Tag Archives: cgi

Yesterday, I watched a pop video being recorded with a unicorn and a horned cow for an Edinburgh comedy show

Filming the energetic video yesterday in London

Filming Juliette’s energetic video in London yesterday

“Last time you blogged about me,” comedy performer Juliette Burton said last night, “it was about my mental health problems. I have hallucinated many a thing, but I don’t think I’ve hallucinated anything as enjoyable as today. All my time travelling and everything – This was much more fun today.”

I had just spent eleven hours at Tour De Force studios in London, watching Juliette record a pop video Dreamers (When I Grow Up) to promote her When I Grow Up show at the forthcoming Edinburgh Fringe.

She met video director Daniel Waterman of Carse & Waterman at the LOCO Kickstart Your Comedy Career course in January and, as I understand it, just enthused him.

Juliette is very big on enthusing people; Carse & Waterman are very big on CGI and animation.

“This is like a live-action cartoon,” I said to Daniel Waterman during the shoot yesterday. “You’ve got a seawoman, a unicorn and a cow of indeterminate sexuality dancing in what I think is a retro video game set.”

“I’m trying to make it as broad as possible,” said Daniel, who wore a horse’s head at one point, but no shoes.

“I’m not convinced Francis Ford Coppola directed The Godfather this way,” I told him. “And why no shoes?”

“So I can walk around on the green screen,” he told me.

“It’s blue,” I pointed out.

Daniel Waterman directs Junliette and a hermaphrodite cow

Daniel Waterman directs Juliette and a hermaphrodite cow

“Yes it is,” he agreed and blithely continued: “Doing what we normally do in CGI, it’s very easy to make everything look very clean and digital, but I wanted this video to be very physical and feel real. We do a lot of CGI and I wanted to merge the two together in this.”

“Fran Burgoyne, the girl playing the unicorn,” I said, “has been making occasional miaowing sounds all morning.”

“She thought she was going to be a cat,” Juliette explained, “but, when she arrived this morning, she found she had a unicorn costume.”

After the video shoot was completed, I asked Juliette what she felt.

“Being up at 4.00am this morning was quite a jolt to the system,” she said.

“Well you’re certainly getting ahead in publicising your Edinburgh show,” I said.

The downloadable Dreamers song

The downloadable Dreamers song is on iTunes & Amazon

“Yes, you can download the Dreamers song from Amazon and iTunes now,” said Juliette in full promotion mode. And, up to and including the Edinburgh Fringe, all the money we raise will be going to Children In Need.

“We’ve been told by a couple of people on Facebook who have played the song to their children when they were having tantrums that it has this mesmerising effect and calms the kids down – they just shut up and start smiling. So it sounds like it’s ideal for problem-plagued mothers having trouble with children going through the Terrible Twos. It might calm down people in pubs, too. You never know. It certainly makes me happy.

“We’ve been working on the music and on the video storyboard since January. Frankie Lowe from Castaway Audio Productions up in Edinburgh wrote the music and I did the lyrics, partly inspired by a poem I wrote when I was 12 years old.

“Before I wrote the proper lyrics, I had stand-in lyrics – We’re all pufflings, We’re all lovely pufflings… Pufflings are baby puffins and I learnt that from QI on TV. Eventually I turned it into We’re all dreamers. So let’s keep on dreaming

Dreamers (When I Grow Up) being shot in London yesterday

Dreamers (When I Grow Up) being shot amid a video game

“The whole vibe of the song is meant to be very much what the whole vibe of the stage show is about – which is about me trying to be all the things I wanted to be when I was a child – So, in the last few months, for the show, I’ve tried to be a ballerina, a baker, a princess, a pop star, an artist, a farmer and a Muppet. Today’s video shoot was for the pop star bit… and I will also try to be a pop star by performing this song at the T In The Park festival in Scotland in July. And I’m also going to be performing it at CC Blooms, one of Edinburgh’s premier gay bars, on 2nd June.”

“And the object of the song and the Edinburgh show?” I asked.

“It’s to encourage people to keep dreaming,” answered Juliette. “Because I think we need to keep on dreaming to stay young. I know I can be an idealist but it is such an amazing feeling when ideals are realised.”

The death of a dream in Juliette’s video

The death of a dream in Juliette’s pop video

“I was rather shocked,” I said, “to see the Muppet-like puppet prince die in the video today when you’re so in love with The Muppets.”

