Lollipop Man - A poem about the joys of being 50 by Johnny Parker
Looking good in Mohair
Pass me my inhaler
On my bike
All the things I love and like
Chewing hard on tapas squids
I'm the boss
Allowed to be cross
See no reason now to floss
Not too keen on drafty
Capital of France
Elastic waisted pants
Kipper ties are bad
Things have changed since I was a lad
Growing a cucumber
Coach trip shopping
Remember the Sixepence
Spending your inheritence
Comfortable support hose
Unpleasant memories of Spam
Fifty something is the best
Lollipop Man Video
I was more scared of turning 30 than 50. By the time you get to 50 the 'don't give a damn' syndrome is beginning to kick in. It must be something to do with the end of life horizon coming in to view that forces you into action, leaves complacency behind and encourages an attitude of 'if you don't like it I don't care'.
Personally I'm having a fresh start, trying to be a writer and a film maker. It's like starting over as a teenager but with all the life experience behind you. The trick is to use all your experiences positively and not to be weighed down by them.
If you care about not wasting your later years then there can be no excuses and you have to do whatever it takes not to waste your chance. I've got a part time minimum wage job which just about covers the bills and the rest of the time I can write and make films.
As an older person I find I don't need a lot of stuff. You begin to realise that you can't take possessions with you and whatever you leave behind will end up in a Charity Shop. But you can leave a lasting legacy if you do something that people remember and pass on.
The Lollipop Man poem is a summary of some of the feelings that fiftysomethings have. Some of them are my own and some of them are generic for the age group - I probably won't need the Mamogram and I'm hoping I might live to get the Telegram from the Queen!
Not everyone wants to be a writer of course, but there is still that spirit of exploration that makes people want to do some of the things they didn't get a chance to do when they were younger and perhaps had a family to consider and a career to take up all their time. Some people are happy to spend all day in the Bookmakers others have a garden others go travelling. These are good times for the older generation. They have earned it and now they are making the most of it.
Making and animated video of a poem
The Lollipop Man video was done for a Saga Being 50 Competition and was done with a sketch pad, a marker pen and a cheap Mini DV Camcorder. You could easily do one yourself. My drawing skills are okay but with not much time to spare and twenty or more pictures to do I opted for the simple stick man. I'm a baldy guy with a head like a Lollipop hence the title.
It's important to have your words done first - like a script, so that you know what each picture will be about. I managed to do all the pictures without having to rip out too many pages along the way because I'd messed up. But you don't have to use a bound folder. You could do each page on a loose sheet of paper then clip or staple them together. The beauty of a ring binder though is that the pages turn more easily.
I started off by hand holding the camera and turning the pages in real time so that the whole film was done in one shot. But this proved difficult to do all at the same time. So I ended up putting the sketchbook on a table with a little blue tack under it to stop it moving and put the camera on a tripod pointing down.
Post it notes are a great way to add a sort of speech bubble to your drawings. You can have them already stuck to the page or stick them on as you go to add a little extra movement.
The camera is not important. You don't need a camcorder or video camera, you could do an animation like this with a still camera and edit all the shots together to make a slideshow. You could do this with the camera on your mobile/cell phone - easy.
I have a Macbook and so used iMovie 09 to edit the piece. Shooting in one take reduces the amount of editing to a minimum and helps to keep a good momentum and speed to the animation. iMovie is very easy to use and had a feature to share directly to YouTube. Any basic movie editing software for Mac or PC will make a simple animation like this. The whole point here is to be productive and get your work done and out there, not to be spending hours and days refining and crafting. It's not a feature film and people are not too picky about production qualities, it's content quality that counts!
Above all, just experiment and try things. There are no rules. Come up with something that is individual and unique to you.