Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Edinburgh Movie Production Society (EMPS)

Oor Willie's Gaun Tae Hollywood
by Gerry Haughey

It’s amazing the insight that oor Willie’s gained,
Since he moved tae LA LA land.
Aw the answers tae Scotlands problems he solved,
Oan a day pass tae Disneyland.

He feels right at hame in the factory o dreams,
Wi his keen grasp o things hypothetic.
He can dream wi the best oor Willie can,
And can dae it withoot anaesthetic.

He knows aw the answers oor Willie does,
An his memory is simply amazing.
He’ll recite the Koran while he reads War and Peace,
(Well he will….. when he stops navel gazing).

He’s offered tae lecture the paratroops oan,
Jumping frae planes wi nae ‘chute.
He’ll master relativity while buttering his toast,
An push back the waves fur Canute.

Could oor Willie be King o the Scots noo?
Is it pairt o his long term agenda?
Could he rule, (wi a haun held remote control),
Frae his Fairyland hacienda?

When he stood in the Hall o Mirrors,
(Wi his equals he thought he’d converse).
But alas, he only got blinded,
By the starlight that shone frae his erse.



The news is I have been elected for the Committee of the Edinburgh Movie Production Society (EMPS) tonight.
After a fierceful competition I stood out by proclaiming that with bringing a Dutch film maker in, we would not have yet another Robocop (a very successful movie by Paul Verhoeven) but 'A Walk of Fame along Princes Street' (Edinburgh's main shopping street) and stickers with the EMPS logo on all public toilets!!!

That sort of got me the votes I needed to enter the established movie scene in Scotland ;o)



The Edinburgh Movie Production Society is a University of Edinburgh society for people who want to make films be they script writers, producers, make-up artists, cinematographers, editors, sound recordists, directors or anything related to the field of filmmaking.

EMPS was set up in the summer of 2004 after years of inactivity of other filmmaking societies of previous years in the University's history.

EMPS now has a firm footing in the student body and has a large following of enthusiastic filmmakers who produce their own projects as well as help others make their films or shoot events such as plays, club nights and talks...

It will be a lot of work, but most of all a lot of fun and a nice experience to learn the do's and don'ts in organizing Movie making sessions and getting 'our' productions on the big silver screen...


Part of which will be the movie of my group, planned to be recorded ('shot') this weekend!

"CLASS", a five minute story on video

The story is about a BANKER (John) who is in a rush, but is badly disappointed by both private and public transport. In his attempts to stay 'First Class' he humbly has to step down to NEDS ('beggars') in the street and a HIPPY GIRL ('Ronnie') to finally arrive at his destination.

What is even more staggering, I have to play the role of the BANKER.

Now, I have never acted before, let alone in a movie... so I have cold feet all the way up to my spine ;o)




Acting Without AGony (ABWAG) has come to my rescue with a web site that is like an acting manual using a database structure to communicate the feel, think, do technique, along with a resource of plenty of useful tips, helpful definitions and related terms of acting. It's all free to study and no sign-in is required.

"In order to control an audience you must first learn to master yourself."
- Tiny Ron, Actor


Feeling is where actor's talent lies.
Accomplish what the character wants with emotion.
Don't think logical on emotion.


The three basic questions are: who am I?, what do I feel? and what do I want? The character is asking these questions, not you.


Art of Acting is moving the audience, not the actor.
In character forget words, think objective.
Your objective is not just what you think, it's what you do. What the hell is going on?

I hope - no I will definitely practice the feel, think, and do techniques - to start a glamorous acting career !

Starting Saturday ;o)

Monday, November 28, 2005

Painting and Stories Alike

The shift in perception that I am going through at this very moment has taken a long while.

Two fields of craftsmanship I had never related to one another are in fact very similar in their fundamentals; Painting and Stories.

Whereas Painting is a visual expression and Stories are an auditive expression, their prime ingredient is the same: CONTRAST.

Bare with me to share this insight.


When you look at the story you want to tell, think about where in the story was the possibility that what was desired-a happy vacation, success in the project, understanding in a relationship-can be contrasted with its opposite- a rainy, nasty day on the beach, a disastrous change in plans, a painful argument.

