Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Introducing Character Designer Josh Whitehouse

Josh first exhibited when he was nine for Disability Art in London. He has also sold work through Number Nine the Gallery in Birmingham, UK. He raised almost £2000 for the New York Firefighters after 9/11 and was the official artist at the opening of Millennium Point.

He was once asked to produce an original piece of art for The Queen - a sketch book of his drawings was forwarded by Birmingham's own BAFTA winning actress Julie Walters. He has also raised money for the Autistic Society by designing a series of Christmas cards.

He studied Illustration at the Birmingham City University and since leaving he has set up his own business. He has had work displayed in The Royal Society of Birmingham Artists' Gallery and at York Coffee shop in Birmingham city centre.
He was commissioned by IDW Comics to produce art for a comic they sold last year. He was the only none IDW artist involved in the comic. His work can also be seen at Star City shopping centre in Birmingham.

He has recently been involved in graphic design and story boarding for short films with award winning Birmingham animation companies Second Home Productions and Nice Monster.

Josh's Role on the Scampenstein project is as Head Character Designer and Storyboarder.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Scampenstein's Celebrity Supporters

 I was delighted just before Christmas to get some celebrity support for the Scampenstein crowdfunding campaign.

The inestimably wonderful Stephen Fry of Q.I. and Black Adder fame tweeted his support on December 16th with this Tweet.

He "would love to see this happen"!!!

I was even more delighted when renowned film composer Clint Mansell added his support just today. Exactly the post Christmas boost the campaign needed.

West Midlands native Clint who has worked extensively with hit director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler, Noah) has a fabulous filmography as composer. He has also worked with such luminaries as Old Boy director Park Chan-wook on Stoker, with Duncan Jones (Source Code) on the brilliant low budget Sci-Fi hit Moon and many others.

I'm particularly delighted with this as I hosted a Q & A with some of the filmmakers behind Moon at the Giant Screen in Birmingham last year. Thats me on the extreme right alongside veteran Miniatures specialist Bill Pearson, conceptual designer Gavin Rothery and Art Director Hideki Arichi.

So its just after Christmas and nearly 1/2 way through the campaign. There are 38 backers and the campaign is already 20% funded. Steady progress is being made with the immediate key goal being the 30% mark when all sorts of potential and invaluable indiegogo support could kick in.

You too can help make a big difference and support the campaign by choosing an affordable perk here.



You can join the Facebook group here.
You can follow @Scampenstein on Twitter here

Monday, 8 December 2014

Humane Monsters and Monstrous Humans

Not my quote unfortunately. I read it in an article about Guillermo Del Toro's Book of Life. It kind of sums up the premise behind the Scampenstein story to some extent although there are some nice humans too.

11% funded! Great progress today due to some generous sponsors. It would be nice to maintain that progress tomorrow and make it to 15%. A key target is to hit 30% (£900) as soon as possible as I can qualify for indiegogo marketing support at that time. The quicker this is achieved the more chance of success the campaign has.

Badly need to see people who don't know me personally starting to sponsor Scampenstein - to do that I need those who do know me to give what they can early in the campaign.

Its also important to tell your friends about the campaign via email, FB shares and Tweeting especially from the panel under the Scampenstein image on the indiegogo page.

Thanks folks! #believe 

Sponsor Scampenstein here

Saturday, 6 December 2014

The Script, The Script And The Script - Why I'm Crowdfunding Scampenstein

 "To make a great film you need three things - the script, the script and the script."
              Alfred Hitchcock

       I've pitched this idea to companies like Aardman and Lionsgate in the past. Aardman passed on it as not being quite right for them. Given that they are more of a stop motion animation outfit I can understand why. Lionsgate have offered another read once the script is fully developed. 

I want to take time out to draft and redraft the script to make it the best story it can be. I will also employ a seasoned script professional to help me. The idea is to both amuse and scare children a little bit. Kids like being scared. Dr. Who proves this.

Once the script is ready I'll resubmit to the major animation companies. If that doesn't get me anywhere then I'd like to make it into a graphic novel to popularize the story and grow the audience. The tax credit here in the UK has changed recently so good animation scripts are being actively sought. This Guardian newspaper article explains why.

I've always believed in my Scampenstein idea and am determined to make it happen. I'm inspired by indie animations like Signe Baumane's Rocks In My Pockets and Nina Paley's Sita SingsThe Blues that prove that determined individuals can animated features happen.

