I spent the last week working on the puppets, cleaning up their edges, hiding their seams and patching up the rough spots. Just before I paint, I like to check the tension on every joint to make sure it’s how I like it. While doing this, the shoulder on one of the puppets broke. It’s not unusual for this to happen after months of animation but for it to happen now was a little unexpected but it happens. Though not an easy thing to fix, it can be done. While cutting into the puppet to remove and replace the broken part, the puppet’s back joint snapped. This is fatal. There is no way to fix that joint without tearing the puppet apart … but that was the least of my concerns. Why did these 2 joints fail so early and so easily? I removed the foam to see what was going on and there it was, staring right at me. I won’t get into the specifics but suffice it to say I made a very costly and to be honest, a very dumb mistake. Though technically easy to fix, it means replacing the shoulders and back joints on all the puppets. So … what happens next? Well … every puppet will need to be stripped back down to their skeletons, have the defective joints replaced and then they all need to be prepped again for a second foam rubber run. That’s harsh.
I spent the last few days running foam. Foam rubber is a temperamental substance at the best of times. It’s hard to predict the results from one batch to the next even if you do everything exactly the same. Even with all the experience I have using the stuff I’ve never had a puppet come out of the mold without needing some touch ups. There are 6 characters in FORM HELL HE RIDES and each of them will be spending time at the work bench (some more than others) but aside from one puppet which I’m not sure shouldn’t be redone, none of the other 5 need a second run. That’s a pretty good average.
On the festival front, FILTH has received the award for Best Special Effects from the Sin City Horror Fest in Las Vegas. I found this out while watching the Facebook live stream of the awards ceremony. It was a bizarrely surreal moment. It’s also been nominated for awards in 3 categories (Best Foreign Film, Best Production Design, Best Poster) at the Wreck Havoc Horror Film Festival.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working on the final look of the characters for FROM HELL HE RIDES. Those spaghetti westerns were shot in Technicolor and were actually quite vibrant. I’m trying to find the right balance between colour and grit. I think I’m very close. I’ve also been prepping the skeletons, getting them ready to cast in foam rubber. That will be next week’s major project and, if you remember the trouble I had with the FILTH puppets, the most nerve racking procedure when it comes to puppet making. After that … I can start building the first set which I have already laid out. Seems crazy to be ready for that stage.
On the festival front, when you screen in small to medium sized festivals (like I do) it’s not unusual to have the audience vote at the end of the nigh for the film they most enjoyed. This is very prevalent at festivals that have only a single program. At a screening in Berlin this past Sunday I received my first ever audience award. With no representative in attendance or meaningful social media buzz, FILTH won over an audience based solely on its content. I love that. I made FILTH to be a crowd pleasing film and I hope I get the chance to see it with a packed house one day.
If you’ve been following on Twitter you will already know that this has been a very good week. To recap; FILTH has added 4 official selections to its festival run which brings its total to 20. In no particular order they are: (1) Fargo Fantastic Film Festival in Fargo, North Dakota (2) THRILLER CHILLER Film Festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan (3) Haunted House FearFest UK in Morecambe, Lancashire and (4) FESTIVAL OF FEAR in Edmonton, Alberta where it is also nominated for Best Animated Film. There are also a number of screenings coming up including this Sunday at The Castle, Friedrichshain in Berlin, Germany. I’ve updated the screenings page with all the dates and times. GO FILTH!