Today I want to do a little look back at my trip over to New York City to visit Ron S. Cole for the Big Screen Premiere of his incredible short film "In The Fall Of Gravity". In the film Ron uses his pioneering Cable-Control system to bring his characters to magical life.
It can be kind of wierd meeting someone in person for the first time, having first met them online. Got to say though, the moment Ron met me off the plane I knew we'd have no trouble getting along, even though I'd be staying with his family for nine days.
He, his wife Elise and his son Devan, were enormously welcoming and made me feel very comfortable and glad that I'd made the choice to fly out there.
They even took the time to take me out and about in New York City. This was only my second time in the States, and my first time in NYC (last time I visited San Francisco). So it was nice to have someone to show me some cool sights and sounds.
Central Park was something else. Huge - Much bigger than I expected. When you are in walking through it you barely see any of those massive buildings, so it's quite easy to believe you aren't in a City at all!
We also visited the Museum of Natural History. I watch a lot of the BBC's Natural History programming, so this was a great place to visit. They have an amazing collection of beautifully crafted taxidermy...
... and, of course, the greatest Fossil collection I've
ever seen. We saw and did a lot in there in the space of a day, and there was still a tonne left to see. Plenty left over for my next trip to NYC!
Also, rather than going up the King Kong Building itself (The Empire State Building), Elise had the genius brainwave of going up The Rockerfeller Centre instead... That way I could actually SEE the King Kong Building!
The views were spectacular. The glow from Time Square was something to behold. And the view of the King Kong building was really special - I'll never forget that. I couldn't get a decent photograph of that as I never had my SLR with me (the handy little snapshot camera I had couldn't quite get the shot in those conditions). However, here is the Rockerfeller Centre...
There were a few reasons for my visit (such as discussing future projects). However, by far the most important reason for flying over was Ron's Premiere for "In The Fall of Gravity".
The film was to show at the NYIIFVF
and part of this involved an opening night event for the film-makers to give each other (and the public) a preview of what was to come at their screenings.
Ron was on top form, describing his process for making "In the Fall of Gravity" andhis passion for stop-motion-animation and visual effects in general...
His charming wife, Elise, was there, and it was also my great pleasure to meet Richard Brooner, the man who gave an excellent musical score to Ron's film. Richard is a cool guy and a very talented one too. Richard actually flew out to NYC twice
that week (once for the opening evening, and again for the Premiere)!
Isomer (one of the character's in Ron's film) was the consumate professional throughout proceedings. He showed poise and was very respectful to all of the punters who came by to find out more about him. Though, in the following shot he does have a strange, almost dismayed, look on his face...
...But, when you actually see what he had to look at the whole night, the reasons become apparant. As well as film-makers there were Artists showing their paintings and prints, and one of these "artists" was set up directly across from Ron's stall (I use the term "artist" very
loosely in this case)... Suffice to say, I don't think you would want me to show you a close up of this photograph of the guy's work ;) ...Nope - That's not hair... It's blood. :P
That evening I got to meet some people Ron is working with - Absolutely great guys. Later in the week I had the chance to go see the studio where they are shooting their short film (which Ron is animating on) - That was a great experience. If you are both reading, I just want to say Thanks for showing me round. It was cool to meet you guys!
... I even met some fellow Scots! These guys were out representing an Indie Feature made in Scotland (must dig out the name). The guy on the left (in the Kilt) is actually from Greenock - The town where I live! Small world.
Anyway, the evening was a great success. I think everyone had a great time (I know I did). I definately think it raised the profile of "In the Fall of Gravity" within the minds of the other film-makers, as many of them ended up turning up to the screening.
For me, one of the major highlights of the trip was getting to meet Ron's puppets for Trevor and Isomer, and hearing about the process he went through in getting this film made... The guy could write a book about the experience. His process in making this film was totally unique and absolutely of it's time; The cross-over from analog formats to digital formats was taking place while
Ron was making the film, and he eventually migrated from one to the other. But the manner of that migration is entirely his story to tell - But I just want to say that it left me speechless...
Ron's determination to make this film (along with the support of Elise) is absolutely what made it possible. He fought serious technical and logistical difficulties and won out in the end. Truly inspiring.
A few days later the Screening was held. Ron gave a modest speech before the screening, which I am kicking myself for not filming on my camera. The Screening went brilliantly. His film was very
well received by the audience and resulted in some pretty rapturous applause! Unsurprisingly "In the Fall of Gravity" went on to win the Festival's "Best short Animated Film" award.
Here is Ron and Devan being interviewed by Shorty Brown (she is nuts) after the Screening. Got to say young Devan stole the show here. I really hope the festival put this video up on their site soon as Devan is absolutely brilliant! You could really see how proud he was of his Dad, and he also took to being Interviewed like a duck to water!
Now, Ron's film was paired up with another film. A Feature. Or, what we thought
was going to be a Feature. As it turned out the film, entitled "Alien Gray : Zone X" (Awesome right!?
), was actually only half complete!
We couldn't believe it - Ron's film finishes and then we are told we are to sit down and watch half a movie! I was shocked and appauled I tell ya! And then the film started... It was really funny (I mean gut achingly funny) and had some pretty good effects mixed with some not so good effects (all CG).
The story was not very interesting and it was VERY badly shot and edited (They could have shaved a good twenty minutes from the forty-odd minutes we saw just with a decent Editor on board), and some of the acting was pretty poor... But I found it hugely entertaining. As I say, it was all in good fun - And it had the place in fits of laughter (particularly the sign outside the secret base saying "DANGER - NO ENTRY - ALIEN TECHNOLOGY WITHIN!" (paraphrasing).
Here is a shot of Ron with the film's Director. The guy is really into special effects, and more power to him for getting out there and shooting something ambitious. I hope the crew get the chance to finish the film some time soon.
We did a lot more while I was over, but this post is getting more than long enough. I should put a shout out to Mike, who spent a good deal of time with Ron and I at various interesting seminars and talks. Good luck with your film Mike! It sounds just up my street!
The trip as a whole was a fantastic experience. Ron, Elise and Devan, THANKYOU
for having me over there. It was very generous of you to invite me into your home and make me feel so welcome. I should warn you, that won't be the last you'll see from me
Devan - You are a Rubik's Cube Demon! :D
On the last day, we went out for Lobster - Here is me with my Dinner and my obligatory "NEW YORK CITY" T-shirt...
...And then it was time to come home. The trip really gave me a huge surge of inspiration which I'm still reeling from today. The moment I got back I started back working on Fidget the Witch in earnest.
Speaking of which, I had better get back to that now! My new order of Seafoam arrived yesterday, so I can finally get those trees built.
Here is a sci-fi like shot from the plane on the way home! New York is an amazing place, and this trip was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life!