It’s been an underwatery sort of a week on Red’s Kingdom, what with the recent Kick-About inspired by the submarine exploits of the Austrian painter, Eugen von Ransonnet-Villez.
As a fitting book-end, I wanted to (re)share a past projects of which I’m very fond, not least because I got to work with a loyal team of generous creatives. If you’re familiar with Red’s Kingdom, you’ll recognise the likes of Emily Clarkson, Ethan Shilling, Deanna Crisbacher and occasional kick-abouter, Simon Holland, all of whom worked on this short educational animated film about the provenance of some ship-wrecked Roman pottery. Let me also introduce you to production team members, Nat Urwin, Tom Smith, Charlie Serafini, Alan Postings, and Jeffrey Wang, whose time and talents this film absorbed so totally for many weeks.
Agreed, it’s all been a bit quiet on here recently – no laughing flatworms or lunatic blobs – but that is not to say that some progress isn’t being made on Gelata Spongia Oculus Eruptus – the really rather silly animated short I’m developing with Ethan Shilling, which uses long-forgotten BBC sound effects to give a surfeit of life to a series of simple computer-generated organisms.
Between 2013 and 2019, I was involved in a series of ambitious European-funded creative projects centred around the visualisation of sound, and specifically the visualisation of classical music. During this time, I was fortunate enough to work with many very talented people, a number of whom I continue to work with on new projects today and whom I count as close friends and creative allies. If you know this blog even a little bit, you may already be familiar with the likes of Jordan Buckner, Tom Beg, Ethan Shilling and Emily Clarkson, all of them veterans of this extraordinary cycle of collaborations.
Under the eccentric-sounding title Gelata Spongia Oculus Eruptus, I talked about a new film project in-the-offing that utilises a sound-visualisation widget to power animated imagery. Invented by Ethan Shilling, the plug-in was developed for live-synchronisation concerts of Hector Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet. Arguably the best known piece from Berlioz’s music is the Queen Mab Scherzo, which is full of wonderful flurries and dainty magic, which is only right and proper considering Queen Mab is a fairy responsible for the delivery of dreams.
Last week, I was able to announce work is underway on a new animated short designed to keep Ethan Shilling and myself out of trouble for the next few weeks or two. Since then, Ethan has clearly been hard at work in his secret laboratory deep within the catacombs of Red’s Kingdom giving bristling life to a series of computer-generated flatworms… That’s not a sentence you type very often, but in Ethan and mine’s continuing quest to envision a clutch of old BBC SFX as ‘living fossils’, there will be stranger proclamations on here I have no doubt!
It’s very early days, but Ethan Shilling and I are working on a new animation project together. Ethan has been my friend and technical director on a whole bunch of whacking great projects, usually involving entire uncharted territories and ridiculously tight time-frames and budgets. Miraculously, Ethan is still talking to me.
After the long, slow, sleepy life-cycles of the Kick-About#8’s cicadas, I felt we needed a bit of clatter, percussion and forward velocity in the mix. I knew just the thing, unleashing John Adams fast machine and setting it rocketing off into the bloggosphere. You can see the full range of work Adams’ music inspired here – everything from adorable little witches riding steampunk brooms to strange abandoned industrial sites in Berlin.
In marked contrast to our last creative prompt, which encouraged us to reflect on the slow, attenuated life-cycles of the cicada, this week’s jumping-off point invites adventures in velocity. As per, the range of responses is a delight. My advice? Slow down and have a really good look.
I’m delighted to announce Emily Clarkson is taking up a residency at Red’s Kingdom, joining Tom Beg and Graeme Daly as featured creatives. Truth be known, I’ve been badgering Emily to get her feet under Red’s table for a while now and we’ll be talking about her initial reluctance a little later. Before that, I just want to say a few words about Emily as they’re words she would never use about herself, but someone has got to say them. Emily is one of the most commensurate animation-centric creatives I know, and it’s been my pleasure (and saving grace) to work with Emily on a bunch of very challenging, time-pressured and under-funded projects. Emily has seen me at my best – and at my very worst – absorbing my stress, my ineptitude and my poor temper without rancour. Emily can build entire worlds in her mind and communicate them to other people through ravishing production art; she is a designer of charismatic characters, and a skilled animator with nifty comic timing.
Who was it who said a consultant is someone who steals your watch just before they tell you the time?