Thanks to those people who have already contributed and helped spread the word.

You can view the campaign and choose a perk here.

You can join the Facebook group here.

You can follow @Scampenstein on Twitter here


Sunday, 6 July 2014

July 2014 update

In May I was selected for a UK team that pitched various film ideas at Dragon Forum at the Krakow International Film Festival. I pitched my animated series idea Animal Operations Executive which was very well received by both the Dragon Tutors and other delegates. I'm now looking for producer and co-producer partners.

Its a World War II themed idea based around Winston Churchill's wartime cat Smokey - leader of the clandestine Animal Operations Executive - a fictional counterpart to SOE. The idea is to educate and entertain children with stories of animals fighting the tyranny of the Nazis in Europe and North Africa.

Some of the adventures could be based on real animals such as Wojtec the Polish fighting bear.  Others could be based on fictional stories based on real events. The Dragons thought it had real potential and shelf life. I was delighted to find out that a new statue of Wojtec was unveiled in Krakow on the day of my arrival - an auspicious omen I hope.

Wojtec and I at Park Jordana in Krakow
Krakow was a brilliant experience and I met loads of new people and made some new friends. I was delighted to meet Bill Siegel from Chicago who was screening his new documentary The Trials of Muhammad Ali.

Back in the UK I attended an event for animation writers at the BFI. The event was put on by Melwood Pictures in partnership with Euroscript. Melwood Pictures are a new UK-based company aimed at developing animated features. There is renewed interest in animation following the governments decision to extend the tax credit.

Melwood is run by Max Howard and Ramsay McBean. Max has "created and run studios for Disney in London, Paris, Orlando and Los Angeles, working on some of Disney’s most memorable films including Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King.  As President of Warner Bros Feature Animation he oversaw such hit movies as The Iron Giant and Space Jam.  At DreamWorks, he was co-executive producer for Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron". Impressive.

I managed to pitch Scampenstein and some other ideas to Max and am waiting to hear back.

A few days after that event I was back at the London Screenings event at the BFI with 104 Films as part of their Generation 104 training scheme. The London Screenings is a sales and distribution market for British films. We learnt a lot about how the market evolved and also how the sales and distribution world worked.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Interesting Times for Scampenstein

I've just seen a post on NoFilmSchool about Alien 3 director David Fincher crowdfunding a feature animation titled "The Goon" via Kickstarter. I believe that this might be the first time someone from the industry has funded a feature animation in this way. Kickstarter recently announced that they're making it easier for UK filmmakers to  crowdfund so this is all very good news for Scampenstein.

A while back I thought I had secured the help of some local yet internationally famous graphic novel/comic book artists to help produce a graphic novel based around the story. The aim was to crowdfund this to help popularize and promote the project. That didn't come off unfortunately.

The original idea was that if the resulting graphic novel didn't secure a development deal then I could always go on and try to crowdfund it myself using as much Midlands/UK/Irish talent as possible.

So I'm still looking for an accomplished graphic artist to help me make the story into a comic book/graphic novel - preferably someone Birmingham based. 

The good news is that with Kickstarter now available in the UK its time to get some wheels back on the project. Phase 1: Crowdfund a graphic artist to do the graphic novel and then Phase 2: market the story globally and then crowdfund again to make the feature.

Anyone who wants to follow Scampenstein on Twitter can do so here. For Facebook go here.

You can read more about the inspiration behind the Scampenstein story in this blog post. And here's a picture of my much lamented Charlie. Just because.

Charlie at Moores in Madrid. Wearing his Ireland scarf prior to an 8AM World Cup game.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Praise indeed!

I was delighted that fellow Birmingham screenwriter and novelist Andy Conway had some nice things to say about the Scampenstein excerpt he read on Circalit.

Screenwriter and novelist Andy Conway
Andy has recently had a script made into the feature Arjun and Alison which is just emerging from Post Production in Mumbai. A trailer for the film has just been released.

As well as being the long time moderator of the Shooting People Screenwriters mailing list - Andy has also released a series of novels, novellas and short stories on to Kindle where I'm told they're selling very well.

Here's what he had to say about Scampenstein.
"It's good stuff. I'm really enjoying it....It flows well and you're introducing characters very well and it's got a real Disney feel to it. Very well done."
You can find all the links to Andy's Amazon output on this page.

Thats all for now though I'm hoping to have the meeting with the graphic artists who I'e been in touch with about porting the idea into graphic novel format very soon :-)

Watch this space!