Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Bye Bye

I am a graduate, so I am looking jealously on at all the wide eyed excited new and continuing students, I wish it was me! I really liked being at university (as many people do) and am now for the first time not sure what I will be doing over the next year.

My mini guide to university would be:
First Years – Have a great time at Fresher’s, this is your year to have fun and enjoy what the university experience has to offer, but don’t let the 40% pass rate make you dismissive, it is also the best time to get to grips with learning objectives and to know what’s needed before the grades start to count!

Second Years – Last year was fun but you are going to have knuckle down a bit more now, my good grades from my second year really helped me get my 2:1, it may only be 25%, but it doesn’t turn out well it can make all the difference.

Third Years – As well as having an awful lot of work, including exercising you real academic thinking brain muscles in order to complete your final year project, do your best to keep on top of things but start thinking about your career too. Depending what you want to do graduate schemes can start taking applications from as early as September of your third year.

I have now seen Brave, the new Pixar film, which I was really looking forward to. I had already read part of the Art of Brave book so had some insights into the story. I really enjoyed it and it was incredibly beautiful, I felt the departure from Pixar norms but it just felt different not worse. There are still funny bits which I really enjoyed; especially Merida’s little brothers who are pretty much wholly comic relief. I can’t wait to get the DVD and enjoy the extras; I might even go and see it again.

So with my degree finished and my time working for the University coming to an end this will be my very last blog post. I have enjoyed boring everyone with my cinema viewings. Best wishes from me as I sadly say bye bye. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Life feels much calmer now than it has recently. So I am recovering from the end of my degree and settling in to the summer months. I graduated last week so got to wear my funny outfit, walk over a stage and collect a handy piece of paper.

I have now seen The Amazing Spiderman…twice. It is a very entertaining watch, it’s funny but with heart, and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are very good. My fairly unreasonable complaint would probably be that there are too many spiders (especially in 3D), but I know not everyone feels the same way about eight legged creatures. I have also seen The Five Year Engagement with Emily Blunt and Jason Segel. It is a really good film; it can be uncomfortable at times but also funny, sometimes simultaneously. I think its appeal comes from its more honest to life approach to the Rom-Com, but it is still a movie, unrealistic things will happen too.

I have been moved home for three weeks now, I think my visits at the weekend have eased my transition and I am very much enjoying the company and the catering. I was looking forward to race for life last weekend but it was postponed for eight weeks due to Hylands Park in Chelmsford being waterlogged from all the rain.

I am currently working in Clearing, commuting through Stratford and getting nervous about my travel arrangements. On the Jubilee line the other night they recommended we change at West Ham if possible because Stratford was extremely busy. It wasn’t what I would call extremely busy but it was a little busier than usual and much louder because of all the shouting Olympic stewards. My trains were delayed yesterday due to speed restrictions between Liverpool Street and Stratford, altered services and heat troubles.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Things Going On

My last blog was a bit of a rush with so much time having passed. Now university and a few weeks of work are over, I have been spending the last two weeks packing my things to move back home with my parents. It is the end of an era, at least I still work for the university, which I like to think softens the overall effect of everything ending. It is an important time for me to try not to panic (in the current economic climate) and do my best to feel like there’s a world of opportunities.

I haven’t been to the cinema since my last blog but my next scheduled visit is for the Amazing Spiderman. I am very much an Emma Stone (Easy A, The Help) fan and know a little bit about the Spiderman comics so I am looking forward to it. I also have a trip to LEGOLAND (spellcheck makes this capitalised, interesting) planned; I haven’t been for ten years so I am looking forward to seeing what has changed, and perhaps adding some more mini figures to my collection. Such mature interests…

A few months back I enjoyed watching all the series of Friends in quick succession having not seen most of it. Now I am doing the same with Scrubs, on series three I am enjoying it and it is funny to be reminded about the odd episodes you’ve seen and the fact that you had no idea of their context.

