Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Jobling out and about

OK, let's get this out of the way with first - me meeting SANTA!!!! :-D See as I struggle to keep my excitement in check! This was at Farlington School btw...

Thought I'd next show you all a delightful picture of the delightful Alan Gilbey, the delightful script editor and lead writer of Frankenstein's Cat the animated series, holding aloft the delightful BAF Award for Best TV Series. I believe he's pawned it for filthy cash already... Couldn't be there myself but glad Al got to grab the gong on behalf of everyone from the production team.

Below is a picture of Mr Josh Lewis's left kneecap in Australia. Josh's wife, Felise, got in touch with me on Facebook and let me know that the family love the show so much that Josh felt obliged to get a Nine tattoo added to his tats. This is work in progress, and mighty fine it is too - as Josh sends me the finished tattoo I'll put it up on here. But this is tremendously flattering - I've never seen a Bob tattoo but then I think Nine lends himself to the art form more...

Just back from a whirlwind few days in West Sussex, opening the Farlington Christmas Fair as well as a new nursery hall at Burgess Hill School for Girls. Had a lovely time at both events, in no small part thanks to the hospitality of the pupils, parents and staff at the schools. Particularly have to thank Joy, Casie and Lucia at Farlington for enduring me, Emma and the girls, and also Fen, Georgina, Yudi and the gang at Burgess Hill for supplying me with hot cups of tea in the freezing weather. Here are some pictures from the event at Burgess Hill. Note the small army of Bob the Builders who were present. They're mid-shout there yelling out the word "PARSNIP" - I guess you'd need to have been there to understand the ramifications of this exultation...
And lastly, but by no means least, below is a picture of Frankenstein's Cat as done by Maria Chance (aged 6) of Stratford Upon Avon. Clever cookie that Maria is she's used the fridge magnet from the DVD box as a stencil and drawn around the titular moggie that way - great stuff Maria and many many thanks for sending this through to us!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Frankenstein's Cat wins at BAF '08

Just got the news through the televisual grapevine that we won Best TV Series at the Bradford Animation Festival! Great news for everyone who worked on the show - I'd have been there for gong collecting myself if it hadn't coincided with my son's 8th birthday party and I wasn't going to miss that :-) Bradford's a great festival, and Alan Gilbey gave a great acceptance speech by all accounts, saying that as neither myself nor Jackie or Sara, the show's producers, were present he was going to keep it for himself.

Very encouraging to see so many animation festivals in the UK now - as well as Animex and BAF, we have Showcomotion, Exeter which I visited at the beginning of the year, and my most recent new addition was Canterbury Anifest which I attended for the first time a couple of weeks ago. All the festivals are run by a bunch of terrific, enthusiastic and super-passionate people. If you haven't been a long to one yet... what are you waiting for?!?!

Off to Cinemagic in Belfast tomorrow evening to hold some workshops in schools over there, and really looking forward to it. Lots of school appearances lately also, including the rather splendid Barnard's Castle Prep School in Co Durham. I stayed in a reputedly haunted Bed & Breakfast the night before my workshops and although I didn't encounter a ghost my filling fell out of one of my incisors. Paranormal or dodgy dentistry? You decide!

Off to open the Farlington School Christmas Fair in Horsham this weekend and then down to Burgess Hill School a couple of days later to open their new hall. If you're in that neck of the woods, be sure to come along, especially to the Farlington Fair on Saturday 22nd - I'll be holding talks and workshops as well as signings.

Just finished writing a second draft of my (name under wraps) novel manuscript. Clocks out at 105,000 words currently, 33 chapters averaging 10 pages to each. And no, the font isn't 48! I'm really pleased with it and just hope the publishers who I'm presenting it to get it as well. I'll always love working in picture books and animation, but there's been something tremendously exciting about working alone on a book of this size. Ideally it's part of a series of books but I'll just be happy to get this first one off the ground. It's gothic horror fantasy. No. No more. I've already said to much. You have to die, now, you do realise?

Bada Bling!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Frankenstein's Cat Art Show & Biteneck Beatnik Halloween Extravaganza (..... and breathe!)

It's here at last! The new art show kicks off this coming Saturday, 25th October, at the Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester. There'll be all the Biteneck Beatniks paintings on show and for sale, as well as the new original works based upon the Frankenstein's Cat animated series. There'll (hopefully) be books for sale, signings and Ron Go Bongo Biteneck Beatniks vinyl toys from TOY2R for sale.

