Saturday, January 26, 2013

Production thoughts

Heading into the studio again this weekend , I realise we are really in production now.
Things are moving so fast and it's scary and exciting again at once. I am also working on a smaller project with Ross Stewart these days which is equally exciting but it's a very busy creative period. Here's some of the very earliest beat boards I was doing a couple of years ago when things were much quieter and I wasn't sure if we would ever be financed and in production, in some ways the hectic schedule is welcome , it means we move fast and make decisions and move on . It's very different to development and preproduction , all the planning , dreaming and inventing is now focused on details and singular scenes and shots ... Even if it seems very early days in many ways we are halfway thru making the film, the animatic is done , the voices are recorded , the main themes of the music have been worked out. In terms of the visuals it's all about finding elegant simple solutions and keeping focused on telling the story as well as we can.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Home from France

Just on the bus back to Kilkenny after an interesting couple of days in France.
Yesterday we saw a lot of our bgs on the big screen and some animation tests. We had a lot to discuss but overall they looked pretty good I think. The rough tvpaint line instead of clean up on the animation is looking well though we do need to make some adjustments here and there to pull it off. Overall I think it gives a warmth and vitality to the film to have animators drawings on screen flickering and boiling slightly.
The fx are coming together too .
The schedule and deadline are stringent so we are really pushing now to test and make strong decisions about each technique and process.

Today i watched the animatic with Colm from Kila , Bruno Coulais and our sound designer Ben . It was a chance to discuss the music cues and sound design so Bruno can begin writing Demos for key moments in the film.

On the plane home i met our old comrade Andrejz Radka , a great animator who did some of the most beautifully drawn scenes on The Secret of Kells , he is joining out team on Monday and i am looking forward to working with him again.

It was great to catch up on a lot of what the old team from Kells are up to now in France. It sounds like Remi Chayes film Long way North is heading towards production and I am really excited to see what he will produce.

To continue a tradition from my days of blogging about my travels for the secret of kells , may i heartily recommend Le potager du marais , an excellent restaurant that serves delicious french cuisine that just happens to be vegan ;-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

From The Kilkenny People Newspaper this week....

New jobs for Cartoon Saloon

Published on Thursday 17 January 2013 09:00

TEN new full time positions have been created this year at the animation studio Cartoon Saloon as the team of talented artists plough into full production of the €5.5 million feature film Song of the Sea.

More jobs will be created next month as animation work begins on the project. There are 23 full time employees working on Song of the Sea, ten of whom have been taken on since the start of the year. There are also a number of freelance artists working on the project. Full production started at the studio in January and work is expected to continue there until September. Work is also ongoing on three other projects at the studio.

Tomm Moore, who is directing Song of the Sea and who wrote and directed the Oscar-nominated Secret of Kells explained where the concept originated for his latest film.

“When I was working on The Secret of Kells, I was reading a lot of old fairytales collected by Eddie Lenihan and Yeats-era literature that I thought would be lovely to use but was not part of the early medieval world we were creating for Kells. I also spent some time in Dingle with my then 10-year-old son Ben, who ended up being the inspiration for the main character in Song of the Sea.

“While staying in Dingle Ben and I came across some bodies of seals that had been killed by local fishermen, it was quite disturbing. The local lady who we rented our cottage from told us that this practice was now common but would never have happened years ago as people used to believe in the legends of the selkies and thought of the seals as special creatures and it was believed that it would be bad luck to kill them. I found this concept intriguing and when I told the story to Ross Stewart (who also works at Cartoon Saloon) he lent me a book called “The People of the Sea” about the old stories of seal-people or Selkies in Scotland and Ireland. So I began to imagine a story set in the late 1980s when I was child, that included the inspiration from fairytales, Eddie Lenihan’s stories and the legends of the selkies,” said Tomm.

The story tells of the last seal-child in Ireland Saoirse and her brother who are sent away from their light house home when their mother disappears and sent to live with their Granny in the city. On Halloween night they run away to try and get home to the lighthouse in Donegal, their journey home leads them to meet various characters from folklore and they discover the Saoirse is in fact key to the survival of these fairytale creatures.

Tomm explained that the first sketches and ideas go back as far as 2006/2007 when the Art Director Adrien Merigeau started helping out while he was still working on The Secret of Kells as a main background artist. “We worked on the script and raising the finance from 2009-2012 and spent last year on storyboards and preproduction design and we recorded all the voices. We have a great cast including David Rawle (from Mooneboy), Brendan Gleeson , Pat Shortt, Jon Kenny Lisa Hannigan and Fionnula Flannagan. This year its full production of all the backgrounds and animation, we aim to complete the film for a release early in 2014,” he added.

Cartoon Saloon’s first feature film Secret of Kells was nominated for an Oscar. When asked if he has similar expectations for Song of the Sea he answers simply that he will measure the success of Song of the Sea solely based on whether we achieve the goal of making a great film for children. “If we get awards and so on that’s just an added bonus,” he added.

Cartoon Saloon at work.....JB Ven Damme, Background Artist and Fabian Erlinghauser, Animations Supervisor discuss developoments at the Cartoon Saloon. Picture: Michael Brophy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To the Waters and the Wild

Recently we took a trip with the whole crew to Sligo to see some of the sights that inspired our film.
We had visitors from our Luxembourg coproduction studio 352 and some new recruits in the Saloon. It was good to show our Belgian, French , Luxembourg and Hungarian friends some of the West of Ireland.
We stayed in Markree Castle in Sligo and went walking near Ben Bulben.
 We even visited W.B.Yeats grave to pay our respects.

Here are some photos by various Salooners of the trip. The photos and memories will surely fuel us  thru the year making backgrounds , animation and designs based on the landscape we saw.

Producer Paul Young surveys his domain

Everyone bundled back onto the bus

Salooners take breakfast in the manner in which they are accustomed to.

Pangur Ban showed up to wish us luck - or maybe ask for a bit part.

Producing animated films is a lonely road.

Paul Young , as ever, pointing the way . (straight off a cliff it seems here though)