The One That Got Away – Watch it Now

Henry, the star of the show
Henry Otto, the star of The One That Got Away

My brand new short, a 2 minute puppet odyssey about an old fisherman who catches more than he bargained for, is now online to watch:

http://www.virginmediashorts.co.uk/film/4869/the-one-that-got-away#.Ue1bi5WAdGB

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.

Film credits:

Written, designed, constructed and puppeteered by Katharine Lake

Assisted by Emily Currie, Sebastian Fuller, Jo Henshaw, John R. Mason and Ian Tomlinson

Sound design, music and mixing by Matt Katz

Directed, photographed and edited by Neil Oseman

The One That Got Away – Watch it Now

Working with Puppets

The set
The set

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…

  1. Puppets are slow. Expect your shoot to take at least twice as long as it would with live actors.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
Henry, the star of the show
Henry, the star of the show
Working with Puppets

The One That Got Away

Meet the star of my next film, a Virgin Media Shorts entry called The One That Got Away.

Say hello to Henry
Say hello to Henry

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.

The One That Got Away

HENRi

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.

HENRi

The Dark Side of the Earth Podcast #2: Puppet Test

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.

The Dark Side of the Earth Podcast #2: Puppet Test

The Dark Side of the Earth Podcast #1: Woodwork

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.

The Dark Side of the Earth Podcast #1: Woodwork