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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Rocking my world in 2013

Career highlights
  • Graduating from De Montfort, before moving on to freelancing. Sod's Law that I got the worst flu in my first week of work
  • I was a runner up of the Business Venture Competition at DMU
  • Prince's Trust, Spring and Startup Loans supported me with starting up, marketing and finances. I used the loan to purchase software and communication tools. A proper website, at last!
  • Somewhere to_ teach young people to draw from life, capture and observe what they see at the SkyRide event. With the O2 Think Big grant I also bought an HD camera which is great for wildlife footage.
  • I was a student of Michael Morgan's Summer Animation program, improving my skills in 3D animation, nailing down the weight and balance. That reel was ready to be shown at...
  • Escape Studios' VFX Festival. It was amazing to meet so many folks who were pumped for the industry. The panel debate. The Gravity presentation. The afterparty was like the party I missed at uni. But better, it was proper networking!
  • If there was anything that could beat that occasion, it was the reaction on Georgina's face from showing her the result of pencil tests I had taught her to do, and the final animation. It was to be part of our Gold Arts Award participation. Emma of Enter Edem made the recommendation; I then met Georgina, which overall led to a very lovely experience, sharing each other's art practice. How wonderful it was to see her and other talented artists take to the stage!
Film/TV highlights
  • Many of us dressed in green in support for VFX professionals, after Rhythm N Hues, despite winning accolades, signed for bankruptcy.
  • On the other hand, traditional animation is once again cooler than bow ties, merging with old/new tech to produce anything from Paperman to the Bear & Hare ad campaign.
  • Talking of beautiful works of art, it was a good year to be a Cumberbabe. Even when the Benedict was playing Big Bads, you couldn't help but feel aroused, and I still get warm and fuzzy seeing his name in the credits. It's been that way for nearly 10 years since Hawking.
  • Last year I made a promise to see any big movie in IMAX 3D. Any day I was in Cardiff Bay, I caught Pacific Rim and Gravity on opening weekend and day respectively. The latter was the best presented. Things would fly slowly or rapidly into you. It evoked something that few movies have given me of late. WONDER. I hadn't felt that way since Coraline. If it's playing in IMAX, imma hit that thing again...Promise.
  • Ironic that I bought my iPad right before watching The World's End, if you know what the themes and twists are. Possibly my favourite of the Cornetto trilogy - not just because I love mint flavour above all else - it was nuanced, deeply affecting, funny as hell, and aims higher with social commentary on "Starbucking". Most were quite taken aback by the ending, but it's damn perfect.
  • The Last of Us, though I didn't get to play it, grabbed me and never let go. Likewise, World War Z had one or two nerve-shredding sequences and a sense that was almost on par with Jurassic Park.
  • Shortly after that, Peter Capaldi was announced as Doctor 12. We realised he played "WHO Doctor" and all of us laughed for a good 5 mins. Even I initially pointed out, W.H.O. based in Cardiff? Love how my favourite city gets name checked in a Hollywood film.
  • Summer for me was dominated by catching up with Breaking Bad. Every season is a daring mix of humour, character development, twisted morals, beautiful cinematography, career-defining acting, moments that shake you. Ozymandias even made me yelp loudly on a coach; Felina left me beaming, elated, satisfied and grieving.
  • The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who was another lovely communal experience shared with the world. Whereas An Adventure in Space and Time was profoundly more moving, Time of the Doctor had the mother of all fangasms. It was impossible to frown upon.
  • Mum was obsessed with The White Queen, which inspired me to sketch an iPad drawing of Richard III. That was then retweeted and favourited by Aneurin Barnard, spreading over his fan community for a little while. Wasn't expecting that, neither did I expect Peter Serafinowicz to Follow me. He was praising Princess and the Frog; myself and the director of Flushed Away joined the chat. That was a great evening.
  • Out of the only three fully-animated feature films I saw theatrically this year, Frozen is my firm favourite. Love the design; the sister's relationship is ultimately, genuinely moving; Let It Go, so spine-chillingly good! Prepare yourself for it is a proper Disney musical, and I'm a sucker for that.
  • Desolation of Smaug - Hobbit 2: Big Ass Spiders - finally took us to the fireworks factory Milhouse was itching to see. Even though it felt like the mid-section of the Greatest Adventure, and the aura of advance Royal Premiere buzz was nonexistent at the two screenings I caught, there was so much pleasure in the detail, set pieces, the world PJ and co have visualised. An Unexpected Journey gave me anticipation from its bookends alone. This one gave me exactly what I wanted, including Inside Information. Bloody marvellous. That would make a terrific survival game. The stuff of nightmares. Just started reading Alex Alice's Siegfried graphic novel. Tolkien found plenty of influence in The Ring of Nibelung, no doubt about it.

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