Monday, 28 December 2009

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Tricky Women

An Eyeful of Sound will be screening at the Tricky Women Festival in Vienna in March. It's a lovely festival, I went last year and it was incredibly warm, welcoming and stimulating. Plus, this is how they serve their coffee in Vienna:


British animator Lizzy Hobbs did the trailer for the 2010 festival, which you should be able to see here. SO gorgeous.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Berlinale Talent Campus

Blimey, I've been offered a place on the Berlinale Talent Campus. I applied a few months ago, as it seems I am incapable of knowingly letting a deadline slide by without bunging in an application (it explains so many of my career choices), but with no real expectation of getting anywhere.

The Berlinale Talent Campus has been running since 2003, and is held alongside the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival (also called the Berlinale). The talent campus is meant to be for up and coming film makers, cinematographers, editors, film critics, actors etc. It's a huge brain-storming, networking extravaganza of master classes, talks, workshops and creative buzziness. There's no age limit (which is good), and they choose 350 people from around 5000 applicants worldwide. See, that whole paragraph just terrifies me to read back.

However, this is such an amazing opportunity, I have to go for it. I sent along a clip from An Eyeful of Sound as part of my application, which is very heartening, so someone likes it. I'll pack industrial quantities of Rescue Remedy, and a lot of showreels. If anyone has participated in the Talent Campus, or has any advice, it will be gratefully received!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

B - side

I was interested to hear from the London Short Film Festival that they're using B Side, a web site which allows film makers and, crucially, audience members interact with the festival schedule. You can build your own schedule, review films you've seen and create a buzz about films by viewing their page.

For me as a film maker it means I can customise my films listing, with film stills, synopses and even trailers and film clips. It's cool because usually you're at the mercy of what the festival wants to say about you and your film - you send them a synopsis and then they can write something totally different. This system doesn't preclude that, but it lets you add and modify.

I feel a bit mixed about this, on one hand it's nice to make a bit more of a splash with your work (and I have a gazillion stills that I'm really happy to get out there) but on the other hand it panders to my control freakin' side that really can't let it go...


Monday, 14 December 2009

Animated Exeter

Eyeful of Sound will be screened at the Animated Exeter festival in February (11-20), as part of the Screen Out Loud programme, where it will be up for the Independent Talent Award.

I'm delighted for obvious reasons, but also partly because I studied at Exeter Uni and it will be lovely to go back and see some of my old haunts.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Felix Massie gave me the link to this film by Joe Paine after reading the Lotte Reiniger post I did yesterday, and I'm really grateful he did, because LOOK! It's a beautiful film!

Stiff Upper Lip from joe paine on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

and breathe.

OK, so that wasn't quite the end of making the film; I had a bit more frame-faffing to do (which Matt Shard at Automatic TV was wondrously patient in tolerating) and got the HD Cam master and DigiBetas (in various flavours) into my hands today.

But now, aside from burning a gazillion DVDs, addressing jiffy bags to festivals (with *new* sharpies, mmmm), and drinking my usual litres of tea, my head is free to look at other stuff and get inspired for the next project.

Lotte Reiniger is someone whose work I look at regularly, as she features in a module I teach on experimental animation. Her work reminds me of Paper Cinema's live performances (which I talked about here). Students always love emulating her style and I think I'd like to have a play too...

images from ASIFA Holly wood animation archive

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

An Eyeful of Sound is completed

This week I hotfooted it to Automatic Television to master An Eyeful of Sound. This meant that I had to stop tinkering with it, pulling and adding frames, redoing the edit and generally faffing. It's now committed to HD Cam and DigiBeta for ever, and no doubt the first screening I will see a huge glaring error right in the centre of the screen..

I celebrated on the train home with a bottle of pop and a bag of peanuts. Animators know how to have a good time!

Monday, 26 October 2009

The Beloved Ones in New York

The Beloved ones will be featuring at the Flaherty NYC film seminar in New York on 9th November at 7:30.

"The Experiments with Animation program will feature a broad spectrum of animated works, each telling a poignant story using very different mediums - watercolor, pencil illustration, paper cut-outs, and even video game footage. What holds the program together is the ability of the filmmakers to convey authentic human emotions using inanimate objects and forms."

