The next big adventure came rather sooner than I planned - the adaptation of one of the tiny Shakespeare animations into a comic. The whole story.
 Interesting how you can get away with a certain amount of disconnect in an animation - two parallel strands of story that you switch between...even in a very short short; but that this immediately becomes confusing in a comic strip. You almost feel as though you want to put dirty great arrows on to say - look this bit follows this line of thought. Then you realise a more grown-up way to do this would be by mirroring some aspects of the visual. Pose, face...easy(?) when you can cut and paste. And then you are forcibly reminded that whilst in a storyboard every frame is exactly the same size and aspect ratio, that is a VERY dull way to compose a cartoon strip. But...those are the drawings you have to work with.
Actually, strip cartoons and old fashioned comics often use a standard size/shape, but have Batman Marvel forever spoilt that by leading us to expect dynamic, different-sized, non-rectangular...? Ooh wait, this goes with my earlier ideas about changing sizes and shapes of screen in a movie...There's probably a really nice piece of software that helps with the creation, measuring, balancing of different frames; but I probably wouldn't use it!
So now I get to re-read my favourite comic books, Fun Home (Alison Bechdel) and Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi), plus anything by Scott McCloud - this time looking at the shape of the boxes. And so many different ways to explore this particular range of adaptation...


Rebooting...please wait...

Famous Five cottage on the lake
After 2 weeks away I feel ready to plunge into the next great adventure. It was what my friend described as a Famous Five holiday - little lakes, my own rowing boat, mountains, caves, beaches, endless lovely walks round 1964, a real fire and lashings of ginger beer. (OK, wine, Im not actually 8 any more.)
Although this time, in spite of the achingly beautiful landscape, the long walks and the blissful quiet and calm isolation...I didn't get a headful of new ideas and inspiration. Possibly because my head was so full of stress and crap that it took that long just to empty it. What I did get was some insights. of the "Jean-Paul Sartre I always knew that but have only just realised that I always knew that" variety. or maybe some questions to explore.
1.Utopia is boring. so Perfect is boring
2. so the perfect holiday location is actually enhanced by the experience of terrifying roads, nearly capsizing in the lake, and discovering that my phone wouldn't work - at all. These give it shape, pace...drama
3. but the trick is to view them as essential points on the dramaturgy graph and not as things which "spoil" the rest of the times - so you gasp, laugh, entertain your friends with the story, instead of  moaning about them. This is easier when you're 25 and invincible.
As I was just starting a massive loopwalk round the Mayo cliffs, a local man passing amiably remarked "another rotten day, what?" He wasn't wrong - if what you wanted was to sit in the garden enjoying the view. But for a strenuous climb, cloud cover/shade was a bonus, and the wind just made the clifftops more exciting. But perhaps his point was "another" - a sudden heavy downpour might make me feel like dancing in it for joy, but after 5 days... So variety is part of pace.
While we ask how to get pace into the story, the animation, perhaps we should also investigate how to get pace, variety into the working practice. Meet more other animators, have (pacey) arguments about the nature of narrative with work colleagues (but NOT on facebook). Read more. Watch more films. I've often worried that when people ask "what've you been up to?" my reply sounds boring. Work. Samba. Making another Shakespeare animation.

Wild, Farmed, Potatoes
But making that animation has so many different aspects, moods, the terrifying roads and the beautiful landscape. The bits that make you cry with frustration as well as the bits that make you grin smugly... Or - it does if you're doing it properly.

So did I come home with my creative axe sharpened?  I came home determined, in love with a new place, and with some visual & conceptual inspirations that havent yet turned into anything... but I suspect the next story will feature fractals, confusions of scale, & things that turn into other things (the coral beach at Ceathru Rua which looks like sand til you realise the scale is all wrong and then the texture and then the shapes - like tiny driftwood); tiny round islands (lough Corrib), the contrast between the wild and the farmed (Kylemore, Enniscoe)... something or other to do with how life shapes the landscape and the landscape shapes life (the stone walls of Inis Mor). That seems like a good place to start...