Thursday, December 27, 2012

In The New Year... we invade.


 

Bounty Hamster is alive and well and living on youtube.

Every now and then I hear from somebody who discovered Bounty Hamster via Youtube. And occasionally they draw a picture. So much is their fandom and love. Occasionally it's even a good drawing. This was drawn by a fan named Alex. Happy Christmas indeed. Neat.

I've just discovered there is a whole Bounty Hamster CHANNEL!! Don't know who set that up, but wow, they put some work into it. Mind you, we also put some work into the show. If you ever wondered what can be done on a shoestring apart from shoe tying, check it out. It's still a fun show. I think. I'll have a look later today.   https://www.youtube.com/user/BountyHamster2012 

Youtube will take over the planet sooner than later, and occasionally people long for more than cat videos. Not much more but a bit.

I am currently catching up on all the unaired episodes of The Tick. This never aired??!! And yet Holly Willoughy has a career in TV?  There is no justice. It's beautifully written and bold in it's madness.

For every horrible Dancing On Thin Ice Look What I Found In Your Attic crap TV that's out there I reckon there are at least five decent narrative shows that never caught on. And 5,304,224 Cat videos.  Anyhow here's a link for the pilot episode of The Tick if you're bi-curious; that is curious about more than one show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3pcWYJEI2E

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rasmus Hardiker of Groove High goes on zombie shooting spree.

Cleaning out Groove High Files

Every day I'm cleaning out a bit of the Groove High files. Just came across this. This was how I wanted the musical sequences and fantasy sequences to feel. But it was ultimately deemed too complicated (by me). Time, money, lack of a layout dept, which brings us back to time and money. The notion of creating new bg's with bg line work that animated - morphed - was just to costly so we kept things simpler, graphic and bold, which worked. But still, this would have been sweet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Life is short. Theme tunes are shorter.

I've taken to writing songs lately along with the supremely talented Eric Renwart (we're talking Prince, Clapton, John Mayer talented!) Mostly theme tunes. But you know what? We LOVE writing theme tunes. It's a cool challenge to reflect the tone of the show and if possible sum up the essence of the show. Boil it all down to 30 seconds or 60 seconds. We're both loving it and finding the time to make it happen. Our process is fairly simple. I write lyrics, sing into an iphone, email it to him... and it comes back sounding like magic!
 
We met on Groove High, had so much fun working together that we figured we just needed a way to keep this going. Got a show that needs a theme tune? Bring it on. We'll demo for free, and if we win the pitch... then you can pay us.

 

 
 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Samantha Barks, our Zoe from GH about to go from Groove High to Great Heights.

Even mad inventors want to make their mommas proud.

My boy has taken to plundering my old comic collection ... which is cool and mildly embarrassing as I find myself revisiting comics I read ages back and thought were so cool back then. Some were, but you know, Dazzler wasn't. Anyhow, this one cracked me up. Great art. Intense cover, you know the world is going to end (as usual) and you're braced for the normal stuff... but then you read those two lines.

I'll bet the writer took the rest of the day off after writing that.

Or maybe he simply rang up his mother.


Click on the image, and check out the two bottom bubbles.







 
 



 




Friday, September 7, 2012

Logo for Sevenoaks Boot Camp

Everyone has to have a hobby right? Mine is designing logos for friends. I always think that if the business lasts longer than I do, then it's a bit of immortality. Everytime I go back to New York, I see a few businesses that STILL are using my logos. My heart and ego swell.
 

Tom's lucky hat

TV writing versus Film writing.

