My Favourite Director

(Image: copyright DC / Warner Bros)

(Image: copyright DC / Warner Bros)

I don’t have a single favourite director for the reason of enjoying too many films. However, if I had to choose one, I would choose Christopher Nolan. I first discovered Christopher Nolan when my Dad introduced me to the Batman films. I never used to enjoy comic book films, but now I love them, and I believe Christopher Nolan had a part to play in that. A lot of the older comic book films now seem quite dated and cheesy. So, when I watched films where Batman was played by George Clooney or the original Spiderman Trilogy, I wasn’t impressed. Then one day I am introduced by my Dad to Batman The Dark Knight (2008) by Christopher Nolan and I was immediately drawn in. From the get-go, the film had a darker and more serious tone. Everything about the film was exciting and everything from Heath Ledger's convincing performance as the Joker to Hans Zimmer’s thrilling score kept me hooked. Nolan’s take on Batman was based on the idea of if Batman was actually real, so his trilogy of films was a unique chapter in Batman’s film history and a return to success for the franchise after suffering several blows many years prior. An interesting realisation from recently re-watching Nolan’s trilogy was that it was the only set of Batman films I truly enjoy. Any Batman film since I simply haven’t been able to enjoy. For me, Nolan balanced humour and seriousness and that is probably why I enjoy the MCU films so much. More recently I discovered more of Nolan’s films. The mind-boggling Inception was a fun but at times confusing film that explored the concept of dreams and ideas. The heist like element of the film was particularly gripping and had me on the edge of my seat. Leonardo Di Caprio’s performance was surprisingly enjoyable as I’m not normally a fan of his. His performance blended well with the darker parts of the film as his character (Cobb) has a particularly haunting past. Again, Nolan uses the brilliance of Hans Zimmer to set the tone of the film and his score accompanies each scene of the film really well.

To conclude, these are the reasons why I enjoy Christopher Nolan’s work so much and why he is one of my favourite directors.

Post created by Morgan during his visit for work experience.

My Media and Film Inspiration

(Collage by Morgan. Individual images copywrite to their original creators)

(Collage by Morgan. Individual images copywrite to their original creators)

Media and film are relatively new subjects for me. I only learnt that media was a viable option when deciding what A-Level courses to choose from. Media soon became one of my favourite subjects as there were no major restrictions in both the practical and theory side of the subject. My eventual media teacher would often advertise on open days that “media has no right or wrong answer” which was an inspiring thing to hear as many times in the past I would not answer a question in class due to fear of saying the wrong thing. I was surprised by how diverse the subject was as I had originally presumed that media was just newspapers and magazines, but it turns out media can be a whole variety of things such as television, video games or music. The laid-back attitude of the subject was also an appealing thing for me when deciding to choose the subject. The ability to work in groups frequently as well as having a break from traditional paper-based work made the subject feel less draining and made the subject more enjoyable. When I found out that media accommodated games, film and television I was eager to get stuck in as those things have been a big part of my life and it made me realise that they aren't mindless forms of entertainment and ways to pass the time but rather important industries. For my first year in media studies, the main coursework task was to create my own newspaper front cover and double-page spread. This excited me as I had the creative freedom to base the stories on whatever I wanted. My stories were fairly music-based as I had recently got into buying Vinyl records. So, one of the main stories was the resurgence of vinyl records and how a format that was considered dead is now making a comeback. This creative freedom made me enjoy the subject even more as it allowed me to create things I was passionate about.

