Friday, November 7, 2008

Animation Unleashed book launch

Sadly, I could not attend. But I did manage to enlist the always charming Mr Barry Sanders to take some snaps and share his thoughts on the evening. Take it away Barry:
As you know Tuesday Nov 4th was a very important day in history. Author Ellen Besen and Illustrator Bryce Hallet celebrated the release of their book “Animation Unleashed” with a lecture. Oh, and the U.S. elected a new president or something like that. The talk was held in Toronto’s avant garde Gladstone Hotel Ballroom and hosted by the Page’s This is Not a Reading Series and the Toronto Animated Image Society. In an interesting move Ellen screened Norman McLaren’s short “A Chairy Tale” and then proceeded to analyze it while the book’s illustrator Bryce underlined her points by drawing on a computer tablet projected onto a screen. It was a method that sometimes distracted but more often worked in concert and enriched the evening with a lot of humour. Ellen and Bryce are both veterans of the Toronto animation scene. And if you want to know more about the actual book you can check out a review here.

More pictures can be found here. Including attendee Rick Green! (Google him if the name don't ring a bell).
Bryce got back to me last night as well:
Hey Michael,
Yeah it went very well I was really happy with the turn out. Chris Reed who organises TINARS did a great job getting all this together.
There was a pretty decent sized crowd, I think a full room or at least it looked like it from the stage, despite the elections competing with us. We kept the crowd updated on the results later in the night though. ha ha
But yeah it went very well. Marc Glassman, owner of Pages books introduced Ellen. We screened "A Chairy Tale" and Ellen did a great lecture deconstructing the film afterwards while I drew on a Cintiq hooked up to a projector to help illustrate her points.

It was fun to be sort of improvising as we went a long and just playing off each other. We got quite a few laughs and doing the live drawings while she talked i think added another level of interest and really helped get the ideas across...and just some silliness too as I can't help myself. ha ha

As a friend of Ellen's put it we were literally doing "sketch comedy". heh heh

The whole presentation with her talking and me drawing made it very dynamic. The people there seemed to really enjoy it and they were very engaged and interactive with us as well which was great.

Mostly our presentation was about how anything can be a character and good and bad choices in animation. It also sort of seguewayed in to various other topics of visual storytelling and animation with all the back and forth between Ellen and the audience.
Afterwards we took questions from the audience and signed many books.

We also had a big 3d cake version of our little square character from the book created for us by the bakery Half-Baked Ideas . For some reason we weren't aloud to eat it at the Gladstone so we're gonna have a little party Friday to eat the poor little cake man. ha ha ha

Overall it was just a lot of fun, a great turn out. I would totally love to do more presentations like that. Plus seeing people buying the book and being told how much they really enjoyed the whole thing doesn't hurt the ego either!

Thanks a lot for mentioning it in the blog too!
I saw you had posted a reminder the day of the event as well. It's very appreciated!


Sounds like I really missed out on this one. Good luck to Bryce and Ellen.
Everybody: Go buy this book.

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