Friday, 8 October 2010

Its been a while so here’s a wee update of the Wyld Stallyons Summer…

See No Evil: 1st June, 2010.

We were invited by our good friends Tiago Maia and James Wignall to share a piece of the the Wyld Stallyons pie to an audience at See No Evil - a bi-monthly event held at Bar Kick.

Chris Sayer and Jason Arber adorned with Mexican wrestling masks fronted the talk about our recent projects and revealing the processes and stories behind the jobs along with showcasing previously unseen work that we did for Ministry of Sound.

Glug: D&AD Student Awards After Party: 20th June, 2010.

You may have also seen us at Glug - we were asked to host a 'Meet and Greet' in order for graduates to come and have a chat about life in the in the industry and for us to give them some invaluable insights into the scary transition from working within a professional environment. Natalie, Jason, Chris and myself , Janey, all enjoyed the enjoyed barbecue and beers whilst chatting to students about the next stages for their budding careers. As ever the event had a huge turnout and was a great opportunity to meet some fresh giftedpeople.

If you managed to come and speak to us then drop us an email to let us know what you are up to - or if you didn't manage to come along then get in touch with your showreels as we are always on the look out for talented individuals.

Jason Arber with a fellow graduate student at the D&AD awards.

Chris Sayer...deep in conversation.

Jason and Janey

Computer Arts - Jason Arber - 23rd September, 2010.

Our very own Jason Arber was asked to contribute to Computer Arts' Graduate Showcase Event at Cafe 1001 in September; an annual compilation of the best final-year student design work from around the world. He joined John McFaul, Richard Tilley, Matt Booth and Dan Moore to provide inspiration and insight to career hungry graduates. Jason spoke about the benefits of adopting a unique approach to work and also presented previously unseen content, which should be appearing on our site very soon. Additionally, Jason spoke about the work we did on the movie Kick Ass and also revealed a sneak preview into a brand new project we have been working on behind closed doors.

Sneaky peak into our upcoming short film:

That's right Wyld Stallyons has been working on a new short film, which will be appearing in the viral world at the beginning of 2011. Jason Arber finally lives a director's dream by screenwriting and directing the exciting high octane action short that is Magnesium with Chris Sayer managing the highly intricate VFX side. This really has something for everyone; featuring CGI robots, kick ass female Biodroids, guns, explosions and lots of bloody fights! After 4 weekends of hardcore shooting with excellent cast and crew, we are finally getting close to wrap. We will be shooting the pick-up shots next month then will begin the hefty edit and visual effects nestled in-between our day jobs. Trust me it will be worth the wait!

Cast and Crew in filming location: Jaguar Shoes, East London.

Sarah our DOP takes a closer look to check lighting in the warehouse.

Chris Sayer with our lead Biodroid, played by Selina Lo.

Producer and cameo dead person, Janey Robinson and Jason Arber.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

New faces at Wyld Stallyons

Janey Robinson is our new Production Assistant. Janey spent most of her uni days in the darkroom discovering the magical medium that is Photography, continuing her journey at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth. During this time she pursued curation and film, putting on a number of mixed media exhibitions and shows in and around Bournemouth. Since graduating in 2009, Janey has worked with onedotzero on the production of their Adventures in Motion 2009 festival at the BFI, Harrods Magazine, and commercials including Vodafone Ireland and Strongbow.

Daryl Higgins is our new intern. Check out his cool stuff over at Vimeo

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Coming Soon: Kick Ass (2010)

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Wyld Stallyons make our feature film debut in the movie Kick Ass, producing approximately 88 visual effects shots with Double Negative, including a great number of screen replacements. Much-anticipated, Kick Ass ticks all the boxes with politically incorrect humour, vulgarity and intense bloody super stylised action. Needless to say, this is not your typical superhero movie…

We can only dangle a teaser of this superhero awesomeness as you will have to check it out on the big screen.

Kick-Ass trailer

Kick Ass hitting the cinemas in the UK 2th April 2010. Don’t miss it. POW!

Spring Fever

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2010 has already been a busy and exciting year for Wyld Stallyons in our new studio so here is a quick update…

We’ve been working on the new Hardys (the wine brand) sponsorship idents for Come Dine With Me. Working closely with the creative agency we developed a concept that would combine live action and animation. We shot the live action last month over two days at a Studio in West London with some of the regular Wyld Stallyons crew. The idents should air around the 27th March so keep a look out for them on those lazy Sundays of Come Dine With Me marathons.

Take a sneak peek at the photos posted on Flickr

In case you haven’t checked it out already, visit our homepage for the MTV and VHI bumpers. Wyld Stallyons produced three strands for the rebrand of new channels, MTV Shows, MTV Classics as well as the existing VH1.

Also up our sleeves for 2010 is our latest showreel. We will be posting a medley with some teasers in the near future– so stay tuned.