Still from The Beloved Ones (2007)

The real Maureen, reading the memory book her mother made for her.
Photo (c) Joshka Wessels.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

doubled up in the Czech Republic

doubled up will be screened at the Animated Film Festival in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, from December 10 - 13th. It's really nice that films carry on having a life beyond the usual festival rounds, the last time it was requested was by a mid-wifery lecturer in Wales!

I think it's really cool that work can spark discussion and interest years after it was made, and hopefully people will want to carry watching it for a bit longer. You can watch doubled up on the BBC Film network or the animate projects website.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Bundanon Trust residency

My friend Sophie B Raymond, an Australian film maker, singer-songwriter and all round good egg, has been successful in applying to the Bundanon Trust for a 2 week group residency investigating animated documentary practice.

The Riversdale complex (above) is a place where Australian and international artists can go to think, talk, be inspired and make links with other artists.

Fabulously enough, I am part of Sophie's group, so now I have to work out where to get the travel funds from. It's not till next December (2010) so I have plenty of time to make applications ... any ideas for funding places gratefully received!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The finishing process

I'm trying to get through the last few parts of the film, before I start sending it out to my collaborators and interviewees for final feedback, then the funders, British Council, festivals and so on.

It can be a frustrating period. I get quite impatient, and anyone who has worked in animation knows that the question you most dread is "when will it be finished?".

The answer is "not soon enough" or "it's only been two years, what do you expect?" or "I'm sorry, I have to go home, I'm having a panic attack".

Today I am teaching all day so my studio will be empty in about ten minutes time. Tonight however I shall be back here, working away, trying to get the balance right between sorting out small problems and working the thing to death.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Adam visiting to do the final sound mix

All this week the amazing Prix Italia-winning composer and sound designer Adam Goddard has been over from Toronto to do the final sound mix for my film. Up to our kitchen table.

It's been great fun, as we have painstakingly gone through every squeak, word, dog bark and bell ring on the intricately layered sound track to tweak the delicate balance between music, sound effects and vocals.

Overall ... it sounds great. I love what Adam does with sound, it's such a fluid and creative process. AND he brought maple syrup with him. My sons will love him forever.

In turn, we've been introducing him to real ale, spag bol, stinky cheese, a weak pound, proper pubs, the Co-op and various other UK cultural and culinary specialities. He is one lucky man.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Digishorts open for funding

Just a quickie to note that the UK Film Council's Digishorts are open for funding, look here for details! It's a really good scheme and improving every year..

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Stimulants "R" us

I am getting to (not quite the end but) the beginning of the end.

Next week Adam Goddard is coming over from Toronto to do the final sound mix and also eat Asian food, see old things and meet some friends. But mainly do the mix.

I am scared and elated in equal measures, it's a bit of a roller coaster at the moment as I trudge/skip/pelt/gallop/limp/sob to The Finishing of The Film.

One of the great things to do when I am feeling a bit 'grrr' (or, even worse in some ways, 'meh') about everything is to read other people's blogs about films. Sometimes it can really help, like this week when I caught up with Emma Lazenby's blog about making 'Mother of Many', a digital short for South West Screen and 4Mations. She's coming to the end of her film and I've really enjoyed reading about it.
She's slightly ahead of me production-wise so it's been good remembering what comes next and how it's normal to feel like this. She is very honest about the ups and most especially, the downs of the process. I always feel a bit guilty writing about the rubbish bits of film making, or how everything's going wrong, or looking awful, or how I can't animate and am quite crap. For one, it seems churlish (given that I have funding to make a film! how amazing is that?!), but there's also a less attractive element of pretending that I find this stuff easier than I do. I hope that I don't do that too much.

Anyway, Emma's film looks really beautiful, you can read an interview with her here. I also love the blogs of Lizzie Hobbs and Richard Phelan which I find inspirational for different reasons. Lizzie's has a great series of reviews of LIAF and Engine's launch which keep me up to speed with London stuff. Her writing always makes me jealous as it's very thoughtful, intelligent and funny. Richard's is about the NFTS where he is currently studying, and has lots of life drawing which I like very much.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Beloved Ones in Bucharest

My 2007 Film Council/Screen WM film 'The Beloved Ones' has been selected by the British Council to be screened at the Anim'Est Festival, in Bucharest next month (2-11 October). It will be part of British Council programme of best of British Animation presented at the festival. How lovely!

