artistic Director Zay Weaver got one final and dramatic boost into production when they appeared on the CBC’s reality show, The Dragon’s Den. They received a generous investment from W. Brett Wilson, Canada’s cutest blue-eyed zillionaire, with soft spot for entertainers.
(If you’ve seen CBC ads for either The Dragon’s Den or for CBC programming itself, chances are you’ve seen Allison and Zay. They were by far the coolest looking entrepreneurs to appear on the show, eating fire and tumbling from silks, and having the most teeth grittingly tense discussions of any I’ve ever seen aired on that program, ending in a few tears and some accusations of arrogance. The Aerial Angels, in my opinion have single-handedly provided the CBC with a season’s worth of promotional ads.)
I went to Kalamazoo with my video camera in tow, to film the process of this new show and its first few performances.
What does it take to start a theatrical circus show and get it rolling?
What sorts of people invest their talents and personal lives into it?
This documentary will introduce you to them.
Along with other creative projects working their way out, I hope to spend my summer piecing together a masterpiece that captures what I see developing down in Kalamazoo Michigan, and quickly spreading across the globe.
Art. Passion. Drive. Skill.
…Lots and lots of kittens.
(It’ll make sense.)
As a peculiar little side note: My aspiration to break out into documentary (as I am primarily an animation filmmaker) was what originally brought me to the world of variety performance. I had desired to make a film about the life of circus/sideshow/street performers many years ago. Realizing I knew little about either documentary or the lives of variety performers, I dropped that story to experiment in actually performing as a comic fire eater for a while. Allison Williams taught me how to light my tongue ablaze in the back alley of a street festival one summer in Toronto.
After a few years and some short edits of performance related video footage, I have now come full-circle with an inside scoop of the variety life and some documenting experience. I couldn’t have worked it out better if I had tried. …and I did try. Funny, that.
I’ve just finished the first promo video for Stand Up Eight Circus.
Filming and editing by Rachel Peters.
Second camera man, Dragon Alexander.
Stand Up Eight in 90 Seconds! For the busy business person who just doesn’t have time for 4 and-a-half minutes.
Having missed my last lecture opportunity at Sheridan College due to a sudden and unexpected bout of what felt a lot like death, I’ll be trying it all again on April 6th, at 1pm. To students — come get lectured about the “real world”! There is some talk of possible fire eating, but chances are that administration won’t ever let me come back again if I do it.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing films-in-progress during my recent “guest mentor” days, and I look forward to seeing the few dedicated ones who are still showing up to class in this last home stretch of 4th year!
You’re almost there! Congratulations to you!
Monday, February 9th, Rachel Peters will be heading back to Sheridan College, where she once spent hours upon hours drawing bouncing balls, waving seaweeds and Vivien’s infamous Pink Panther, to lecture animation students on what life is like in the “real world”. Funny thing, Rachel isn’t entirely sure she’s ever lived in the “real world”. It’s all lollipops and gumdrops where she spends her time.
Perhaps hearing about Rachel’s unreal world will be a nice counter balance to what she remembers having heard so much in school, about how difficult the industry is (which is can be).
But with a few strategic moves, Rachel believes one can situate themselves so that lollipops an gumdrops don’t have to be just a pipe dream. Enjoying your living and finding exciting opportunities is more attainable than one may assume.
Somewhere within the immeasurable moment that falls between February, Friday 13th and February 14th (Valentine’s day) lies a celebration Rachel has created called, “Valenween’s”. Valenween’s is a celebration for the unlucky in love. It occurs only every few years, and the next one won’t be upon us until the year 2015 (followed by 2026), so treasure Valentine’s Eve, known this year as “Valenweeeeeen’s”.
Who’s more unlucky in love than little Hot Water Bottle here? Apparently hairless guinea pigs only come in male. He’ll never find a lady who fully understands him, his jiggly, steaming hot belly or his disturbingly naked boy parts. Poor little guy. I wish I hadn’t had to give him away last spring. It’s nothing but rejection for a hairless guinea pig.
On Friday, February 13th, (That’s right, Friday the Thirteenth!) Rachel will be joining Zero Gravity Circus in freeze-your-bum-off Toronto to not only perform her comical fire eating, but also to screen her newest short, animated film, “Nagasaki Circus“. It’s sure to be an eventful night.
As well as extinguishing fire with her FACE, Rachel will also be seen lighting her tongue on fire, her fingers, her lips, and if all goes well… nothing else.
Side note: Somewhere within the immeasurable moment that falls between February, Friday 13th and February 14th (Valentine’s day) lies a celebration Rachel created called, “Valenween’s”. Valenween’s is a celebration for the unlucky in love. It occurs only every few years, and the next one won’t be upon us until the year 2015 (followed by 2026), so treasure Valentine’s Eve, known this year as “Valenween’s“.