FilmFernisering – My experience

Yesterday I attended an event called FilmFernisering were my shortfilm, “Left-brained Larry & Right-brained Rachel” was screened along with 3 other films. It was a really great and eventful night that really gave me a boost of energy and a need to make more films.

Oh, what a night!
Hardly had I arrived at Valby Kino, which was packed with people, before I had to perform. First a photographer asked for my picture. I could feel my whole face quivering as I tried to smile for the camera. I was all flustered from arriving in a packed bus, walking quickly to the cinema to be there on time. A moment after my picture was taken, a man approached me with a microport and asked if I would answer questions on camera about the event. Sure thing! “Remember to repeat the questions,” they said. The place was loud and packed with people. My mind was racing. Not only did I have to figure out what the hell to reply and try and sound intelligent, but also try and work the questions into my sentences. I tried to my best attempt – at least the interviewers were sweet and said that it went well. I can’t help but imagine that I must have looked very nervous – because I was!

Soon after, the screening started. The presenter said some very kind words about each film as he went through them in order. We were going to be second. After each film, there was a 10min Q&A with the director of the film. As I sat there on my seat, waiting for my turn and shaking all over my body, I realized that I hadn’t felt like this since the first time we screened L&R at the premiere at EFC back in 2009. Back then I also had to present the movie. I just absolutely hate standing in front of an audience and I simply always get nervous, BUT yesterday, I realized that it was a good kind of nervous. This was an opportunity to connect with the audience about the film in a far more personal way. As the presenter said very well, “When you send a film to an international festival, you have no idea of how it’s going to go. You try your best to grasp how the movie was received by looking up news on the festival’s page, but it’s very hard to get a proper impression”. He’s very right about this. In fact, even though Larry and Rachel have traveled to many festivals now, it’s been a bit surreal and hard to wrap my mind around. To me it more felt like my characters had become independent individuals who went on all these adventures by themselves, but I was not so much a part of it. That part is cool too, of course, the fact that your story gets to live its own life and transcends from being just your property, to become something that the whole world gets a chance to enjoy. But anyway, I do like seeing how people react to my film. It may be a total ego boost, but it’s the kind of boost I sometimes need to feel motivated to make more films. After all, I’m not just making them for myself, but for other people to enjoy.

The Q&A went very well. I really enjoyed people’s questions that gave me a chance to express how passionate I am about animation. Someone even asked what my next film would be about and I ended up telling the whole story of “Mr. Exclamation”, which is a 1-min animated film I have made an animatic for, but that I still need to complete. I suddenly acted out the whole story about Mr. Exclamation, simulating with my body how the character changes throughout the story. The audience laughed and it felt really good. Dealing with stage fright my whole life, particularly because I have a very weak voice and often have to fight to be heard, it was a good confidence-boost to get such a positive reaction from the audience from the sudden act I found myself in the middle of.

The other three short films shown this evening were all very good – and very, very different. There was a personal mockumentary, a serious hit-and-run movie and a very funny and cartooney zombie short. It was really cool to hear about each director’s process and their plans for the future.

After the screening, the attention didn’t stop. I ended up staying at the cinema until midnight, talking with so many people. I had brought a portfolio I have made that shows the process behind our film and I got the chance to show it to some people and explain further. The film’s producer, Niels Wee, was also there. I haven’t seen Niels for many years and it was nice to connect with him about the film through the portfolio – just like a trip down Memory Lane.

Oh, what a night! I had such a headache when I finally arrived home from being on the spot for so many hours, but I didn’t complain. It was a great night that gave me just the boost of motivation I needed. I REALLY need to make more films now!

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A busy Halloween – Three events in a row

I’ve been in Halloween Mode since Summer, making the first couple of props during my summer holiday. By the middle of September, it intensified a whole lot, as I slowly approached three upcoming events in October.

One of the projects I started this summer: Shrunken Heads!

I decided to “kill two birds with one stone”, by making Halloween-themed props and puppets that I could exhibit at conventions and use as Halloween decorations as well for my three upcoming events:

GEEKcore:

This weekend, October 17th-19th, I will be attending GEEKcore, an all-round geeky convention taking place at Valby Kulturhus, Copenhagen. I’ll have a table in their Artist Alley where I’ll be exhibiting and selling some of my creations. Read more about the Artist Alley here and read more about the convention here. It is free to visit the Artist Alley, even if you don’t have a ticket for the rest of the convention.