Specially nice as I am stressing about getting Eyeful of Sound finished and worrying about it not being right. I have to remember it was exactly the same with the Beloved Ones, which subsequently screened all over the place and did really well. I'd still re-make it given half a chance though...!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Festival entries

Chris Chidlow is taking some time out from his normal film making stuff to do some production assistance on my film, principally co-ordinating festival entries.

It's such good fun *not* to do all that paper work but to merely view the incredibly organised google spread sheet that Chris has made get filled up with festivals, deadlines and links. Having always done this myself it occurs to me that getting people to help is an excellent plan. I wonder if it's something about animators that makes us think we have to be a one (wo)man band, or maybe it's just me.

Anyway, this has been all such good fun that it slightly by-passed me that I would have to get my tush in gear and send off the (rough cut) screener to the first batch of festivals in September. Which, as it turns out, is the day after tomorrow.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Green Man Festival

Haven't written for a while due to lovely weekends away in London and at the Green man festival. In the intervening time I've been frantically plugging away at my film.

Anyway, two things to say about Green Man (apart from that it was wonderful).

1] 7 inch cinema were there, screening lovely films including Sleepwalking Through The Mekong which we loved. They also had an incarnation of The Travelling Picture Show so we were treated to a morning of family friendly cinema whilst lying on cushions. Yum.

The second thing is that my husband Jont was there with his Roaming Rotisserie, selling roast chickens and potatoes and he'll be at Bestival too. Thought you should know.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

taster clip

This is from the end of part two, where Jamie is talking about which form of synaesthesia he would rather have.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Glitter effect sorted!

I've had good fun making my own glitter brushes in painter (lots of impasto) but eventually today I took my ex-student Fabian's advice and got out an SLR camera, some glitter and some green paper. It worked! Hooray.

Here's an image of Tessa's harp sound being visualised:

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Tessa's time

This image shows Tessa's days of the week as she sees them. The faint line in the centre of the image is midday.

This image shows Tessa's coloured numbers, and also her centuries. The black arrow shows where she stands, with the past centuries flowing away to her left and the coming ones to her right.

Tessa in her studio completing a stained glass window commission.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Glitter bug

I had a ball on Wednesday interviewing Tessa to see what she saw when I played her some of the new sounds. It was great fun to do and there was LOTS of glitter gel, silver paint and sparkly stuff flying around. I came back completely inspired but with loads of work to do, so I'll post a bit when I think I have some of it sorted.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Sketch books part two

I've waxed lyrical about the joys of sketch books, but recently as the film progresses and I am spending lots of time reviewing, editing and note taking, I have noticed that my sketch books are suffering. Yuk.

Lists and lists of writing, check boxes and 'to do' reminders. Not good. Worst of all is what I am sketching when I get around to it...

See below.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


I've come to a bit of an impasse with the imagery for the final section of the film. This is partly due to all the interesting new sound effects that Adam has added to the sound track, which I just don't have any synaesthetic responses for. So tomorrow I have arranged to go and visit Tessa at her home in rural Hertfordshire and play her some of the new sounds to get her responses.

Tessa is a stained glass window artist, who has a wonderfully descriptive drawing and painting style, so it's always fascinating to see her respond to sound. Her imagery always contains lots of silver and metallic colours, and has a translucent quality (a bit like stained glass).

I've bought a whole lot of art materials I know she'll love; glitter gel, metallic acrylic paints, big brushes and (my favourite) a set of water soluble Caran D'Ache crayons. Nothing beats the amount of sheer pigment they pack, and I love to see them nestling in their little box... There's something so satisfying about new crayons.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Out of hours networking event

So my film for the Great animation Challenge is going to be screened at Lighthouse in Wolverhampton next Tuesday evening, 21st July. I'm toe curlingly embarrassed to be screened but know I must face up to my duty (wo)manfully, so if any one is around the West Mids on that date then please pop in to see my beetroot face.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Underwater video for Fax of Death

I know I have some masochistic issues but deciding to take up the Great Animation Challenge has to be proof that I need some medical help.

