Music and Information about the World of Animation

 
 

Sprocket Productions

Donkersteeg 31

B-9000 Gent, Belgium

nik"at"niksprocket"dot"org
(don't forget - one @ and one .)
is the email for:
Composer Nik Phelps
&
Journalist Nancy Denney-Phelps

What We Do

Nik Phelps and Nancy Denney-Phelps are both deeply involved in the animation world. Nik composes music for film and conducts workshops on film music and composition, and Nancy writes about animation, animation events and animators. Nancy has written for Animation World Network (AWN), Animatoon and Cartoon Magazines.

Look below to read about and hear my work with film, and further belowthere is a set of interviews about my work process.

Go HERE to see Nancy's blog for AWN.


Original Music and Sound Design for Film

I've been composing music for film since 1989, and have been working with animators since 1995, when I did music with the Club Foot Orchestra for the CBS TV animated series The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat. Films I have worked on have won numerous awards, from Brooke Keesling's 2001 Student Academy Award and Emmy Award winning Boobie Girl to Nina Paley's 2008 feature film Sita Sings the Blues, which won the Grand Prix at Annecy among others. My goal is to create a unique and effective score for the filmmaker at a reasonable cost. Contact me at the (disguised) email address above about your film project, .


Music for Contemporary Animation

What performance art companies like New York's Wooster Group did to create a forum for unusual stage talents like Spalding Gray, The Sprocket Ensemble project does for the rich new talents of independent filmmakers and animators. A collaborative performing arts endeavor between composer/performers of live music and directors of short film and animation, the Sprocket Ensemble liberates the excitement of live concert performance to create a new milieu for the appreciation of diverse new forms and talents in the cultural development of American film. The Sprocket Ensemble's collaborative series of screenings set to original live musical performance brings a new audience to the world of animation today.

Scoring for two to ten players according to the program, Nik both conducts and plays with the Sprocket Ensemble. He performed weekly in San Francisco and toured extensively with the group, appearing at festivals, museums, schools and clubs throughout America from 1997 through 2006. Since moving to Gent, Belgium in 2006, Nik has taken his ensemble to Portugal, Scotland and Poland, and regularly writes for and plays on film projects.


Films with Nik's Music

Excerpts from some recent films I've worked on:

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Nina Paley's Fetch! - I've worked with Nina since 1998, and she constantly amazes me with her talent! This was her first film in Flash. (Whole film)

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Nina's new feature film Sita Sings the Blues, which uses some of my music, is now in release. It won numerous prizes at film festivals - Berlin, Annecy, Trickfilm Stuttgart and Zagreb among others. See Nina talking about Sita and her work(and hear my music in the background!) HERE

Boobie Girl by Brooke Keesling - I have always enjoyed working with student animators, and this was Brooke's graduation film at CalArts. This sweet little autobiographical story was the cause of much controversy when it was included in the Ann Arbor Film Festival, due to its title, which inflamed right wingers who hadn't even seen the film.

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The Additional Capabilities of the Snout by Ivan Maximov - I've loved Maximov's work ever since I first saw his films at the KROK Festival in the Ukraine in 2001, and I'm pleased to finally have collaborated with him on his new film.

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Copenhagen Cycles by Eric Dyer -Eric uses innovative twists to traditional techniques. Copenhagen Cycles is done with zoetropes.

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Gato sem nome by Charlie Blue - Charlie is a Lisbon based filmmaker, and this is a lovely short based on a children's story by Natercia Rocha.

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Clips from The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat

Here's how I got into doing music for animated film in the first place:

In 1995 the Club foot Orchestra got the contract to do the music for this crazy, great Film Roman CBS TV series. For one of the episodes, I wrote a song, "Bessie's Song" which was consequently nominated for an Annie Award by ASIFA Hollywood. After meeting and working with these talented and fun animators, I thought it would be a great thing to continue to work in the animation field.

Don't String Me Along - For the first week's show, I got to write this whole 7 minute episode, a first for me, since always before, we had split up shorter cues between the 6 composers in the group.

 


Workshops and Lectures

An important part of the Ideas in Animation project is my committment to illustrate the important relationship between music and the moving image in my work with festivals, independent animators, and educational and civic institutions. I work quite a bit with students of all ages, both by providing music for film projects and in giving informative and entertaining talks and workshops.

In July, I went to the Animator 2010 Animation Festival in Poznan, Poland doing a 5 day music/film workshop and also a film concert with the Sprocket Ensemble. The audiences were great, I had a lot of fun. This type of workshop is becoming popular at festivals, with a great response from animation professionals and animation enthusiasts alike!

In October and November, I will be going to Frederikstad, Norway to give music workshops in schools and at the Frederikstad Animation Festival on creating music for film, and on accompanying films live. This is quite popular with students and young musicians, and is open to interested participants of any age.

An Interview

Here is a series of short parts of an interview by musical artist and cultural historian Solange Guillaume which outlines my work process and workshop topics.

 

Nik Phelps, Composer for Animation Films Part 1 from Solange Guillaume on Vimeo.

Nik Phelps, Composer for Animation Films, Part 2 from Solange Guillaume on Vimeo.

   

Interview with Nik Phelps Part 3 from Solange Guillaume on Vimeo.


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Tax deductible donations to The Sprocket Ensemble can now be made through their fiscal sponsor, The San Francisco Film Society. Go to their website, and scroll down to "Sprocket Ensemble".


Sprocket Productions
Donkersteeg 31
9000-B Gent
Belgium

nik at niksprocket dot org

is the email for:

Composer - Nik Phelps
Journalist - Nancy Denney Phelps
Webmaster -
Nik Phelps

SITE DESIGN BY LANCE ALEXANDER

Copyright © 1999 - 2009 Nik Phelps