CPH ART WORKS:

The weekend after that, October 25th-26th, I will be attending CPH ART WORKS, a new type of art convention taking place at Nørrebrohallen, Copenhagen. The aim of the convention is to offer artists a different way of exhibiting and selling their art, independently of galleries. See my Artist Profile here and check out the other attending artist, representing many different categories. Also, read more about the convention here. It costs only 30kr to visit the convention for one day, and 50kr for the weekend.

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“A Magical Halloween”:

Last, but not least, on November 1st we’re throwing a big Halloween party at my workshop, Nørrebro Kunsthus! We have been making themed parties the last two years and this time the theme is MAGIC. We have let our creations be inspired by the old traditions of Halloween and have created many decorations inspired by myths and legends. We look very much forward this! Read more about it here. It’s free to attend the party, but you must wear a costume!

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“The Fiddle-Room”

The Fiddle Room, NBKH

Before I continue my series of posts about the projects I’ve made for my new study, I thought I’d bring you these pictures I took yesterday of my workshop area at Nørrebro Kunsthus.

To those who don’t know it yet, Nørrebro Kunsthus is an art collective that I’m part of, which consists of 20 young artist who reside in a 350m2 building, situated in the Nørrebro area of Copenhagen. We have many different facilities, such as an editing suite, a sound studio, a large hall for painting (and other large-scale projects) and several project rooms with desks – and even more facilities are currently in development.

Unlike most workshop collectives, the concept of Nørrebro Kunsthus is that we share all the space within the building so that everyone has access to the different facilities. Most places, you pay to have your own designated space (usually 10-20m2) and you will have to provide all the tools, machines or whatever else you need. At the same time, though, we actually all have some individual space at Nørrebro Kunsthus where we can keep our personal materials and tools – while also having access to the equipment of the editing suite and sound studio, and various tools, machines and paint (that we’ve gathered for free, usually given to us by family and friends).

When we leave the building, we usually clear our things away so that other people can use the particular space, but if you’re working on a project which is difficult to move, it’s possible to leave it as there’s usually space enough for this. So, not only is it still flexible enough so that people have plenty of room for themselves while sharing the space with others – it’s also cheaper than most workshop spaces in Copenhagen.

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I mostly reside in a room that we call “Nørklerummet” in Danish or “The Fiddle-Room” - a room with desks, decorated for concentrated, small-scale projects (drawing, sewing, prop-bruilding and such). It’s situated on the 1. floor in the sunniest corner of the building, so the lighting is very good.

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No cinema inside. It’s just a closet. The sign is a left-over from our previous exhibitions. Will probably need them another time.

There are four other people who sometimes use the room, but they have aloud me to decorate it as much as I want, as they don’t use is as often and don’t need as much space for their tools and materials. So I’ve taken advantage of the situation and decorated some areas of the room by painting a little and putting my dolls, pictures and projects on display.

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I’m a very structured, visual-minded person, so I like to be able to get a good overview of my projects by hanging my sketches and inspirational images on the wall.

We used to have three desks in the room, but when I concluded that the third one was hardly ever used, I decided to replace it with a “Material Bank” for keeping various materials to share with the other members of the house.

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Material Bank sign

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Paper, cardboard, yarn, tools and various small materials

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Large box: Large pieces of fabric – Small box: Small pieces/scraps of fabric

I take up a lot of space as it is, because I have a hard time departing with materials as I can always think of something to use them for, but I concluded that I probably had more than I would ever use, so I thought I might as well make a public bank of materials to promote  a general idea of recycling materials as much as possible in the building. When you make many different types of project, like I do, you can usually use all kinds of scraps of cardboard, plastic, fabric and whatnot. There’s no need to throw it out and force yourself to buy new things whenever they are called for.

Some close-ups:

The red window-box is where members can put receipts for me to keep (I'm also the treasurer of the building). The picture on the right is an original Donald Duck painting I got all the way back in 1994, when I was only 6 years old, from an artist called Fred Preston who was a friend of my mother.

The red window-box is where members can put receipts for me to keep (I’m also the treasurer of the building). The picture on the right is an original Donald Duck painting I got all the way back in 1994, when I was only 6 years old, from an artist called Fred Preston who was a friend of my mother.

Jiji, Edgar Allan Poe and Toxic Boy watch over my work and give me their sign of approval.

Jiji, Edgar Allan Poe and Toxic Boy watch over my work and give me their sign of approval.

My boyfriend's collection of animal skulls which he has been so kind to let me use. I also keep some some figures and a photo from my trip to Egypt (around 2003-ish) and a photo of me and my "foster grandmother" from our trip to Tenerife (2002-ish).