Also, today (20th) marks the launch of the Frankenstein's Cat animated series on DVD (available in all good high street and online stores), featuring 8 episodes from Season One of the show. The timing is terrific as the BBC have just asked us for a second season of the show! We shall also have copies of this DVD for sale and signing too. If you're about, bring along the kids, grannies, frankenpets and whatever. It kicks off at 2pm:

Richard Goodall Gallery
59 Thomas St
M4 1NA

Opening times: Tuesday – Friday 10am-6pm. Saturdays 11am-5pm Admission Free

I got back from a great week in Cannes last week, where I was peddling my wares (read pitching new show concepts) at MIPCOM. Plenty of the new shows were met with approval by various production companies and broadcasters so I'm hopeful that very shortly we'll get a few of them off the ground and into development proper. Highlight, besides catching up with my producer Jackie Edwards who has been snapped up by the BBC (huzzah!), was meeting Richard Taylor of WETA and Lord Of The Rings fame. Lovely bloke and nice that we shared a few common chums too, namely Ian Mackinnon and groovetastic concept artist Richie Dolan (The Frighteners)

Bada Bling!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Frankenstein's Cat Art Show (completed)

Well, these are the last three paintings in the series of nine Frankenstein's Cat pieces. I've actually had to go back through the others and tweak them a touch. It only occured to me while painting "Halloween" that I'd missed Nine's flies out on all the other paintings. Back I went and added them to each picture. I'll let you know when the prints of these paintings are available, if you're interested, but we're looking to hold an art show mid October at the Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester, where the originals, the prints, and the Biteneck Beatniks artwork will all be available for sale. Furthermore the art show will be moving to London and the Animation Art Gallery in December.

I've been a bit slack on the old blog lately as lots of work has come in all at once. In addition to trying to wrap up the art show we've been working hard on "RAH RAH", a new preschool stopmotion show that just this week was unveiled at Cartoon Forum in Ludwigsburg. Again, it's with my good chums who produced Frankenstein's Cat, Mackinnon & Saunders, and it promises to be achingly cute and ridiculously good fun for little ones all over. Roar if you're ready!
Furthermore I'm off to MIPCOM in Cannes next month to meet broadcasters and production companies about various new projects, specifically Biteneck Beatniks, which has now changed it's moniker to the more rounded and inclusive: "CHILLVILLE!"
Bada Bling!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Frankenstein's Cat Art Show (continued)

It's been a while since I posted on the blog, but real world distractions such as workloads and family fun have prevented my yakking. Recently managed to complete three more paintings from the forthcoming Frankenstein's Cat Art Show, as shown below:

Three more paintings to complete for the show, now, and am already up to my paint-smeared thumbs in each of those. I'm actively on the look-out for any galleries who might be interested in showing the Frankenstein's Cat art show, in addition to the Biteneck Beatniks. If you're interested or indeed have any recommendations of cool, groovy galleries who you reckon may be interested in this and it's worth my contacting them, please do leave the details here. I didn't realise when I embarked upon the show just how long it was going to take me - possibly this is because when I did the bulk of my Biteneck Beatniks art show I wasn't looking after the kids, but for the last 12 months or so I've had lots of daddy time with my girls, which is brilliant. The only downside is that it doesn't make painting any easier to get stuck into. Swings and roundabouts as my old history teacher Mr Bullough would say.

And talking of old teachers, I was at a booksigning in Waterstones in Ormskirk last Saturday when who should come in but TWO of my old high school teachers to surprise me, Miss Crompton and Mrs Hartley. I've now been advised that it is perfectly acceptable to refer to them as Janet and Rosemary, possibly due to the fact that having a 36 year old refer to them as "Miss" in a childrens bookshop can indeed come across as a little awkward. It was lovely to see them and a huge thrill for me - I remember each of them very well, although it appears that my photographic-memory-armed idiot savant elder brother was the one who really stuck in their minds! Cheers Mark! ;-D Thanks for coming Janet and Rosemary!

Been out and about doing lots of school visits and workshops in the last few weeks too, including a spot at the Showcomotion festival in Sheffield, which was great fun. I've been to two tremendous independent schools, Farlington nr Horsham and Giggleswick in North Yorkshire, to hold talks as well as give away prizes on their end of year awards days. Thank you SOOOO much to Joy Baggs and her staff at Farlington and Mark Brotherton and his staff at Giggleswick for making me feel so at home.

Below are the original roughs for the art show, before I got jiggy with the paints!


And new to Badablingthing....

