Thursday, February 15, 2018

APSU Article On Shrew Animation

APSU's theatre department's first show this spring is Taming Of The Shrew, and the director Talon Beeson approached me about having the framing device be an animated comic book.  One of our art students has done some amazing comic art for it, and a handful of student animators are currently working away and animating the panels.  Read the full article below or click HERE

Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” gets comic book makeover at APSU

In the late 1940s, shortly after World War II, American comic books took on the daring subject of love. Jack Kirby, co-creator of Captain America, helped popularize these soap opera-like tales with his comic “Young Romance.” The brightly colored covers—which would later inspire Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art creations—featured couples embracing or kissing, often with someone crying in the background.
            For Talon Beeson, Austin Peay State University assistant professor of acting and directing, these emotionally charged comics brought to mind another author of antic love stories—William Shakespeare. This February, Beeson is bringing the bard’s comedy “The Taming of the Shrew” to campus, and the new production will have a distinct comic book feel.
            “I’m placing it entirely in a Roy Lichtenstein/Jack Kirby word, where it’s all pop art,” Beeson said. “Everyone will be dressed in that style, with makeup that makes them look like pop art illustrations.”
            The play runs from Feb. 22-25 in the APSU Trahern Theater, with performances at 7:30 p.m. that Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and matinee performances at 2 p.m. that Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students, military and senior citizens.
            The play, about the wanted and unwanted romantic entanglements of two sisters, has been accused in recent years of being chauvinistic, but Beeson believes this is a misrepresentation of the popular work.
            “My interpretation of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ has always been that it’s a feminist play,” he said. “There’s a framing device, in the original folio edition of the play, and I’ve always thought it changes the entire slant of the play from anti-feminist to feminist.”
            This framing device, know as the induction, is often omitted from modern productions of the play. In the opening scenes of the induction, a drunk is kicked out of a bar and ends up passed out on the street. An aristocrat, disgusted by the intoxicated man, decides to play a trick on him, and after the man wakes up, he is made to watch a play—what most audiences know as “The Taming of the Shrew.”
            Beeson wanted to include these induction scenes in his production, but he also wanted to find an innovative way to incorporate his pop art concept. That led him to Scott Raymond, APSU assistant professor of animation.
            “If this is a comic book that takes place in a comic world, how do I do the opening and closing scenes?” Beeson asked. “I have them animated.”
            The APSU production will begin and end with a motion comic projected onto a screen on stage. These moving images will cover the induction scenes, with the screen eventually giving way to the actual live-action play.
            The cast for this new production includes APSU students Zac Collum, Briana Finley, Briar Moroschak, Bret Carson, William Neblett, Tim Fearn, Aly Pace, Christian Sinclair, Katie Krantz, Brenna Greene, Lexi Putter, Jesse Adair, Quinton Tolbert, Alex Thomas, Madison Courrege and Treston Henderson.

Monday, February 12, 2018

APSU Press Release On Highway Rat

Austin Peay ran a press release about my work on The Highway Rat.  I was interviewed and they came to take photos of my Animation II class.  The official APSU link is HERE, and some of the local online papers also posted it HERE and HERE.

Here's the article:

APSU professor contributes to BBC animated special, “The Highway Rat”

On Christmas day, when four million Britons saw a talking rat on the telly, they also glimpsed the creative work of an Austin Peay State University professor. That evening, BBC One broadcast the animated special “The Highway Rat,” based on a popular British children’s book, and Scott Raymond, APSU assistant professor of animation and former DreamWorks animator, contributed about 20 seconds to the movie.
“Toward the end of the film, in the final sequence, there are three shots I did with the Highway Rat and a couple of other characters,” Raymond said. “I animated the characters—make them move, give them expressions, look around. I’m one cog in this whole process.”
The Daily Telegraph gave the film four stars, saying it was “Delightfully told by Magic Light Pictures.” That company partnered with Triggerfish Animation, a South African animation studio that recently earned a Best Animated Short Film Oscar nomination, to produce the film staring famed British actors David Tennant and Rob Brydon. Triggerfish contacted Raymond last summer to help them finish the 30-minute film.
“What happens with most freelance work I get is, deadlines are approaching and the studio needs some overflow work,” Raymond said. “It’s real short term. We call it ‘911 work.’ For me, it was only about three weeks.”
The project came at a time when Raymond was preparing for the fall semester and moving into a new office and animation studio in the recently finished Art + Design Building. During this busy period, he spent about eight hours a day figuring out how the characters would move and react to certain situations. Then he animated those performances.
“In my Animation One class, I tell my students that as an animator, you’re a director, an actor, a screenwriter and a cinematographer,” he said.
Raymond came to APSU in 2015 to help build the Department of Art + Design’s animation program. He was a good fit, considering he’s worked on animated features, such as “Trolls” and “Kung Fu Panda 3.” Since arriving at Austin Peay, he has also animated on a spot for Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards and a ride at the PortAventura Theme Park.
At Austin Peay, the animation program continues to grow, with the University offering its new visual effects and digital 3D classes next fall. The Department of Art + Design is working to eventually offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in animation.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Highway Rat Shots!

Here's my shots from The Highway Rat!  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Highway Rat Credits

It was a nice surprise to see that I was in the credits for The Highway Rat!  All of us who came in for the last month got credit - which is very cool of Triggerfish to include us with everyone who worked so hard for the past year.

I finally got to see the final film - and it was really adorable and looked amazing.  I'm hoping to post my shots soon.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas & "The Highway Rat" Premier

It's Christmas time once again!  It seems that animation is a natural fit into family holiday traditions.  Most of us have fond memories as kids watching the Charlie Brown Christmas or the Rankin/Bass stop-motion specials (personally, I'll always have a spot for A Garfield Christmas and Christmas Eve on Sesame Street).  There's nothing like cuddling down on the couch after a big holiday morning and relaxing with family & friends watching the Christmas shows on TV.  Well, I'm excited to have had a small part in crafting a new holiday special.

With any luck you might be able to stream The Highway Rat on the BBC One site after it premiers. It may depend on what side of the pond you live on.  Check out the link HERE

Here's to a busy and eventful 2017.  May 2018 be as eventful, but maybe a little less busy...

Saturday, December 23, 2017

First Clip from Highway Rat

Here's a first clip posted by the BBC!  Can't wait to see this (although, for those of us in the US, we might have to wait until a Netflix debut next year...)