storytelling

Tapocketa live at London Book Fair

Trevor Young, Eleanor Long & Bee Kapitan

Fireside Podcast

We had the pleasure to be asked to guest on the popular podcast VoiceFirst hosted by Bradley Metrock.

We have done radio interviews before but this was our first podcast. Just to add to the mix, it was live and it was the first live podcast at the London Book Fair.

We knew it was going to be at the new Fireside Podcast Stage but for some reason we had not expected there to be a fireplace but, as you can see, there was! We felt we should have been wearing smoking jackets and sitting in tall backed Chesterfield armchairs.

Virtual Assistants

Bradley’s podcasts focus on the fast developing world of voice technology, focusing mainly, but not exclusively on virtual assistants such as Alexa.

Virtual assistant advancements have slipped under the radar for many publishers, unaware just how fast growing this technology has become and how extensively it is being used by their existing/potential customer base.

But ignore it at your peril, publishers! Smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo are a significant enough part of the home and the way people search for content that overlooking them is foolhardy.

Amazon Echo Show

Amazon Echo Show

Story Telling

For storytellers, it means also learning more about how virtual assistants can become additional consideration to the way stories are told. Of particular interest to us, as animators, is the development of the visual side of voice interaction. With smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo Show containing displays, our interest has been peaked by the possibilities that are now open to us.

Currently these small displays are largely used to display the graphical results of a search request, display album art whilst listening to a song, demonstrate how to cook up a particular recipe, or play your favourite TV series for instance. But the accessibility and immediacy of virtual assistant technology make it an attractive possibility for storytellers creating their own content. Add to this the ability to link the assistant to a separate speaker and lighting system in the home, and you can see the potential for creating atmospheric storytelling experiences is huge.

Future Hopes

The caveat is that the display is just not visually impressive enough at the moment. The Echo Show screen is small and still feels like a bit of an add-on. On the other end of the spectrum, smart TVs have the quality of display and the ability to accept voice commands but this is limited to the functionality of the TV itself and nowhere in the same league as smart speaker’s voice command technology.

It will be interesting to see the way technologies merge in the future to bring a truly smart audio-visual experience where visual storytelling can really fly.


Note: Smart speakers can be connected to your TV via your smart phone to control TV functions but this is not the same as using the tailored display you have on an Amazon Echo.

You can listen to the latest news in voice tech at VoiceFirst FM

We're in the March issue of Computer Arts!

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We are really pleased to be featured in the latest March issue of Computer Arts detailing the work that went into creating the children’s interactive storybook, Galdo’s Gift.

Here’s a snippet of the content with a link at the end to where the complete article and magazine can be found. As well as a fantastic five page article on us :-) and the latest on the world of digital creators, there is invaluable information for anyone considering starting their own creative business.

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From Computer Arts (March Issue 2019):

Genesis of Galdo

Eleanor Long and Trevor Young

Galdo’s Gift: The Boovie was the culmination of a style of illustration and animation we had been developing for a while. We had a story that originated from a short poem and it seemed the perfect vehicle to demonstrate and consolidate the skill sets of our new studio. As the story evolved we tested it with children aged five through to 11. This gave us invaluable feedback on the age of our readers, how they understood the story, what they found funny, their favourite bits and so on.

With regards to the story, it’s the tale of a frog, King Galdo, who sends four robust little heroes out to the far corners of Galdovia to bring back a very special gift for the reader. Only, he’s not quite ready for what they return with.

We were intrigued by the idea of a book that comes alive and talks directly to the reader, and keen to play with the possibilities of the digital storybook format. We knew it would work well with our playful style of animation.

Creating the characters and sets

Eleanor Long

Our personal interests and strengths often form the basis of what each of us does. Trevor has drawn figures throughout his life, so he drew and developed the characters, monsters and creatures. My interest has always been in landscapes and the environment, so I worked on the landscapes, seascapes and interior shots…

The cover image below takes you to a site where you can purchase your own copy of Computer Arts in either digital or print form…

Storyboard to Screen: The Pitfalls

So, our first of regular weekly "Paper & Pixels" videos taking you through all aspects of animation and animated story production.

They will become more polished as we progress, so please except this is a little rough and ready to start!

Storyboard template: https://tinyurl.com/ybcsbaay We take you through some of the issues to look out for when creating your own storyboard and some of the steps we take to the final animated scene. We create animated ebooks but we hope that some of the tips detailed here will apply to many other types of animation.

Book Festival Fun: or 5 ways to cope with the crowd -2/5

2/5

Gusto

Wow, Gusto is a great guy. What do you mean you've never met him? Oh man, he's the best; gregarious, confident, nothing phases Gusto.

Gusto always looks at the upside of any predicament, never wavering in his focus to brighten up any situation. He's the master of his own destiny, king of confidence, duke of daring deeds, chancellor of cheer....you know what I mean, you get the idea.

Faced with a crowd of people, all staring at him, waiting anxiously for him to begin, he strides out before them like a demi-god, an unswervingly confident, lucky sod.

No hat too silly, no shirt too garish, always smiling, always swish. He dons his curly wigs with flair, he doesn't care about his hair.

You may know Gusto has a twin, though no one likes to mention him.

Oh dear, here comes Meeker now, come on Meeker take a bow.

He shuffles up to the plate, makes excuses why he's late.

Mumbles his lines, drops his script, over his laces he has tripped.

Getting up, he bangs his head, apologises, face turns red.

Stumbling back onto the stage, “what's my line?”, “where's my page?”

He clears his throat, he sounds quite hoarse, he's lost his audience now, of course.

Oh dear, why? Where did they go?

They've wandered off to see Gusto.

 

-Trevor Young, Tapocketa

 

We realised we needed Gusto for all our public appearance, and did our best to lose Meeker along the way. Worrying about making mistakes, we found, is more disabling than the mistakes themselves. Throwing yourself into your performance with gusto takes people along with you.

 

The odd mistake is all part of the show when done with flair of the Great Gusto.

Through the Swampland

Oh my, I think I've taken a turn for the worse.

Oh my, I think I've taken a turn for the worse.

There seems to be a part of every momentous journey when you are forced to slow down and take stock of your surroundings, and I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing.  Stopping and taking a look around you means you have time to re-evaluate whether you really have taking the right path or perhaps back up a little and take a slightly different route.

We have ended up in swampland and have had to stop and work out why we ended up there.  The development of the inhabitants of the world we are creating have not been very forthcoming and we are now in the process of inviting new ones to our land.  Hopefully they won't be so difficult as the last lot.  Creating cool characters is hard!