Back from Annecy 2008 - Catastrophic Sound Design & Amazing Encounters
Wild Casting is one of the five 30 seconds shorts made by 2nd year students at Les Gobelins, the prestigious french animation school. It was screened on June 11th before every screening at the Festival d'Annecy 2008 that occured that day. I composed the music for it. So big joy, because it's the first time my music made it to the big screen !
Wild Casting - Chase
Wild Casting - Credits
The downside is that the people in charge of the sound design and the final mix did, objectively, a very poor job (and those weren't students, but supposedly pros, go figure...) The team was very disappointed because the audio does very bad service to the film, and I am disappointed because you can barely hear my work. The team and I agreed that I will junk their audio, do new sound effects and re-mix my music myself so they can have a version of the film that serves their initial vision, one we can be proud of. Apparently, it's not the first time a student short from Les Gobelins has its team in discontent because the same audio people appointed by the school fail to serve their intentions and ruin the film. So "seeing" my music for the first time in a theater with people cheering and applauding was both amazing and heart-crushingly unpleasant, which is awkward. (I know, you're thinking I'm just never satisfied...)
You can still (try to) enjoy the movie in its festival release here, while I cook up a (hopefully) much better version of the audio.
The young people who did this film are amazing, Jérémie, Floriane, Thomas and the others all kick ass and it was a thrill working with such talented artists (and be able to visit the school, which I always dreamed of, as a kid I wanted to study there and become a cartoonist!). Now to more amazing stuff.
Many people thought this year's festival kind of sucked. I can't say because it was the first time I went so I rather enjoyed it. I saw a few cool films (Bill Plympton's Idiots & Angels was wicked, La Maison en Petits Cubes was simply wonderful), I met some interesting folks, and Annecy is a town so beautiful it's simply from another world. The feeling that perplexed me the most is that it felt so "right" for me to be in an animation festival, more right than E3 ever felt (ok, that's easy). Maybe because, for once, I was around people who for the most care truly about the meaning of the things they do. (Yes, I'm looking at you with those mean eyes, video games industry).
There was a small exhibition in honor of Richard Williams' 75th birthday, and I could see originals from Who Framed Roger Rabbit ? (which I consider to be one of the truly most amazing films ever made, tremendously influential to me). It reminded me the funny fact that when I got Roger Rabbit on VHS (I was 9 or 10), I literally ruined the tape because I would watch the entire film in slow motion so I could decompose the animations and reproduce them in one of my million flip books. The film was going most of the time at 1/4 of its normal frame rate, it would sometime take the afternoon to run through and I would do that over and over again, the way kids only can be obsessed.
Roger Rabbit's animations are probably the ones I decomposed the most, together with a couple of Tom & Jerry cartoons I had taped (from La Dernière Séance, if you're French. :) I was stunned at how fluid and "volumetric" everything was in Roger Rabbit, I was in awe of the physics. A few years later, at age 16, I did the same with Toy Story, on VHS too, which fucked the tape too. :) When DVD players hit the market, it was like I was GOD. It's hard to believe I became a composer with a childhood so obsessed with drawing animation.
If you went to the Annecy 2008 it's impossible you missed the hype around them: the people from Blue Sky were there! Chhuy-Ing's friend Gerald had such a network of acquaintances that somehow we got introduced to them (like hundreds of people anyway, because they were here to recruit artists so they weren't shy of giving business cards and handshakes by the dozen).
The thing that's most amazing is that one of them somehow enjoyed our company and spent the whole freaking day with us, just hanging out. I'm talking about William Frake. The guy was sweet, probably in his 50's, and a little hard to follow when talking sometimes (20% French and 5% German thrown here and there in every sentence he makes). :) So hey, here we are talking and somehow I throw in the conversation that my favorite animated movie ever is Iron Giant, and the guy goes "Oh great, I worked on this". He told me a bit about the experience of working with people like Brad Bird, apparently it was one of his favorite projects ever. So I spent some quality time talking with a guy who knows Brad Bird, is good friend with Robert Zemeckis, who worked on Ice Age, Roger Rabbit, Iron Giant, and is the father of Scrat and an apprentice of the nine old men (the last of them died this year sadly). The guy, if I remember correctly, worked on Toon Town... Oh my god, I need to say it again, the guy did FUCKING TOON TOWN.
I didn't want to let the conversation to be only about animation and how great he was and how his friends Bird and Zemeckis were among the only people on earth who are still able to reach to my grownup heart with their films, I didn't want to lick his pants too much (but I had to, a little:). But I still got a few very valuable opinions and stories from him, that I will chew for some time to come for sure.
Someone asked the guy why he was hanging out with us humble artists walking by the lake, in a crowded festival when there was an ocean of animation celebrities, producers and cocky executives at MIFA just 500 meters away, and he replied something you must guess I enjoyed tremendously: "My life is people like you".
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