Digesting Design

Ghibli Museum

Posted in Everything Else by Paul on June 27, 2009



If you think about films like ‘Spirited Away‘ and where they have come from, well Studio Ghibli is the answer. In an area called Mitaka, again in north west Tokyo just before I visited Nakano, is the Ghibli Museum and what can only be described as ‘magical‘. With obtaining tickets like trying to get into the Kremlin, the Ghibli Museum is the public’s chance to get to see what Studio Ghibli do and how they work creating such epic animations like Spirited Away, Prince Mononoke and Yadosagashi (the second animation in the video) and one which has now become my favourite. It can be seen here.

The museum itself felt like stepping into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but for Ghibli, with three floors and sky walkways and an exciting atmosphere so apparent in everyone’s faces. On the first floor there was a wonderful series of studio rooms, with original drawings, photograph folios, ink colours, old film strips, boxes of used pencils, celluloid drawings, and quirky items for the people to see. This was followed by a trip right to the top of the museum to visit the Ghibli guardian robot which was the best photograph opportunity as unfortunately you weren’t allowed to take photos inside, I did manage to get a few sneaky snaps however.

I headed upstairs to the ‘Ponyo on the Cliff‘ area of the museum where there was lots of interactive flip books, film clips being shown, models, and probably the best bit of it, a glass case, well I say case, I mean more of a cargo hold’s worth of all the drawings and storyboards stacked on top of each other that made the animation. The space was probably about 12′ x 5′ x 4′ high! I then took a look at the Wallace & Gromit section. I’m not sure whether Ghibli had involvement with the hit animation, or whether it was taking a look at the future of animation, but again there was some great things on display.

I then went onto to take a look at the museum shop and separate book shop, which, as you can imagine was packed with people lapping up Ghibli memoribilia. I bought a Yadosagashi short book. There is a great cat bus play area for kids which I wish could take adults on it as well as it looked so much fun and then finally onto the screening of Yadosagashi down in the Saturn Theatre. Just a wonderful and simple animation that has everything you’d want in it. A quick walk around the outside sections of the museum and it was time to leave. If you are ever visiting Tokyo this is a 100% must to see! I have also contacted Studio Ghibli to see if I can take a look around the actual studio, but that may be harder than getting into the White House; we will have to see.

You can see some more photographs of the Ghibli Museum and what else I’ve been spotting in Tokyo on my Flickr page here.






Osamu Tezuka ‘Message for the Future’ Exhibition

Posted in Exhibitions by Paul on June 22, 2009



Osamu Tezuka was the pioneer of Japanese story manga and the founder of TV animation leaving behind a huge legacy of 700 manga and 70 animation works. He not only influenced people of his generation, but also contemporary culture, the arts and sciences. On Saturday, I went to visit his 80th anniversary exhibition, ‘Message for the Future‘ at the Edo Museum. There’s only really one word that could of described it, wonderful. Saturday was the last day of the exhibition and there were crowds of people inside and waiting to get in the exhibition, from small children to very old people, all touched, myself included, by the master that is Tezuka. He was well known for the creation of ‘Astroboy‘, pictured above, but also for other works such as Jungle Emperor, which is actually an uncredited influence for the modern day Lion King and Black Jack, an illegal operating surgeon.

On display were lots celluloid pieces of work, original sketchbooks and story boards, work from his school and college days, as well as 3D props, robots and his actual drawing desk, chair and glasses. Everything created by Tezuka, is a work of art and was just amazing. He was influenced and was a major admirer of Disney, but his own ideas and bringing his characters to life made Tezuka’s work extra special. Astroboy is also being developed into a movie to be released in 2010 so Tezuka’s legacy lives on. This was definitely one of the best exhibitions I have been to for a while.


‘Despair’ Music Video for Ditto

Posted in Everything Else by Paul on June 4, 2009

So a while back I explained about the music video I helped on at the G20 protests for Ditto and run by KK Outlet. Here is the end result, see if you can spot me in there somewhere.



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Ctrl.Alt.Shift Film Shorts National Premiere

Posted in Everything Else, Exhibitions by Paul on May 16, 2009

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On Thursday evening I attended the Ctrl.Alt.Shift short films national premiere held at Shoreditch Studios. The evening marked the culmination of a national competition launched by Ctrl.Alt.Shift back in 2008. The competition invited aspiring filmmakers aged between 18 and 25 to write a treatment based around one of three key issues: ‘War + Peace‘, ‘Gender + Power‘ and ‘HIV + Stigma‘.

The five winners were given the opportunity to bring their treatment to life on the big screen and in addition to being provided with a budget and cast, the prize included mentoring by some of the UK’s best directors such as Aoife McArdle, Chris Harding from Shynola, Kinga Burza, Paul Andrew Williams and Jim Threapleton. The five winners showing their films at the event were Tim Travers Hawkins, Joe Patrick and Tim Woodall, Fern Berresford, Ben Newman, Alex Monro and Sheila Menon. And the results of these collaborations were some brilliant, creative and engaging shorts; ’A Thousand Voices’, ‘HIV: The Musical’, ‘Man Made’, ‘No Way Through’ and ‘War School’. Some of the cast in the films included Julian Barratt (Mighty Boosh) and Martin Freeman (The Office), and also specially recorded soundtracks in the shorts by Young Knives, Chipmunk, Shy Child, Metronomy and Jesca Hoop.

I have to say my favourite of the five was the first one shown, ‘War School‘. It role reversed (like a few of the other films also did) a school here in England to one where child soldiers are trained to fight in wars. Some very powerful imagery and camera shots made this by far the best short in my opinion. Children training with machine guns in their PE lesson, military chanting of “we are the future” and a single school boy who pays the ultimate price for being made an example of, his life. A creative and thought provoking evening overall and their were some amazing posters designed to go alongside the five shorts which I am now frantically trying to find out who designed them. Check out Ctrl.Alt.Shift’s blog below which should have the evening posted on it soon as well as their (great designed) website. I knew a little bit about Ctrl.Alt.Shift before but I will now be keeping a closer eye on things with them.




Ditto Music Video at the G20 Protests

Posted in Everything Else by Paul on April 2, 2009



Well yesterday was an ‘interesting‘ day of activities. KK Outlet (the London office of Amsterdam based agency KesselsKramer) got me involved in helping out with a music video they are producing for the Ditto festival being held at the Roundhouse in Camden in a few weeks. Ditto is a collaboration between music,  creativity, film and writing. The song we were filming and helping out on’s theme was ‘Despair‘. As the G20 protests were taking place around London yesterday, our job was to get amongst the protesters with out own placards with some of the song lyrics written on them and film it all.




My group started off at the Cannon Street march and then onto the Bank of England where all the protesters had gathered. We got some nice shots on various cameras, but being cordened in for a few hours by regular and riot police was not the best experience; we eventually left the protest site and headed back to the office. Probably the most ironic thing of the day was watching a seller going around the crowds of protesters shouting, “Get your official protest whistles here!“.

You can spot our fluorescent placards throughout all the photographs that I have put up here including Russell Brand sneaking in on our great shot. And some mobile phone footage that I took on the YouTube video below. The Guardian’s news report on the day’s events can be found here and KK Outlet’s Flickr set can be found here.






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