How we get past the hard part, and still get what we desire, that is what we want to know.


Contrast in Painting takes place when the independent elements that make up a composition also work to emphasize each other's differences. Contrasts of color, texture, or form; of ideas; or motion and static; even the non-visual contrasts of sound and silence create excitement and tension.

All compositions have contrast, even if it is only a contrast of dark and light. High contrast between design elements generates excitement. low contrast compositions are more serene.

To craft exciting paintings or stories, one should set out to introduce contrast.

The same counts for Sculpture (Gulliver by Tom Otterness)...

Photography (Pas de Gulliver by Yazerty)...

and Music.

Why do we need to be excited?

Because exciting paintings, sculptures, photo's, movies, and stories inspire us.

The stories we are drawn to, that resonate in our direct emotional need, in general, are those that give us a reason to make that decision to go forward. They inspire us.

The very word inspire, in its archaic meaning, is "to breath again".

Stories encourage us to take one more breath, to swim up to the surface, above our despair, and live.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Today I noticed we had a thief in our kitchen...

And what's more, I knew exactly who might have been it!

Since the last few weeks odd things have been going on in our student apartment.

Loud music and screaming, people bashing against the walls, dirty dishes in the kitchen, unknown 'guests' sleeping in the shared room, a guy half-naked opening up the door at 3 o'clock in the night to hear me ask if 'they' could lower the volume, him having a bottle of wine in his hand and staring at me with one blue-punched eye, telling me to f* off.

Dirty kitchen

She, screaming and swearing at the door, loud noises on the stairs, 'guys' I have stopped counting walking in our hall, and worse a fire-extinguisher set loose to foam the apartment, breaking the door...

I could go on, about her...

She doesn't care

The officials have been informed, she is presented already with a 400 Pound fine.
But no, that doesn't stop her... at all.

My flat mate cleaning

After the missing wine, spinach (Pop-eye?), and who knows what else.. today I discovered one of my spaghetti pre-packed meals to be emptied and the box left in the bin. Well, at least it was IN the bin this time.

I got worried, frustrated,

I wrote on the empty box "please, I'd like an explanation" and put it in front of her doors.. like the many dirty dishes before.

Then I remembered a worthy saying: 'Don't get mad, get even'.
So, I became inventive...

I had noticed that 'someone' had been drinking from my orange juice as well, obviously without my permission.
So that has become my MOUSETRAP:

And guess what, this one does not hold a slice of cheese... no, my orange juice is of a sweet, VERY SALTY, taste nowadays.

The trap has been set, see what I will catch... ;o)


On Monday following I found a handwritten note at my doorstep saying:

"Willem, I'm extremely sorry for the spaghetti, I told one of my friends to get food from my bit but he did not know what he was doing. I will buy you another one. It will never happen again. So sorry."

Apologies accepted...

Saturday, November 26, 2005


"Stories move in circles. They don't move in straight lines. So it helps if you listen in circles.

There are stories inside stories and stories between stories, and finding your
way through them is as easy and as hard as finding your way home.

And part of the finding is getting lost.

And when you're lost, you start to look around and listen."

- Corey Fischer, Albert Greenberg, and Naomi Newman
A Travelling Jewish Theatre from Coming from a Great Distance

Excerpted from Writing for Your Life by Deena Metzger

Friday, November 25, 2005


"Be brave enough to live life creatively.

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing.

What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself."

- Alan Alda, American actor, writer, director

Thursday, November 24, 2005


For all to know... Willem has started his own wee (='little') company !


Willem proudly presents

his moving image company



Mission Statement:

FOLIAGE has as its mission to question perceptions of individuals, and offer alternatives.


FOLIAGE is to become an economically self-providing company.
FOLIAGE is an asset to society.


FOLIAGE tries to achieve its mission through the use of moving images that rearrange the visual stimuli.


Well, after this ground-breaking announcement I will have to put my powers where my mouth is ;o)

Let me therefore introduce you to my FOLIAGE Studio.

First of all the animation department:

Animation Department

Next the recording room with the blue-screen facility:

Recording Room

The Manager

The company address is:


a moving image company

27/31 James Craig Walk
Room E Flat 08 Block 27
United Kingdom

As you might already have guessed, I will have to design my own FOLIAGE logo now...

