Sunday, 30 October 2011

A Feast of Layouts

After years of research and dedication Fraser Maclean's new book 'Setting the Scene - The Art and Evolution of Animation Layout' is out now. The Last Belle is included inside as part of the material on Roy Naisbitt's legendary work at the layout desk, including some of his previously unpublished roughs and final background work from 'The Thief and the Cobbler' and 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'.

As part of the promotion for the book Fraser, Roy and Pixar layout maestro Scott Caple will be giving a talk at the Bradford Animation Festival on Saturday 12th November, and we'll have The Last Belle there too as an example of Roy's latest work.

To link to the festival click here
To link to Fraser's book on Amazon UK click here
To link to Fraser's book on Amazon USA click here  

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


These blogs are a great way of posting information, but they're annoyingly set up to make it difficult to respond to individual comments. So to those who have posted nice things about The Last Belle, and to those who have spoken to us after the London Film Festival screenings : Thank You!

John Leatherbarrow, Jim Maguire (co-writer), Neil Boyle,
 Lyn and Roy Naisbitt at the London Film Festival (photo by Ed Roberts)
And in reply to a recent post asking where we will be screening next... watch this space! We have some more festivals being lined up here in the UK, and some more planned for various locations around the world. As soon as we have confirmation of any screening I'll post it here.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Last Belle has just finished its final screening tonight at The London Film Festival where we had the pleasure of being part of a programme of shorts including new work by Barry Purves and Spike Jonze. Thanks to everyone at the festival for making us so welcome.

The National Film Theatre tonight, lit up against the Thames

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Crew Screening

The Last Belle had its first screening last week in front of an audience of crew members and friends, and a very happy evening it was. In keeping with the theme of 'old and new' that keeps recurring in all aspects of The Last Belle, the audience ranged from 3 to 81 years of age. Once the younger ones had been tucked up in bed, the older ones headed to Soho's 'The Dog and Duck' to help wet the film's head. Here are a few pictures from the night (photos by Simon Maddocks)

Upstairs at The Dog and Duck

Rod Howick (voice breakdown), Bella Bremner (sole assistant animator on The Last Belle)
and Roy Naisbitt (legend, and layout artist)

Mark Naisbitt (animator) and Rebecca Neville (producer)

Brian Stevens (one of the great names from British
animation and a great friend too)

Tanya Fenton (who patiently endured 4 or 5 years of being my assistant
animator at Richard Williams studio) and John Cousen (who ran
the Effects Department at the Williams studio)
Mark Naisbitt and Neil Boyle (director/animator)

Roy Naisbitt, Sam Spacey (tracer) and Angeline De Silva (painter)

The editing department: Chris Richmond (editor), Ivan Naisbitt (chief editor)
Mark Naisbitt, and Paul Naisbitt (editor)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Web Site

The web site for The Last Belle is now up and running at, or you can click here. We hope to have a teaser trailer soon too...

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


At the start of the project I decided we needed to come up with an appropriately chunky 1970s style wallpaper design for our taste-challenged character Wally. In order to research this I ended up with co-animator and layout artist Mark Naisbitt in the vaults of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Tucked away inside this labyrinthine building are endless examples of material, clothes, decor and assorted design from across the centuries, including massive tomes of wallpaper samples through which we were allowed to leaf with gloved hands, as if they were ancient religious texts. More and more volumes were brought up from the bowels of the building and wheeled towards us on trolleys. We spent a whole afternoon poring over this stuff - thousands and thousands of designs lovingly stored for history. Mark sketched several ideas based on the 'feel' of the period we had chosen, and finally we agreed on a new design. Mark christened the design 'Lozenge'.

This is 'Lozenge'...
...and here it is multiplied up.
Back at the studio Mark spent some time hand-drawing the design - with a little help from a photocopier - into a variety of perspectives so that we could 'wallpaper' the various angles of shot needed.

With subtle perspective...

...and more extreme.

Here's the final shot: a drunk's-eye-view of the wall clock.
Researching stuff like this is one of my favourite parts of the film making process - it takes you to places you probably wouldn't otherwise go, and introduces you to people you might not otherwise meet; and it's a chance to get away from the usual - sitting in a slightly darkened room staring into a monitor or a lightbox.