Rachel and a Bus Trailer – Cute, Concise and Catchy

May 21, 2012 by  
Filed under News

Why did I not post this video two years ago, when it was a little more relevant?

Probably because I was a lazy-arsed slacker, that’s why.

If anyone out there at Discovery, TLC or PBS wants to make this into a real series with me, just say the word and a beautifully polished proposal is in your mail box, ready for shinier, bigger adventures.

See the series here (minus the end shorts that got filmed but lost).

Dear World,

May 6, 2012 by  
Filed under News

Dear World Wide Web,

It’s been far too long since I’ve paid any attention to my website.

It’s been a long time of settling in to new work, new direction, and a new city.  I’m still feeling a bit of a creative lull since all of the upheaval of the last chapter, but I’m counting on it being the creative equivalent of a long, REM nap — the kind you wake up from, feeling like Jello and thinking, “Wow, I must have reeeeally needed that.”  (And a creative lull for me means that I’m only working on one project at a time, not 7.)

I’ve rented out my cozy Hamilton home and moved to the capital of this great country, Ottawa Ontario, Canada.  For the last six months I’ve been an Animation Supervisor for one of the very best kids’ shows on television today (Sure, I’m a little biased, but ratings don’t lie either!)
Wild Kratts is the animated series by Chris and Martin Kratt -“The Kratt Brothers”- who are more widely known for their success in creating, “Zoboomafoo”, “Kratt’s Creatures” and “Be The Creature”.  Their in-house presence in the studio really brings a great life to the work place, along with an amazing and wise-beyond-his-years director, Simon Paquette, and so many other open and caring crew members.  It’s a creative environment you don’t often come across in the work place — the the sort of personality that SHOULD be present in every art studio.  I’ve always said that the personality of leadership trickles down through any organization, and this place happens to be caring, wise, quick to laugh, and slow to anger.  That says a lot to me about the individuals.

On another note, we have studio pets:
Meet two of the three lobby Turtles, Tortuga and Tortilla:

I’m still working on getting together my new street performance project, Faunus, which, while becoming more and more realistic looking and coming together as a character, still has a long way to go in functional reverse-stilt construction.  I’ve had to pass that job on to a real stilt-maker.  While that gets dreamed up better, a fellow Animation Supervisor in the cubical next to mine, artist, Jason Hall, is working on real Warrior Princess armour for Faunus.  She is going to be a strong matriarch of wherever it is she comes from.

On the Franken Toy front, I’ve temporarily pulled the plug on them.  I have some serious carpal tunnel syndrom and complex tendinitis (also the reason I’ve switched gears in street performance, from chalk art to Faunus).  And although the toys have been my best viral works of art to date, I can’t justify the strain they put on me and on my chances of healing.
I may get back into them when I’m not already doing so much with my arms, but until then they’ll just be a lovely bunch of photographs for people to blog about.  And maybe the occasional personal gift.

That said, it is official that the Kratt Brothers love Franken Toys:

So much so that Chris (seen above with a gifted Wild Kratts Franken Creature) bought Robo Reggie for one of his sons.

So… I suppose that’s all I’ve got to post for today.  I’ve finally gotten another great job, I’ve managed to keep my house and my two cats, and in one month I’ll be moving into a cute, little apartment right in the heart of down town Ottawa where I look forward to being able to paint again.  I`ve still got goals and plans, but I refuse to have expectations.  Six months ago I did not see myself here.  But being here now – it`s a good thing.

PS: I`ve also started taking roller derby lessons with the Capital City Derby Dolls.  So don`t mess with me.  I`ll crap you up good!

Ottawa or Bust!

October 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Film Festivaling

(I just wanted to say the word, “bust”.  I’m cheeky like that.)

I’ve recently arrived home from two days at the Ottawa Writer’s Festival where I discovered Artistic Director, Sean Wilson has the exact same head as Rick Mercer.  Not the same face, mind you.  Just the cranium.  The shape, the hair, and the disproportionately child-like size.  It was pretty cool, I must say.

I was actually in Ottawa for three days, the first being made up of a lovely evening out at McDonald’s with my “Little Brother Figure”, Aaron Bradford.  I’m pretty sure he’ll thoroughly hate this paragraph.  When I first met Bratworst he was in high school, with long, blue hair, and had just let his friends shave his eyebrows off.  He said, “They made me.” but I highly doubt they physically pinned him down.  People called him “Marilyn Manson” for a year.  Now Bradford is all grow’d up, I suppose, and not actually that much younger than me, now.  He has a good hair cut, he can grow a full beard, he wears pants that fit and he has begun showering regularly.  It’s working for him.  Back in the early days when I knew little about animation and Bradford knew little about changing his pants, I starred him in a video series for a large Youth organization.  It was called, “Bradford’s Magic Photo Album“.

Evening #2 for me involved a screening of the Moving Stories Film Festival and a very friendly Hospitality Room.  Paul (Quarrington) had arrived at the Hospitality Room earlier in the day and thought it very inhospitable that it was closed.

I enjoyed hearing an audience respond to my film that evening, although it was very noticeable that we were at a writer’s festival, and not a film fest.  Nobody claps at readings and thus, nobody clapped at the films.  …It felt kind of like church.  I did, however, hear one person sheepishly air-clap and whisper, “woo-woo” after mine.  That rocked.

I met Charles Hodgson, of Podictionary.com, the pod cast which explores a word root every day!  I now have a CD and a book I am very interested in delving into.  It’s not often you meet a real, live etymologist.  In fact, it’s not often I use the word “etymology”.  Where does that word come from?  Charles would know!

Day #3 was for masterclasses.  I attended “Adapting Books: From Page to Screen” with Judith Keenan and Paul Quarrington, moderated by Tom Shoebridge.  Intriguing, entertaining, and informative.
Quarrington was trying to salvage his voice for a concert that evening with his band, The PorkBelly Futures, so his comments and answers were interspersed with swigs of Buckley’s Cough Syrup.

From six to seven I attended my own masterclass workshop, entitled, “Animating Books: From Page to Screen”.  I was joined by Gary Thomas of Crush Inc. and it was moderated by Chris Robinson, Artistic Director of the Ottawa Int. Animation Festival.  (Who, by the way, if he reads this post because of the Google alert that comes with the tag, is NOT a “Cranky Fart”.  You heard it here.)

I really enjoyed being on the small panel of two, but only wished it could have gone longer.  We screened our work and that took up some time.  I realized once we were up there that both Gary and I are animation cheaters.  I mean, our current, featured work was barely “animation” at all (not that we don’t animate, but what we were showing involved a lot of live-action).  But then, perhaps animation by its nature is “cheating”.  Yep.  That’s what I’ll say.  And if you disagree, you can fight me.

Then on to a nap, during which I was not able to sleep, in spite of my cushy hotel bed (two of them, actually.  I love the superfluous second beds.)  I wasn’t able to fall asleep on either of them.

I got up and eagerly jotted off to the big show, “Writers That Rock”, with a lovely line-up, including the most creativity I’ve seen in some long time by the hilarious Bob Wiseman (Keep an ear to the ground for his live performances, wherever you might be), and closing off with the PorkBelly Futures with Paul Q., who, by this time had a line-up of throat medications displayed for the audience, taking appropriate swigs and drops and suppositories, depending on the difficulty of the given song.
Despite his struggle to stay coherent and conscious (enough Buckley’s will do that to you), they all sounded great.

As the evening wrapped up and people headed out to be hospitable, I tried that “sleeping” thing again, with some success.

And that’s that.

Now it’s time for one of those “real jobs”, I guess.

Until the next festival…