// www.chrisgavin.com: February 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Well the 2012 British Animation Awards nominees have just been announced...

My film for Canongate Books 'Little Hands Clapping' had been short-listed in the 'Best Commissioned Animation' category but obviously hasn't made it to the final three. But hey, here's that BAA short-listed film again in full...

Congratulations to all those that did make the grade, here's a link to the Televisual article with a full list of all the nominees. Let's not forget that I had my 'big moment' at the last BAA in 2010 when TXT ISLAND WAS nominated a Finalist for the 'Best Short Film' award; and that's my excuse for a repeat showing of that film here too...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Piano: 'Once Upon A Time in America'

This month in my piano lessons, I've mostly been trying to play Once Upon A Time in America by the great Ennio Morricone. I recorded this many times, and this is really is the best take I could get.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Simon Draws: Simon

Here's the sixth webisode in the Simon Draws series I record and edit for Simon's Cat Ltd. In this tutorial film, the immensely-talented Simon tofield draws a self-portrait ... with cat.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Piano Dabblings

I'm not a 'natural' musician, I had piano lessons when I was a wee boy; even passed the grade 1 exam even, but like so many, didn't stay the course and gave up in my early teens... But then, around 3 years ago, as my mid-life crisis approached (and with two kids to encourage) I had the urge to start learning all over again. So in January 2009, I started having weekly half an hour lessons with Diana at the North London Music Centre.
The first lesson was VERY painful, but I was signed up for five, so stuck with it. I'm still sticking with it now. Some Saturdays I play worse than others, but there's always something to learn from the lessons. There's a long way to go...

I had occasionally been dabbling with music-making on my PC sometime before starting the lessons. I made the soundtrack for my film Evo in 2006. But this 'plinky plonky' music is very much pattern-based, it was composed using sequencing software (Cubasis), that doesn't actually require any playing skills at all.

Then in Autumn 2011 I downloaded a trial version of Mixcraft. I enjoyed using this software a lot (It's a similiar editor, but newer, simpler and very satisfying to use). Whilst learning how to record and build the tracks, I made a piece I called Pony Morricone. It's inspired a little bit by Air and the Ennio Morricone music I try to play in the piano lessons. This recording is also highly edited in the sequencer, but at least I played the notes in using MIDI/USB keyboard before tidying them up. (And I tidied them up A LOT !)

Just this week I decided that I might start recording some of my piano efforts (straight from the piano's headphone output to my new TASCAM recorder) for the purposes of reviewing and hopefully improving my playing... So last night I stayed up late, and played this lots of times. It's a real shocker hearing your own playing for the first time, and what I thought was OK, turns out to be really awful. The main thing I've discovered is that I'm not keeping time well at all. Also, I only get the notes right once every few plays.

So this recording has no edits, no cleaning up at all, and it's very short... But it is the best selected take I could get of this from a long session last night... It's my best attempt at the Blue Note jazz classic... The Sidewinder written by Lee Morgan in 1963.

I'll maybe have another go at recording my playing again soon, it's a humbling but ultimately revealing experience...