Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Get Ready for Slick Silly! (part 2)

I thought I would post a little more information regarding the "inside scoop" about working on this project. As I said, the inside footage was shot against a green screen background. The puppets were large puppets. Each puppet had anamatronic mechanisms that moved either the eyebrows (Willy) or the eyelids (Slick). The puppets were beautiful, but there was one issue that the puppeteers were able to give feedback to Damien James about. The weight.

You see Damien took the weight into consideration by using light weight foam and a variety of other techniques. The bottom line is that these puppets had heavy metal gears in them and there is only so much you can do to make them lighter. The result is that my arm (and shoulder) got a workout that I haven't had since varsity football. Damien is a great guy and took the feedback very well. Much like myself he cares about how his puppets perform. He even sent an instruction video for the two puppets. It was a really nice professional touch.

The green screen shoot took place inside Snap Media's office building. The people there were great and the setup was very functional. We performed the puppets by sitting on rolling chairs. I started out doing all the basic things a puppeteer would do with a puppet. Making sure there was a slight bounce to the walk, etc. By the end of it both Jay and I were using a contraption to hold our arms up.

I did a bunch of prop building for the production as well. Here is a picture of the Monkey Dance map that I made. It was another great experience for me. I have been doing my best to expand my services so that I will be able to offer future clients more that just puppet building. I am personally very happy with the engine that I built.

The music for the show was equally as awesome. The music was composed by Ben Rogalsky and Luke McKay. The voice actors (for the trucks) and the puppeteers went into the sound studio and sing these songs for the final edit of the shows. I thought it was funny enough for me to make my voice sound like a ten year old money, but then to have me sing in the voice, that was no easy task. What a great challenge though. I loved it! Two of my personal favourite songs has to be the song I sing (Slick sings) called Moment and the song Dig-Push (that Dylemma sings). To hear all of the rough cut tracks (performed by the composers) click here.

One of the toughest critics of my work (much like most performers I know) is myself. During a few of the song segments while shooting we didn't have the music to lip sync to. Jay had one part where he had heard the song over a cell phone and had to try to lip sync to it using the cell phone. Not an easy task, but really it was his only option.

Otherwise it would be like hitting a target blindfolded after being spun in a circle ten times. Speaking of which, the most painful moment for me is to watch myself trying to lip sync to a song that I didn't have the words, tune or tempo for. The final edit did a great job at trying to cover up the fact. Although I know it is not a knock on my puppeteering (how could I have known what the song sounded like without ever hearing it) but puppets whose mouths are out of sync is a real pet peeve of mine; so it is still difficult to watch.

But what production doesn't have its own set of challenges? They all do and the thing that matters the most is the final product. I was very happy with my performance and I can't say enough about what a great puppeteer Jay Williams is. The crew that was involved was like none I had ever worked with before. All were extremely talented.

After speaking with producer Nic Sulsky he reports that the final interactive component is practically done and is absolutely amazing. I trust his opinion and I can't wait to see it. If it is as good as the live action stuff then I will probably flip, because as I said before I am so impressed with those final edits.

The next step is to announce the release of the final 5 DVD set and then have the show shopped around as a possible series. I can't wait until the disks finally come out. I'll post when they do.


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