Saturday, September 30, 2006

Meeting Mr. Meaty

This past summer I was fortunate enough to be invited on to the set of Mr. Meaty. For those of you who don't know what Mr. Meaty is, I will tell you. It is a puppet show that is the brain child of The Grogs. The same groups that brought us the children's show called Nanalan.

This new show is for a much older demographic, more like teens and tweens than younger children. The show is about two teens named Josh and Parker who work at a fast food joint called (oddly enough) Mr. Meaty.

The show started out as a series of shorts that aired on CBC here in Canada, but has now evolved into a half hour show. This show takes place in a mall setting. This is where I want to jump in to my take on the show.

Some people have stated that the show doesn't seem good, others say it looks great. My take is that this show is not only amazingly entertaining, in contains some of the best set and puppets around.

The puppets themselves are not your standard Muppet type puppets, but rather very cool and stylized hot foam puppets. I had a chance to try some on and I must say they are not only wicked to look at, but they are very comfortable to boot. Hot foam is something that I want to try to work with very soon.

The puppet builders and puppet wrangles are so talented, I was really just amazed by how much talent there was on this set.

Each puppet was carefully kept safe off to the side of the set. They were covered in a thin clear plastic that reminded me of dry cleaner bags.

There was a building station just beside the puppets where the puppet wranglers never seemed to stop working.

Some of the funny things that I noticed on their work tables were things that I have on my son's change table. Like baby wipes, and baby power; but that aside they had all the regular stuff like contact cement, touch up paints and paper towels which seemed much more straight forward.

Last but not least I was so impressed with the scale and detail of the set. I mean it was a mall set that had the most amazing detail I have ever seen for a puppet show. With stores like Game Barn and Monolife, the fact that each video game cover was a cleverly made prop is just incredible.

That is another thing that amazed me. They had prop builders constantly making the coolest most amazingly detail props I have ever seen.

Ultimately I had a blast on the set of the show. I look forward to it coming out and I for one will definitely be watching it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Puppets Up! Festival Number 2

Well I was very honoured last year to be a part of the first inaugural Puppets Up! festival. This year I had less time and involvement with the festival, however I am a big fan and I still do what I can to support it. This year that meant attending with my family.

Just as last year it had amazing puppeteers and wonderful puppets everywhere. However, this year proved to be a larger event with more visitors than ever.

My family were huge fans of the Canadian Mounties who paraded around the streets with marching music playing from their backpacks. With shorts, bright yellow socks and their intrepid puppet steeds they paraded around the festival with a hilarious, proud and focused look on their faces.

They would often stop and create impromptu marching processions around by-standers. With the most senior of the two officers calling out orders as they went.

Their merry-go-round routine was classic and had everyone laughing. I mean how can you not love these guys?

One of the biggest treats was seeing most (if not all) of Noreen Young's puppets on display. I've said it before and I will say it again, she is a true matser builders and one of the most kind hearted people I have ever met. She is a true puppetry hero of mine.

Her puppets are mostly cast latex rubber and her style very distinct.

Check out these Canadian Prime Minister puppets!

Like last year, this year's festival had balcony puppetry as well and a parade down main street.

This years parade highlights included...

...look alike puppets and their owners...

...and Matt Fincer with this cool mask that he made...

...and clowns on stilts...

...and giant dragons looking this way...

...and that way...

...and mascots...

...and Mounties...

...and big heads...

...and finally, giant puppets.

Now I can't end this festival report without mentioning the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers. This family puppetry troupe are one of the most entertaining puppet troupes I have ever had the pleasure of watching...EVER. I had the chance to talk with them this year and I must say that I predict wonderful things from them in the near future. They are already award winning and the show I saw this year was even better than last year's show. If you ever have the chance to see them, do it. If you have the funds to fly them out to where you are, do it. I promise that you won't regret it.

I hope that my reports help give some insight in to what happens at this great puppet festival. I highly encourage anyone reading this to make plans to visit the little town of Almonte next year for the 3rd annual Puppets Up! festival.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

And the winner was...

How late is this post? Well...let's just say "very late". I have been busy all summer and I am only now catching up. So here goes. A very belated congratulations to Mike Harding of Applefun Puppetry for being the winner of The Glorified Sock Puppet Contest! Mike's entry of Kaal Haarloos was a very simple yet wonderfully constructed puppet.

A special thumbs up to Project Puppet for holding this amazing contest. You can see Kaal Haarloos' acceptance speech here.

Also congratulations to Spencer Lott for his second place winning entry Mr. Fuzzy Face. Check out Spencer's super puppeteering skill in his acceptance speech here.

A great job was done by all those involved.