Every so often I’m asked about THE LADY OF NAMES (2011), my sole feature film. What happened to it? How come it’s never been released? Did it really take 14 years to make? Shot on 16mm film, when I look at it today it seems to give off a retro, Rankin Bass Christmas Special vibe. I don’t talk about it much for a number of reasons; it’s a long story, it’s kind of depressing, and I don’t like picking at old scabs. However, I was recently approached and accepted an invitation to do a podcast and while the main discussion was meant to focus on stop motion it quickly turned into an in depth conversation about THE LADY OF NAMES. So if you are interested in the story behind its making I invite you to give the podcast a listen.
I came across this production still (left) from THE LADY OF NAMES while cleaning up files on an old computer. This picture dates back to 2001 but I designed and built the character in 1997. I’ve always loved this guy and 23 years later I still think it’s one of my best designs. There are half a dozen paddles under the face that allowed for some really expressive animation. I’ve moved away from this type of character design as my films have gotten more adult in nature but digging up this puppet has me feeling a little nostalgic. We can none of us go back but it’s sure nice to stop once and a while to see where we’ve been.
Let me start this week by saying I don’t intentionally make things difficult for myself. With the last three shorts I was very mindful during story-boarding to stage scenes in such a way as to minimize the amount of extra props I’d need to build. Not to the detriment of the storytelling mind you but if I didn’t need to show the forth wall of a room, or an extreme close up of a clock then I didn’t. This film is different. I decided early on to go to town, be extravagant, and throw everything at it. Because of that, my tentative prediction that I could finish by January 2021 now seems unrealistic. April 2021 is more likely and as each new set takes shape I think the reasons will become obvious.