“I was shocked too,” said Juliette. “I didn’t realise the puppet was going to die and that was quite a bolt from the blue. I was quite heartbroken… I think you saw how dramatically it affected me.

“I had my heart broken today,” Juliette laughed. “Dreams have been made and dreams have been crushed… I thought I’d found my prince and he fell apart.”

“Talking of princes…” I said.

Juliette stalked Prince Harry this week

The Mall: Juliette stalked Prince Harry this week

“Ah, yes,” said Juliette. “On Thursday this week I was at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show in a bridal dress, trying to become a princess by meeting Prince Harry. I had an etiquette lesson with Diane Mather of Public Image Ltd.”

“Isn’t that the Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten’s outfit?” I asked.

“A different set of people,” Juliette reassured me. “I don’t know if they realise they’re also the name of a band. Diane Mather is very demure and beautiful and runs an arts festival and has asked to book me in May next year, which is very lovely.”

“But you did not find Prince Harry at the Chelsea Flower Show?” I asked.

“No,” admitted Juliette. “So then I went straight to Buckingham Palace in my bridal gown, but I was told by them to Please kindly go away. I asked them: Can I possibly get you on film saying that? and the Metropolitan Policeman on the gate said No, we’re not allowed to. Kindly please desist and leave.

“And you’re putting all these videos of you trying to realise your dreams online?”

Juliette is torn between Gonzo and Jimmy Carr

The Edinburgh Fringe show it is all publicising

“Yes. It has been a really hard few weeks – well, months, really – preparing all this for the When I Grow Up show in Edinburgh in August… The pop song, the princess adventures, ballerina, baker, farmer, artist… And more. And writing the show itself and trying to crowdfund the Edinburgh show and all the rest. It has taken its toll, badly, on me mentally. But I do see light at the end of the tunnel.

“This week has been really hard especially. I have been feeling very low and struggled to cope each day. As you know, this is related to mental health problems. But focusing on putting one foot in front of the other, being honest with friends and family and focusing on the positives as much as I can…We got to the end of the week… and we made it through the long day of filming… and I think it is going to look amazing.”

“Me too,” I said.

“Seeing it all come together like that,” said Juliette, “makes those moments where I want to hide in a ball crying on the floor all pale into insignificance. Nothing is more important than making this show the best it can be and days like the film shoot today remind me how much fun it can be.”

“So when is the music video that you shot today actually coming out?” I asked.

“The absolutely finished music video should be the first week in July,” said Juliette, “It will be available on YouTube in the middle of July. But we still have to shoot the very last scene in the video, which will be filmed in the middle of June.

“And tomorrow I am talking to Omari Carter, who choreographed the video, about a possible stunt at the Edinburgh Fringe this year.”

“Could it be a Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award possibility?” I asked.

“Could be,” said Juliette.

“My cup runneth over,” I said.


Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Mental illness, Music, Television, video

Is Labour Party leader Ed Miliband the junkie twin of Shrek with some unprintable birth defect?

We live in a world where computer animation can do almost anything and I saw a BBC News Channel report last night in which a disabled human being could control the movements of his own wheelchair by his thoughts alone. But I think Pixar and/or Disney and the scientists have gone a step too far in creating a deformed cartoon character and making him leader of the Labour Party in the UK.

What has happened to the Labour Party’s image-control and PR sense and why are the media not talking about how just plain ugly and/or weird Labour leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls are? With the Conservative Party’s new-found PR confidence, Labour is now on a hiding to nothing.

Ed Miliband looks like a slightly slimmer, emotionally-distraught version of Shrek, stumbling about what to him is the alien world of Planet Earth.

Young Ed seems barely out of short trousers and looks like the type of slightly-swottish and humourless schoolboy who gets remorselessly picked-on by bullies. His equally alien-looking brother, the politically-deceased ex-Foreign Secretary David Miliband, was odd enough. He looked like an unholy cross between an unblinking starey-eyed zombie and an automaton from some 1920s German silent movie. I always half expected the front of his face to fall off revealing a mechanical interior, like Yul Brynner in Westworld.

Neither Miliband brother has any visible warmth. But Ed Miliband looks worse.

