Blog : Behind the scenes

Starting anew…

Starting anew…

So I managed to integrate the old Puppeteers Unite! Blog on my personal blog. It would be a shame to have years of blog posts be obliterated.
This Blog will be a little more personal and not only dabble in other topics but also showcase more of the behind the scenes projects we work on here at the Creature Works Studio.

The Unsuited Podcast

The Unsuited Podcast

A Podcast for those who are Mascots characters or have ever dreamed of becoming one! The Unsuited Podcast is hosted by Matt, John and Morgan and is a great resource for anyone interested in Mascot work. They cover latest news, teach what they have learned as Mascots and have hilarious stories when in character. An amazing podcast that needs to be heard! Check it out HERE!

Dead Panic Studios Presents: Monsters and Microphones Podcast

Dead Panic Studios Presents: Monsters and Microphones Podcast

I love listening to podcasts; especially those that deal with practical effects, puppetry and industry leaders! Monsters and Microphones is a new Podcast by Dead Panic Studios featuring hosts Christopher Vaughan (Dead Panic Studios- Co-Owner/Executive Producer) and Nick Callow (2d/3d Artist). Their first podcast includes none other than special effects veteran Shannon Shea! shannonsleepswithtriceratopsShannon discusses his 30 years in the movie business creating such amazing characters for Aliens, Predator, Jurassic Park and many more! Please give a listen, subscribe and add a review on iTunes!  Also, buy Shannon’s book: “I’m Rubber, You’re Glue: The True Story of an 80s Monster Maker”.

Beyond the Sock 2015: In Review

10314718_10205561939260522_8795810022628888910_nFellow puppet enthusiasts,

I wish you had been a fly on the wall at Beyond the Sock. If you had, then you would know that the $1350 price tag for attendance would be worth saving for. I can’t think of any place better to enjoy myself while developing my professional skills than this program hosted by the University of North Texas. A brain child of James Martin, a professor in the Radio, Television, Film & Performing Arts portion of the University, Beyond the Sock is sponsored by two different departments at UNT: Department of Media Arts and the Department of Dance and Theatre. It features the teaching talents of Sesame Street puppeteers Noel McNeal and Peter Linz, with the puppet building talents of Pasha Romanowski of Project Puppet. To say that these guys are my professional heroes, is an understatement. The first year I attended the workshop in 2013, I was a nervous admirer. Now I have the pleasure of calling these teachers, my friends. These gentlemen are not only talented, but kind and down-to-earth.

11141338_10205561954860912_7724809932192865300_nThe previous two years attendance have increased my skills professionally, and this year was no exception. Pasha’s online patterns are in a class by themselves, the best available. His patterns at the workshop are even more exciting. Each year I have learned a new technique to add to my skill set as a builder. The pattern you receive is not available outside the workshop and should be considered one of the valuable take-aways of attending. The monkey pattern from this year is now one of the most complex in my personal collection. It’s amazing that beginners and experienced puppet builders alike complete their puppets each year in time for a final video production at the week’s end. Pasha’s instruction and a massive scramble by week’s end ensure that every participant has a video ready puppet to perform on Saturday’s live Sesame Street style professional taping.

22188_10205561983701633_3683008375425970816_nWith a max attendance of 24-26 students, and classes split in two groups alternating between building and performing each day, each attendee gets plenty of individual attention from the instructors. Daily practice in front of monitors teaches participants the art of puppeteering in the style of Sesame Street, the best in the business. Peter Linz and Noel McNeal have both professional experience as puppeteers on Sesame Street and as teachers of puppeteering for Sesame Street’s international television offshoots. The puppeteering portion is a delightful mix of hands-on practice with the polished and playful demonstration of key concepts by two very funny, talented guys. I love watching Noel and Peter. I laugh and smile as I tackle the concepts with their encouragement. With monitors as a reference for puppeteering in frame, this style is not an easy one to master. You and other participants slowly learn this craft in preparation for a final show taped on the last day of the workshop.

Pam-Pasha-PuppetsEveryone at Beyond the Sock knows I love this workshop. I wear my smile every day because I’m tickled to be there. During BTS, I live, eat and sleep puppet for 5 days straight. It couldn’t be more fun. I plan to attend Beyond the Sock 2016. I wouldn’t miss it. Hope to see you there!

Check out “Beyond the Sock” video highlights CLICK HERE to see what you are missing!

Review by Pam Groom

Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm – Kickstarter!!


Jamie Anderson, son of late Gerry Anderson (Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, Space 1999) wants to continue the work of his father by producing one of his father’s series concepts “Firestorm”.

As they describe on their Kickstarter campaign:

Firestorm was originally conceived and developed by Gerry Anderson in 2001 under the title ‘Storm Force’. The series was eventually bought by a Japanese production company and developed as an anime series. By the time it reached the screen it was quite different to the original series Gerry Anderson had envisaged, and we want to go back to those original concepts and develop them as a true Gerry Anderson production.