So, you live in an apartment. You fill it full of stuff. You think to yourself, when I have a house with a garage I'll have loads of room. But of course, after you get the house you fill it full of stuff. And the garage, which you were certain could never be filled up, is somehow full. You find you even have to 'make room' to get the car in the garage. And there in a nutshell is the difference between writing for TV and writing for Features. In TV you know you have to be economical, effecient, make your point and move on. With a feature you think 'I have so much room to do so much more.' But you don't. Those pages fill up quickly and if you're not careful, you won't be able to fit in the car. 100 pages fill up FAST! And just like cleaning out the garage, no matter how much you love that old lamp/gag/golf clubs/plot point I'm afraid it's gonna have to go. Can you tell I've spent a day cutting and killing and culling?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kidscreen - August 2012

I've been rewritten. I've rewritten others. And apparantly I said something interesting on the subject in the latest issue of kidscreen. My mugshot certainly needs rewriting. I wonder if I can tweak my own DNA, and get a better nose, less lopsided eyes, etc.

 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Norman Rockwell Museum

I went to the Norman Rockwell museum whilst in the idyllic Berkshires. This is me on my way to visit his studio, and I'm hiding my hands out of frustration. Because well... there's painting and then there's outrageously detailed PAINTING. Sure, he worked from reference, and yes he had models sit for him. So what? So did the masters. And his work was outrageously sentimental... but you have to also say to yourself 'So what?' There should be room in the world for sweet emotions alongside the angst of most of the art world. Besides, the guy had mad skills, as the kids say today.  To see his paintings in print at a smaller scale is sweet. But to see them on canvas (they are BIG) is an experience. Not just technique but the storytelling. He seemed to paint nostolgic moments about the time he was living in. As if the 'good old days' are actually the days your living right now. That's a wonderful attitude to have and to express in your work. Inspiring. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Samantha Barks in Les Mis

Samantha Barks stars with Jonathan Bailey in the UK version of Groove High, which will be out on Disney Channel this fall.  And she's appearing as Eponine in the film version of Les Miserables which comes out in cinemas at Christmas. My friend Tim, who's busy on the effects for it, just sent me a link to the new trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnLSG5t_dc8






Thursday, July 5, 2012

I've just agreed to do another 'page one' rewrite. Not that all my rewrites are page one. Some are page 'up to page 52, we're really happy' and some are 'Well, we do like the characters and the ending.' whilst others are 'we thought the musical about cancer victims would be funnier.' Ok that's not a real one, and it was actually a musical based on animal experimentation. I passed.  But lots of times we see or hear of the page one rewrite and that's because lets face it, features are tricky. It's a long time that you're trying to hold the viewer's attention and it's even longer that the project needs to hold yours. Years.
It's easy to lose your way; easy to get distracted by that shiny thing over there and follow a minor character up a garden path and down a long lost highway on an adventure that really has nothing to do with the main storyline, with your protagonists, well... with your film.
"I knew I shouldn't have taken that left turn at Albuquerque." is one of Bugs Bunny's finest catchphrases, and I can understand why he got lost. It happens. And it's nobody's fault. Momentum is 90% of success in this business and when you're moving that fast, with that much force behind you (lets call it a producer shouting over a speakerphone) it's easy to take a wrong turn.
So, really, the bigger question is why do a page one rewrite? It's a question I was just asked by a friend, who's a civilian - you know he has a real job - and he asked me "If you're binning everything and starting over - picking Bugs up and bringing him back to the carrot patch - why bother sticking with that concept in the first place? Why not find something else?" 
It seemed a reasonable question. Really, if you're binning everything (and sometimes you're actually binning the core concept) then where's the 're' in rewrite?