My boyfriend’s collection of animal skulls which he has been so kind to let me use. I also keep some figurines and a photo from my trip to Egypt (around 2003-ish) and a photo of me and my “foster grandmother” (Ethel) from our trip to Tenerife (2002-ish). Ethel died around 7 years ago and I would have loved to have shared my current life with her, so I guess that this is my way of bringing her with me. Excuse the poor time estimates – I’ve always been horrible at remembering dates.

I hope that you enjoyed this tour of my workshop. Perhaps I’ll bring you photos of the rest of the building at a later point.

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New home, New education, New experiences

It’s suddenly been quite a few months since I last updated this blog – basically ever since I started at my new education at the end of January: “Multimedia Design and Communication” at The Copenhagen School of Design and Technology aka. “KEA”. On top of that, I’ve been really busy with moving to a new apartment and several other things. As things are calming a bit down now, though, I thought it might be time to start blocking a little more frequently again. I have updated my Facebook page in the mean time, though, and I generally post more items there, as I don’t think that all material is fitting for my web site – so be sure to check it every now and again for more info about my latest endeavours and various tidbits about latest news in the world of animation.

I’m really happy with my new study. It’s a great mix between creative and very technical work, which really suits a right/left-brainer like me. I also like that it’s very hands-on and I get to learn a lot of really useful techniques that can aid me in my creative work in so many different ways. Our courses are usually project-oriented and we go through the process of creating a full product with everything included. This can, for example, be some kind of web site that we design, develop, programme, test etc. – usually for a particular client or target group. That means that we also learn how to communicate with the client, how to present and develop the product, and, of course, how to work well in teams.

During these last three months, I have already learned the basics of how to programme HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP and I have developed my digital drawing skills a whole lot. I was honestly quite insecure about starting at the school, as I wasn’t 100% sure what it would be like, but I was very positively surprised and presently I can imagine myself finishing my bachelor degree and perhaps study further in a similar – if not the same – field.

But anyway, since this new education is taking up a lot of my time, I have decided to start blogging about some of the highlights of what I’ve been making so far, and will be making in the future, for school projects, so as to document my development. In order to get up-to-date, I have decided to start at the beginning and make a series of posts these upcoming weeks about what I’ve done so far.

“CHOCOLATE ADDICTS ANONYMOUS” – A GROUP PRESENTATION

So this time I bring to you something from my very first week at KEA, where we had to make some kind of creative group presentation about something that all the group members had in common. This was merely a non-serious exercise in making a presentation for the class, but luckily we had lots of fun with it.

We chose to talk about our mutual love for chocolate!

We went to my workshop at Nørrebro Kunsthus and each stop motion animated a brief and very crude clip, including real, melted chocolate, which somehow depicted a story that we connected with our love for chocolate. I assembled and animated this moving diorama over the course of about 7 hours, inspired by the Tim Burton movie version of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005). I have watched the movie dozens of times and usually eat chocolate while I’m at it.

For the presentation, one of the group members got the brilliant idea that we could act as an “addicts anonymous” group. So we called ourselves, “Chocolate Addicts Anonymous” and let the little clips loop on a screen in the background as we each told our neurotic tales of why we were so addicted to chocolate. I was the nervous, jittery character of the group, who frequently scratched my arm, as I passionately talked about “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, not leaving out random facts about chocolate (as they are told in the movie).

“I watched it yesterday… And the day before that… And the day before that… I watched it this morning… I was planning on watching it tonight… BUT I REALLY WANT TO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW!”

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The clips worked really well as these sort of abstract images of our mental state while we were telling our stories and the class was very impressed with the work. I felt very proud to have my workshop at had (which is located just 500m from the school!) and that we were able to set up a chocolate-melting laboratory and animation set so quickly.

Photo: Jørgen True/Scanpix Denmark

Bispebjerg Cemetary. Photo: Jørgen True/Scanpix Denmark

The last thing I want to mention in this post, is that my new apartment is located extremely close to both my school and my workshop! I just plain and simply love this fact, as I can walk between these three locations in mere minutes. The downside, of course, is that I don’t get much out of the “Nørrebro” area of Copenhagen, but I’m content with it and try to make an effort of going for walks at other locations every now and again. Now that the weather has become more sunny, I have taken the opportunity to walk around the green area a little north from where I live around a big bog called “Utterslev Mose”. I grew up near by and would often go for bike rides in the area during my teen years, especially around the very beautiful “Bispebjerg Cemetery”, and spend my time developing ideas for stories in my mind (this was the time when I had just started writing). It’s a place of tranquility and solitude for me and I get really inspired when I’m there. It’s really great to have it close by again and I will remember to make the time to go there more often, to escape the busy Nørrebro area, find some inner peace and churn out some good ideas.

