Into the Stuffing

4 Sept 09 Update

September 4th, 2009 · No Comments


Test shots should be a go for the first week of October. I still have to confirm with the puppeteers closer to the date. And I am still trying to guarantee access to the green screen studio and permission to shoot on campus during that week; everything at a university seems to take time, especially during the back-to-school period.


If I didn’t mention it before, I have a former props master for a theatre working on a puppet for me. His name is Garry Gish, and he’s also willing to make sets and props of wood and metal for this project – which may be very important if I go with the new script I’m working on.

I have a puppeteer, Noe Cropsal, who’s willing to help on my marionette, starting mostly in November. Hopefully he and Garry can work closely together on this character. I also have another puppeteer who may be helping on Stephanos, the bunraku-style puppet.

In addition to making puppets and reworking the script, I’ve been meeting with potential crew members. There are a couple additions:

Matt Sherman is my sound editor. He comes with a boom operator, and they should both be available for test shots in the first week of October.

Hyacinthe Carle is a general crew member. He’s done some DoP work in the past, and I think he’ll make a good addition to the crew. I also have another general crew member / PA: Menara Simeone.

I’m going to meet with a film editor soon. If I work with him, we’ll likely be using Avid to edit and composite. Even if I don’t work with him this may be necessary; I have access to the Hexagram labs at Concordia, and the only Hexagram labs that are set up for HVX are Avid suites. So this project will likely be completed on a PC – which means I have to reformat my external hard drive, and find space to move all my backup files. Oh well, I needed to reformat and zero out that drive before shooting anyway . . ..

(I am shooting on HVX because it is the minimum quality of video format that will have enough colour information for good compositing – and I suspect that I’ll be working in front of a green screen alot.)

After I return from TIFF there are a few other people I shall meet, to fill most of the remaining spots on crew. I hope to keep a PA spot or two open for Concordia undergrads, to help them get a little experience with a more pro crew.


As mentioned, Garry Gish is building a hand-and-rod puppet for me (Doug). I’m nearly done with Jack Sadness, a sock puppet hobo. And I’ve been doing tests on Kirby, a giraffe hand-and-rod puppet.

To design Kirby, I cut apart some stuffed toys (ouch), and used them to build a basic paper pattern. Then I cut all the pieces I needed out of paper, taped the whole thing together, and began to make alterations directly on the paper pattern. I used computer paper with masking tape to attach the pieces, which I can remove and replace without damaging the paper. This way I can cut away the pattern to approximate the right shape of the final puppet without a lot of trouble, re-connnect the parts quickly thereafter, and even add tape or extra paper to fill gaps.

I’m finding it to be a very quick and efficient method for reworking a pattern to fit a particular character. The disadvantage is that the pattern has very little flexibility – so I’m keeping the pattern a slight bit too large right now. This way, when I work in cloth I’ll have a bit of leeway in my seam allowances so that I can hopefully fix any problems that arise.

So far, so good. I’ll probably post some images of this technique when I’m done with Kirby.


Soon I’ll be posting:

  • sketches of all the main and regular characters, plus
  • photos of the puppets as they are completed

Stay tuned!

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