I hate sorting through my stuff; it’s amazing what you accumulate over three years in one place. I threw away quite a lot but am bad at getting rid of things with sentimental value. What are even worse are those things that are not really wanted but not really nice enough for a charity shop or eBay. 

I don’t know if anybody attended the Open Day on Saturday to find out about the university. There were quite a few things that were closed down or we had to walk round in preparation for the Olympics. I am dreading it merely because I have to commute through Stratford, which I am anticipating being horrible. I hope other people are looking forward to it though; I won’t be getting up to see the torch go through Chelmsford at 7am this Saturday.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Long awaited

Sorry for the hiatus, lots to deal with. That’s my movie part of the blog over with, so now onto other news. Coursework is completely over, which has left me feeling relieved and anxious at the same time. Now it’s all about choices of what to do next, but I’m very much looking forward to what the future may bring. I still feel that I may do a Masters degree (not this September – money!), but not completely sure.

I did get to see the Hunger Games with my sister and boyfriend. I was concerned, as previously reading the books, as is generally recognised, does not tend to improve a film. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the representation, it was a good adaptation. I hope to re-read the books soon and hope that the characters and places in my head will not be overtaken. It’s funny how films can affect you like that, that you may love a book but once the film comes out, you always picture the characters like the film. Sometimes that’s not preferable. My boyfriend can creep me out with his Peeta impression, if you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you, but those of you that have...“everyday…”stalker-ish, much?

I also saw the Avengers, which I (Surprise!) also really enjoyed. I previously mentioned my viewing of Captain America and Thor, I think that the Marvel Studios films are really good, and improving too. My favourite is still Thor however, perhaps it is the artistry of Asgard, or just that there’s more space for story with less characters involved. Bring on Thor 2 November ’13! My other half obviously loved ‘Avengers Assemble’, as he has seen it 9 or 10 times now. I have never seen a movie that many times. I still have only seen it once because of coursework, but hopefully would like to catch it again before it’s taken off the screens.

We also saw Dark Shadows, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp (you may have guessed that part). To be honest it was a little bit disappointing, but still watchable. Maybe my expectations were too high, as I thought the trailer looked hilarious. I did enjoy it however, but won’t be rushing to pre-order the DVD, it’s visually a treat.

I also really enjoyed a trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tours, it is really in depth with loads to see and little video’s to watch on the digital guide. I also gave into temptation and bought a ‘fluffy’ stuffed toy that growls...
Hope you had a nice Jubilee weekend J

Friday, 13 April 2012

Easter Holiday?

It has been an Easter Holiday full of not so much holidaying. I am trying to get all of my coursework done, but have come up against hindrances. I look silly with braces on my wrists because I started getting painful arms due to all the time I was spending on the computer, something I really can’t help at the moment. My one excursion has been to see Pirates, the new Aardman film. Hey, it’s only 90 minutes and my arms needed a rest. Also, being an animation student is a constant reason to pass off movies as a degree related pastime.

I have finished The Hunger Games trilogy, and hope to see the first film tomorrow (this can be passed off as work because I do a VFX module). I lost momentum a bit whilst reading the second book, but it is worth it because the third one is excellent, and was even really funny at times. I had one of those wonderful times when you completely lose yourself in the end of a book and resurface wondering what just happened. The previous day I used it to inspire productive coursework creation by having to do 30 minutes hard work between chapters.

Perhaps in a couple of months I will have to do another more in depth review, because I really did enjoy the books, I am just frightened of spoiling people! At least it is obvious that my next blog will mention the movie. Now, I have to get back to my coursework, final project is due in less than two weeks!
I had lots of fun a little while ago trying out some new things and designing some owl logos for the Q&A blog. You can take a look here

Monday, 26 March 2012

Fiction Helps Me With My Perspective...

I have not been to the cinema recently and probably won’t again for a little while. I have so much coursework to do; I am looking forward to the Easter holidays when I can really get down to getting it all done. So instead I will share what I am looking forward to when it’s all done.