So stay tuned, because the first animations are about to be drawn and recorded... for you to watch!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Lighthouse

Zoe, our teacher in Animations, showed us today how to use the light box to draw animations in several layers. This helps to bring continuity in the movements of the objects on the page and smoothens the in-between frames.

Zoe at the lightbox

A bright light shines through the white paper to ease tracing the lines and shapes for the animator.

If you would like to also have a light box, learn how to make one yourselves! Visit

In order to accurately position the animation drawings, a system of "registration" is necessary.

Back in the 1910's, while making "Gertie the Dinosaur", Winsor McCay used small inked crosses in the corners of his drawings to position the papers correctly. This is a tedious and rather inaccurate way.

The best registration method, and the only one used professionally nowadays, is the "peg bar":

Peg bar

As shown, there are several different types of peg bars, the "Acme" type being the most common. The "Disney" type was used for a time at the Disney studio, but they have converted to Acme, too.

These peg bars all have one central, round peg and two oblong pegs on each side. Earlier, well into the 1940's, only two round pegs were often used even by the major studios. But the oblong pegs, and the corresponding perforations that are a bit wider than the pegs, ensure that there is no wrinkling or tearing even if there is a slight shrinkage (or stretching) of the paper or cel.

A peg bar is usually made of metal, but less expensive, plastic "student" bars are also available from animation supply houses. The peg bar enables the animator to keep a whole bunch of drawings in perfect register, and since a pegbar is also used on the scanner or camera, the positioning will always be correct even in later phases of the production.

In addition to peg bars, a paper / cell punch is also needed. This is a heavy duty perforator, that can accurately punch the 3 holes in a stack of up to 10 sheets of paper or 5 cels.


Next, all paper or transparent ('cells') sheets (simply A4 in landscape) are punched with three holes

Shown left hole

Then, the little peg bar with two knobs and a pin in the middle is taped to the round shining disk to block the paper from moving about.

Peg bar taped onto the disk.

Following we have been given a sheet made up of different frame sizes (used by the camera to 'frame' the drawings), of which I copied the borders onto my first white paper. This is going to be my 'stage' !

Border of frame, big enough to draw into, small enough to film.

Zoe explained that in order to be on the safe side, start objects moving onto the 'stage' partly outside of the border. This would make sure that no cut-off parts would be shown when filmed at a wider frame size.

In addition, our animation story should start somewhere on an 'empty' stage, bring objects onto the stage, and leave the stage 'empty' again at the end of the animation. The backdrop of the stage required a special, reusable frame, called the background. It would shine-through through sheets on top.

My background was made up of a seaside with dark clouds, a setting sun, and calmly rolling waves.

Background sheet, slightly crossing the border.

NOTE: You may see the division into nine squares shining through the background. That I have done intentionally. I learned in movie making that one's composition is more interesting to the viewer if things are not precisely in the centre of the frame, but rather in the outer squares. It allows for some 'living space' either in front or behind objects in view.

The choice I made to use a seaside as my background is because I like the possibility of bringing the three main elements into motion during the animation (clouds going sideways, the sun going downwards, and the waves rolling towards the viewer).

Animation possibilities of the background

And since I was at sea, why not have a "Lighthouse" in front...

Sample of a lighthouse

I am quite pleased with yet another possibility to animate, the lens flares of the light beam that comes from the lighthouse.

These I will draw and introduce someone visiting the lighthouse to complete my story of "The Lighthouse".




In the meantime, I have taking some pictures of other student work in the animation studio. Like the preparation of a stop-motion of a robot character.

PHASE 1: Gathering information, setting the “mood”

PHASE 2: Profiling character(s)

PHASE 3: Drawing characters

PHASE 4: Building models

PHASE 5: Filming the stop-motion (against a blue screen)

A wonderful web site about stop-motion can be found at which states:

an·i·ma·tion (n): The act, process or result of imparting life, interest, spirit, motion, or activity.

Recently two stop-motion movies have been released with much success:

Wallace & Gromit and The Curse of the Were Rabbit by Aardman Animations

Corpse Bride by Warner Bros.