DIARY OF THE DEAD - a fine addition to Romero's pantheon of zombie tales. Following the POV of a team of college filmmakers who happen to have cameras on a shoot, they end up documenting the events that unfold as the zombies start to eat their way through America. Not up there with the FX budget of Land Of The Dead, but still splendid nonetheless

CLOVERFIELD - I really rather enjoyed this, and it had the same wobbly-cam effect as DIARY, what with being a "home movie" of a giant Cthulhu-esque monster romping it's way through New York. There was plenty there to give you the 9-11 tingles, plus big enjoyment when one of the characters you think is a lead gets smited early on! Bleak ending? Nonsense, for bleak endings look no further than...

THE MIST - I absolutely loved this movie, although it did bum Emma and I out with the ending. But then again, it's a horror movie, and you want a shock at the end. Doesn't come much bigger in my eyes. FX were OK but you can excuse that to a degree as the direction and acting really is top notch from an ensemble who are really on top of their game. What is it with Cthulhu-esque monsters all of a sudden?

What, they're all horror movies? And I work in kids books? Go figure...

Bada Bling!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Annecy and signings

It's that time of year when Annecy awaits the arrival of the short, ginger crayonboy. I'll be travelling out to the Animation Festival next Wednesday, in the company of Qurios Entertainment director Niel Bushnell. Got a bunch of meetings set up with various industry bods to look forward to.

I'll also be doing some signings while out there at the Bonlieu Centre - we'll have Frankenstein's Cat picture books, limited edition art prints as well as my Ron Go Bongo Biteneck Beatniks vinyls. If you're at the festival, come along to the signing at 3pm on Friday 13th (zoinks!)

I'm also going to be judging a Create Your Own Frankenstein's Pet competition with the Warrington Guardian, as part of the Year Of Reading initiative. It's open to any schoolchildren in the Borough so do contact the Guardian for more details if interested - winners will receive a visit to their school from yours truly (fools!) where I'll do some storytelling and animation screenings for everyone.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Red Stick Festival in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Here's Jackie Edwards and I picking up the Pulcinella in Salerno the other week. Note the Lobot-esque headphones that I've handily dropped around my throar like a bit of cyber-bling. Jackie, on the other hand, went for the full on John Motson commentator look, and by jove, i think she cracked it. Haven't got any snaps of the actual award yet, but once I do I'll update it onto here.

Left to right, here's Professor Stuart Sumida, Red Stick Director Stacey Simmons, Dougie Pincott, myself, and Pete "Pedro Diablo" Draper. This was on my first night getting over to Baton Rouge last week for the festival, and it was lovely to spend some quality time with a bunch of old friends. Stuart digs up dinosaur bones for a living, as well as consulting on numerous motion pictures re: anthropology, paleantology, anatomy and physical motion. He has the best job in the world. Official. But you just try bringing up Jurassic Park with him, saying "Could happen..." and watch the fur fly!
Genuinely, I hadn't really been drinking. I'd got off the plane after an extremely long flight. The same, however, can not be said for Dougie...
Graham and Badger in addition on this one - these chaps are the drivers from the Animex Festival, and such is the friendly, familiar nature of both festivals, the two were invited out by Stacey this year. Top blokes.
And the last roll call here - Cliff Cohen from Animaction, Tom Martinek from Industrial Light & Magic, the rest of us as before and on the far right a lovely lady who by all accounts appeared to be a preschool nazi. By her own admission, I might add.

I held a talk on how we brought Frankenstein's Cat to life (so to speak) at the festival, where I got to show loads of clips and early footage, topped and tailed by the finished thing. I followed this up with a character design workshop the next day which was really well attended and I hope proved useful to the participants - it's always tricky with a workshop not knowing the spread of ability within the group, but I was hugely impressed by some of the guys present. Eric and Mike and the other chaps - a pleasure to meet y'all!

And huge thankyous to Stacey and Steve Beck for getting me over once more - I missed Red Stick last year through moving home, but if they'll have me back next year we'll be sure to bring the little ones.

Bada Bling!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Frankenstein's Cat wins Pulcinella Award at Cartoons On The Bay

Just got back from a few days in Salerno, Italy, where Jackie Edwards and I have been attending Cartoons On The Bay, the international television animation awards festival. On Saturday night we were very giddy and slightly gobsmacked recipients of the Pulcinella Award for Best Childrens Show. Hopefully Jackie is able to get some pictures printed up from the camera she took, although judging by her technical wizardry on the laptop I'm not holding out too much hope ;-) If I get some pix we'll whack them up here.

Many thanks to everyone who has worked on the show and helped to make it the fun, fast paced, mad science comedy that it is.

Also managed to visit Pompei round the corner, beneath the shadow of Vesuvius, coincidentally on the day that the Doctor visited it on the Beeb. Awestruck by Pompei, the sheer size of it was breathtaking.