Photo: Thomas Fog

Bispebjerg Cemetery in the Spring. Photo: Thomas Fog

All for now, more for later!

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The website in 2014

As you can see, the look of the website has changed a little this month, but the material on it is roughly the same. I decided to change my WordPress account, which just meant that I couldn’t have the same design. It actually turned out that I didn’t use (or need) a lot of the perks I paid for in 2013, so the look is the only thing that had to be altered. The only thing I’m paid for this year, was the domain name.

This is partly because I can’t really afford throwing money away on what I still thought was a pretty boring web site design and also, because I really want to make my own from scratch. The plans (as described in my previous post) are still there, but I can’t say when exactly I’ll have time for it. “Unfortunately” I am in the luxury situation of having a lot of upcoming projects and will have to prioritize, but I am starting a new education next week, which will also concern web programming, so, who knows, it might just happen earlier than expected!

But in the mean time, I hope you’ll enjoy following this page and checking out my portfolio!

Neon Zally

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2014

After spending a lot of my energy in 2012 creating “Nørrebro Kunsthus” (the workshop I share with 24 other young artists), I felt that I could relax a little on the practical front this year and spend more time on my own creative projects.

2013 was especially “The Year of Portfolios” for me. I finally created that website I had been wanting for a really long time, I made physical portfolios for applying for schools and jobs, and, of course, I started a Facebook page as a hub for posting about my interests and endeavors. It was really great to finally get a proper representation of my skills and it has turned out to be useful on so many occasions.

A lot of projects still stand incomplete, but I got further in the process on several of them and it was a really nice feeling since some of them were ideas that had been lying about for years.
In the spring I made production drawings for a stop motion short film that I wrote called “Seed Baby”, along with a few animation- and construction-tests.

This autumn I made an “animatic” (animated storyboard) for my hand drawn short film, “Mr. Exclamation”. The amazing thing was that the sound studio that the musicians from Nørrebro Kunsthus had been building, was finally finished in September, so we were able to record the voice over (with a lovely performance from my boyfriend, Jens Hybschmann), the foley and the music for the animatic – all under the same roof. After reading Richard Williams’ “The Animators Survival Kit”, I got really psyched about challenging myself to animate the whole thing myself, even though I am definitely not used to drawing that much. I’m sure it will be a great learning experience and I hope that I will have time to complete at least some of it in 2014 – between all my other upcoming projects.

In between these, there were many other projects, big and small. I added a number of costumes to my inventory and especially felt a big development when I completed my dress for this year’s Halloween Party at Nørrebro Kunsthus (on the picture!). It was the first costume that I sewed completely myself and I now feel that I should be able to sew almost anything if I try. I love making replica costumes, but have also found out that I have fallen more and more in love with creating my own characters and creating a world around them. I am already working on ideas for 2014’s upcoming parties and conventions.

In November and December I have been an intern at “Klaverfabrikken” in Hillerød (a culture house, north of Copenhagen) where I have been writing a script and making production drawings for an interesting interactive experience for children, which will be part of a new “sound museum” that will open this Spring in Hillerød. My internship is officially over, but I really want to be a part of creating the props and costumes for the exhibition, so I have decided to keep working on it, regardless. I really look forward to seeing the whole thing acted out when they start in April and to showing you guys what came out of it. It will run on a weekly basis and the participating children will be from schools around the city, who will learn about sound and music while solving various puzzles. It was fun to try and work out a story for a very different kind of setting than what I’m used to.

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A “Mummy Mole” – design sketch from the mentioned project in Hillerød

Anyway, those were some of the highlights from 2013!

Happy new year, everyone! And thank you all for taking an interest in all my weird projects!
Best wishes,
Sally

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“What a jolly stop motion X-mas, Sandy Claws!”

What a jolly stop motion x-masFor Christmas I got a whole handful of additions to my collection of stop motion animated films AND books about stop motion animation!

DVDs:

“Frankenweenie” (2012)

“ParaNorman” (2012)

Books:

“A Century of Model Animation”
By Ray Harryhausen and Tony Dalton
(Stop motion history, told by Ray Harryhausen)

“Frame-by-frame stop motion”
By Tom Gasek
(about modern stop motion techniques)

“Stop-Motion Filming and Performance”
By Tom Brierton
(I have his two other books about “Armature Machining” and “Puppet Sculpting” and look very much forward to reading this one as well)

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