SUMMARY: A pianist procrastinates in order to avoid rehearsing a Debussy composition.
WHY IT’S HERE: Canadian animator Richard Condie’s ‘Getting Started’ is a little masterpiece focusing on the minutiae of the condition of being unable to settle. Following ten minutes in the life of a pianist who just cannot seem to get started with his rehearsals, Condie’s trademark perversity seems to be in full force in his choice of subject matter. After all, how is the condition of being inanimate ever going to make for a good animated short? At first it seems to be a budgetary concern, as Condie holds for a minute on a still shot of an open door while we listen to the pianist’s activities offscreen. However, when he re-enters the room the full genius of Condie’s short becomes apparent. The chronic procrastinator is not inanimate at all. Rather he is the victim of a multitude of pointless, tiny little movements all designed to distract himself from the task in hand. The character’s frustrated monologue is accompanied by a hilarious stream of aimless endeavours which gradually but emphatically drive him into a piano-gnawing frenzy. ‘Getting Started’ is a great introduction to Condie’s work. His recognisable style is in evidence but the surrealism and grotesquery that characterised some of his brilliant later shorts are reined in here in favour of a witty social realism. There can be few viewers who will not recognise the agony of trying and failing to start out with something important which Condie reproduces with such accuracy and wit.