Sunday, September 30, 2012


 David Rawle as Ben.

With the biggest part in the movie being a 10 year old boy it was crucial to find the right voice.
We auditioned several talented young actors , and settled on David Rawle.
David recently starred in the Sky Tv series " Mooneboy"which Cartoon Saloon provided animated segments for and we  were very impressed with his performance, especially his comic timing.
We are really lucky to be working with this in demand young actor , we even had to delay the first records since Mooneboy has already gone to a second season!
 Lisa Hannigan as Bronach.

As this is a small but crucial part that requires both singing as well as acting we were especially lucky to be able to cast Lisa Hannigan in this role. She is one of my favourite singers and currently making waves internationally so its really exciting to have her involved.
 Fionnula Flanagan as Granny.

 Fionnula Flanagan was someone we identified very early on as a potential voice for Granny and another important character in the film. Will and I were lucky enough to have lunch with her while we were out in LA around the time of the 2010 Oscars. She agreed back then to play both parts and was even kind enough to invite us and our families to her house for tea ! I'm really looking forward to finally recording the part after such a long wait.

Jon Kenny as Ferry Dan.

Jon Kenny is playing both Ferry Dan and another important character in the film. We are all huge fans of Jon since our college days when "D'Unbelievables" first hit the scene.
Jon is not just a funny guy but also a great actor and musician so he's really perfect for the part.
He played the part of the storyteller in Tod Polsons short "The Gingerbread Man" and once I saw that I realised he has a perfect voice for animation.
He also played the part of (Cartoon Saloon Producer) Paul Young in that short film so he is practically already a Salooner ! :)

Not all the parts are shown here and we still have auditions this week for the part of Saoirse , but the recording starts in two weeks so we are finalising the dialogue and songs and scrabbling to finish up the revisions on the boards for the first recordings.

I'm nervous of course but past experience has shown me that when you have such seasoned and talented actors its an enjoyable and fascinating process to record the voices.

Until now we have been working with scratch voices by my talented partners in crime Nora Twomey and Paul Young - both pretty impressive actors in their own right as well as artists and everything else.

Nora will be voice directing with me and I'm glad we have Kairen Wailloch helping with the casting and the voice record co-ordination, its the same team from The Secret of Kells - hard to believe that record took place 6 years ago now!

In just a month or two we will have a much clearer feeling for how our characters will perform and sound and can begin testing lip sync and so on with the final actors voices.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Holy Wells

Two films that really influenced Song of the Sea are "My Neighbour Totoro" and "Into the West".

When Will Collins and I were developing the script and story we always wanted a quiet moment in the rain ,where we took a little breather for a minute.

Those moments are what I love most about Hayao Miyazakis work.

For a long time we had the kids shelter under a dolmen in a  homage to the bit in Totoro where the little girls shelter from the rain in a Shinto shrine.
Those little insights to Japanese culture give such a depth to the setting and the world the film is set in, even if they are not explained or referred to in the context of the story.

As the story evolved we hit on the idea of this "shelter" actually being a gateway to another world , hidden from the mundane everyday we live in.

I have always been fascinated by HolyWells, where people come to pray and often leave totems or "offerings" of the person they are praying for.
This strangely public remnant of someones deepest concerns is often quite touching when you visit one especially if its a photo or personal effect of some sort from a long time ago.
I find my self wondering if the person who made the prayer found comfort or if their loved one ever recovered.

There are often Rag Trees near Holy Wells too - where someone who wants a loved one be healed in some way will tie a piece of their clothing to the tree with the belief that when the rag rots away the illness will be cured.

Often these places have an ancient significance that  early Irish Christainity merely appropriated .

The link with water and our own childhood memories of being taken to pray at these special places made us decide to change the "gateway" from a  dolmen to a Holywell.

Here are some storyboards by Julien Regnard and concepts by Adrien Merigeau for the Holy Well seq. which we are currently working on .

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Here we go again

I finally got around to starting this new blog to track my personal journey thru directing a second animated feature film.
I had started one back 2008 which became a private place for crew and investors to share artwork and ideas during development.

I enjoyed keeping "The Blog of Kells" during and after making "The Secret of Kells" so I will try to document the process of this new film here.
I hope the fans who followed "The Blog of Kells" will join me again for this new adventure.

In the last few weeks the finance finally closed and the production has begun to really kick off - with all the pressure and stress that implies.
Thankfully I have a great team around me including many friends from The Secret of Kells .

We are presently finalizing the animatic and  making model sheets , animation tests , layouts and location designs .. its a hectic and fun time.

Just to have a few pictures on the first post I added a few concepts I made from the trailer we did back in 2009.
The story has  changed a lot and the design has evolved over the years but I feel at its core we are still moving towards the cartoon I wanted to make back then.

"A Melancholy Musical Comedy for Kids"