This is the second animation I ever did, and it bears all the hallmarks of my distinctive style. Wonky drawing, poor lipsynching and CGI dinosaurs. I rather like the way you can see the teeth behind the lips of the characters, but it was a faff so I don’t do that any more.
You’re probably wondering “Why How does he do these cartoons?” – usually it’s just making a bunch of pictures in photoshop, one for each permutation of character mouth shape and blinking, and then slotting them onto a timeline in a film editing program. No actual animation required.
It’s a fast way of doing it, and it means I can get them finished before I start worrying about whether they’re funny or not.
This cartoon was shown on channel Dave’s Totally Viral and been featured at film festivals worldwide. Well, one film festival. In Canada. Which is quite wide, relatively.
I guess we’d file these under “words for things I didn’t know there were words for”. Comedy writers’ jargon, taken from John Rogers’ excellent Kung Fu Monkey blog. It’s fairly US-centric, but the terms and, more importantly, the comedy tropes those terms describe, are incredibly useful for the aspiring writer to know.
Jargon 1: Includes “a Bono”: a place in the script that, no matter what joke you put there, it fails.
Jargon 2: Includes “laying pipe”: writing and delivering the onerous dialogue which provides backstory and the plot facts needed to support the weight of the funny (or interesting). Exposition, kids, and it ain’t fun.
Jargon 3: Includes “the idiot ball”: On a sitcom, demarks the character who’s misunderstanding of a situation or comment – and his predicate bad decisions — fuels the comedy of the episode. That character is “carrying the idiot ball” for the episode.
Jargon 4: Includes “a couplet”: Two lines of dialogue — one character speaks, another responds. Call and response, setup/punch, question/answer. Considered the basic molecule of script dialogue.
And speaking of comedy tropes, I’m currently plowing my way through all the terms listed here
but I still can’t find the word to describe “any sitcom written by or starring Jim Davidson*”. Other than, you know, the obvious one.
*Yes, I can do topical comedy.
In April I made a few cartoons for a new BBC3 comedy cartoon show, FAO3. They didn’t want this one. Can’t imagine why.
I like polar bears, but I know nothing about them. I like animation, but I know nothing about it. Put those facts together and presto! This is what you get.
(They didn’t like my cartoon about lung cancer either, but y’know what? Think I’ll keep that one to myself…)
(…apart from a good kick in the Kyle.)
What works for ITV in scripted comedy
“the focus is on broad appeal – something that viewers could grasp if it was summed up in one line, such as the package holidays of Benidorm or the call centres of Mumbai Calling.
…it is essential that the ITV1 audience already recognises a show’s lead, with ITV2 providing more opportunities to break new faces.”
There’s a current trend whereby if you’re pitching an idea, be it sketch show or sitcom, the producers want you to “cast” it. I find this a bit odd – how am I supposed to know who’s available, who would want to do a sitcom, who’s hot, who’s cheap, etc?
Still, my latest sitcom pitch, “My Two Godfathers”, starring Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro and Fearne Cotton, has attracted some interest. Mind, if Fearne Cotton isn’t available the whole thing is fucked.
Chad Banger, yesterday
He’s the great British sausage – 3 feet of pig intestine stuffed with TRUTH and REASSURANCE and ground-up pig tits and COMMON SENSE.
He works in a bar. Maybe it’s his profession, maybe it’s his face, but people come to him for comforting words about the worries of the day. Concerned about peak oil? GM foods? The war on terror? Global warming? Bird flu? The latest Indiana Jones film? Chad will allay your fears.
Who wouldn’t trust this plain-talking savoury treat?
Reassurance with Chad Banger by James Harris and Gus Hughes is will be a four episode animated series for Channel 4’s 4mations website.
(Here’s hoping for a rainy August so we can get this finished…)
This is the first film I made that I’d ever show anybody. I wrote it on a Monday, we shot it on Tuesday and it was finished on Wednesday. I grew the moustache on the Tuesday morning. That’s how professional I am. I just scrunched up my face and PUSHED that ‘tache out from under my nose. The process must have resembled a big, red basketball giving birth to a furry slug.
The film got shortlisted for the BBC Talent New Filmmaker’s Award in 2004. It didn’t win.
The moustache went on to present Top Gear in 2006.