London Mums Competitions

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Everyone loves a freebie. London Mums partner with selected businesses to offer amazing products for free to members of our organisation and readers of the London Mums magazine.  Don’t miss the opportunity to win our goodies and enter our competitions and prize draws. Over the years we have given away thousands of prizes including children’s DVDs, family films, tickets to events, cinema and West End shows, handbags, beauty products, toys, books for both mums and children.

Win 1 of 3 DVD bundle prizes to celebrate the release of new movie The House of Magic

New kiddies’ movie The House of Magic is released in cinemas nationwide from the 25th July 2014 and to celebrate the launch we are giving away three amazing DVD bundles including Mirror, Mirror
A Turtle’s Tale
Shaun the Sheep: Spring Cleaning.

film the house of magic new quad- hom

The House of Magic story:

Thunder, an abandoned young cat seeking shelter from a storm, stumbles into the strangest house imaginable, owned by an old magician and inhabited by a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos.

Seeking shelter from a storm, abandoned young cat Thunder sneaks into a mysterious mansion owned by retired magician Lawrence, aka “The Illustrious Lorenzo”.

Lawrence shares his fairy-tale world with many animals and a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos capable of whipping up breakfast while rolling out a spectacular song-and-dance routine.

He soon makes Thunder feel welcome, but Jack the rabbit and Maggie the mouse start plotting to get him kicked out. When Lawrence ends up in the hospital, his nephew tries to trick him into selling the house. But its ragtag inhabitants develop a spooky strategy to defend their home. They turn their house into a haunted mansion, using Thunder as their secret weapon…

The trailer:

To enter this competition, please state in the below competition form what’s your favourite movie of all times featuring some sort of magic. Deadline to enter is 10th August 2014.

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Have fun during the Summer Holidays and keep the kids entertained with these FREE ACTIVITY SHEETS – Click on the images below to download the printable pdfs.

activity sheet house of magic door hanger photo activity sheet house of magic image

HOW IT came about

THE HOUSE OF MAGIC is based on an attraction film made around a decade ago. An attraction film is a 4D film lasting 10-15 minutes (a 3D film with physical effects in the theater). It was a 12-minute film called HAUNTED HOUSE.

After SAMMY’S ADVENTURES and SAMMY 2, we were looking for ideas for a feature-length movie and we thought this would be a good one to turn into such a film. Of course, it was a short and we had to turn it into a real story. In fact, the first 10 minutes at the start of our film recall certain shots and decors from that attraction made a decade ago.

In the beginning, the English title was THE ENCHAUNTED HOUSE (enchanted/ haunted), but the word “magic” fits better with the film because the house belongs to a magician and because the characters use magic. So we preferred to call it THE HOUSE OF MAGIC. And it’s not a scary film at all. Even the scene where the potential buyer for the house ends is scared and leaves the house screaming “the house is haunted!” is completely fun because the audience knows the whole thing has been orchestrated by the characters who live in the house.
BEN STASSEN (Producer and director)

 

ANIMATING THE CHARACTERS

There are 50 characters in THE HOUSE OF MAGIC and each one is drawn. Beforehand, there was a lot of research. We tried out different designs and a range of approaches. For Thunder, we needed a young cat, somewhere between a kitten and an adult cat, so in terms of proportions, we did different tests to get the effect we wanted.

We also did sketches of characters, the annoying characters that we enjoyed mistreating. And for Lawrence, we looked for actors that might look like him. Initially, I was looking at Pierre Richard – I thought he was the archetypal old man with crazy gray hair. If it had been a live-action movie, Pierre Richard could have played the role.

There are four stages to creating a sequence.

Firstly, the storyboard, which is the whole film in drawings. Many sequences are discarded, and it helps us slim down the film as much as possible without it being too expensive. We do a 2D animatic that gives us a first feeling for the film.

Then it’s time for the layout, which is when the project goes from 2D to 3D. We position the cameras and the characters in the space and start to really quantify how the different sequences will be broken down into shots.

After the layout is done, the film really starts to come alive.

During the animation phase, all the shots are animated and that’s when the characters become real. The emotion appears along with their facial expressions and the special effects. We also add the character effects, such as the movement of their clothes and hair. Then it’s over to the lighting department who handle the photographic direction.

The final stage is compositing, when we create the ambiance and refine the colors until we have the final image.

We’re very proud of the result. A year ago, I was less happy but now, I’m feeling much better!

JÉRÉMIE DEGRUSON (Co-director)

 

The music

For the music, I was lucky enough to meet up again with composer Ramin Djawadi with whom I worked on my first film, FLY ME TO THE MOON. Since then, he’s been working on major projects such as the series PRISON BREAK and GAME OF THRONES, or films like SAFE HOUSE with Denzel Washington, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, and PACIFIC RIM, but he’s very faithful and has worked on all our films.

Ramin Djawadi has a great talent for creating themes, and themes are always useful in an animation film because you have to create everything – there are no actors who come along and project their personality and take the film in hand. You start with a blank screen, there is no light, no sound and no music – you have to do it all. So having someone like him who knows how to create themes for characters or moods is important.

Whether dealing with commercial songs to which we bought the rights or orchestral compositions, you can either chose the music before you start the animation or when the film is finished. For example, we do it beforehand if we want to animate the sequence to the musical beat. As in the sequence with the ballet, when the cat comes into the house, welcomed by the magician who wants to have a party and starts up the phonogram. At that point, we hear a song and they dance for three minutes. For that scene, the music had to be composed and recorded, or else purchased, before we started.

So when you start working on the soundtrack, you know there are certain places where you need a song, and then all the rest is written according to the visuals. For two months, in his studio, Ramin Djawadi watched the film on a loop. To do a scene, he watched it, he wrote some music and then either it worked or it didn’t. The music has to be synchronized with the finished image.

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