In this blog I will look at a project undertaken by myself and Chris White (White-Knight Productions); the ins and outs of the process, the trials, the triumphs. An incredible learning experience... this is the story of "Pastiche"
Chris and I had been talking about this idea since we met in 2008, always as a fun idea, neither of us believed we would ever attempt it. The basic concept was a sitcom structure, set in Melbourne with a University backdrop, following the exploits of a group of first year uni students, the cast made up of actors and puppets.
Late 2011 I began building puppets ("Muppet" style lip-sync puppets), this spurred by Chris and myself performing in a puppet musical, "The Magical Oak Tree" in the Fringe Festival (see gallery for pics). All of a sudden this fun idea of ours seemed possible!
We began discussions with our vast network of talented creatives and soon had rounded up a team... writers, director, DOP, sound, costumes etc. We were on our way! We had a mild distraction in the form of the 2012 MICF, deciding on a whim that we would test the waters with an original murder mystery featuring puppets built by me... but I digress, that's a whole different story! (see the gallery for pics of "Who Killed John Bearington III?).
We first developed a 5 minute promo piece to use for a Pozible crowd funding campaign. This in itself provided a significant challenge, however with the support of our friends, family and a host of unknowns our campaign was a success and we received the funding we needed to film a pilot episode.
After holding auditions and with an excellent cast on board, we could begin production. We worked the schedule over two weekends and had an incredible time. We faced many challenges filming the puppets, our director Matt Smolen (balloontreeproductions), had never worked with puppets before and rose to the occasion with enthusiasm and optimism that made for a fantastic atmosphere on set.
With the shoot behind us, through the editing process we started to notice some holes in the quality of our work. It was a rude awakening but soon became clear that we had bitten off much more than we could chew. This was our first attempt at filming with puppets and we had decided to try a full 22 minute episode. Plus the puppets themselves were some of the first I ever built and left a lot to be desired by the puppeteers. Despite the incredibly talented cast and crew, the final result did not live up to the standard we had been aiming for.
We deliberated for weeks on how to proceed. To release something that we ourselves weren't happy with would not bode well for the show's future or our own as artists. To not release it felt unfair to all those who had volunteered their time to making our idea come alive. We came to a compromise and decided to release a highlights reel, something that would showcase the best parts of the production and give everyone something to remember the fun we had. The end result is a three minute video that we are very happy with. You can view the video in my gallery.
Although this project did not go exactly as planned, we gained so much from the experience. We learned a lot about the process and gained insight in to the difficulties facing us in future such endeavors. I am very proud of everything we achieved and hope to attempt something along the same vain in the future. Huge thanks to everyone who contributed to "Pastiche". I can't thank you enough!
In two weeks I begin a new adventure, training at the London School of Puppetry. Who knows what ideas will be in the works from here on out! Keep your eyes on this space for updates!