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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Wonderland, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 6 of 6
1. Artist of the Day: Kevin Phung

Discover the art of Kevin Phung, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

The post Artist of the Day: Kevin Phung appeared first on Cartoon Brew.

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2. Alice down the microscope

Tomorrow Oxford will celebrate Alice’s Day, with mass lobster quadrilles, artwork and performances, croquet, talks, and teapot cocktails, and exhibitions of photographic and scientific equipment. The diverse ways in which Alice and her wonderland are remembered and recast reveal how both heroine and story continue to speak to many different kinds of audience, 150 years since Lewis Carroll’s book was first published.

The post Alice down the microscope appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Trumpeting Summer Reading and Announcing Two New(ish) Book Blogs

A number of weeks ago, I was asked to take a photograph of my TBR pile. And so I did, joining many other authors in this wonderful photo diary posted today on Mom.me. I can proudly report that I've read a number of the books pictured in my stack since snapping the picture. I must also report that I recently took nearly 60 new hardcovers to my local library for donation and my house is more book stuffed than ever.

I'll never get ahead.

You probably never will either, because there are so many great books to be read. And if you're looking for even more temptations, then I recommend two book-savvy bloggers to you.

First, meet Anmiryam Budner, who kind of sort of blew me away last Saturday at Main Point Books with her deep knowledge of authors and stories. There we stood, in that lovely space, pointing to this book, that book, this one. She'd read them all. I'd read enough of them to talk at length. She gave me room to complain about the unfair review of Stacey D'Erasmo's Wonderland in the New York Times Book Review, and anyone who lets me do that is golden. That woman knows this business, and she talks about it and the books she loves here, on My Overstuffed Shelves.

Second, here is Elizabeth Law, a children's publishing giant now in the business of book editing and ushering. For her first blog post ever she wrote about ten books she loves and why. Fascinating insights, with more—on word count, editorial letters, and publishing magic—to come. She's a fresh new voice on the book blogging scene, and so we welcome her in.

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4. How Filmmakers Use Unscripted Audio in Animation: A Survey From “Moonbird” to “Waltz with Bashir”

One of the better-known shorts made by John and Faith Hubley is Moonbird, from 1959. This film came about when the Hubleys made a secret recording of their two sons one night, playing a game in which they pretended to be hunting for the elusive Moonbird. The result was a soundtrack with a complete narrative, courtesy of the two children; the Hubleys and their studio then visualised the story to create the film.

It is surprising how well Moonbird works, considering that its story is simply two kids making things up as they go along. The personalities of the children come through very strongly and much of the recorded dialogue is inherently funny, as when the younger boy tries to recite “Hey Diddle Diddle” but has trouble remembering past the second word.

Moonbird was followed by the 1967 film Windy Day, based on the same concept but using the voices of the Hubleys’ two daughters. This short is much looser, with a transformative element as the two characters morph from one identity to another. Instead of a single narrative, the children deliver a free-flowing conversation which makes several twists: The two girls start by playing at being a knight and a princess, and later play at being animals; between these sessions they discuss birth, adulthood, marriage and death in the half-grasped manner of children.

Windy Day was shown at the 1968 Cambridge Animation Festival; amongst the people who saw it were producer Colin Thomas and animator William Mather.

“We were blown away by the use of raw unpolished sound with a highly controlled medium like animation”, said Mather in an interview I conducted with him in 2011. In 1975 the two put together a pilot film entitled Audition, based around a recording of Mather’s son talking to an organ player as he auditioned for the role of a choirboy.

The film is very different to Hubley’s shorts. Aside from a very brief sequence in which the boy imagines the organ turning into a monster, it does not take place in a world of childhood fantasy: Its aim is instead to recreate the conversation in more straightforward cartoon terms.

The Hubleys sought to create fantasy films when they made Moonbird and Windy Day, and turned to the taproot of so much fantasy: the imaginations of children. By contrast, Mather and Thomas created a film which was closer to documentary. It is worth noting that Thomas was a documentary filmmaker, and that BBC Bristol – the branch for which the two men made their pilot – has a strong documentary tradition.

The pilot led to Animated Conversations, a six-part series produced in the late-1970s by various directors. Mather contributed Hangovers, based on a recording of a barmaid and her customers, but the best-known shorts for this series were made by Aardman founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton.

The two Aardman shorts take quite different approaches. Down and Out is a literalistic portrayal of an elderly man being turned away from a hostel which – unlike Mather’s shorts – lacks any humor; its emphasis is instead on pathos. Confessions of a Foyer Girl, on the other hand, plays its material for laughs. A young cinema employee discussing the banal details of her day-to-day life is contrasted with the glamorous and exciting world of the movies.

