A big congratulations to Tim Ruffle and Luis Cook who, along with the other members of their team, recently won the Interactive Media prize at the Design Week Awards 2005. They won the award for their work on the revamped Aardman web site. Design Week is a magazine that covers all aspects of design on a weekly basis, surprisingly. My brother got his picture in the very same magazine when he graduated from university. A bit of trivia there. Tim has been working at A Productions recently and the award has hardly gone to his head at all. He’s only mentioned that he should get a pay rise a few times.

Suggestions Please!

You may have noticed a lack of updates recently. I don’t really have any good excuses for my shortage of activity on the site. I should be working on my films and projects and giving you updates on them. However, my films tend to develop very slowly. There is always some other idea to think about which is so much more attractive than actually sitting down and doing some proper work. If you have any suggestions or things you would like me to expand upon then please send me an email. I’m not really sure who reads this web site other than a couple of bored work colleagues. (Hello Duncan). So if you’re out there let me know. Thanks.

Bristol Animated Encounters Festival

Just a little news on the next Animated Encounters festival. The festival will not be taking place this year due to the Watershed venue being refurbished with the addition of another screen. However, the festival will be back in 2005, to be more precise Thursday 21st to Sunday 24th April.

Although it is slightly disappointing not to have the event this year there are some positive aspects to this situation. The first being that it’s back to being a four day event. Last year the whole thing was squeezed into just two days. This meant that it was actually impossible to see all the films presented as screenings inevitably overlapped with each other. The second good thing is that the organizers now have an extra year to make the festival the best ever. Thirdly, I now have more time to finish the film that was nowhere near ready to be submitted to the festival if it had taken place this year.

2004 will still have a little flavour of Animated Encounters. The annual Brief Encounters festival (Animated Encounters’ big sister) will be taking place from 17th to 21st November and will host “a very special, star studded Animated Encounters launch event.” Hmm sounds interesting. Keep an eye on the Brief Encounters web site for the latest news.

BBC Talent New Animation Awards… updated

Every year the BBC runs their New Talent scheme in search of new creative individuals. There are many different categories ranging from scriptwriters to weather presenters. As luck would have it this years animation winner and finalists have just been announced. Check them out here. The overall winner is given the opportunity to develop their idea for a BBC3 series.

This year’s winner is a short film called Hobbies by Nick Mackie and Pete Avery. It features the voice recording of someone talking about their life and hobbies. Hmm, I’m sure I’ve seen something done by someone in a similar style somewhere else *cough* Aardman. Isn’t it great seeing really original ideas such as this winning all the top prizes… sigh.


You know when you make a bitter and sarcastic comment on your web site and then a few days later receive a pleasant email from the person who you didn’t expect to read the comment? No? Well, I do.

Here is an email I received from Nick Mackie, co creator of Hobbies, in which he straightens out a few things.

Hello There,

Thanks for the mention on your grand web site. Pete and me are really pleased and excited to have won BBC Talent. It has taken us many years to get to a position where we can do this.

We haven’t just watched an ‘Aardman’ film and thought “we can do thatâ€?. So here’s a quick potted history…firstly I worked as a senior Animator at Aardman for six years. I also designed and animated the Creature Comforts titles. As you probably know Creature Comforts is unscripted voices of the public as are some other great Aardman Films. Hobbies is SCRIPTED! There is a big difference in this approach. Pete and me spend a lot of time writing and developing the characters. As a big fan of Aardman and Nick Park I take it as a huge compliment that you see similar styles with our Hobbies and past Aardman work. ( I attach an image of ‘Wolfie’ from Hobbies No.1 – I don’t really see an Aardman style here). As a freelancer I will be still working for Aardman and have a couple of projects in the pipeline with them.

Like your website by the way and really liked your animated encounters graphics,

All the best

Nick Mackie
Creative Director

So there you have it. He could have said nasty things about me, but he didn’t. That makes him a gent. Now go make him more happy and visit his web site


Disney’s The Lion King finally gets released on DVD on 31/10/03. In my opinion this was the peak of the modern era of Disney traditional animated films, even with the songs. It slowly went down hill from here. The DVD itself is a special edition and comes with an extra disk. The box set includes the following special features…

Audio commentary from the film’s producer and directors Rob Minkoff & Roger Allers
Deleted scenes
‘Making Of’ featurette
Abandoned concepts
Virtual safari
‘Personality Profile’ game
Interactive menu
Scene access

Gasp! “Interactive menu” and “scene access!” Surely not. Those really are special features. I wonder when they’ll stop listing scene access as a special feature. It’s like pointing out that you can skip tracks on a CD or fast forward through a video.

You’ll also be glad to know that they’ve added in another song. Oooh great! Sigh.