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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Can't Get It Out of My Head

Hip Hurray!

I have been live sculptured by Laura, to be punched at after my existence...

Laura, my stereo-model at Sculpture class has completed her clay head of me.

My clay head and me from the side

From the front as well

Thanks Laura... you're next ;o)

After I had tidied up the mouth the following pictures show the result of Laura being clay modeled by me.

Some more detail in the hair to wrap things up!

Head and skull side view

Head and skull front view

Eyes done by punching holes in the clay eyeballs

Mouth much more in proportion, although nose is still big...

Close up of the 'pupil', little thick eyebrow


Next, we will have to make a head (again!), but this time we will use cardboard as our building material. We have only started to cut the cardboard to manageable pieces...

Cardboard cutting


I'd like to introduce a Scottish sculptor, David Mach.

Mach studied at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (now a school of University of Dundee), Dundee, Scotland from 1974, graduating in 1979, then at the Royal College of Art, London between 1979 – 82. Following several shows and public installations, Mach was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1988. In 2000 he joined the Royal Academy of Arts as Professor of Sculpture.

Leading contemporary installation artist and sculptor David Mach is to become the University of Dundee's first Visiting Professor of Inspiration and Discovery.

A face all made out of metal (coat) hangers.

"The first sculpture I made with coathangers was a mask of Hugh Cornwell, the Stranglers lead singer and songwriter, and, true to form, each coathanger had to be individually shaped and bent and welded several times to its neighbour. First the head had to be modelled, then a mould made of it, and then a hard plastic form created around which the coathangers could be formed. That basically is how each coathanger construction works, no matter how big or small." - David Mach

Some of his public and large scale work follows:

Polaris top view

A submarine ('The Polaris') all made out of car tires.

An early influential sculpture was Polaris, exhibited outside the Royal Festival Hall,South Bank Centre, London in 1983. This consisted of some 6000 car tyres arranged as a lifesize replica of a Polaris submarine. Mach intended it as a protest against the nuclear arms race meant to stir controversy. A member of the public who took exception to the piece tried to burn it down; unfortunately, he got caught in the flames himself and suffered fatal burns.

A temple also made out of car tyres.

Three Heads, made out of metal and iron scrap material, placed along the Motorway ...

"The Big Heids use containers as a base. This time, simple enough, three boxes upended as giant plinths, appropriate to me because where the sculpture stands on the M8 motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh was a vast producer of British Steel." " - David Mach

The Heids themselves are made up of thousands of individual pieces of steel; round bar; square bar; I beams; tubular sections, all individually cut and welded together to form these three portraits.

carefully crafted...

The Heids feature two men and a girl and are loosely based on actual portraits of people picked at random from the streets of Motherwell.

Marquette of tumbling phone boxes

Tumbling phone boxes in public space.

In Kingston one finds "Out of Order", a permanent artwork by David Mach.

Cars in a torrent caused by newspapers...

Suspended in what looked like a lava flow of magazines were half submerged objects. In such works Mach's critique of consumer desire and overproduction took on a new twist.

"The magazines were brown and fleshy. They created a pattern like an animal skin or snakeskin or the patterns on the wings of a butterfly. They stretched out evenly over the gallery floor in a repeat pattern. They were not fixed in any way so that they could move, they were fluid.

When I got home to London I tried the same effect with a smaller material - playing cards. Literally recreating the effect, I built the cards up in a wall and then dropped them down, this time over a prepared board. I then stretched the cards like a skin over the board. The cards behaved like liquid, it was like stretching paint over a surface. I was very excited by the possibilities of this fluidity, of this animation. " - David Mach

Pouring from an invisible space within the building, the torrent appears to be taking the gallery over, suggesting some nightmarish scenario in which hidden surpluses burst forth carrying all obstacles in their wake.

A train all made out of stone bricks.

Carefully design and produced by many people in a team.

A Fire blower, with fire made out of silk!

See more on David Mach at

We do not compare (yet) to the size and diversity of material David has been using. Still he has set a good example of what are the possibilities.

Go out and make your own sculptures, Weeee !

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