Yesterday, the coalition government did a u-turn when it announced it was not going to privatise 258,000 hectares of state-owned woodland in England. I have no more idea than anyone else what a hectare is – it sounds like a small woodland creature with long sticky-up ears – but it also sounds quite large; I mean the land area, not the woodland creature.

The point is that the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, stood up in the House of Commons in a light beige jacket with a light pastel scarf round her neck and said in a gently serious voice: “I am sorry, we got this one wrong, but we have listened to people’s concerns”.

Labour MP Gerald Kaufman, always a surprisingly unsympathetic speaker on TV when you consider he used to write for the TV satire show That Was The Week That Was, tried to criticise this as a “humiliating climbdown”.

Caroline Spelman said: “It is only humiliating if you are afraid to say sorry. We teach our children to say sorry.”

This is PR gold dust. It’s a brilliant piece of pre-prepared PR writing.

I have never understood why admitting you are doing a u-turn on a policy has been a no-go for all political parties for so many years. If you phrase the u-turn as a caring, listening, party-of-the-people apology and get the tone right, the public will lap it up.

On the other hand, if you get not just the policy but the party leader wrong, you are dead in the water.

On TV last night, I watched Ed Miliband try to mouth off about the coalition government’s change of policy and, as usual, I could not pay any attention to what he was actually saying because I was utterly mesmerised by his mouth.

When Gordon Brown first became Chancellor of the Exchequer, I had trouble listening to him because he appeared to have been trained to talk in easily-assimilated short phrases and mini-sentences by sticking his tongue into the inside of his cheek when the pauses had to be made. He gave new meaning to the phrase ‘sound bite’. He got slightly less obvious about this by the time he became our unelected Prime Minister, but it was still there and still slightly distracting at the time of his political demise.

Ed Miliband has desperately emotionless fish eyes which stare like someone who has just seen his entire family die in an intense house fire and his lips have a strange rubbery-out-of-control mind of their own. Last night I had no idea what he was saying. His lips had taken on a mad, OTT cartoon life of their own, separate from the rest of his face, as if drawn by a cartoonist on a very strong and very demented acid trip. His upper and lower lips moved around independent of each other and independent of his face, sometimes leaping sideways, upwards or downwards, unrelated to the sounds coming out.

Has he had some terrible accident or did he have some awful birth defect the media are too polite to tell us about? It is like we are watching a man with a mouth being attacked by Pixar and eyes added on by CGI from the shark in Jaws.

And don’t mention Ed Balls.

Firstly, how can any political party seriously expect to get votes from the notably humour-loving British public when their Shadow Chancellor is called Balls. But then, to add another impossible layer to their chances, Ed Balls – who looks not unlike Fred Flintstone forced to wear a second-hand business suit –  appears on TV to be a charisma-free zone who, like the Miliband brothers, tries not blink on camera – it’s a trick I think some politicians may have learned from Hitler’s filmed speeches. Hitler was an exceptionally good public speaker who had trained himself not to blink on camera to create an even greater aura of self-confidence. I read that Tony Benn copied this media trick of Hitler’s, though not his policies.

Ed Balls (unlike Hitler) has an emotionless feel and, although there’s not much he can do about being bulky, he fails to overcome this when he tries to smile with his eyes: it merely makes him look like a ‘heavy’ enforcer for some dodgy East End protection racket – and it’s slightly reminiscent of Gordon Brown’s unfortunate and terrifying attempts to smile on camera.

Compare the dead-eyed Miliband brothers and Balls to the on-screen personas of Prime Minister David Cameron (slightly eager and well-meaning public school boy) and Chancellor George Osborne (a bit of a smug prefect from a family with no money worries, but probably efficient).

And add to all that the fact that the Conservatives landed on their feet when they had to go into coalition with the Liberal Democrat Party.

The Conservatives faced a terrible future of having to make vastly unpopular financial cuts to basic services because of the state of the economy. But it turned out the coalition allowed them to deflect a large percentage of public anger onto the Lib-Dems

All three parties have problems, but the Conservatives have re-discovered their power over PR and image control. The Lib-Dems have a problem by seeming to go back on Election promises. But the Labour Party is in a worse position. It has lost its grip and has insurmountable problems until it dumps Ed Miliband and Ed Balls and finds some new acceptable face of socialism.

And, my dear, that gaunt look with the staring eyes! Heroin chic is just SO last century.


Filed under Movies, Politics, PR