But the answer is simple.There must have been something that made someone cut a cheque in the first place. And foresically speaking you need to find out what that is, and sometimes finding that out is a job in and of itself. Often, the people working on the film can't remember where it all started. Everyone is lost. (Prometheus anyone?) But it was just so long ago, and it may have been a few regimes back. But I assure you, something is at the core of the project. Even if it's just the casting. We've got Will Ferrell and Chris Rock AND Angelina Jolie, but they hate the concept? Fine. Page one rewrite. Or just one drawing that made you believe in the project in the first place and it's pinned up over that guys desk. Ok. Lets stare VERY hard at this thing, ask some deep psychological questions as if that drawing was drawn by Dr Rorschach himself and start again. Page one rewrite. And we've still got that momentum thing behind us. Onwards!
Think of it this way; For a long time there's been a deep desire to build a tunnel connecting France to Great Britain. This was not a desire of the French or of the Brits. None of the people wanted this, but you know, their engineers did. It was like some insane scratch they needed to itch. They kept looking at the map as if they were climbers staring up at the peak of Everest. And they kept thinking, how hard can it be? It's not that far. Lets stare at that map again. They had to find the right place to start, and the right place to finish and I'm sure that deep, deep down underground there were Act II problems. There are always Act II problems. And in the many times that they had to stop and start again, nobody ever thought, "Ah let's just build a turbine in Finland."  At their darkest hour, someone may have suggested a suspension bridge. In fact, I know they did. But the point is, the goal was always to connect France to Britain. They may or may not have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque as they dug, but eventually they did it. Beginning, middle and end. With a gift shop on both sides. It's just like filmaking!
The truth is on a page one rewrite you're never truly binning everything, and the one thing you're most definitely NOT binning is the map of how you all just got to here. Starting again is fine, but this time you know where you've been... and you will not be taking that wrong turn again. Oh no, you'll be taking new and different and exciting wrong turns but eventually you'll get to the gift shop.


A glovely endorsement.

Hmm. Licensed Minnie Mouse nail polish, brought to you by a character famous for wearing gloves. Hmm indeed.

 Ok. It works. Sort of. I love how the pose shows Minnie admiring her nails, somehow with her X-ray vision through the gloves.  It does make you look twice, which I suppose is half the battle when trying to grab the attention of the passing public.  

My daughter didn’t notice that Minnie had gloves on until I pointed it out to her. “Oh yeah.” And then she laughed hard and said with classic tween attitude, “Classic fail.”  

It’s just a very curious endorsement. Did Disney quietly giggle as they took the license fee, not pointing out the obvious, or were there lengthy conference calls? Having been a Disney exec for a few years, I’m guessing the latter.


Animation UK directory.

I was asked to write an intro for the new Animation UK directory. That's quite cool. Nice to be on everyone's desk for a whole year. There are a few typos and it's an odd edit of what I wrote but hey, who cares, I think I still got my point across. Animation is an indoor sport and people in animation (including writers) don't go out much. So anywhere that there's lousy weather, tax cuts help increase employment and animators will still move to your cold wet miserable town because they go where the work is, not where they can work on their tans. Cuts are coming. Thank goodness. Better late than never.



Monday, June 25, 2012

Lamington smiles? But why?

It's my boy's birthday today. Neither of my kids are fans of doing math, so this seemed appropriate. Funnily enough, I let Lamington smile for my own kid. Something he's never done before. (Lamington. Not my kid.) How curious. Maybe we should let Lamington smile, but only occasionally and for impact. Hmmm....  one to ponder.
 


Friday, June 22, 2012

Shhhh... another day another Lamington sketch.

Bounty Hamster lives on in strange ways...

You make a show. You put it out there. Then stuff happens, or rather it doesn't. Networks have ways of shutting down (see under CiTV) only to come back years later, regimes change, distributors go out of business, and toons get forgotten and lost in the shuffle.  And when I say lost, I mean forgotten.  I'm picturing a wharehouse that looks roughly like that last scene from Raiders Of The Lost Arc, where episodes of Bounty Hamster are nailed shut in a plain wooden crate amongst a million other plain wooden crates.  Seriously shelved. 

And yet, somehow people have a way of putting up their obsessions onto the internet and sharing them with other obsessives.  And those people, those hardcore people like the thing so much that they spend time drawing images that well... that reflect their own fantasies about the characters on the show.  I love this and happily endorse it. Even if it was a kids show. Lets face it, if you're going to fall in love with a cartoon character, it's your god given right to ponder what she or indeed he looks like with less clothes on.

Alan Gilbey found these when searching for images for a powerpoint presentation. You see, we developed the show with Graham Ralph and even we don't have images handy. The show is that lost. Still, it's nice to see it lives on ...and uh, erm, hit puberty.

