This will be the first video I publish in 2023. What makes it extraordinary is the fact that I filmed it in 1989, that’s right thirty-four years ago, back in art school. In my heart it feels like just a short while ago, but my head reminds me that was well and truly last millennium. I showed a friend a photo of me in the Crawford College of Art prospectus of the time and she just said, “Oh, a very serious young man”. While I was conscientious about my college work, I really was just a joker looking to get a laugh at every possible opportunity. I like to think nothing has changed since.
Photo of a “serious young man”. (lol, eye rolling emoji).
Total art school:
So here’s the video and below you can read about making animation in the hilariously underfunded, archaic film department of the day.
Making the original:
Firstly, it’s important to mention that I was never a film student. I did one term of film as an obligatory supporting subject; my major was fine art painting. Secondly, it’s important to note that the Crawford College of Art, Cork, had no proper film department back then. It was housed in the equivalent of a broom-closet in the attic of a hundred-year-old building, where Noel the film technician hung out. Noel was totally motivated by my interest and enthusiasm in trying to create film despite near impossible circumstances. A solid relationship ensued and I kept on “film making” on my own time. In fact, I continued long after the obligatory phase had ended, right up to the point where I finished my painting degree two and a half years later.
Each student was allowed one three-minute cassette of super 8mm film per term, that’s a total of nine minutes of film per academic year. So, we had to be super economical when shooting to still have a few minutes of film to show after editing. People don’t believe me these days when I explain that we had to wait four weeks to have our little reels of film to be returned from London after developing by Agfa head office. We edited on a tiny cutting table, splicing and taping in the dark hidden behind a black curtain in the corner of the room. When that was done we had to manually stick a millimeter wide strip of magnetic tape along the length of the reel, upon which we recorded a crackly sound track.
Since my graduation in the year 1990 I had carried my handful of finished film reels in a dented cardboard box through countless addresses and a few countries. Then when the Covid pandemic hit in 2020 I realized that I needed to get the film digitized before it disintegrated all together. Plus I would have time on my hands during the lock-down to actually do something with them.
What you see today is the original finished animation from 1989. Using Adobe Premier Rush I have only added a title and credits. I have also added a stock soundtrack because the original would attract copyright issues. The original soundtrack was Julie Oceans by the Undertones for the melancholy part and The Prince by Madness for the manic middle section. At the time of writing I am very happy to note that both bands are still on the road.
Here I am a few weeks before graduation. What a poser (eye rolling emoji, again).
In the grand scheme of things thirty-four years doesn’t sound like so long ago. But when I think back to the lack of tech and shoddy working conditions from my art school days it all seems utterly so last millennium.