Nobody’s Gunna Read This (day 2)

I have been really looking forward to writing today, but I am not sure I am going to be able to get a good flow going because I have the kids downstairs playing on computers instead of doing wholesome, clever things; a puppy who’s just coming to the end of her nap and a chicken in the oven but we’ll see how things go.

Writing feels like an indulgence to me because it is pure selfish time. I’m not doing it for anyone else, just me, but I do have a master plan. If you read my post from yesterday (don’t blame you if you didn’t!) you will know that I have a completely impractical and unsustainable career. I am an animator at the beck and call of Aardman (now that I am done with travelling for my pay packet). So, if Aardman have work in, it is fairly likely that I will be involved but if they don’t, then I’m just waiting and not earning money. I am waiting to start their next feature and am booked from the end of May and in the mean time trying to pick up whatever stop motion jobs are happening down at Gas Ferry Road, which sadly are very few and far between these days. So I am wracking my brains to stay creative. I have an idea, a series of ideas for a kids’ show and of course because I am a stop motion animator, I have always thought I would do it stop motion, but as it develops (slowly, painfully) the more I think it is suited to a different format, possibly books, CGI or even an app/educational tool. I guess I really must decide what it is going to be before I really get stuck into the writing. I can see it being appealing as a series of kids’ books, but it is NOT a particularly original setting and fear that it might be rejected before it is even read. But I do believe it has something that will appeal, especially at the moment with the rejuvenated interest in science for kids and space in particular. I am also very fond of the lead character- she is independent, strong, intelligent and charming and I don’t simply want her to disappear because ‘space’ is an instant turn off. However, I am slightly seduced by the idea of it being an educational tool for the computer/ app device. I can imagine it could reach out to boys and girls of primary school age and get them interested in asking questions about the universe and what is in front of them. I like the idea of it being a club, possibly at the end of the garden out of view from the grown ups, where our heroine has her ‘station’. She and her friends ask questions and from their station they observe the world around them. WHAT is the point of me writing this if I feel I can’t relax and give the details. I am worried that if I publish this and someone reads it and thinks it is the most incredible idea they have ever read and pinch it?? Look Fagan- no one’s going to read this so relax!!!

Ok tomorrow- you’ll get some details.

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Nobody’s Gunna Read This (day 2)

Creative Frustration

I am starting this personal blog as a way of forcing myself to write 500+ words each day, for 31 days. I have started today, the 9th February 2016 for no particular reason other than my creative frustration has reached fever pitch and I have to address it somehow. I’ve done this exercise before, in the form of a diary- an actual paper book diary in 2008, where I wanted to kick start the habit of writing that has been nagging at me for as long as I can remember. I loved writing the diary and at the time, my kids were 2 and 4 years old and I can read it now and enjoy the memories in crystal clear technicolour- the minute, claustrophobic detail of day to day life in the time of toddlers. But come January 1st 2009, I stopped writing the diary and stopped the writing discipline, until now.

I will tell myself a bit about myself now (as I am the only one reading) and why I think writing is where it is at in terms of creativity for me. I will probably be very ignorant of facts and horribly opinionated, but this is my blog, right? For me. So, sod it, I will write it as it appears to me.

I have been a professional animator since I graduated from UWE in 1996 and an aspiring one for many years before that. I finished my degree in the summer and was lucky enough to be available to apply for Aardman’s very 1st Character Animation Course run at UWE from September 1996. The course was to be run in the same building as my degree, I literally just had to hand in a VHS copy of my student film to the college office and wait for the rejection… but the rejection didn’t come. In fact, instead of rejection I was invited for an interview. I was so convinced that this was just an exercise in experience rather than a viable option, I didn’t really think too much about what I wanted to say. But what I did feel, as soon as I entered the building at Gas Ferry Road was that these were my people and we understood each other. I was offered a place on that course and I was then a very happily ensconced animator at Aardman for the next 16 years. I was in the right place at the right time with a happy, positive attitude and the right skills, so I enjoyed a good reputation as someone who communicated well and worked reliably and consistently at a high standard. Bully for me.

In 2012 Aardman made redundant all their staff animators (just I made it to direct 2 Shaun the Sheep episodes!!- Snapshot and Prickly Heat) because Pirates did not enjoy the success it needed to make a sequel. Life stability wise, this was awful news but I also felt that it was time for change so although I was scared, I was also thrilled and excited about what was to come. I have always been blessed (or cursed) with this sense that bad news doesn’t apply to me. I won’t let it get to me- I am protected by a special force field that means something will come and save me from impending doom… and it did! Toot toot…Chuggington!!! And more to the point, I was hired to be Animation Director…a promotion! Excellent- I could rush under my comfort blanket once again and continue to avoid the thing I know has been nag nag nagging at me.

Chuggington afforded me 2.5 more years of denial, comfortable money and new experiences and although the volume of work was quite horrendous at times, I am very thankful that in a time of uncertainty in the Stop Motion world, I had a good job in CGI. But “Oh”, I missed Stop Motion! (638)

So I made my way back to Stop Motion. But during my time away, something has shifted. I love it, so much, but I don’t want to animate as much anymore, I want to create it. I don’t want to Direct other people’s ideas, I want other people to animate my ideas. I don’t want to be scrabbling around desperately looking for work, I want to be in charge of my own future. I want to be creating work. I am a proud and hard worker but I need to grow- I feel stilted, stumped… and that is why I am here. -739

Creative Frustration