This month at Nicer Tuesdays we heard a fascinating and emotive series of talks from Frances Corner OBE, Yukai Du, Akinola Davies and Simon Landrein. Covering political activism through fashion, the intricacies of animation production, filmmaking for Kenzo and how to direct a Cartoon Network sequence, the speakers offered in-depth insight to their work and passions. Here’s a few nuggets of wisdom we took away with us.
Fashion can be a tool for political activism
Frances Corner OBE, head of the London College of Fashion, expanded on her recent opinion piece for It’s Nice That’s International Women’s Day takeover, exploring the ways the fashion industry is using its platform to raise awareness and make a difference to global causes.
“People think of fashion as ephemeral, that it doesn’t matter, but it’s being increasingly adopted as a way to activate change. The pussy hat allowed people to express themselves and challenge the status quo, it was a way to make a political statement.”
Frances also talked about modern slavery in the industry. “There are 10-15,000 slaves in the UK. There are more slaves in the world now than when slavery was abolished. Initiatives like Fashion Revolution make us ask ‘who made our clothes’ and are helping create more conscious consumers.”
Animation is about thinking big picture
Animator Yukai Du took us through the incredibly arduous process of building her short for Ted-Ed, How small we are in the scale of the universe. From the initial sketches based on snippets of text from the brief, to the storyboard, shot list, animatics, style frames and countless illustrations for the final piece, Yukai structures her creative process totally, to ensure consistency.
“I always try to think one stage further, to see the bigger picture. I treat an animation like one big illustration.”
Commission yourself, and others will follow
Filmmaker Akinola Davies spent a lot of time getting ideas rejected and taking jobs he didn’t like in order to “learn how the internet works” and save money to work on his dream projects. The first time he commissioned himself, he made a film that combined his Nigerian and English heritage and “told the story of the middle”. Then, when Kenzo invited him to pitch a film treatment, he returned to this idea and got the commission for Gidi Gidi Bu Ugwu Eze, Unity is Strength.
“All the time I was working before, I was collecting DOPs, stylists, a group of people I knew I wanted to work with, and developing my personal work. The moral of the story is trust yourself and the people around you.”
There’s always hidden messages in cartoons
Simon Landrein treated the audience to a whizz through his cheeky and sometimes a little smutty animations and illustrations, causing mass giggling and blushing. “I started doing comics as a simple way to create short stories and have fun. Some of my work gets me followers with exotic usernames,” he said, listing a few un-publishable monikers. “Strangely this led me to work on a kids’ show!”
Simon then took us through how he made a two-minute sequence for a Cartoon Network show called The Amazing World of Gumball.
It’s a high octane skateboarding trip that appealed to Simon’s love of the sport, and required Simon to tweak his approach slightly. “The lines have to be thinner, unless you want your characters to look like potatoes in the background. There’s a nerdy skateboarding reference to a 90s Spike Jonze film Video Days in there. Also, because it’s for kids, it can’t be too dangerous. So we had to remove a car and replace it with a hot dog. But I sneaked in a few of my own things….”
If you weren’t there, watch the film in a couple of weeks to see what hilarious details Simon managed to slip under the network’s nose.
Event Partner: Adobe
Designer. Photographer. Filmmaker. Dreamer. No matter who you are, there’s something for you in the latest release of Creative Cloud. Adobe is proud to sponsor Nicer Tuesdays 2017 and ready to show you what’s new.
Supported by: Park Communications
As one of London’s most respected printers, Park Communications is known for its care, attention to detail and high quality, which is why Printed Pages is among the titles it produces.
Drinks sponsor: Hop House 13
Thanks to Hop House 13 for providing the drinks!