Friday, July 22, 2005

"Backing up" some new fashioned Mŏd-Vŏd

What is Mŏd-Vŏd? Well is stands for modern vaudeville and it is perhaps best described in this news clip covering the event.

At the beginning of this year I did some background puppeteering to help out fellow puppeteer and puppet builder Matt Ficner and his new project with Elliot Smith and Ian Quick. They were creating a show that was a throw back to the old vaudeville comedy routines with a splash of technology and a pinch of puppetry.

The live stage show was combined with pre-recorded segments that ran throughout the course of the show. I was a part of the video shoot for the production and I puppeteered a couple of roach puppets, as well as doing some other odd tasks behind the scenes.

The show was being created for the Casino du Lac-Leamy as a stage show for their Theatre du Casino. The show ran during February/March (2005) and unfortunately I was unable to see the show. I did however hear that it was very entertaining.

For more information about the show please visit their website here.

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.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Chensational sponsor of Puppets Up!

Well I have moved to my new home and have been trying to set up my new workshop. Things are taking much longer than I thought and I have been without the interenet for about a month so my blog entries have been very scarce. But that does not mean that things are not been happening with Chensational Puppets.

Chensational Puppets has decided to support an amazing puppet event happening in the province of Ontario, CANADA. The event is called Puppets Up! and it is happening just outside of the city of Ottawa, Ontario in a small town called Almonte.

The two day event will involve a variety of puppets and puppetry from all over North America. Each day, professional puppet companies will perform 20 shows in large marquee tents located throughout the downtown core of Almonte. Puppet making workshops, amateur puppet shows and video performances will take place in smaller tents and indoor spaces. Surrounding the performance core will be a constant buzz of street activity including balcony puppet performances, interactive kiosks, buskers, musicians, storytellers, sidewalk art, puppet exhibits, window displays, workshops, skits, face painting as well as souvenir and food vendors.

Chensational Puppets will be at the event both as a sponsor and as a participant. I have agreed to perform a variety of puppet characters from the balconies in the dowtown core of Almonte. I look forward to the event and I hope to see some of you there as well.

For advance ticket sales go here.