Monday, July 26, 2010

Transylvania TV: being a 'puppet extra'

As mentioned in my last post, I got the awesome opportunity to work on a real ‘puppet film set'! That of Transylvania TV - it's a an internet TV show for adults (but not puppet porn) that has a rather cult following. Their website describes it as: “The Retro Monster Comedy That's Really Not For Kids.” So you get the picture.

Currently, they're filming a big Halloween feature: “TVTV Real Meanin’ of Halloween”, which is to be aired on Twin Cities television in October of 2010 and later available on DVD. So I got my very own debut and credit as a puppeteer in a feature film! How awesome is that?

So I got to play two of three different characters that involved a bit of puppet on puppet action (yes I know I said it wasn't porn, however this is what happens when you let me loose with puppeteers for a month!) I walked puppets to and fro past the camera and was also involved in some group scenes at a table. Pretty cool huh?

I learnt many different techniques and manipulation skills by watching and also doing it myself - it was all rather exciting and a little scary too! But not only did I manipulate puppets on camera, but I also got a great insight into how a team of puppeteers all work together in such harmony - all for the love of puppetry. TVTV is the brain child of Gordon Smuder, Michael Heagle and Clarke Stone - along with several others who all put in their time, passion and love for free - simply because they all believe in the project, the people, the scripts and the puppets. Honestly, I can understand why. I was only there for two days, but I was so welcomed, supported, encouraged and embraced into their little family that it was clear that these were some pretty fantastic people. There was constant comedy on and off camera, as well as just pure hard work, passion and determination. Everyone got along so well and there was never a nasty word or comment - which is something pretty special on a film-set in my experience - and I've been on quite a few, however never a 'puppet' film set. It only yet again reaffirmed for me how this adventure just kept taking me to amazing places and just kept inspiring me and strengthening me towards the puppeteer I want to be.

It was such a fantastic experience in so many ways. Not only seeing how something as large scale as this is put together, but also to be part of something so special and being able to leave my little mark on the film as well - and of course meeting such great people! So if you’re reading this and you love puppets, get behind Transylvania TV here: You can watch the episodes, buy the DVDs or T-shirts, or simple read a bit more about them. Their shows really are very funny and I think they have a very serious and exciting future ahead of them! I wish them all the very best and hope one day I'll be able to take part in their work somehow again!

Here is a video that was taken during my time on-set!

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