Don't forget you can also keep abreast of latest WS events and news on our Facebook.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Films to see before you die: Nacho Libre (2006)

It's no secret that Napoleon Dynamite, the 2004 movie from Jared Hess, is considered by the crew at Wyld Stallyons to be one of the funniest and most original comedies of all time. It came out of nowhere, making a cult hero out of Jon Heder's titular character (he went on to feature in David Lettermen's Late Show and a spoof spot for Microsoft with Bill Gates), but it left director Hess a real problem: how do you follow up such a cool flick that's so damn funny?

Hess' second film, Nacho Libre concerns a monk played by Jack Black, who desires to be a luchador (a Mexican wrestler) so that he can help the orphans at the monastery and win the affections of Sister Encarnación (played by Penélope Cruz-a-like Ana de la Reguera). He enlists the help of Esqueleto (Héctor Jiménez), who previously mugged Nacho, and together they form an unlikely tag wrestling team. The movie culminates in a fight with Nacho's nemesis, the masked Ramses (César González), who turns out to be not quite the hero that Nacho initially thought he was.

The movie is not quite as episodic as Napoleon Dynamite, although the plot is slight and still acts as the bare bones to hang a series of bizarre situations from. Nacho Libre shares with Hess' first film a love of the bizarre, absurd and grotesque, and the movie is peppered with more oddball characters than David Lynch's entire oeuvre. Hess succeeds in creating a unique, self contained world, powered, it would seem, by Jack Black's uniquely mobile eyebrows. The movie is full of comedy Mexican accents, overwrought melodrama, slapstick and funny, quotable lines ("Chancho, when you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room... Just for fun.")

On paper, this film should be wall-to-wall laughs, and yet inexplicably it occasionally falls flat and runs out of steam. It doesn't happen very often, but it's enough to take the edge off the film. The ending, in particular, is a bit of a damp squib, and I waited hopefully to the end of the credits to see if there was a Napoleon Dynamite-style coda, but no such luck.

Hess seems uncertain whether to make the fights funny, or keep them true to the spirit of Lucha Libre, and ploughs an uncertain and wavering path between the two. It probably says more about Hess' inexperience as a director than any lack of innate comedy skills, because when he gets the magic combination right, he's one of the most thrilling and enjoyable directors around. I suspect he'll learn lessons from some of the fumbles in the movie and go on to become one of the great comedy directors.

Jack Black is consistently funny as Nacho, unafraid to make good use of his pudgy body and gurning face. It's the kind of role Jim Carrey could do, but would make unbearably annoying; with Jack Black, it's endearing.

Nacho Libre is a quirky little film, full of off-kilter nuances, that suffers from the inevitable comparison to Napoleon Dynamite. Although some aspects of the film don't quite hit the mark, this is still a far funnier film than most comedies that emerge from Hollywood (or anywhere else for that matter). At least Jared Hess (and his co-writing wife Jerusha) are doing something different: after all, when was the last time you saw a comedy about a Mexican wrestling monk?

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Wyld Stallyons were honoured to be part of the London premiere for onedotzero's annual celebration of moving image, this year entitled adventures in motion. Our music video for The Blizzards The Reason was selected to be part of the world tour which starts now. You can find out when onedotzero will be setting up the projectors in your neck of the woods by checking out their website.

Friday, 4 September 2009

We've moved!

We're still knee-deep in boxes and looking for cables that attach one bit of equipment to another, but finally we moved out of our old offices to a new address in lovely Barbican. Luckily, this is five minutes walk from Clerkenwell, so clients who haven't yet updated their Blackberries with our new details won't have far to walk.

Now, all we need to do now is sort out that pesky internet...

Monday, 22 June 2009


Director Jason Arber's short film Aneurysm finally makes an appearance on the Wyld Stallyons site. Initially conceived as a studio test for the Canon 5D Mk II DSLR camera, it quickly became an unsettling peek into some of the darker regions of Jason's mind. Although we can't say for sure, we suspect he was dropped on his head as a baby.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Films to see before you die: When The Wind Blows (1986)

Although it seems an unlikely notion today, back in the 1980s nuclear war seemed a distinct possibility, even a foregone conclusion. The Cold War had pitched the West against the Soviet Union and its allies resulting in a massive arms race and increasingly sinister sabre rattling. After the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the World was almost thrown into a full scale nuclear conflict, the only defence was deterrence, otherwise known as MAD - Mutually Assured Destruction. Both sides had the capacity to destroy each other several times over, so any attack could be construed as suicide. However in the latter stages of the Cold War, with improving accuracy and missile technology, this deterrent was undermined by the doctrine of First Strike: attempting to destroy as much of the opposition's nuclear arsenal as possible.

This period was full of fear and paranoia, a time when the UK government issued a pamphlet entitled Protect and Survive, which demonstrated that they took the prospect of nuclear war extremely seriously. This document was to be one of the inspirations for Raymond Briggs' comic book, When The Wind Blows.

