David Simon’s new venture Treme premieres soon in the US. It looks full of promise, though I guess it will take ages to get here. My friend Amy put me onto The Wire some years ago, (my son and I still sometimes smilingly say ‘and then I gotta dry that shit up’). I’m truly hooked, but taking it slow, watching week by week on SBS, where we are in the middle of the third season; so lots of good stuff to go yet.
Before Tony Robinson played Baldrick in Blackadder and hosted Time Team and The Worst Jobs in History, he did a great little kid’s story show called Fat Tulip’s Garden. Imagine my delight to find a few of the episodes on TouTube. It’s interesting to see it described as a cult classic – I thought it was just me!
Mary Black and Shane Howard’s lovely duet version of his song Flesh and Blood. It was replayed on Rockwiz (SBS) last night.
Mr. Squiggle, a dearly loved kids TV puppet show in Australia for many years, has an exhibition as part of the Unima 2008 puppetry festival in Perth. Although its regarded as iconic, I have to admit running against the flow; I never really loved it either as a kid or an adult. I do like the puppets and their characters, though, and it was interesting to see how simply made they were made. Blackboard for instance is a piece of cardboard, with little (sand?)bags for feet, and the reason one of his eyes isn’t animated is that it was made so quickly they didn’t get that far. Of course, it gave him more character! Blackboard and Gus the cantankerous snail were always my favourites.
Mr.Squiggle’s creator, Norman Hetherington, and his wife Margaret, who scripted the shows, are both here at the festival.
- The photos below are licensed under a Creative Commons license. Please use them within the terms of the license or make special arrangements to use them, and list the photo credit as “Hilary Talbot” and link the credit to Spiritsdancing.com.
Bill Steamshovel. His neck and catapillar tracks are plain foam.
Update: my own squiggle.
My attendence at Unima 2008 is supported by the ACT Government
Graham Base’s 1986 alphabet book Animalia has been turned into an CG-animated TV series which is premiering today at midday on the Ten network in Australia, and simultaneously on BBC1 and CBBC in the UK, PBS Kids in the US and CBC in Canada. There are 40 half-hour epidodes, and you can see a trailer here. It’s made in Australia, mostly at Photon VFX.
Remember how we scoured each drawing for the small boy hidden in the page? He has been developed into a main character, Alex, who along with a friend, Zoe, get conjured into the magical world of Animalia. It sounds promising – I just hope I remember to watch it!
Here are some links that interested me:
- animalia.tv : Website and trailer
- Digital Media World: Jami Levesque, CG Supervisor, Animalia Productions, will present a behind-the-scenes look at the Making of Animalia on Thursday 15 November at 11.15am at the Australian Effects & Animation Festival 2007 in Sydney.
- Animation Magazine: precise
- Animalia Animated and The Series that (almost) never was: longer articles in The Age
- At youtube: Graham Base talking about the series in two sections: 1, 2; and a glimpse of the character maquettes .
Sweet images from Peppa Pig on ABC kids tv yesterday. Peppa and her brother and cousins made some puppets and put on a show for their parents. It’s a made for preschoolers, and I thought it hit the mark very well with skillful scripting and attractively clear images.
I caught a little of the second episode of David Tench Tonight last night, and I’m quite intrigued. My impression on googling is that people disliked the first episode, but I wonder if it doesn’t have the same kind of sophistication and potential as Norman Gunston, and will take a bit of time to really get to appreciate.
David Tench is a larger-than-life cartoon talk show host, animated in real time using a sensor suit motion capture and digital enhancement technologies (like Peter Jackson’s Gollum). The character was conceived by Andrew Denton and technically designed by Australian visual effects company Animal Logic, whose Executive Producer Zareh Nalbandian says:
“Tench can break the rules of television at the same time as creating ones of his own. He is totally irreverent because he can be. This is a character and format that can surprise, challenge convention and constantly evolve. It’s the big advantage of the virtual character. Nothing is real, reality is what you make it and you can bend reality to any shape you want.”
Is it classed as puppetry? I don’t know, but my feeling is its so close it doesn’t matter, and animation and puppetry overlap in so many ways.
Of course you can already see Tench on YouTube. (don’t judge it only on the promo clip – the recording there has messed up the lip sync)
You can read more about David Tench at Wikipedia. Apparently the Wikipedia entry was part of the pre-show viral marketing. I haven’t decided if that was underhand or savvy – or maybe both.
The Herald Sun has an interview with Tench.
This behind the scenes article doesn’t spill much, but maybe it’s better than nothing!