Off to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Wednesday to attend the Red Stick Animation Festival. Looking forward to catching up with old friends as well as holding a talk on how we got the Cat into production and onto the screen, plus a character design workshop.

Bada Bling!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Loved him to bits???

Well, the stinky feline by the name of Nine has completed his run on Childrens BBC in the UK, all 30 episodes having been screened over the last 6 weeks. We've no proper indication yet as to how well it's been received, but I've had a few indicators from the various school visits, book signings and storytelling workshops I've done over the last few months. I've had kids singing the theme tune to me who don't know me from Adam so it seems to have struck a chord. For those of you who may not have seen it yet, do check it out on the BBC iPlayer where they're all being shown.

Frankenstein's Cat has also been chosen in competition for a Pulcinella Award at this year's Cartoons On The Bay festival in Salerno, Italy. It's pretty big news for us as it's probably the biggest dedicated animation awards festival in the world. Competition is fierce but, again, it's just nice to be in the mix.

Animex Animation Festival was it's usual bout of giddy fun and fantastic talks last month. Still recovering now... Also visited Animated Exeter for the first time too, which was a wonderful experience, thanks in no small part to the team who run it down there.

I've a couple of shows that are close to being optioned currently which I'll spill in more detail once the paperwork is signed off on, but it's good news - one's a preschool property and the other is a gothic fantasy live action series for older audiences. I'm also off to Aardman next week to work on a new preschool show I've got in development with them. It's a great opportunity for me to meet up with my old producer from back in the days of Bob the Builder, Jackie Cockle, who is senior producer of preschool at the studio now.

Last bit of news is I'm going to be appearing at the Red Stick Animation Festival in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, next month, holding talks and workshops for all who turn up. If you're in the States and fancy attending the festival, do come along, there are some terrific speakers lined up!

Bada Bling!

Friday, February 01, 2008

FRANKENSTEIN'S CAT premiering Monday 4th February, CBBC, 6pm!


Well, it's here at long last. It's been a long, long road from the first doodles and scribbles I penned on a train journey from Warrington to London Euston in 2000. Since then the Cat was picked up as a picture book by Hodder, optioned as a short film by Mackinnon & Saunders, developed into a 2D flash animated series and now finally appears on Television next week. Along the way characters have been discarded (the Butler, the Cook) and other have been added or developed (Lottie, Egora, Heidi and the Doctor). We've a large cast of colourful, and quite mad, characters populating the village of Oddsburg and it's surrounding wilderness, so I can only hope now that the show is well received by its audience (that's you, that is!)

Big thanks go to all the production teams and broadcasters who've worked on the show, at Mackinnon & Saunders, Kayenta Production, BBC, CCI, 4:21, and A Productions. Special thanks go to Jackie Edwards, Sara Mullock and Thierry Rivard (producers on the show), Alan Gilbey (head writer and script editor) and Raoul and Jane Davies (directors) for helping make such lovely animated shenanigans. And big man love to Pete (Saunders) and Ian (Mackinnon) for believing in my stinky cat in the first place and taking a big ol' punt on it. Big man love hugs to the writers - Ian Carney, Dave Ingham, Myles McLeod, Darren Jones, Lee Pressman and Joel Jessop. Suffice to say the voice artists (Joe P, Keith Wickham, Alex Kelly, Teresa Gallagher and Jimmy Hibbert, who also pitched in with a script!) have done a wonderful job of breathing life into the cast, and I owe them a drink or four...

Lordy, that sounds like an acceptance speech. I'd best go and accept a banana from the fruit bowl as that's all I'll be receiving for the forseeable!
Off on the road this coming week, appearing at Animex Festival of Animation from Wednesday through Friday. I'll be doing a character design workshop on the Wednesday and on the Friday, accompanied by Jackie Edwards, we'll be doing a talk about The Anatomy Of Frankenstein's Cat. It promises to be a hoot!

Bada Bling!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Frankenstein's Cat trailer on You Tube

You can have a wee butchers at this little teaser trailer that's been put together for the show, currently being screened on Youtube!

The show starts in the UK on CBBC in less than 3 weeks time, on February 4th, 6pm, so all systems are go!

Thanks for all the kind words on my own Frankenstein's Cat, Ernie. He's on the mend and the way he's acting you'd never known some nut job had shot him, bar the obvious missing tail of course...

On a purely geeky filmfan note I saw Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, at the weekend and loved it immensely. A worthy follow-up to the splendid Anchorman from Mr Ferrell (avoid Blades of Glory at all costs, Ferrell fans - bag of doodoo and no mistake.)