Phauntlefail and the Finish Line

Posted by Steve on Apr 13, 2010 in Characters, Costumes, Production | Subscribe

It’s been a bi-polar week or two here at Frown Town HQ.  Phauntleroy’s inaugural run made clear a fundamental design flaw undermining the entire ’stillborn fetus in a jar puppet’ operation.  While steps are being taken to work around this failing, the rest of the puppets are finally coming together.

Here’s the finished Phauntleroy stretching out in his jar.  Looks better than I’d hoped but unfortunately the silicon cement I used to seal the gap between his cable and the jar proved to be entirely insubstantial.  The cable pulls right through the seal at the slightest tug and the olive green faux-formaldehyde begins to pour out.  If this sort of thing happened while we were shooting, while Phaunt was precariously harnessed to another puppet overhead, it would be no small catastrophe.

Consequently I’m going to have to cut his cable and find him a new jar.  We’re gonna go with two puppets, one motionless and one twice as large, which can be operated by hand.  The small one’s the scale prop and the double-sized doppelganger will be used for closeups and — with a bit of sly digital compositing — slotted into wider shots as well.  A massive set back, but one that will produce ultimately superior results.  Fail better.

But all is not lost, as the rest of the gang gets glued together.  This pile of dismembered children got stacked when I glued on the arms and necks.

Generally speaking you don’t see a puppets’ legs.  That’s on account of the often-bearded older gentleman standing beneath them with his arm up their bums.  However, with a bit of careful staging, some of our puppets will be kicking it bipedally.  Patrick’s among the chosen few and, seeing as flip flops are his signature footwear, we had to give him some toes.

We’ve also been buying up childen’s clothes at Thrift Town and Salvation Army, and then spending a lot of time tailoring and customizing them to suit our rag-tag band of latchkey kids.

The color palettes are really coming into their own with the costuming.  We’ve been arduous to the point of obsession making sure that everyone’s individual palette remains consistent but that there is a substantial amount of interplay between color palettes based on the personal connection between characters.  For Orly this has meant a lot of purples, greens and golds.  All his clothes were cut to size and resewn.  Then I added buttons and patches sewn on with big clumsy stitches of yarn in complementary colors.

Doogan’s freakish frame is also finished and here he is roughly fitted together for a performance test.  As you can see, he’s more than a bit massive.  But that was always the idea.  Nobody tussels with Doogan.

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