When designing a puppet, it’s very helpful to have an idea of what movement you want it to perform. This way you can concentrate on engineering your puppet for a specific purpose, rather than spending hours puppetizing every limb and then realizing after that you only needed its right arm to move!
When it comes time to start fabricating, it’s always a good idea to enlist the help of friends and family. For my last film I had an assembly line, in which I did digital design and then printed and handed off to Karen who cut out and then handed off to Sarah who puppetized the finished products. A lot of the time I was also cutting and puppetizing, but without the help of my pre-production crew it would have taken 9 months rather than the 3 months that it did.
Some Tips to get you through fabricating: 1. Keep Snacks on hand. Candy, chocolate, chips and gum are the fuel of great puppetientists! 2. Have a TV in the background that you can have your favorite series playing on. During Sock-Vile fabrication, Emily and I got through all 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! 3. Keep lots of lists so you can stay organized and keep track of what you have done and what you have left to do. 4. Recycled cardboard from packaging works great as fabricating material. 5. Think in terms of dynamic movements when designing your puppets. (ie. Don’t rely on a puppet simply walking from the left side of the frame to the right side, over and over and over. An audience will become bored fast!). 6. Think in terms of depth when designing your sets; foreground, middleground, and background. 7. Don’t attempt to do it all in one night. Pace yourself, the Sistine Chapel wasn’t built over night! 8. HAVE FUN!
Next time on 2D Puppet Filmmaking I will be giving some insider tips on Shooting & Editing your 2D Puppet Film. Where can I shoot my film? What equipment and crew will I need? And how do I get to the finish line?
For more cool pre-production puppet videos, check these out:
If you’ve missed my last two entries you can check them out here: