Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everybody from Small World!

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2011 was a big year in lots of ways here on Small World Island (in Bristol, in case you were wondering..), and we made some great animations with lots of fantastic people, including the lovely  and talented Year Ones at Upton on Severn and Great Barr primary schools, some wonderful grown ups at Change the Record, more lovely children at Shambala and the always extraordinary kids and staff at Acorns Children’s Hospice in Birmingham. If you want to see the films we made they’re all on here, either on the Showreel page or scroll down through the News section below.

2012 is looking very creative already, and I’m very excited to have been commissioned to run an animation project for the brilliant Misfits Theatre Company in February. Sam Owen and Max Simpson of Pram will be working on the sound & music, which will be fantastic.

Small World is also extremely chuffed to be working for Welsh National Opera‘s Max team (WNO’s outreach and education dept) later this year on a community animation project- more about that to come soon..

Other new projects include animation workshops at Gigglefest at Birmingham Central Library, and projects for Acorns and the CBSO; an animated music video for the amazing Dog Face Sockets, and my own animation “The Library”, which I’m very excited about (go to http://clairesianevans.tumblr.com/ for more info)…

Wishing everybody a lovely New Year and a happy and creative 2012!!

Vernon the Sweet-Toothed Vampire

Vernon the Sweet-toothed Vampire

Here’s the latest brilliant offering from the animation whizzes at Acorns Children’s Hospice in Selly Oak, Birmingham!! It was all made (including figures and background) and filmed over two afternoons in October – thanks to all the children involved and the brilliant contribution of staff and volunteer helpers! The project was funded by Starlight children’s charity, go to www.starlight.org.uk for more information about their great work with seriously and terminally-ill children.

Shambala Kids Animation 2011

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Here’s the animation we made in the Kids Field at Shambala this summer!! Well done everyone, and see you all again next year!

Change The Record!

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Here’s the animation we made in July at Access Events’ Change The Record shindig at the Trinity Centre in Bristol, a brilliant inclusive event held for people with learning difficulties. Thanks to everyone who took part in making the wonderful characters and animating them, and big thanks also to Hubert for helping out, to DJ Rubbish for supplying the track ‘Good Good Times’ by Mr Rigsby, to Peter Dixon for supplying electricity and to Sophie, Fran and Bunny for putting on such an amazing event!!!

“Where the Wild Things Are” CBSO Animation Project

Over the past few weeks I’ve been involved in making an animation with Year 1 children from Great Barr Primary School in Birmingham, as part of the CBSO‘s “Where the Wild Things Are” arts education project. Orchard School and NICE (National Institute of Conductive Education) are also involved in the project and are making music, songs, art and dance. It’s been excellent fun and we’ve all had a very interesting and enjoyable time making our films based on the story. On Monday 27th we’re having a big performance day at CBSO Centre with parents and friends coming to watch what we’ve made. The Great Barr children have been working with me to make the films and also with orchestra members Sally Morgan and Ian Ludford to make the musical accompaniment – which they will perform live on the day!

One of the things the children enjoyed best was making their Wild Things and Max characters, and they made some fantastic stuff, but they were also extremely good at animating and filming so very well done to all of them – looking forward to seeing you on Monday!!

And here’s the final film, with sound which we recorded at the performance… Well done everyone!

I’ve taken the photos down, but if you’re from Great Barr school and you’d like to see the photos back up get in touch via the Contact page. Thanks.

Upton Primary Gala Premiere!

Wow! What a great turnout for our Gala Premiere of “Storm on the River Severn!” by Year One of Upton -upon-Severn Primary School! Thanks for coming, friends, family, and everyone, but especially a big thanks to Year One for making SUCH A GREAT FILM and being such a lot of fun to work with!!! You all worked really hard and Bridget, the Creative Agent, said it was the best quality work she’d seen in a project. So very, very well done you guys!! And so that you can enjoy it again, or watch it if you missed the premiere, here it is…

Upton Animation Project – Day 5

Another busy day with Year 1 at Upton-upon-Severn primary school! Today we finalised our story and decided what our characters “elf” and “man” are going to do in the story (you’ll have to wait and see!), and then we started getting our backgrounds for the animation ready. We did lots more discussing of our ideas and drawings of Upton (where our animation begins). But first of all we watched some fantastic old pieces of animation featuring boats, including “Steamboat Willie” starring a very young (and black-and-white) Mickey Mouse from 1928, which we really liked – even though it’s very old!!