As for Film Studies, it's a different story. Again, the story revolves around college. Film was not one of my first choices when deciding my A-Levels; it hadn't even crossed my mind and I never attended an open day for the subject. It was only when I wanted to drop Politics when I started looking for a replacement subject. Eventually, the idea of checking out Film Studies grew more and more until one day I met and spoke to my current film teacher for the first time. At first, I was anxious. This was new territory for me. I never even realised that Film was a subject and thought that the industry was reserved for celebrities and people with natural talent. As the initial conversation progressed, I grew more confident in wanting to choose the subject and was already passionate about the subject despite not taking it before. On my first day as a film student, my film teacher made me feel very welcome and ensured I wasn’t overwhelmed. It also helped that I had two friends I already knew in the class so I had people I could work with when it came to group work. I was fortunate to join the class when they were starting a new film: Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Immediately I was taken aback. It actually felt like I was in a cinema watching a film. This was due to my college being fortunate enough to have a room dedicated to film by having a large screen and accommodating sound-system. By the end of the first lesson, I was overjoyed; I had found a subject I could combine entertainment with education. I always loved going to the cinema and now I could “go to the cinema” as a subject with people who were all passionate about films. As the first year progressed, I grew more confident with my film analysis as well as becoming more knowledgeable and appreciative of films that if I had not taken the subject, I wouldn’t know about or watch. I learnt that films were more complex than I originally thought and that a lot of time goes into films. Two particularly interesting directors that I learnt about were Alfred Hitchcock and Ridley Scott. I had watched several of their films by that point such as Vertigo, Psycho and Gladiator. Vertigo was the first time I experienced the classic Hitchcock cliff-hanger and realised why he was often called the master of suspense. Gladiator was a film I originally glossed over and considered boring. However, when I actually watched the film, I soon realised the greatness of the film. The technical competence of Scott really shined through the film and every shot and camera angle was like a painting. Going into the second year of the course, I get to make my own short film which is something I’m looking forward to doing as I have never done anything like that before, so it will be interesting and exciting to see how that turns out.

For the collage I have created, I wanted to show my perspective of the two subjects and what inspires/inspired me. I wanted to show the various forms of media and film and how many different routes and pathways it has. So, for example, I have included newspapers and magazines alongside radio, games and much more. By showing the different types of media, it allows people to realise that the thing they enjoy as an entertainment platform may well actually be something they can work on in an industry or pursue in education. I think it is important that people (particularly older generations) realise that films and other forms of media aren't simply for consumption but rather contribute a lot to society. On a final note, I think it is important that people pursue their dreams and passions rather than being confined to something they don’t want to do and aren’t actually passionate about and I think Media and Film are a great gateway for people discovering their passions or if someone is ever unsure about what direction to go in. I’d recommend Film and Media as there is lots of creative freedom given as well as combining entertainment and education.

Post created by Morgan during his visit for work experience.

Hand Gestures

Sidd has been brushing up on his hand drawing skills. It’s surprising how important hand gestures are when animating characters and conveying emotion.

Art by,
Sidd

Films, Food & Fun

Happy Birthday Mr Shetty

We hope your weekend is filled with food, films & fun!

balloons-birthday-celebrate-1071882 (1).jpg

All-Girl Superhero Team

Netflix will soon be airing ‘Mama K’s Team 4’. It’s a South African children’s animation focusing on an all-girl team of spies. Normal children by day, spies by night!

The story was created by animation writer Malenga Mulendema, who submitted her story as part of a competition. Her hope is that the animation will help Zambian teens see themselves represented in worldwide media - something she feels is deeply lacking.

Triggerfish Studios will be producing the series and we’re definitely going to be keeping our eye out for it!

(Image: Netflix / Triggerfish Studios

(Image: Netflix / Triggerfish Studios

Lion King VR

(Image: copyright Disney ‘The Lion King’)

(Image: copyright Disney ‘The Lion King’)

Walt Disney will be releasing their new live-action / CGI hybrid film ‘The Lion King’ later this month.

The majority of the film is CGI so director Jon Favreau wanted to find a new way of working with 3D animation. Traditional live-action film-making involves pointing a real camera towards what you want to film, tweaking the angle appropriately and going from there. However 3D worlds only exist within a computer, using virtual cameras to set-up a shot. This can make cinematography feel less intuitive, particularly to those more used to live-action.

The solution Favreau and his team came up with was to ‘enter’ these 3D worlds with Virtual Reality headsets. This allowed the team to walk through the 3D environments and tweak the virtual cameras in a way more in-tune with traditional methods.

This sounds like a brilliant way of working, merging the old with the new to get the best of both worlds.

Read more about the process here:

https://www.indiewire.com/2019/04/jon-favreau-directed-lion-king-virtual-reality-set-1202128319/

Paper Ireland

London animation company ‘Seed Animation’ created a wonderful paper world for their client ‘Gas Networks Ireland’. It’s normal practice for work like this to be done in CGI - it gives the ultimate control for a project and any potential changes that may crop up last minute. However they did such a great job of it they initially had us questioning whether they’d actually done it for real!