 


And another Lamington sketch

 

Another Lamington Sketch

Monday, June 4, 2012

Picture of the day - Chicago 1989

 
I used to take one poloroid photo every day. Sometimes I'd write something about it. Sometimes I'd doodle around and or on it. And sometimes I'd just paste it into the journal. Here's one of my old writing partner from when I was living in Chicago. Paul Brandenburger disguised as cornflakes box disguised as Paul. Clearly I was in a daydreamy state of mind.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And this is what Zoe looks like in France.

 

Tom & Zoe almost kiss... again.

 
 In reviewing the eps for various things like sound effects, and music its always nice to see the live action stuff again.  The two actors for the UK version, John Bailey and Samantha Barks, gave their all and had a wonderful chemistry. They made the whole 'will they' or 'won't they' kiss work every time. Every time!  Sweet.  I'm looking forward to when the show actually goes out on air.  We're at the finish line now. I can see the white tape.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sketching up new Lamington cards. Time for another batch of 18.

 
And strangely and for the first time ever, it feels right that he's smiling. But that's because his cake is ablaze. So what if I'm this old? I'm going to enjoy myself! That's the basic idea.
Speaking of design. The Shard is perhaps the best building to go up in London for ages. I have never been a fan of the Gherkin, despite it's comic tone. Like all jokes, after you've heard it (or in this case, seen it) a few times, it gets boring.

Whereas, The Shard makes me feel like I'm living in Metropolis, or Gotham City, or even better yet, Mordor!  It's truly a statement. It pierces the sky. It feels dangerous. And I get a thrill out of seeing it everytime I pass it on the train at London Bridge. Inspiring.




They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but actually coincidence is the sincere fact that going with Helvetica as a font is always a safe option.

It is typography's version of a pair of Levis 501's, or little black dress. Classic. Timeless.

When I was designing my letterhead years ago, I decided to remove all stress (I can't begin to explain how stressful designing one's own letterhead is) by simply going with Helvetica. But that seemed too dull. Too corporate.

So I thought, I'll just make it goofy and quirky by colouring it in like a pack of lifesavers. Not cool. But not dull either. Ah yes. Good. Job done in ten minutes. Stress over.

But now that I've seen that Cinecitta has done the same thing as me, I feel as though perhaps I may actually have mistakingly done something cool. Oh to be associated with anything Italian. Ok, not anything. I would never wish to metaphorically be associated with their political problems.  But Italian design? Oh dear lord, yes please! All Italian design is sublime. I lived in Italy for a while, and even worked once at Cinecitta. Even the gaffer is wearing Armani.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Me, Stuart and Chris Bemand wrote a silly song.


And so... something was missing. We needed a big moment for Zoe to swoon with love over this new guy at school (who of course was just Tom in disguise). It needed something bigger than just her saying how much she was in love, she really needed to break into song. Initially I wanted a fantasy with rainbows and unicorns, but we only had a cow, and a baboon and we had to make do with the character work already designed. We didn't even have a horse design that we could turn into a unicorn. Well... necessity is the mother of invention, and the father of songwriting, so Stuart Evans, me and Chris Bemand wrote a song... The Cow Of Love. Its wonderfully stupid and Samantha Barks belts it out so well that she makes it sound like pure class. Enjoy.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Groove High, cutting room floor

I wanted Scoot to have a very limited vocabulary. The odd word here and there. Well it made me and the editor laugh at least. Oh well... that's showbiz. Still, Scoot's few words are gone but never forgotten. When my kids are having potatoes, I lean over slowly and stare, wide eyed... and in Scoot's voice I say, 'Mmm po- tay -toh'. They laugh, but I'm sure they will have me sectioned eventually.

scoot says potatoes from David Freedman on Vimeo.

