Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Exit Row: A New Puppet Heap Web Series

If you haven't heard of it yet, check this out:

It's a new web series called Exit Row, created by the folks over at Puppet Heap. We've been following their work since we started building puppets, and recently Kyle even worked with many of their gang at the O'Neill. They are an inspirational group of designers, builders, puppeteers and all-around puppet geniuses who also happen to be a very helpful group of guys and gals. They've been there to answer questions, give guidance, and even a tour or two when Kyle stopped by their place outside NYC a while back.

What's funny about this series is that a few months ago, we started drawing faces on air plane barf bags, both as a cute little joke, and a way to advertise for free. Here's a example of a couple of those little guys:

The caption we leave reads some variation of this: "Sorry you don't feel so hot. Too bad, this would have made a great puppet." And then we add our web address.

It's cool to see how creative minds can take a similar idea and run with it. Hope you enjoy their series.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our Latest Dirty Habit...

Our newest creation was commissioned by FantasyLand Theatricals out of Orlando, FL. I was contacted a while back regarding the possibility of building them a puppet for their upcoming productions of "Nunsense!" and "Nunsense A-Men!" After much discussion, we concluded that this design would be a departure from the traditional Sister Mary Annette - and more toward a saucier, edgier, sexier nun... And thus my ticket to Hell was purchased.

As women of the cloister seldom expose themselves, we were able to let our imaginations wander beneath the habit. After the initial jokes were made, I realized I would soon have to create breasts for a lady of the lord... Now, I know it sounds juvenile and shallow, but there have been a few past projects where I have avoided anatomy for fear of not doing them justice. However, I am proud to say that I have conquered that challenge and am quite proud of what I created!

So if you happen to be in the Orlando area, check out "Nunsense" and/or "Nunsense A-Men!" opening this week at the Pointe!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Fishin' for new Puppet Pics?

I must admit, for a while here on tour, it seemed that Kyle and I were lugging around huge suitcases filled with puppet supplies for nothing...

As we've stated before, building on the road can become very difficult without sufficient time and room to spread things out. It often depends on how long we're in a city, what time commitments we have for the show, and a big one...if there is a place to use contact cement since we have to use it outside.

The past couple weeks though, we're feeling good! Despite an abundance of storms here in Florida, the rain has stopped at all the right gluing moments. We've also had a couple full weeks in large rooms, and Kyle came back with a big boost of creative energy after the O'Neil...all of this in time for a few custom builds.

I took on this one:

I call her Pearl...originally I thought she was a Lolli, but I take it back.

And this is Brutus...originally Brutus. Both fish are for excellent magician and friend, Jason Hudy who has recently decided to incorporate puppetry into his work.

You can see I went for a more raw, fish-scaly look with the combination of reticulated foam and acrylic paint.

Right before I had left for tour I built a fish in the same style, very similar to the same basic shape as Brutus here. I really loved the bright colors I could find in the acrylic paint and had always wanted to give this method a shot. The original fish turned out well, but I learned back then what I should do for the next time...

See, I had tried to paint the foam after the main shapes were completely glued, which is not really the best way to get the paint on evenly. Now in my defense, I was using a head that had been made over a year prior to it's last minute conversion into the body of a fish, but I learned. This time around, I cut the foam shapes out, but before contact cementing I took the paint and went at it like a kindergarten art class project...skipping the paint brush and just pressing it into the foam with my hands, essentially dying it with the paint. By painting before gluing, I cut the build time by AT LEAST half...pumping these two puppets out faster than I've ever created any ONE puppet (at least that I've liked).

Dyeing, you say? So why not dye the foam to begin with, with actual rit dye?

Well to answer the question I'm pretending that you just asked: Because we don't want the room charges for staining the hotel bathtubs. And because the colors really pop with some of the acrylic paints I've found. Rit dye is definitely a future venture for us, but I'm glad to have tried it this way too.

Note: If it's something you plan to do yourself in the future, just keep in mind, there will be a stiffness to your puppet that you wont have with rit dye. It actually adds a certain solidity to the character if you use it to your advantage.