Then we got on with the business of the day which was drawing Upton. We did some fantastic drawings of local buildings and the river. Here are some of them:

Then in the afternoon we used these drawings to design, collage and cutout buildings to go on our background. But we were so busy we didn’t have time to take any photos of them! Next week we start animating our film, so you’ll get a sneaky peek of how our Upton background turned out then!

Secret City Arts – Walls and Water project

Last weekend I spent  mostly out of doors in Birmingham city centre working with Secret City Arts, making a Len Lye style animation with people passing by. Here’s a very rough, unedited version of what we made, it’s pretty hectic with a Django Reinhardt track tacked on – I really like it!

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Click here for more information about Secret City Arts and their project in Brindleyplace, Birmingham last weekend.

Upton Animation Project – Days 4 & 5

Last week was particularly busy, as we spent one day in the classroom making our animation, and another on a field trip to @Bristol! We were all terribly excited about the field trip – you can have a look below at some of the amazing things we did while we were there!

On Thursday we did some more work on the animation that we’re making… First of all we watched two film clips featuring monsters. One was from “King Kong” (the original version from the 1930s) and “My Neighbour Totoro”, a Japanese animation by Hiyao Miyazake. We discussed the way animation and live action film is combined in King Kong, and how “monsters” aren’t necessarily nasty in My Neighbour Totoro. Here is the King Kong clip we watched:

Then we finished off writing our story (but we don’t want to give the game away yet!), finished making our characters and set about designing the boats for our characters to sail down the river in. Here are some of our designs:

Princess Boat design

Viking Boat design

The next day we all travelled (by bus) to Bristol to go to the @Bristol science museum. There’s lots of animation to do there as well as lots of other things. Here we are blowing giant bubbles and looking at ourselves in distorting mirrors!!

Giant Bubbles!

Distorting Mirrors… Crazy!

Looking forward lots to our next session this Thursday!!

Upton Animation Project – Day 3

Another very busy day watching classic animations, making the characters for our film and deciding on the story we are going to tell about them. First, we re-watched the “Clangers” film about the Iron Chicken as one of the children had brought in the kind of whistle they used to make the Clangers voices.

We’re going to try and include these sounds in our film:
After that we did some more work on our story, then we went off in groups to make our Viking, Princess and Jungle Animal characters out of cardboard. Here we are making some hair out of wool for a princess:

Next week we need to finish making our characters and finalising our story!

Upton Animation Project – 2

Yesterday was a very busy day for us all. We watched some more animations, including “The Clangers” and “Komaneko”, which everyone enjoyed very much.

While we were watching we looked out for the different ways that you can express yourself without words, for example with the expression on your face and the tone of your voice. Then we practised making expressive faces and sounds, before going on our second activity, which was making our own sketchbooks with lots of different types of paper – these are for drawing and writing ideas for our animations. Here we are using them:After that we did some more character designing and made up some stories for our characters. We did this in the sketchbooks we had just made.

While we were all working on our characters and stories some of the children chosen with the “Pot of Fairness” as  news reporters for the day came round and took photos of us and recorded interviews with us about our project:

Then we were all pretty tired so we went out and ran around then Miss Lacon read us a story!

Walls and Water: Secret City Arts’ Project in Brindleyplace

Come and join Secret City Arts in Brindleyplace in Birmingham City Centre to take another look at the environment there in the past, present (and future…) and create written and oral work and animation in response to it. We’ll be at two venues, one parked in a marquee outside the Ikon and the other snug inside Symphony Hall foyer on Friday 11th (1-7pm), Saturday 12th (11am-4pm) and Sunday 13th Feb (11am-4pm). Come and write poetry, record your thoughts and stories and make animated films (based on the work of animation legend Len Lye showing at the Ikon).

Hope to see you there!!

Go to www.secretcityarts.com for more information