Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Ten Years!

Today is the ten-year anniversary of the first puppet video I ever put online. "Static and Josh" was completed and uploaded in the wee hours of November 25, 2004.


It was my second year at Mount Allison University; my friend Josh VanMeerveld and I shot the video in my dorm room with a borrowed digital camera.

Static was the ancestor of Moss. He was a "Knuckle-Bopper" practice puppet made by Trish Leeper that I dressed up in a Hawaiian shirt I'd gotten off a dollar-store toucan puppet. I bought a pair of baby pants and tailored them to be half their size, then made a pair of foam legs and stuck the toucan's feet on the ends. (A couple of years later, when I decided to only use puppets that I'd built myself, I kept the shirt, pants, and legs I'd added and rebuilt the rest from scratch.)

When I made this video, YouTube didn't exist yet. In those crazy days, if you wanted to put a video on the internet, you had to upload the file itself to your webspace and try to persuade people to download it to their computers in order to watch it.

The video and audio quality are poor, and the attempts at "comedy" are just embarrassing. The real point of the video was to use a split-screen effect to hide the puppeteer. We shot the video with me fully visible, crouching behind the music stand. Then, without moving the camera, we shot the music stand with nothing behind it. The bottom left quarter of the screen was then replaced with footage from that second pass.

A lot has changed in the last ten years. Since this video first went up, I've done over eighty puppet workshops for children, I've studied at Mermaid Theatre, I've met a ton of people in the puppetry community, and I've built more and better puppets and made more and better films. I can't wait to see what the next ten years have in store.

By an incredible coincidence, since I hadn't even met her yet, today is also my wife Julie's birthday. In fact, we're on our honeymoon in New York City right now. So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take her out to dinner.

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