Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Story So Far ...

About 18 years ago I wandered into the Wellington Pub in Kingston, Ontario for an evening of Irish and Maritime tunes sung by Gerry O'Kane. The Wellington quickly became my weekly hangout and the sound of Gerry's tenor voice and Irish bodhrán became a big part of my 20-somethings. There weren't too many Friday or Saturday nights where I couldn't be found at a table in the Welli' with a few pints of Guinness under my belt and my ears ringing from numerous coruses of "Right up yer kilt!".

One of my favourite tunes that Gerry sang was "The Irish Ballad" -- a wonderful song by the great Tom Lehrer. The story it told always got laughs and every time I heard it I envisioned a film version of it. Being a big fan of animated shorts, I pictured it as a "Cat Came Back" type of film and believed it would be successful on the festival circuit.

A few years later, when I was at Sheridan College for animation I naturally thought of making "The Irish Ballad" a reality. So back to Kingston I went, talked with Gerry about the project. Then I tracked down Tom Leherer and he graciously gave me permission to use the song. (More about that in a later post.)

Gerry recorded a rich version of the tune for me and I began storyboarding before I even returned to start my 3rd year of school. Well-intentioned or not -- my lack of ability and a shortage of time meant that I couldn't pull off the cinematic masterpiece I envisioned. The final result was a 3-minute roughly drawn animatic with about 40 seconds of actual animation. (It was enough to graduate though -- and people who saw it in the final screening all those years ago remember it as being finished -- a good sign??)

The film sat on my shelf for years as I chased work around Toronto, vowing to get back to it one day. Every so often I would revisit it, revising designs, changing media, trying to find a way to breathe life into it again. Now it looks like the time has come. And this time the media is stop-motion.

With the help of my friend and business partner Todd Kauffman, "The Irish Ballad" will hopefully begin production some time in the new year. The dust is being blown off of old scene folders, grant money is being applied for, and research into the wonderful world of stop-motion has begun.

I'm using this blog to compile old drawings, post research into stop-motion and upload as much inspirational stuff as I can find. And once things really get going I'll hopefully be disciplined enough to keep a production journal.

So here's an open invitation to anyone who stumbles across this blog and happens to know a bit about stop-motion --- drop me a line and tell me who you are and how you can help.



Blogger Smook said...

So that's what the play button was for.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Krista Heij said...

Can't wait to see more! As you know, long time fan!
I will be checking back often!

8:49 PM  
Blogger Irina said...

Hey, just stumbled upon this page through some pattern of clicks that I can't retrace. Very cool idea. Wish I could help. Unfortunately, I don't know much about stop motion animation. But I do know a lot about Tom Lehrer.

Good luck.

9:17 PM  
Blogger jasonpaterson said...

Well I went to OCAD for film, am an avid photographer, and am a graphic designer now by trade... plus I'm a fan of Gerry and the old Wellington. Let me know if you need anything.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Xippy said...

Dude! I've been a Tom Lehrer fan since I was about 8 - I pulled a funny-looking LP from my parent's collection and it was, "That was the year that was" by Tom Lehrer. I listened to it until there was a skip in the "Pollution" song, and I knew most of the songs by heart. I even sang the "Elements" song as part of my high school vocal recital (about 15 years ago).

I can't wait to see the output of your project. The version of the song you're using has a bit of a different lilt (and melody) to it than Lehrer's original tune, but I like it. It fits much better with a folk guitar sound than the original would, and might even be better for extemporaneous performance than the original. It gets a good laugh around the campfire. Plus, your sample animations are a hoot - they remind me of Mad magazine, or early (better) Ren & Stimpy. They have a great friendly/creepy/seedy character to them.

Keep up the good work!

10:58 AM  
Blogger JD said...

Hi all

Gerry is still playing and involved in producing music, I'm his nephew and had dinner with him at the start of the month. If I hear anymore I'll let you know

1:28 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home