Rachel and Bus

January 30, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Although insecurities abound, I am about to post my first introductory video blog (I prefer to call them “micro-docs”, because it sounds less like I’m an A.D.D. preteen with a cam-quarter and a hanging sheet).

Tonight I’m heading out on a Greyhound bus.  I’m about to purchase a Greyhound Discovery Pass, which, for $500, will let me get on and off anywhere in North America for two months, except for Alaska and Newfoundland.  While I realize Newfoundland is in the ocean, I’m not sure why they exclude Alaska.

I’ll be trying to “micro-document” every day of my trip, but don’t expect to see those videos for some time.  I want to be able to upload them consistently, and I can’t count on having wi-fi everywhere I go.  To avoid the stress of expectations (even if they’re only my own expectations), I’m going to hold off on the uploads until I can do it daily.  Which means they might not start flowing in for two months.

Enjoy. …I hope for future blogs to not be nearly as cheesy.  My eyebrows seem to have a mind of their own.

The beginning of this trip is dedicated to friend and fellow adventure seeker, Paul Quarrington, who went on his final adventure Jan 21, 2010. Here’s to the next chapter, Q-Tip.

Rachel’s Friends

January 12, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Links to friends Rachel loves to brag about:

PERFORMERS

Musician, Larry Norman (1947-2008)

Robert Nelson is “The Butterfly Man”

Lurk, the cynical stilt-waking mime

Lee Zimmerman, The Puppet Guy

Aerial Angels

Musician, Bob Wiseman

Pianist, Becky Booker

Musician, Dave Thompson

Musicians, McKenna

Musician, Jacob Moon

Ken Abell and Oblique Magazine

Comedian, Dave Coulier

The Kratt Brothers

FILMMAKERS and ANIMATORS

Animation filmmaker, John F. Weldon

BookShorts Inc

The National Film Board of Canada

Squeeze Animation

Chuck Gammage

VISUAL ARTS

Lampwork by Elly Peters

The art of Scott Ireland

Carole Peters, Pyrographer

Monster Factory

Gerry Zeldin, Painter

AUTHORS

Paul Quarrington (1953 – 2010)

RACHEL IS A FAN OF

Beryl Productions

Lyle Lovett

Stephen Fry

C.S. Lewis

Stuart McLean

Philip Yancey


Behind the Scenes of “Nagasaki Circus”

January 5, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Fresh and hot off the youtube!

Watch the story of how the film “Nagasaki Circus” came to be.
Get glimpses of the marionette filming process and hear Martin Ewen’s take on life as a cynical, stilt-walking mime.

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…

“Loves it!” Newfoundland and Beyond

October 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Film Festivaling

My [now annual] excursion to St. John’s NFLD was, as usual, a lovely time.  I’ve found that in every trip to The Rock I seem to get tricked into being educated, in some way or another.  This year at the St. John’s Int. Women’s Film Festival was no exception.  From Irish sailors stopping in to port, to films about Holy Heart High School, to dark comedies about Newfoundland life — everything seems to be crammed full of culture.  Everything also seems to be uphill and against the rain.

I ate cod tongue.

I have yet to be screeched in.

I spent Oct. 11th and 12th with seven junior high students, creating animation flipbooks and claymation shorts for the festival-sponsored workshop, “2D in 2Days”.  I was truly impressed by the quality and understanding of animation these guys achieved in only two days and it excited me to try the workshop again.  I had planned it all out two years ago, but this was my first time seeing it through to fruition.

The morning of Sunday, Oct 12th was spent in the CBC radio studio, with Angel Antle, on the Weekend Arts Magazine, talking of workshops, festivals, films (specifically mine, “Nagasaki Circus”) and fire eating.

Then, a little break and on to the festival!  I actually got rather distracted during most of the festival and missed a great deal of the films and workshops I had wanted to attend.  I ended up starting a flipbook of my own, having been inspired by my kids from the previous week, and I hid away for most of the week.

“Nagasaki Circus” screened on the 17th with the Moving Stories Film Festival, within the St. John’s Festival — A festival within a festival.  Like an onion.  Or a parfait.

Luckily, I missed my flight home because I was too busy dancing atop of Signal Hill with filmmaker, Irene Duma, so I was able to attend the closing ceremonies and the after party where I was able to meet people I had hidden from all week and shove some helium balloons down my shirt.  See?  It all works out.
I then garnered a solid three hours of sleep, woke up while the others were still wrapping up the party, and I caught my next flight off that precious stone.

watch Post Festival Depression, chalked full of festival inside jokes!

Here’s what you should expect next:

The Moving Stories Film Festival is trucking onward to screen at the Ottawa Writer’s Festival where many-a-masterclass will occur.

I will be on the panel of one of these masterclasses, “Animating Books: From Page to Screen”

Come to the screening Wednesday, October 22, 7:00 PM, at Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street
Tickets, passes and info: 613.562.1243.
The brilliantly written and puppeted “Nagasaki Circus” will be screened, along with many others, including Paul Quarrington’s “Pavane”, which is a short adaptation of (or alternate angle to) his latest Gillar long-listed novel, “The Ravine”.

The “Animating Books: From Page to Screen” masterclass with Rachel Peters and Gary Thomas, Hosted by Chris Robinson, and Presented with the Ottawa Animation Festival will be held Thursday, October 23, 6:00 PM.

For more information about the Writers’ Festival and all of its events, visit: www.writersfestival.org

I’ve got MY bus ticket.  Do you?