I wanted to create a long tunnel but because I don’t have unlimited space the set was built using a forced perspective. The front is 4 feet wide by 2 feet high and over its 7 foot length it tappers down to 1 foot wide by 6 inches high. The photos hopefully make it clear. All the detailing gets progressively smaller as well to give the illusion of distance. Everything at the front of the set is 75% larger than everything at the end of the set. That includes the scale of the graffiti and the props. It’s very effective but … the trade off is that you can only shoot the set from a limited number of angles. However, I think I’ve constructed the scene in such a way that none of that will matter.
The first day of filming is unique in the life of a film. I always get a little anxious on that day for what are probably obvious reasons. Is the set ready? Is the lighting ready? Are the puppets as good as I can make them? Is the script any good? Do I really want to make this film? What am I doing? You get the idea. Even though I’ve spent close to year working on FILTH the start of animation is a different animal altogether. Up until now it’s all felt like theory. Not anymore.
Back in January I posted my original character concepts for FILTH. That was long before I built anything. I’ve been doing a lot of painting this week. I put the finishing touches on the puppets today and I thought it fitting to show them with the original designs to better illustrate the evolution of the cast from concept to completion. Some characters strayed from my original idea but for the most part they remained extremely faithful in spirit if not in actual execution. Not a bad looking motley crew.
I finally have a perfectly cast puppet. It’s taken 3 weeks and 7 runs but all my puppets are now foamed up. It was an experience which seems unlikely to be repeated any time soon. So why did it work this time? WHO KNOWS! I have my theories but I may never know what really went wrong (or right as the case may be) I spoke with the people who manufacture the foam who helped me narrow down what could be the problem so a big thank you to Arnold Goldman at Monsters Lab. If nothing else this episode will change the way I prep my sculpts, molds and skeletons before running my next batch of foam. Of course … it may be three to four years before I run any new puppets so I really won’t need to worry about it until 2020.
Remaining positive in the face of adversity is not easy. I’m fortunate. I’m able to maintain (much to the annoyance of those around me) a stubborn steak of optimism in my disposition. After a third disastrous run, do I know why this puppet won’t foam up? Maybe … maybe not. Truth is I may be no closer now than I was when I started. It’s all just a guessing game at this point but I’ve made some changes to my procedure and ready or not, I’m prepping my little Michelin Man for another go. I won’t bore you with the specific changes I’ve made but I love a challenge and as the stakes get higher (my poor mould is really starting to crack) I can’t help but feel a little giddy about what might happen next … like a good horror movie.
There was no way I could put this off. With yesterdays successful run, I got up today and knew I had to run the last puppet again. Unfortunately the results were less than stellar and the mould has taken the brunt of it. I can epoxy it back together and because it’s his back side it shouldn’t be a problem.
As for the puppet, the run was much better than the first attempt but it’s still suffering from the same issues. I have to let the mould cool before I can patch everything up and try again. I will have to wait a few days to let the epoxy set before I can run this again. My quiet resolve has turned into dark eyed determination.