Firestorm will see a return to several elements that we think are essential for a real Gerry Anderson project:

Practical effects – yep, that’s REAL explosions
Physical sets
Beautifully detailed miniatures
and yes… puppets!
Harking back to the wonderful world of Thunderbirds, we’re calling this updated combination of elements: Ultramarionation.

Here are some of the beautifully crafted puppets being built by the talented folks at Mackinnon and Saunders (Bob the Builder, Postman Pat and Fifi and the Flowertots, to Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox) Their Gerry Anderson connection runs deep – Ian Mackinnon had his very first paid job working on the 1980s pilot show Space Police, and the company was also responsible for the puppets in Gerry Anderson’s Lavender Castle.From concept maquettes, mould making and armatures to costume, hair and paint, their team will always go the extra mile to ensure the characters that are produced create the maximum impact on screen.

2014-09-12_Tokashi sculpting Sam

 

2014-09-15_Noel sculting McCallister 2

 

McAllister Front PRINT

 

Their Kickstarter campaign is chalked full for information and describes exactly what the funding will be used for. Please give to this amazing project!

Pee Wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series comes to Blu-ray!!

Pee-wee-DVD-cover-640
If you were a child (or college student) watching TV in the late 80s, Pee Wee Herman, the cherubic man-child of Pee Wee’s Playhouse, was your patron saint of silly and fun. As a college student, I fondly recall rolling out of bed just before 10am on a Saturday morning to tune in for my wake-up call and weekly inspiration. Cool Cat, Dirty Dog and Chicky Baby were beat-poet, jazz musicians in the Puppetland Band, puppet fish swam in the fishbowl, while Randy, the bully marionette teased and terrorized. Of course, there was Pterry the Pterodactyl, Pee Wee’s ardent sidekick who loved to fly and play catch. There were several other resident puppets including Clocky, Globey, Magic Screen, the flowers, Mr. Window, Chairy and others. Pee Wee’s Playhouse incorporated everything you could love as a young puppeteer including claymation, animation, stop motion effects and wonderful humanette techniques. The psychedelic color palate and cast of characters were an artist’s dreamscape and, no-doubt, instilled inspiration for that generation of merry-makers and would-be puppeteers.

The entire series plus a glut of bonus gems will be available on blu-ray in US and Canada on October 21, 2014. If you were a fan of the recent Wayne White documentary “Beauty Is Embarrassing” with White’s brief focus on his days working on the Playhouse, the included bonus materials looks like a puppeteer’s and Playhouse fan’s dream come true.

From the Shout Factory official release:

Synopsis

TV Guide named Pee-wee’s Playhouse #10 of the Top 25 Cult Television Shows Ever!

All 45 wacky episodes, plus Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, have been METICULOUSLY RE-MASTERED from the original film elements — and now YOU can see this ground-breaking series for the very first time in beautiful HIGH-DEFINITION!

Winner of an amazing 22 Emmy® Awards!

Scream along to the SECRET WORD with Pee-wee Herman and his pals — Jambi the Genie, Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Reba the mail lady, Captain Carl, Magic Screen, Conky, Globey, Chairry, Pterri, Randy and many more! Aaaaarrrrrrrrr!!! I know you are, but what am I!?! Mecka-lecka hi… Mecka-hiney ho!

Includes Bonus Features:

– OVER 4 HOURS of brand-new interviews with the cast and crew, plus never-seen, behind-the-scenes footage—all part of TEN FEATURETTES, including:
– Building the Playhouse
– Opening the Playhouse
– Writing for the Playhouse
– The Look of the Playhouse
– Music of the Playhouse
– The Cast of the Playhouse
– Puppets of the Playhouse
– Animating the Playhouse
– A Very Merry Christmas Special
– Fans and Memorabilia of the Playhouse
– These featurettes include interviews with actors Laurence Fishburne (Cowboy Curtis), S. Epatha Merkerson (Reba the mail lady), Lynne Marie Stewart (Miss Yvonne) and John Paragon (Jambi the genie).
– Mark Mothersbaugh and Danny Elfman explain the music of the show and the Emmy award-winning production design team of Gary Panter, Wayne White and Ric Heitzman explain how the sets and puppets were imagined and produced.
– Animation Supervisor of all 5 seasons of Pee-wee’s Playhouse, Prudence Fenton (Liquid Television) talks about all the types of animation used in the program and animators Peter Lord and David Sproxton (Wallace & Gromit) discuss their contributions.
– Ve Neill, the multi-Oscar winning make-up artist talks about designing the make-up ‘looks’. Two of the shows writers talk about how the scripts were created.
– Other cast and crew explain, in fascinating detail, stories from the production of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. If that weren’t enough, many of the shows puppeteers and voice artists are interviewed about how the puppet characters were brought to life.

Article Written by: David Manley- Up In Arms

Performing Life

This is a documentary about the amazing puppeteers and members of the Puppetry Group (part of the Hunan Puppet and Shadow Art Protection and Inheritance Center) and their passion for performing puppetry.