Watch the final animation below as well as their making of video which gives a brilliant insight to their technique. You can also read this post on their website.

StoryBots

Netflix recently announced they have acquired StoryBots - a children’s media brand. They’re hoping to use this to expand on educational programming for toddlers.

Primarily shown on US Netflix accounts it may not be an animation you’ve came across, however it’s well worth a look. The animations have a unique style of their own. Multiple storytelling formats are used such as traditional 2D animation, 3D animation, stopmotion and live-action. This change up helps grab the attention of young children and keeps their focus.

Have a look at this behind the scenes video showing their range of styles:

Toy Story 4

Image: Disney Pixar - Toy Story 4

Image: Disney Pixar - Toy Story 4

The latest in the ‘Toy Story’ franchise has made new records in the UK box office.

‘Toy Story 4’ has been created 24 years after the first film and the UK seem to love it just as much as the original.

Released last week, its opening weekend made a huge £13.3 million. This is the highest ever for an animated movie.

It’s early days so we don’t want to give anything away but many in the C&W office have watched the film and given it their solid thumbs up.

Summer Solstice

Today is the day of the year that has the most daylight hours - well, for us in the northern hemisphere anyway! This makes it the perfect day for a BBQ and lounging around in the garden. Sounds like a fabulous way to start the weekend!

Of course we’re still in the UK so perhaps the weather will have other ideas…

Whatever happens, have a great weekend!

Art by Ash

20180910_114101.jpg

Check out more artwork at - ergoasch.deviantart.com

Art by,

Ash

Happy Fathers Day

A big thank you to all the Dads who have supported us on our creative career paths!

The Queen's Corgi

(image: nWave Pictures & Belga Productions)

(image: nWave Pictures & Belga Productions)

It was Queen Elizabeth’s official birthday over the weekend. Tied in closely to this was the recent release of an animation feature film named ‘The Queen’s Corgi’, animated by Belgium company nWave Pictures. Unfortunately it’s not yet released in the UK and we will instead need to wait until July the 5th.

It’s a very cute film about the Queen being given a new puppy as a gift. The film then follows the chaos this new dog creates as he goes on his new adventure.

Watch the trailer below:

Mr. T's Birthday

No, not that one! James is the youngest member of our team and has decided to abandon us for the week.

We hope he has a lot of fun on his time off.

PS. Bring back treats…

GradEx 19

student-hero-banner-1200x417.jpg

Each year Staffordshire University holds an exhibition showcasing the work of their students.

Next week final year students will get to show their talents off to friends and family. We’re delighted to be able to come along and check out all the exciting things they’ve been doing.

If you’re local to Stoke on Trent we’d highly recommend popping over and supporting the next generation about to move onto the next stage of their lives.

Happy Birthday Richard

This guy got to celebrate his birthday on Bank Holiday Monday. We know he’s happiest when around computers and gadgets so we hope he had a technology-filled extra long birthday weekend.

ai-artificial-intelligence-blur-546819.jpg

Spider-Verse Creation

Feature film 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ won Best Animated Feature at the Oscars this year. A point that most likely helped this was its unique style. It has a look that uses 3D animation whilst trying to blend between a traditional 2D, traditional comic book and also a live action appearance. If you were curious how this was achieved you may want to watch the video below from Wired.

Ashley Ageing

It unfortunately happens to the best of us but we’re sure Ash will celebrate in style. Today is the birthday of arguably the most interesting member of our team. Guaranteed to have an interesting story to tell after every weekend, we can’t wait to hear what he gets up to whilst celebrating.

Happy Birthday Ash

alcohol-alcoholic-anniversary-302515.jpg

Mental Health Animations

Mental health is a subject that is unfortunately so easy to ignore and rarely gets talked about. Fortunately this subject is starting to get the recognition and publicity it needs and deserves.

Animation students at the Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT) have used research conducted by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) to create a series of 5 animations touching on different mental health themes.

The animations have been designed to raise awareness of the many different areas mental health can affect in someones life. They are primarily aimed at young people to encourage them to ask for help from others if they experience any of the feelings or thoughts mentioned in the videos.

Read more about this & see all five videos - https://spunout.ie/news/article/launch-date-mental-health-animation

Here’s the Anxiety animation (copyright IADT & spunout.ie)