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Pickups for Lucky Fred

Spanish production and distribution company Imira Entertainment has inked several new deals with broadcasters for animated series Lucky Fred. RTM (Malaysia), e-Vision (United Arab Emirates), TG4 (Ireland) and Kidz (Turkey) have jumped on-board for the 52 x 12-minute 2D comic series for kids ages six to 12, adding to a growing list of more than 155 territories that have acquired the show. Others include TF1 (France), Disney Channel (Spain, France, Italy, Germany, India, Israel, Australia) and Nickelodeon (Benelux, Scandinavia, Latin America, Asia, South Korea).

Lucky Fred, an Imira co-production with Televisió de Catalunya (Spain), RAI Fiction (Italy) and Top Draw Animation (Philippines), follows the adventures of 13-year-old Fred who has a
personal robot that can transform into anything he wants.

The deals follow shortly after Imira announced a Lucky Fred app will be available worldwide via the Andriod Store and iTunes’ App Store.Read more: http://kidscreen.com/2012/03/26/new-pickups-for-imiras-lucky-fred/#ixzz1qFQsZ5tL

Monday, March 12, 2012

Is that a foot?

Needless to say, this didn't get through S&P. A classic from the cutting room floor.
video

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tom says I love you.


A nice scene that will never be seen. Even though Zoe never actually hears Tom, it was felt that this crossed a line in their relationship. Personally, it's one of my favourite moments ever. And thanks to the internet, it lives on.

Tom says I love you. from David Freedman on Vimeo.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Childhood dreams come true.


I've had some very cool meetings lately, including this one with Marty Krofft. And look, a Sleestack from Land Of The Lost! Aaaaagh!!!

The office was amazing, with my entire childhood on display. Sadly I'm too busy at the moment with other work and Sid & Marty needs material yesterday... but still, how cool is that?! He even gave me a signed Sigmund toy. Swoon!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

In LA for a few meetings and some tacos.

New York has the Statue of Liberty, Malibu has this guy. No contest.

Kidscreen fun


I was just in New York for Kidscreen where I ran a mentor table (when did I become old enough to mentor anyone?) and spoke of the various pet peeves of both creatives and execs, which often overlap. Good fun and some wonderful new contacts. Much talk about Lamington, which I wasn't planning to talk about, but did... and looks like he'll be shifting up a notch sooner than later in his quiet sad quest for licensing world domination.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cute. But no Barry White

We used to have Barry White 'oh yeah' type of music playing over this scene. And so we had to come up with something different, and Eric Reinwart, our composer came up with many different things, and none of them made us laugh as much as the Barry White stuff... until this one.

video

A belated Lucky Fred Xmas Card, because I only just found it.


I was sifting through some old emails and found this while I was away. Cute. Can't wait for the show to come on the air. Soon, apparantly very soon on Disney XD.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sad. I've been with Monteiro Rose Agency now for 15 years now and Candy was my first agent. Candy was amazing, inspiring and she taught me calm. She took on me and Alan Gilbey way back when despite us being totally inexperienced in TV, and in the wrong country. She showed us the way and invested in us. A lot. When Candy believed in a client, she believed with all her heart. She raised us from pups. I have wonderful memories and lessons learned (she gave sage, SAGE, advice) and I will always have deep gratitude for her unwavering belief. A very sad loss.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Zoe, er I mean Samantha to star in Les Mis

Our Zoe, from Groove High just got cast to play Eponine in the upcoming movie adaptation of Les Miserables.

We knew when we were filming in Ireland that she got the call to audition, (she played the part in the West End) and we all know she's gorgeous and can belt out a tune... and in fact hardly ever stops singing, and quite frankly she's one of the hardest working gals in showbiz, so... it's no surprise.

So congratulations Zoe, er... I mean Sam. See you on the big screen. And of course on the small screen on Disney Channel this spring. We're all dang proud.

http://www.broadway.com/buzz/159707/samantha-barks-not-taylor-swift-to-play-eponine-in-les-miserables-movie-musical/

http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/02/01/samantha-barks-les-mis/http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/02/01/samantha-barks-les-mis/