Three and a half minutes of animation? Crazy lady. Anyway, I did it in 10 hours (which is not a boast, more of an excuse) and finally - after one abortive attempt - managed to get it uploaded to Vimeo. Voila...

Underwater fax of death from Samantha Moore on Vimeo.

Monday, 6 July 2009

shift_life weekend

I thought I'd just post a couple of photos from the Shift Time opening weekend, where we beta-tested our 'shift_life' interactive digital eco-system. All went well and the audience responded brilliantly!

< Eugene and Dew setting up

< our little dome tent in the Quarry park, Shrewsbury!

Thursday, 25 June 2009


I am working hard on our work for the Shift Time festival next weekend (3-5 July) in Shrewsbury. I have finished the jelly herbivore, the all-sort carnivore and all the plants including the poison one which turns the creatures funny colours.

I have been working with colleagues from University of Wolverhampton's school of computing, Dr Eugene Ch'ng, Dr Sarah Mount and Dr Dew Harrison. They have been doing some amazing (and incomprehensible to me) work on interactive software programming and sensor technology, whilst I have been doodling sweeties and dreaming up ways for jellies to have babies. The work will be interactive, so you can make earthquakes, raise humidity levels and generally mess around with the heads of small defenseless creatures.

The festival is free and the opening night is Friday if you want to come and play...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Thinking about festivals

I'm beginning to think about festival entries, looking at the deadlines for festivals we'd want to screen at, wondering whether sending a rough cut now is a wise idea or whether waiting til next year and the final version is sorted would be better.

Once a rough cut of a film has been rejected from a festival you (usually) can't apply with it for the next year, even if it's finished and all lovely. I'm looking at Encounters Short film festival and Sheffield Docfest to send rough cuts to.

The thing is, even if we don't get in, the film will still have been wrangled into a decent shape and it is a good kick up the bum. If such a thing can be good.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Interviewing Emma

I had a great time on Friday interviewing Emma, one of our synaesthetic interviewees, about the spot sound effects for the second part of the film. Some of her responses were simultaneously really odd but completely made sense, which is always invigorating..!

I'll post some animation when I have it but in the meantime here's one of her drawings of the sound - I love the colours!

Shift Time festival

Slightly off topic but I am working on an interactive digital project for the Shift Time Festival in Shrewsbury (3 - 12 July), called shift life. It's a cross-breeding exercise between artists and scientists and so far we're working together quite well. Of course that could all change.

Anyway, here's an image of one of the creatures we are bringing to life (Mwa-ha-ha etc).

The official blurb for the project is this:
An alternate, fantasy biological life form lives out its existence on a virtual planet. But this is no Sunday picnic, for the planet-habitat is extremely volatile as rapidly changing conditions, outside the life form’s control, causes havoc by the minute. What is the cause of these cataclysmic upheavals? You are. By entering into a large box of sand, onto which the strange and wonderful world of the virtual creatures is projected, you affect the fortunes of this life-form’s Evolution.

Have a look at the festival website for more info...

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

New work in progress stills

Oh I am having a fine old time here with part three of the film, cunningly ignoring that part two is yet to be completed. Anyway, here are a couple of stills of work in progress, see my Flickr site for more.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Little red engine

Found this lovely illustration from the 50s from The Little Red engine. So nice, it reminds me of a knitting pattern by Kaffe Fasset. I think I am going to use it as the inspiration for a new sequence in the film.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Sound effects open for synaesthetic reactions..

Here is a sound clip of just the spot sound effects from part three of the film. There's a still from work in progress as a visual, but it's not all animated yet.

It uses lots of sounds which haven't been synaesthetically filtered yet so please comment on the blog with any strong feelings that these sounds elicit..!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Sounds and pictures

Bought this lovely book at our local spring Church fair for 20 p.

(Sidebar: isn't it amazing that these events haven't changed at all in 30 years? You can still get a glass of warm orange squash for 10 p, a slightly wonky fairy cake for 15 p and have a go at catching magnetic fish with a bamboo rod for a chance of winning a hand knitted finger puppet. My children's cultural heritage may not be grand or exotic but it is consistent.)

