Okay. This blog comes to you from - well I don’t know where I am, actually - I’m up in the sky, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. There’s clouds outside, that’s all I can tell you.
I’m flying to Mexico, and then later to LA. It’s all part of the mysterious and difficult business of promoting a film.
Which presupposes a film; and that’s what I’m here to blog about. I’m directing Aardman’s latest stop-motion film. Obviously at this exact moment I’m not physically directing it, being on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic, but for the last half decade it’s been my project, my obsession, my albatross and my darling.
So, first things first. The film is called “The PIRATES!” – that much is certain. In the UK it has the subtitle “…In An Adventure With Scientists” while in America and much of the rest of the world it’s subtitled “Band Of Misfits”. Two titles, one film. But the important bit, the bit that won’t change - cling on to this - is “The PIRATES!”.
When I mentioned our latest stop-motion film I specified the technique because we’re actively producing two animated films at almost the same time. As well as my project, The Pirates! Sarah Smith is directing Arthur Christmas, a fully CG animated film, which is being made mostly in LA. Making two films simultaneously, I can officially tell you, is incredibly ambitious – possibly bonkers. Nothing like it has ever been done in Britain before.
The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists all started with the book of that name by a monstrously talented young author called Gideon Defoe. It’s short, it’s mischievous, it’s absurd and it’s hilariously funny. When I read books it seldom occurs to me to adapt them into films – my mind doesn’t work that way, but with the Pirates it was different. I was instantly charmed, quickly decided there was a film in there, and then quicker still to nab it for myself.
That was a very long time ago. I’m going to say four and a half years – it’s probably longer. The fact is that when The PIRATES! finally gets to a multiplex near you it’ll be over five years in the making.
Please don’t feel sorry for me. This is perfectly normal. It really is. Most animated movies take at least five years from beginning to end. A few are made quicker, many take much longer, and many a live-action movie takes just as long. So it may be ridiculous. But at least it’s normally ridiculous.
The creation of a movie at Aardman starts with two or three people in a room, drinking tea and chucking ideas around. It peaks four and a half years later with 350 or more people, working as hard and as fast as they can – long hours, weekends, a fair amount of stress – every person and every fibre of their creative energy focused on bringing it to the Big Screen.
This is going to be what you might call a classic Aardman film – I mean it’s stop-motion, puppet animation – call it what you will. It’s a traditional technique that’s been around for a century now, but we’re doing very new and delightful things with it. I hope you’ll manage to look at some of the ‘making of’ material that we’re doing – certainly I’ve been tweeting some glimpses behind the scenes - because the way the film is made, the artistry and the craft, is really very special and spectacular.
Well there’s so much to say. This is only the smallest of starts. But as the cabin crew are wielding scones and tea, I’ll sign off for now.
livila Posted on Saturday July 23, 2011, 03:20
Can't wait to see it. Trailer is excellent!
nickG Posted on Saturday July 23, 2011, 15:54
Great trailer and Aardman are synonymous with quality story-telling. Personally I've got a bit of pirate-fatigue at the moment what with Disney's little efforts in recent years, but I have faith that Aardman will offer a lot more substance.