Tagged: australian

Starting My First Feature Animation

holy shit!

I’ve decided to finally start my first feature animation!!!

It’s a big step forward for me. I’ve wanted be a filmmaker ever since I was 13, and an animator since I was 16 and realised that I would need to turn to animation to create the kind of works I wanted. It’s been a long time coming, however I’ve only recently felt capable of actually accomplishing a work of that scale.

I won’t be able to start full-time production until early next year as I’ve still got to finish the short films and exhibitions I’ve got in the works and finally graduate from Art School. However I’m going to be reading a HEAP of books to get me prepared and writing the script which will take me a while to get right.

I’m feeling a mixture of terror and excitement at the prospect of making my debut feature. The fear is mainly the fear of failure, thoughts like “what if it’s a really bad film and I lack any talent whatsoever” are pretty constant. I’ve learnt not to listen to those voices though. Failure is a possibility, but if I fail I’ll just make another film and another until I get it right.

Even though I’ll be doing my best, I don’t expect my first feature to be the ‘best possible work’ I’ll EVER create. To paraphrase M Dot Strange; you have to treat your art like you treat people. If you meet a person and you think it’s the only person you’ll ever meet, you’ll be all clingy and weird and scare them off. However if you realize they’re one of many people you’ll meet, you’ll be more relaxed, honest and your relationship with them will be better. Same goes with art. Make the best art you can, but don’t be afraid to make choices. You can make more art if you get it wrong the first time ><

So what kind of feature do I want to make? Well here’s a few broad points I’m going to stick to.

  • I want to create personal cinema depicting my world view.
  • I want to create my own unique aesthetic.
  • I want to engage my audience yet not bend to mainstream notions and ideologies represented in “hollywood” or corporate controlled media. (This doesn’t rule out subversion of mainstream media.)
  • I want to create a project that will excite me enough to work on for 3-4 years.

One of the big reasons I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker, was to create films I wanted to see, to somehow combat the vast expanding pool of SHIT that is the majority of mainstream media, to make someone sitting in a dark room somewhere feel something and maybe help them. I’m pretty invested in actually saying something or exploring something through my films. I don’t want my films to be purely entertainment, I want it to function on different levels too. Every film I’ve really enjoyed and every filmmaker who’s work I follow does this.

levitation hamish sI’m also learning to levitate so I can look through second storey windows at night.

-Hamish S

Music Video Released

Over the weekend I released a music video I co-directed with a friend. We had finished it ages ago but hadn’t gotten around to releasing it properly. We decided to send it out into the world with a release party which was was fun. I ended up dancing a whole bunch and kicked a door open for the first time in my life which felt pretty good. I definitely recommend trying it sometime.

The music video we made is for a song by a now broken up band which is a good lesson in finishing and releasing your work in a timely manner because life waits for no-one, least of all bedroom dwelling animators and filmmakers. It’s also hard to get that great feeling of accomplishing something when it’s been sitting around on a hard drive for months.

I learnt a buttload making it and had a lot of fun but never want to spend this long on such a small project again. Got to power through!!!

Anyway check it out! It features my 3 legged cat fritz.

Go To Hell! – Solo Feature Animation by Ray Nowland

‘Go To Hell!’ begins with the reaganesque character GD persuading his new secretary Angel to enter a ‘suspended animation booth’ which effectively brainwashes her so she wants to bone GD. While essentially raping his secretary; GD’s wife enters the room with their son and proceeds to burn his cock with a cigar. Yes, this is the kind of fare you can expect from Ray Nowland’s ‘Go To Hell!’, but there’s more.

go to hell 1

‘Go To Hell!’ is a crudely animated 1997 feature spanning roughly 73 minutes. At first it seems like it’s only going to be a comedy that’s aim is to shock us with vulgar nudity and violence, but it is much more. The narrative of ‘Go To Hell!’ is essentially a fresh and raw take on the Bible, creation of man, eugenics, fascism and environmentalism. It takes a gutsy approach to these themes and issues and displays and uncommon and rare social consciousness you won’t find in any Hollywood animation.

go to hell 2

GD is actually God and his son Little Red is Lucifer. The planet they live on becomes polluted so they set off to find another habitable planet in a spaceship filled with people or ‘genetic specimens’ who are to repopulate the new planet. GD and Little Red stay in stasis for the majority of the journey while the crew and people on the ship reproduce and pass through generations, gradually inbreeding and mutating. They arrive at earth while dinosaurs still roam the planet and ‘Little Red’ and a few of his followers head down to the planet to smoke weed and play in the jungle. GD is not happy about the dinosaurs and indigenous life and wants to exterminate them with a passing asteroid, then repopulate the planet with his genetically modified creations. Little Red disagrees with this because GD is pretty much the biggest asshole in existence.

    I guess dinosaur bud is pretty good…

GD enacts his first extermination while ‘Little Red’ hides in a cave with his snake friend. When he comes to the surface, the earth is populated by ape-like creatures who are enslaved by GD their creator. Mad at his father’s dickery, Little Red decides to copulate with one of these creatures and spawn forth a new race, teaching them to think for themselves and have self determination. Essentially every step ‘Little Red’ takes to better mankind through education, reason and kindness, GD destroys through plots and scheming from his spaceship orbiting Mars. GD goes on to kill his grandson Jesus, create the Catholic Church to subjugate humans, create numerous conflicts and genocides including WWI and helping out Hitler in WWII.

go to hell 5

Even though I think the myths in the Bible outdated, irrelevant and extremely boring; I found ‘Go To Hell!’ was an interesting and particularly ballsy take on it all. It’s all the more impressive that Ray Nowland drew every frame of the film himself with only some help in post production from Leaf Nowland.

As a child who grew up in Australia, I watched ‘Blinky Bill’, a cartoon about an extremely obnoxious koala and his friends that Ray Nowland worked on as an animator. While having some of the most annoying characters imaginable it had a strong environmental theme that is carried over into ‘Go To Hell’. The flat and crude animation style in ‘Go To Hell!’ is particularly reminiscent of ‘Blinky Bill’ and budget Australian televised animation

I don’t think Blinky made it…

It’s pretty uncanny to see this style of animation I was familiar with in my childhood carried over with adult themes, and to make it even weirder most characters in ‘Go To Hell!’ are voiced by Keith Scott who voice ‘Splodge’ and many other characters from ‘Blinky Bill’. This is coupled with a 16-bit soundtrack reminiscent of early video games such as ‘Duke Nukem 3D’.

go to hell 6

I recommend ‘Go To Hell!’ for anyone that’s into weird fucked up animation, adult fans of ‘Blinky Bill’ or anyone interested in the history of underground, solo or Australian animation. ‘Go To Hell!’ is a rarity and at the time of writing this there’s only one torrent available of a VHS rip. It’s not in print or for sale anywhere.

‘Go To Hell!’ is Ray Nowland’s only feature and last of his work that is recorded. After trying to track down details of him to get an interview, I can only guess that after creating ‘Go To Hell!’ he either retired or died. I like to think he’s still making fucked up cartoons in a bedroom somewhere.

-Hamish .S