"I first heard The Carny on the soundtrack of the film Wings of Desire. Just prior to seeing it, I'd heard a song called Sad Waters by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, which pretty much blew away everything I'd been listening to up until that point. Two weeks later, I'm watching the film, and this amazing piece of music comes on. Once again, it was its haunting sadness that appealed to me, plus Cave's wonderful lyrics.
"The Carny combines circus music from hell with a wonderful story about a bunch of freaks, their sadistic owner and an old horse named Sorrow. Because the lyrics read like a short story, it seemed to suggest a film - a straight visual interpretation of the text. In hindsight, I'm not sure that it's a valid thing to do, but it seemed like a good idea at the time, so I started working on a storyboard shortly after seeing the film.
"A friend of mine had taught himself LightWave, so our idea was to shoot as much as possible as live action and combine it with 3D, heavily textured in charcoal to match my designs. I got some development money, although ultimately no one would fund the project as they felt it was technically a tad ambitious. But it did give me the opportunity to meet Nick and the rest of the band, who were really enthusiastic and full of encouragement. A few years after this, I got a call from them to see if it would be possible to include the storyboard on their 'Best of...' video compilation, but as I was living in Copenhagen at the time, it was too difficult to organise.
"In a way, though, I did get to make a film based on a Nick Cave song: JoJo in the Stars is very much my Sad Waters. If I'd have been a rock star, it would have been a weepy song, but as it is I'm an animator, so it's a cartoon."
HEAR FOR YOURSELF
The Carny can be found on Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' 1986 album, Your Funeral, My Trial, released by Mute. A unique voice in modern music, Cave continues to release albums regularly, the most recent being 2004's Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus
www.mute.com (opens in new tab)
Marc Craste is a Senior Animation Director at Studio AKA in London. JoJo in the Stars went on to win the 2004 BAFTA Award for Best Animated Short Film www.studioaka.com (opens in new tab)