Anyway, the title of it seemed to capture what we are trying to do here, besides which I love these old Ladybird book illustrations. One theory of synaesthesia is that the connections between senses are set in early childhood, and I wonder if any of these images irrevocably made a connection between the "St" in stamp and that amazing shade of lurid yellowy green in someones brain?

Friday, 22 May 2009

Reactions sought!

I just wanted to draw your attention to a gadget I have discovered allowing you to log your reactions to the video clips I am posting without having to leave a comment.

You can tick one of the boxes below each post; rating the clips for being synaesthetic, non-synaesthetic or, alternatively, 'none of the above, I have no clue what synaesthesia is'. If this is the case then check out the UK Synaesthesia research group at Sussex Uni, it's a fantasic resource.

I'd be very grateful if you lurkers could use it as it will really help me to develop the film, plus it will give me more excuses to stop animating and check the blog.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Feet of Song

Just can't resist posting this link because I love the film, but I'd also be interested to know what a synaesthetic person would make of it. To me the music and (partially) abstract visuals sit very well together but I wonder if they are synaesthetically linked too?

Monday, 18 May 2009

Omid's croak

So I have been busy listening to frog croaks, bells dinging and thinking about northern lights. This section has all three, and I hope that the bells in particular are right. Or at least getting righter. Plus the northern lights may be a bit languorous, see what you think.

Friday, 15 May 2009


The very nice Myles Mcleod from animation studio The Brothers Mcleod has interviewed me for Lineboil magazine. And here it is to read! Links aplenty. Thanks Myles.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

fireworks and cockerel crows

Fireworks and cockerel crows again from Samantha Moore on Vimeo.

This clip has got Julie talking about her first experience of synaesthesia (seeing the sound of a cockerel crowing) and Tessa describing seeing the sound of fireworks.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

New and improved

OK, here is the revised version of the intro to part II, see what you think...

Julie's response

Help is at hand - Julie got back to me right away to explain where I was going wrong in my non-synaesthetic response.

The beginning is fine, but really it would be better just to have a thick white cloud moving continuously from left to right with the little silvery things as they are. It is the flower-like images which are wrong. What is the final sound of silver? It looks like a very thin vertical pole. Black balls are not there in the music at all!

Right, I'm on it, and will post the results ASAP!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Cottony sounds

I am tearing my hair out here a bit, working with the opening sounds to the second section. Because the film is divided into three, the middle bit deals with a more scientific view of synaesthesia, relying mainly on interviews with Dr Jamie Ward of the University of Sussex.

At the start of this section there are the "warm and cottony" sounds which Adam Goddard, the composer describes in my post 'Music Collaboration'. I've sent them to our interviewees to get some feedback on how they react to the sounds but I need more! If you have any thoughts on the synaesthetic veracity of these images with these sounds together I would appreciate hearing them!

In the meantime I will continue drawing scratchy cotton wool balls and bouncing them round a white board...

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Sketch books

I'm mildly fetishistic about sketch books, I don't know anyone that uses them that isn't. I like the £2.99 ones from The Works (discount book shop). It is A5 sized with a nice sturdy cover, spiral bound and really sumptuously thick water colour paper. I'd like the budget to use Moleskines but I know that I'd be too intimidated by their price and over-marketed back-story to actually draw in them.

And that's the point of sketch books, they're for everything that occurs to you visually, conceptually, shopping list-ually. Drawings range from the hideously crappy to the barely legible, but it's a vital part of the process. Sketch books that are designed to be looked at by others aren't really doing their job properly, like beautiful lingerie that doesn't support your boobs and gives you a wedgie every time you sit down. You take my point.

I love coming up with ideas, shots, images for a film and having a sketchbook to hand means that I can jot everything down as it enters my feverish brain. Of course the embarrassment factor of drawing in public can be a tricky hurdle to get over, but I find that headphones give me a bit of protection.

Some people's sketch books really do look genuinely fabulous, but they are genetic anomolies, like Elle McPherson (who apparently always matches her bra and knickers).

In the light of this I really shouldn't put my sketch book images up here, but I'd like to point out that they are heavily edited for taste.