I have recently tried to stop my habit of watching TV whilst trying to do my work, for obvious reasons. I have also rinsed my Harry Potter audio books and have to be in the right mood to be able to bear the silliness of Twilight (my other audio book collection). Original taste I know. So I bought myself ‘The Hunger Games’, my first audio book purchase in a while. It is a very good book, although the dystopian nature of the world can at times be disturbing. But if you have twenty four teenagers fighting to the death, it’s never going to be a bundle of laughs. I am dying to see the film which is said to be very faithful to the book and I can see how it would translate well on screen.  It is out today but unfortunately I will have to wait until I have the time. At least I will not be in fear of spoilers!

When all my coursework is over I am excited about getting down to reading my ‘art of’ books that I collected over Christmas and my birthday. I also hope to waste some time playing the Sims 3 Pets. I will also have to sort out all my stuff because I will presumably be on the move, back to my parents and then who knows where. But I need to have fewer things because my parents miss me, but not my stuff.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Water and Work

I am having a crazy few weeks at the moment. A lot of work to do with my modules, two going okay, one I am just not very good at and my project is erring on disaster. Help. On top of that I work two days a week for the university (this is not a moan). I chose to do the work and I enjoy it, I am simply feeling the pressure at the moment. I have told most of my friends and family that they should basically pretend I don’t exist until the 11th of May! I am due to go on the Harry Potter Studio Tour on Saturday 12th, the day after my last deadline. I imagine a shiny and amazing day full of relaxation and enjoyment, but obviously I will only be able to enjoy it if I am proud of the work I have done!

I find that in times of increased work pressure I tend to develop an extraordinary interest in something I have never previously cared about. At the end of December when I had four deadlines in one week it was Investments and Trading. I took up a suggestion from the book ‘The Naked Trader’ and started paper trading (i.e. pretending). But I am pleased to say that I am currently up a fictional 24.2% since I started it two and a half months ago. Not bad, but most likely a case of beginners luck (and of course not real). In any case – a bad procrastination habit (even if I may make better use of my ISA allowance in the future).

My drama of the week was that my bath tap broke so the water in the flat had to be turned off until a new tap was installed as otherwise it would just keep on running. Not incredibly fun, however it will be a while before I take running water and toilet flushing for granted again!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Trip to the Movies

I have had a great week of cinema experiences! I saw The Muppets, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and Chronicle (in that order). If we were going in order of enjoyment I would say The Muppets, Chronicle.....................................and Ghost Rider.

The Muppets is really smart, funny and happy. If you like the characters already and you like Jason Segel and Amy Adams you will have a great time. It’s highly enjoyable with only perhaps the song ‘I’m having a me party’ and to an extent the ending leaving you less than engaged. Don’t forget due to John Lasseter’s Disney Short initiative, you also get the Toy Story short ‘Small Fry’ before the movie even begins. Sadly the projector was broken at the Cineworld O2, so it kept freezing and three quarters of the way through the film they had to stop it for ten minutes to reboot the projector. However we did get complementary ticket vouchers for our troubles.

Ghost Rider wasn’t good, and it was a shame because there were promising things about it. The effects are much better than the first film and some of the camera work and visual style is interesting e.g. having black backgrounds randomly during live action scenes. Nicholas Cage’s crazy acting is good but the rest of the time it’s strange in a bad way.  The story is quite generic and lags quite a few times leaving you bored. You may be thinking ‘but isn’t Idris Elba in that?’ (Who stole his scenes in Thor), but his lines are just as terrible as his French accent.

Chronicle is a low budget sci-fi movie about three teenage boys in Seattle who get superpowers from a hole in a ground at a party. It’s a really good watch and you don’t really miss big budget effects, and it is a good reminder that there are things more important, definitely a recommended watch. Although as an animation and vfx student I shouldn’t be saying that, I mean they must be great as lots of money is spent on them!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Busy Fun Times

It is a busy term with lots of course work and working for the university as well.  We have just had our February open day, which was pretty cold but despite the weather still busy. Taking people on tour of the accommodation luckily meant I got to go inside a few times. I feel a bit jealous of all the prospective students getting excited about coming to university with their degree’s ahead of them, it is a great time and coming out of the other end can be scary.

