Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Heeeeere's Johnny!!!

Or rather a puppet that looks like him.

Who is Johnny? The Johnny I am referring to is Johnny Gardhouse. Haven't heard of him? Well I'm willing to bet you have seen him before. If you are Canadian and live in Ontario, you may know him as "the mailman from the Cash For Life commercials. Faaaantaaaastic!", or "the guy from the Sensodyne commercial" where the guy throws the boomerang and as it comes back it is blocked by the Sensodyne tube (before hitting the guy in the head).

For the rest of the world he may be better known as one of the Blockheads, a Canadian Improv troupe who went on Jerry Springer and tricked him (by coming on and selling the world a completely made up story).

For anyone in the comedy scene, Johnny Gardhouse is a mainstay at the local Toronto Comedy club called Yuk Yuks. He is a widely respected comedic talent who has been in a variety of television and commercial spots.

Now that we know who Johnny is, "Why on Earth did I make a puppet of him?"

Well, many months ago I was contact by producer Scott Rondeau. Scott is the CEO/Executive Producer of Hell Creek Entertainment Inc. who are perhaps best known for their edgy gameshow called "Gutterball Alley" for The Comedy Network. Scott informed me that he wanted me to build a puppet of his colleague and good friend Johnny Gardhouse. When asked what he needed it for , he informed me it was for "Johnny's wedding". As a great wedding gift the boys over at Hell Creek decided to do a video for Johnny's wedding, staring none other than Johnny himself. This is all great except for the little fact that he didn't know any of this was happening.

This puppet build offered some unusual challenges. The first is that the decision was made to have Johnny's puppet sculpted with a big smile, raised eyebrows and friendly (but mischievous) grin. Structurally it made the shape of the face a little hard to keep the movement clean, but it ended up working out very nicely.

Another design problem is that Johnny's face seemed to look different in almost every picture that I saw of him. For all I could tell at times he was a different person. For example, Johnny 1, Johnny 2 and Johnny 3. Some cool things that happened is that after seeing the long hair I initially applied to the puppet, Scott decided to leave it on for some "Flashback" scenes of when Johnny was younger. I eventually cut and styled his hair to the way it looks now. What a difference. It really looked much more like him with the hair styled (I will try to post pictures).

Scott was super cool to work with and by all accounts the final video turned out great. Scott has informed me that he intends to use the puppet for one or more future projects. I haven't met Johnny in person yet. A situation that will be remedied in the near future. Although I did meet with Darren Frost, another great guy over at Hell Creek. I have just made plans to meet with "the guys" at the end of this month. Hell Creek Entertainment Inc. and Chensational Productions will have much to talk about. Perhaps a joint project is in the cards.


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