Lord and Sproxton’s work on Animated Conversations prompted Channel 4 to commission its own series of animation based on natural dialogue, this time made entirely by Aardman: Late Edition, Sales Pitch, On Probation, Early Bird

and Palmy Day. As before, some of these went for wacky comedy, while others opted for melancholy tones.

Aardman’s subsequent work in this format includes Creature Comforts by Nick Park. As well as ranking as the single most famous example of the approach, it is one of the more playful in using its soundtrack. As the film is framed as a series of short interviews with various characters, Park was able to home in on the soundbites with the most comic potential. The earlier shorts built themselves around large chunks of undigested conversation, but the whole point of Creature Comforts is that the interviewees are quoted completely out of context.

Creature Comforts became an entire franchise, and in is now the key example of what is, today, a full-fledged genre of animation.

Sometimes the approach can serve a practical use. Animation students are often assigned the task of working to found soundtracks as lipsync exercises. “The Trouble with Love and Sex,” a 2011 episode of the BBC documentary series Wonderland, focused on people undergoing counselling; when it ran into the problem that these people were not comfortable being filmed, it simply used their voices, the visuals being animated by Jonathan Hodgson.

Meanwhile, other animators returned to the daring ethos of the Hubley shorts. Chris Landreth’s Ryan plays with intertextuality, using animation to illustrate interviews with and about animator Ryan Larkin. Sylvie Bringas and Orly Yadin’s’s Silence presents a child’s eye view of the Holocaust, alternating between harsh, woodblock-like sequences for the camp scenes and a softer, more childlike style for the postwar sequences.

There are three general approaches taken by these films. The first is a literalistic portrayal of the conversation, as with the melancholy Down and Out, the lighthearted Late Edition and the harrowing Waltz with Bashir (the last of these being the only feature-length animation of this type that I am aware of.) The second approach creates comedy by placing ordinary dialogue into an unusual situation, as with Creature Comforts.

Finally, the third approach uses animation to illustrate the more subjective aspects of the soundtrack, usually by attempting to recreate the mental state of the speaker. Examples include Silence, Ryan, Marjut Rimminen’s Some Protection, Paul Vester’s Abductees and Andy Glynne’s Animated Minds.

Jan Svankmajer once remarked that “animators tend to construct a closed world for themselves, like pigeon fanciers or rabbit breeders.” When an animated film uses unscripted audio, what we see is pure fantasy, but what we hear is an actual moment in time—the closed world of animation is suddenly opened up to stark reality.

1.) Still from Moonbird
2.) Still from Windy Day
3.) Audition
4.) Still from Confessions of a Foyer Girl
5.) Still from Creature Comforts
6.) Clip from “The Trouble with Love and Sex”
7.) Still from Waltz with Bashir

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5. An introduction to classic children’s literature

For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics have brought readers closer to the world’s finest writers and their works. Making available popular favourites as well as lesser-known books, the series has grown to 700 titles – from the 4,000 year-old myths of Mesopotamia to the twentieth-century’s greatest novels. Yet many of our readers first acquainted themselves with an Oxford World’s Classic as a child. In the below videos, Peter Hunt, who was responsible for setting up the first course in children’s literature in the UK, reintroduces us to The Secret Garden, The Wind in the Willows, and Treasure Island.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Click here to view the embedded video.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

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Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Peter Hunt was the first specialist in Children’s Literature to be appointed full Professor of English in a British university. Peter Hunt has written or edited eighteen books on the subject of children’s literature, including An Introduction to Children’s Literature (OUP, 1994) and has edited Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows, Treasure Island and The Secret Garden for Oxford World’s Classics.

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6. Simon Winchester on Charles Dodgson

This past weekend saw Oxford’s annual Alice’s Day take place, featuring lots of Alice in Wonderland themed events and exhibitions. With that in mind, today we bring you two videos of Simon Winchester talking about Charles Dodgson (AKA Lewis Carroll) and both his love of photography and his relationship with Alice Liddell and her family. You can read an excerpt from his book, The Alice Behind Wonderland, here.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Simon Winchester is the author of the bestselling books The Surgeon of Crowthorne, The Meaning of Everything, The Map that Changed the World, Krakatoa, Atlantic, and The Man Who Loved China. In recognition of his accomplished body of work, he was awarded the OBE in 2006. He lives in Massachusettes and in the Western Isles of Scotland.

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