I was lucky enough to get tickets to Shrek the Musical for my birthday which I have now seen. I was in the centre of the fifth row and I have never had such a good view at a musical, I was very excited. The show is really enjoyable. If you are hoping for it to be exactly like the film and have all the same music you may be disappointed. The songs are written for the show and they make a few interesting additions for the story, as well as those necessary to make it work on stage. However if you are open to having fun, Nigel Harman as Lord Farquad is hilarious. Also, if you are a musical fan you can spot the references to other shows like Wicked and Lion King (this one is hard to miss).

I haven’t been to the cinema recently but do have two impending trips. One to see Chronicle, the director is apparently tipped to reboot the Fantastic Four series on the basis of this film’s success alone. And also The Muppets, which is going to be my Valentine’s Day viewing, I am looking forward to it (I am not evil; my boyfriend wants to see it even more than I do!).

Monday, 23 January 2012

Animation is Awesome

So my last term at university is under-way. I have to make sure I don’t get distracted from work by my birthday. I don’t really have plans though, apart from looking forward to my grandparents visiting and going to see Shrek the Musical.

My flavour of the week is sculpting. By that I mean characters for animation rather than works of art. I was inspired by a show reel I saw in class. The Flynn brothers are twins who went to Glamorgan University and took the animation course together. They have a very impressive stop motion show reel showing elements of the production for their graduation film ‘Opening Night’. It is like a miniature Laika (Coraline and Paranorman) production and just shows you what you can do with talent and hard work (and a double?).  You can see this at

I was amused the other day because I have been voting for the NBA All-Stars. If you don’t know what I mean, in Basketball each season they have a game with two teams, made up of the best person that plays each position as voted by the fans. So the fans choose the best two forwards, two guards and centre from the east and west. My amusement was because of an article that said the voting is inaccurate because novices only vote for people they have heard from and girls vote for the players that are smiling, the latter of which I am guilty of.
I like it when DreamWorks release an extra story for fans of their films. I liked Shrek the Halls and Scared Shrekless, this Christmas I got the Kung Fu Panda addition ‘Legends of the Masters’ and one for How to Train your Dragon (HTTYD). The HTTYD one was really good a proper separate story about the Viking Christmas and the dragons having babies, which are adorable, a definite must see if you like the film. The Kung Fu Panda one was not in full blown 3D, and the story was not quite as good as HTTYD but if you like Master Oogway it’s a must. If that makes no sense I am sorry!

Friday, 6 January 2012

New Year

Happy New Year! This is going to be a scary year for me, I am on the very last part of my degree, doing the major work that will secure my classification and I have no idea what will happen after that. I have been stressing out about whether everything will turn out well enough, but realistically although it will be hard work, this should be an enjoyable time. It is possible that making animated films and 3D content may never again be my main occupation (although of course I would like it to be).

I enjoyed a relaxing holiday because all my deadlines were prior to it. Christmas day was quiet and Boxing Day was spent with friends, children and dogs. Yes, the dogs get presents too, but not too expensive as they will mostly just get destroyed. Although saying that, my boyfriend bought one of the dogs a purple toy cow a few years ago and she goes and gets it and shows him it every time she sees him.

I finally got to see Puss in Boots on New Year’s Eve. It’s good, it’s not Shrek, but it’s good. I very much enjoyed it and it stood alone as its own film, it had a good thought through story with some very humorous moments. The effects when the magic beans are planted are spectacular. Zach Galifinakis’ character Humpty Dumpty didn’t seem to be as vocally funny as he was physically.

I got some super Christmas presents. I got three ‘Art of’ books, the most impressive of which was ‘The Art of Finding Nemo’ which has got quite expensive as it went out of print. So I very much look forward to reading that, also Bolt and Shrek Forever After and another animation book ‘Setting the Scene’ about animation layout by Fraser Maclean (a guest lecturer at our university). Now I just have to tidy my room so I can put them all in pride of place.