In the 1970s, Briggs had authored several comic books—Father Christmas, Fungus the Bogeyman and The Snowman—that had found success with both children and adults. During the following decade, his work took a darker, more adult tone, beginning with Gentleman Jim (1980), which followed the fortunes of Jim and Hilda Bloggs, loosely based on Briggs' parents.

Jim and Hilda returned once again for the pessimistic and satirical When The Wind Blows (1982), as the couple survive a nuclear blast—no thanks to the contradictory advice given in various government leaflets—but gradually succumb to the effects of radiation sickness. It's a sad and poignant tale set in the remote Sussex countryside, contrasting Jim's unwavering belief that the government has everything under control and the stark realities surrounding them.

The book was made into a powerful animated feature in 1986 starring Sir John Mills as Jim and Dame Peggy Ashcroft as Hilda. It was directed by Roger Corman protégé Jimmy T Murakami, who previously found fame with Humanoids from the Deep (1980), Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) and a segment in the cult animation Heavy Metal (1981).

Murakami managed to craft an animation that remained an almost panel for panel reproduction of the comic book, but introduced some innovative techniques, such as placing the 2D characters in a 3D environment that was filmed with motion control cameras. The result is probably the closest a British movie has ever come to Japanese anime.

Although the threat of a Nuclear winter has diminished, the film still manages to pack a powerful emotional punch thanks to the flawless script by Briggs and the strong characterisation by Mills and Ashcroft, who are perfect in their role as the naïve, retired couple. The movie is grim and uncompromising, but also very human, and it's impossible to feel unmoved by Jim and Hilda's slow, painful decline.

It's arguably one of the greatest British cartoons ever made, up there with Watership Down (1978) and Yellow Submarine (1968). The DVD release comes with a German-produced documentary made while When The Wind Blows was in production and offers a fascinating insight into how cartoons were made before the introduction of computers.

Films to see before you die: Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

A fairy tale for adults is the best way to summarise Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, childlike, magical and full of dark menace in equal measure, the movie is an incredible experience. It could be considered a companion piece to del Toro’s earlier The Devil’s Backbone (2001), and he himself thinks the movie could be seen as an informal sequel. At the 59th Cannes Film Festival, del Toro stated that compared to the earlier movie, Pan's Labyrinth is "a darker, more complex and metaphoric film."

The movie takes place in a post-civil war Spain in 1944, when the 12-year old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) moves from the city to the countryside with her pregnant mother to be with her new stepfather, Captain Vidal (Sergi López). Vidal is trying to eradicate the last of the rebels on behalf of the fascist government, and is cold and merciless, a human embodiment of evil.

A fairy leads Ofelia into an ancient stone labyrinth next to the small village, the centre of which is a spiral staircase cut into the rock which leads to carved plinth and a giant faun (Doug Jones). He tells her that she is the reincarnation of of an ancient princess and gives her three tasks to do before the next full moon. He hands her a blank book, and tells her to read it when she is alone for instructions.

Her first task is to feed a giant toad a handful of stones and pull a key out of its stomach. The second task is to enter the lair of the Pale Man (Doug Jones) and use the key to find a hidden dagger. Under no circumstances should she eat from the great feast the Pale Man has laid out before him. But she ignores the advice and eats two grapes awakening the creature, who has a penchant for eating children.

Meanwhile, Vidal is trying to brutally suppress the rebels whilst trying to discover the identity of the informant in the village who is smuggling antibiotics to the wounded freedom fighters hiding in the woods surrounding the Captain's troops.

Ofelia’s mother struggles with a difficult pregnancy, falling in and out of a fever, which is temporarily relieved when Ofelia, on the advice of the faun, puts a mandrake root in a bowl of milk under her mother's bed. As the rebels finally attack the camp, the faun gives Ofelia one final chance to demonstrate that she is the princess of the netherworld.

The strength of del Toro’s work is that it effortlessly fuses the mysterious, surreal and nightmarish world of fairy tales with the brutal, dark and cruel reality of Spain under Franco. The art direction is astonishing, mixing del Toro’s unique vision with Goya, The Brothers Grimm, traditional folklore and hints of Alice in Wonderland.

Ivana Baquero is astonishing as Ofelia, giving an incredibly strong performance, reminiscent in many ways of Natalie Portman's portrayal of Mathilda in Luc Besson’s Léon (1994). Sergi López oozes evil from every pore in his role as the heartless captain, although if a criticism could be levelled at the film, it's that Vidal is so relentlessly malevolent that he becomes a cipher, and is not so well rounded as some of the other characters.

But this is a minor point for a film which is so wonderfully fantastical and works on so many levels. This film is designed to be allegorical and different meanings can be stripped from it, such as the perils of fascism and dogma and the loss of innocence for both Ofelia and Spain. The film deals with the difficult choices we all have to make and just as the faun is an ambiguous creature, capable of tenderness and violence, the reality of Ofelia's world is for the audience to decide.