Friday, 18 December 2009

Disney Interactive Studios Internship

A great opportunity has been presented to me and the rest of my animation class, as well as to other students around the country, and that it is to become an intern at Disney Interactive Studios in Hammersmith, London for 12 months starting in the summer of 2010. This is such an exciting opportunity and I'm going to put 100% of my energy into making sure I get a spot as it is something that I really, really want to do.

As well as filling out an application form and sending it off with my CV and pieces of my best work, I also have to prepare some work for a special brief that has been handed to applicants. I've already started to prepare my application and sort through what I need to do before I submit it but there's still plenty of things that need to be done to give myself the best possible chances of winning a spot on the internship. This would be a fantastic learning experience for me and would give me the exact knowledge that i'm looking for to get a head start in the video game industry. I'm working hard to make sure everything turns out the way I want it to and I have my fingers crossed so hopefully I'll get a place. If I fail (seems highly likely), at least I can walk away with the knowledge that I tried my best, and learn from any mistakes I made along the way.

Wish me luck :)

Genius Party + Genius Party Beyond

'Genius Party' is an anthology of short animated films created by 'Studio 4C' who are responsible for The Animatrix, Tekkonkinkreet and Spriggan to name a few. 'Genius Party Beyond' is the sequel to 'Genius Party'. All together they make up 12 animated shorts which are all directed by different individuals. Each short is done in a different style which ranges from traditional anime style to incredibly surreal ones and more. The thing I like the most about this series is the visual variety, each movie has its own unique style which keeps things fresh and entertaining, this is important because a few of the movies are very difficult to understand. The thing I disliked is that because there is a variety of styles, I found a few which I didn't particularly like which put me of that individual video altogether. I would highly recommend these 2 short anthologies to anyone who feels uninspired because you are guaranteed to see something which gets your creative juices flowing. The average run-time for the shorts is 10-20 minutes each.

Sunday, 13 December 2009


One of the best ways to find new inspiration and ideas is to listen to music, I've been listening to some artists who I'd never heard of until a few days ago who are quite far away from the mainstream which everyone is familiar with. The first group I listened to are called 'School Of Seven Bells' which I found whilst going through my brothers i-tunes playlist. Their music has a very surreal dream-like quality to it; it feels very relaxing but also very upbeat at the same time.

The second group I listened to are called 'Metric' who I stumbled across on youtube. I found it hard to categorize this band, their music is a mix of indie, pop and something else I can't quite put my finger on, but even so, they are a good listen to on a slow day.

The third group are called 'Ladytron', many people commenting on the videos for 'School Of Seven bells' were recommending this group so I decided to give them a listen. I've only heard a few songs so far but they fail to disappoint.

One of the best songs I've heard in a long time is by 'The Cinematic Orchestra' which is called 'To Build A Home'. There's something about this song that gets my mind flowing with ideas and things I wouldn't usually think of, I found the song to be so amazing that I've even tried pimping it out to other people, but nobody seems to be that interested in it.

Art Books

One of the most striking things about the movie 'Tekkonkinkreet' is the highly detailed backgrounds and environments, they work especially well with the characters being flat coloured and almost two dimensional like paper cut outs. I found the art to be incredibly inspiring so ended up getting the art books for the movie a few months back. There are 2 art books, each one named after the main characters in the movie, Black and White. I've never been that interested in environmental and concept art, but I found these art books to be mind blowing; the fact that each image looks like a real world location, a place that actually exists, that is alive and breaths, rather than being a compulsory element to the story just to help support the characters, which is not the case here because the location "Treasure Town" is the biggest and most important character in the movie. Flicking through the books almost feels like flipping the pages of a tourist brochure, the locations are full of character really help drive the movie.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Tekkonkinkreet - Black & White

I was very surprised when I saw the film Tekkonkinkreet listed in Jareds email; it has been one of my favourite films since I saw it a couple of years back when I happened to buy it on a whim. Because I am very familiar with the film and many other works by the studio which made it (Studio 4c) I've decided to research on the manga 'Black And White' which Tekkonkinkreet was based on.

Black And White was written by Taiyo Matsumoto in 1993-1994 and follows the story of two street orphans named Black and White. White is the youngest of the
two and is very innocent in nature, he is also very incapable of doing the simplest of things such as getting dressed by himself even though he is 10 years old, he believes in keeping the peace and believes that God punishes people wi
th impure souls. Black, who appears to be 3-4 years older than white, is very street-wise and aggressive to anyone that opposes him, his personality seems to be the complete opposite of White in the sense that he is always in charge, getting in trouble and doesn't believe in God. Even though they are opposites, they can't live without each other, and in one scene White describes their relationship like this -

"When God made me, I think he made a mistake. I is missing lotsa screws in the heart. And Black too. He's missing lotsa screws too. Heart Screws. God made a mistake with Black too. But I has screws for the parts Black doesn't. I has them all."

It clearly shows their dependency on each other and how Blacks personality is balanced out by Whites, its very yin and yang.

Matsumotos art style has many European influences, mainly French which derived from a trip to France he had in 1986. Although his work is manga, visually it doesnt represent what is traditionally associated with the medium and instead is an obscure blend of Japanese and French influences. It's been described as surreal which is totally understandable when you've had a read of the manga, the realistically proportioned yet unusually unreal appearances of the characters as well as the somewhat warped and odd-angled buildings give it a dream-like or nightmarish quality. This is also one of the things that sometimes bugs me, it reminds me of Tim Burton styled environments with the way structures unrealistically loom over the characters creating an opposing and threatening mood which sometimes annoys me. However the story telling is amazing and is very reminiscent of a gangster flick; Matsumoto is very good at building up characters and steadily pushing them forwards and advancing the story. Also the underlying themes which a softly addressed in the story are drawn from experiences in
his own life such as urban development, the idea of visiti
ng places you knew whilst growing up only to find them torn down or replaced by a set of appartments or offices, small personal elements like this really help to give the manga some life and soul and make it seem real.


For the first part of this research project I decided to watch the film 'Pi' (pronounced "pie") which was directed by Darren Aronofsky; there was no particular reason I chose this other than the fact that my older brother already has it on DVD and has continuously nagged at me to watch it, so I figured now would be as good a time as any other to do so.

The movie is about a man named Max Cohen (pictured below left) who is trying to decode the hidden numerical pattern in the Stock Market. The film is in black and white and has a slight grain effect in it. There is a clear contrast between the black and white which makes the image seem very powerful and sharp, its as if the lightness and gamma levels are permanently on high. The grain also gives the film an unreal feel to it, it reminded me of the matrix in how everything is made up of numbers which seems perfect to relate to this film in that sense. I found the film to be very interesting in its way of portraying life, and at the same time it seemed almost depressing that all the beauty in this world could be explained by numbers alone. I think that this is also why the film was shot in black and white because it helps eliminate any sense of beauty or normality and replaces it with a reality which is not quite normal and slightly unsettling.


Yo! for our christmas break we have been given an extra project which is to research work by artists, directors, photographers, musicians etc that we are not familiar with or even slightly knowledgeable about. The reason for his is to help us to expand our range when it comes to developing ideas, rather than sticking with what we know and are comfortable with. The project itself is not compulsory, but I feel it is important to broaden my knowledge and find influences in places I would never have thought to look before. So all the posts from this date onwards will be related to this research project.