Here’s a behind-the-scenes featurette looking at the making of my little puppet film.
This featurette was an experiment in shooting and editing entirely on my iPad, so please excuse the poor sound and clunky cutting.
Click here to watch The One That Got Away itself. Please help the film make the shortlist of the Virgin Media Shorts competition by visiting that link and using the tweet button underneath the video. The entry with the most tweets between now and July 28th will be shown in cinemas nationally.
It’s an entry to Virgin Media Shorts, and you can help us make the shortlist by using the tweet button under the video. The film with the most tweets between now and Sunday (28th) gets a guaranteed place on the shortlist, meaning it will be shown nationally in cinemas and be in with a chance of winning the filmmakers £30,000 to fund their next project.
Please note that only the tweet button (not Facebook, Google+ or any of the others) can be used to register a vote. Alternatively you can write your own tweet, so long as it includes the name of the film – The One That Got Away – followed by the hashtag #VMShortsVote.
Thanks everyone. Stay tuned all week for The-One-That-Got-Away-related goodies, including a behind-the-scenes featurette tomorrow.
Written, designed, constructed and puppeteered by Katharine Lake
Assisted by Emily Currie, Sebastian Fuller, Jo Henshaw, John R. Mason and Ian Tomlinson
Right now I’m in the middle of shooting The One That Got Away, a tale of an old man, the sea and a mermaid, told using marionettes. Puppets are a fairly new thing to me, my one prior brush with them being the seven-foot-tall Wooden Swordsman in The Dark Side of the Earth. Here are some things you might want to consider if you’re thinking of going all Thunderbirds yourself…
Puppets are slow. Expect your shoot to take at least twice as long as it would with live actors.
Puppets can’t do much. You’ll need to break your shots into small chunks because it’s difficult to make a puppet do multiple different things in the same take. In the edit you’ll find yourself favouring the wider shots because the body language of the puppets will typically be far more expressive than the face.
Make time for rehearsals. It’s a lot of work to build puppets and you may forget, or run out of time, to make sure they will move convincingly ahead of the shoot. Even an experienced puppeteer will need time to get to know your puppets in order to get the best out of them.
Think carefully before building your sets. Are they going to be big enough to get the shots you need without seeing off the edge? There can be a tendency to focus on making everything work for one master wide shot, but what about your reverses – is there enough set for those too? And where will your puppeteers stand/sit/crouch/lie to operate the characters? If you’re using marionettes you must consider the strings as well, ensuring that no part of the set or lighting equipment will get in their way.
Sound design and music are important to any film, but with puppets and animation they will often have to do more than their fair share of the work to breathe life into the characters. Get someone good on board to take care of this vital area.
Here is a visual progress report on my Virgin Media Shorts entry for this year, The One That Got Away. Katie has been doing some great work, and thank you to Jo Henshaw and Emily Currie for helping out too.
Meet the star of my next film, a Virgin Media Shorts entry called The One That Got Away.
He’s being made by my wife Katie, on whose idea the film is based. As usual, you can follow the making of this project right here at neiloseman.com
Meanwhile Stop/Eject is within reaching distance of completion. All the music, sound and VFX are in place. This weekend the final credits roller will go on, and on Monday Jose Pereira and I will do the final 5.1 surround sound mix at Alchemea College near Islington.
Work is gathering pace on my next major production too, the title of which I’m still keeping secret. Currently the script is at fourth draft stage, and I hope to reveal some of the behind-the-scenes talent attached soon. Stay tuned.
I have to share this amazing short film I discovered recently thanks to nofilmschool.com. HENRi is a 20 minute crowd-funded sci-fi movie about a computer that builds a robot body for itself and tries to become human. It stars Margot Kidder (best known as Lois Lane in the original Superman movies) and Keir Dullea, who flips his famous role as David Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey to play the titular computer. But the human characters are only a small part of this film. Shot on beautiful quarter-scale sets, the real star is the HENRi robot, realised through a combination of rod puppetry and first rate CGI. Trust me, this is one of the most unique and awesome shorts you will ever see and well worth every penny of the £1.19 rental fee.
Production of the insanely ambitious British fantasy adventure movie The Dark Side of the Earth begins with a single pilot scene, featuring a Victorian swordfighting robot. Director Neil Oseman and Sword Master A. J. Nicol put the puppet robot through its paces. Filmed by Gerard Giorgi-Coll and Simon Willcox.
Production of the insanely ambitious British fantasy adventure movie The Dark Side of the Earth begins with a single pilot scene, featuring a Victorian swordfighting robot. Model Unit Supervisor Mike Tucker (Atonement, Doctor Who, Red Dwarf) explains how the full-size puppet will work.