Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Taking Flight

Dear Reader,

The cake alone made Alien Two's birthday a pretty amazing affair, but the chaos didn't stop there! Check out the laughter-filled clip to see the precursor to Squirrel King flight:

video


All we have to do now is turn the harness back-to-front, add some wings, some feathers and pull those beaks we made earlier this year out of storage!


The rest of the weekend was spent shopping, principally for a new bed to ameliorate our sleeping situation; when everyone moves into our bed, I can now move into the Aliens' new improved sleeping digs. As an added bonus we are now inundated with our favored construction material - cardboard. I just have to convince the Aliens to share :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spectacular Rainbow Connection

Dear Reader,

Alien Two yesterday, shared a little birthday party with a good friend of hers.

Like all great things, the birthday cake started from humble beginnings.








Alien One shared a couple of inspirational ideas ...






And before we knew it, we'd attracted the interest of the rainbow devil himself.









And then the two principal instigators got serious!!









Now that's a rainbow connection cake!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Friday, May 27, 2011

References: Part 5 (flipbooks)

Dear Reader,

References sometimes come in the oddest of places; the trick is to see how they apply.

Parkour, or free-running, is to my mind a modern ballet, so when I came across this elemental flipbook rendition I was completely enthralled. The nature of the hands on the paper felt like fingertip parkour! It was so right.



How to incorporate this into The Squirrel King? ... with a little tweaking I believe this can also feel like the unfolding of an ungainly map. For now, enjoy the parkour, but pretty soon I hope to share a map of our township with you :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dedicated to The Trouble and Strife

Dear Reader,

Today is a big day. It's our tenth wedding anniversary. To celebrate, I want to dedicate this post to The Trouble and Strife, my one true love.

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Titles in the Library

Dear Reader,

With Alien One's help Robin's library is turning into quite the delightful collection. Some of the must-read titles so far include:

The Appal Hoo Sed Moo
(aka The Apple who said Moo)

The Invisbol Snoflak
(aka The Invisible SnowFlake)





The Jomping Bone
(aka The Jumping Bunny)

Can't wait to see what else shows up on those shelves.

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Series Synopsis

The Squirrel King is an upbeat tale of Robin, a young woman with an inexplicable need to take action. Brainwashed by pipe-cleaner wielding Aliens into ridding her small town of squirrels, she ropes in Justus, her inept, climbing-bum boyfriend, as her missions' accomplice.


Over the course of 12 five-minute episodes she is helped and hindered by the town’s municipal-one-man-show, cat burglars, gypsies and the desire to be part of something serious.





Amidst the chaos of it all, Robin gradually discovers a truism of life embodied by Ed (the fire chief, police chief, animal catcher, forestry head ....). Simply put, she comes to understand that beyond personal responsibility, life is not about being part of something "important" or to be taken too seriously; life is about partaking and enjoying the absurd world.





As for exactly who the Squirrel King is, and why the Aliens are doing what they are doing, ... well those are questions that remain until the first season's finale.

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Monday, May 23, 2011

Robots and Monkeys

Dear Reader,

Yesterday, while I was busily shooting stop motion cellophane water disappearing down the drain, the Aliens begun work on Alien Two's birthday cake, or more specifically, the robots and monkeys that are to adorn it.


Pretty soon we had reinforcements.

Marzipan and fondant never looked so good :) There's still the little matter of the actual cake, but we're well on our way to a slew of monkeys and robots.



Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bathroom Additions

Dear Reader,

The ambitious mayhem of the original bathroom photography meant that a couple of shots were left for later.

Now is later! Actually yesterday was going to be later, but we couldn't find a battery for the camera, or more pertinently the battery recharger. Apparently there's been a run on them lately; even Samy's Camera was sold out!

No fear, a late night visit to a good friend fixed that and we should be back at it shortly - and by we I mean the Trouble and Strife and myself :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Friday, May 20, 2011

References: Part 4 (Tarp Surfing)

Dear Reader,

It's been a slow start to the day, so without any further ado, let's simply sail into action. Here's another reference piece. Tarp surfing:



The Squirrel King has no ocean scenes, but there's a river that runs near our township and that river launches a big wave in a later episode; one on which squirrels surf. Obviously we'll be adapting the original tarp surfing concept, but you have to agree this one is ripe with potential!

Hope you enjoy the free spirit as much as I did :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Under the Rainbow

Dear Reader,

The heart under Alien One's double double rainbow (second double being the watercolors over the pastels) points to ...


the beginnings of a library for Robin's bedroom.

That's right, it's time to commit to the big location, the one that represents almost a third of the script! There's some fun pieces of construction in stall for the Aliens and their friends; like all abodes should be, this one will be a place you want to spend time :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Serial Musique EP

Dear Reader,

I have yet to introduce you to Matthew McGaughey and Kyle Johnston, otherwise known as Serial Musique. These guys have scored numerous hit TV shows including Real Housewives, Top Chef, and many more. Matthew also scored my first film, Butterfly Dreaming.

Now scoring is one of the final pieces in the creative puzzle, but I mention these guys now because they've been busy putting together their first EP. Click here to check it out.

Of course when it comes to The Squirrel King, the Aliens will no doubt have some influence too. Here's a sampling of their work (made years ago while The Trouble and Strife was out of town on business):

video

While neither is the exact sound of The Squirrel King as I see it, I think it's pretty safe to say The Squirrel King falls somewhere in between. I look forward to the collaborative process with so much talent I love.

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Our New Look

Dear Reader,

Hope you like the new background!

With a little luck it's the first of a few changes to the site over the next couple of weeks including some tabs to help navigate what this is all about! As you can see, Alien One has been helping with a title for the blog ... unfortunately my computing skills are not yet equal to the task.

Stay tuned, more is to come!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

What's This All About?

Dear Reader,

There are times when a little orientation goes a long way. After almost a year of blogging, the time has probably come for that orientation. So, what is The Squirrel King?

First and foremost, well perhaps not foremost, but definitely first ... actually ... Well we'll get to that. The Squirrel King is a digital series consisting of an initial run of 12 five-minute episodes. It is mad-cap in its content and the look has been described as high-end home-made. It was born out of a two-fold desire:

i) Ruthless Whims wished to share some meaningful time with his two children, the soon-to-be Aliens, and

ii) Ruthless Whims and his fellow climbing-bum friend Justus wished to shoot something (with a camera that is).



The world was a product of their sun-addled brains infused with childish fancy (childish in the best possible way).


The project is a labor of love, but has attracted many exceptionally talented filmmakers and artists. Indeed, as it has grown, so has it's vision and scope. Many enthused remarks by those who saw some of the early production design were accompanied by requests to bring this to children everywhere; and so, the idea of The Squirrel King kits was born.

The Squirrel King kits could be viewed as a simple merchandising element, but they are a lot more than that. The look for the series is something that I have harbored for many years, and it was always intended to encourage adults to engage with their kids and kids to engage with the world.

As with many things in life, the colors along the way are much of the charm and early on I decided to share that with you, my dear readers. I hope you continue to enjoy this blog about the making of The Squirrel King, a world of hope and joy.

Stay tuned for a synopsis of the actual digital series in the near future.

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Sunday, May 15, 2011

LAW AND ORDER LA - tonight!

Dear Reader,

Tonight is the night for catching Shi Ne, our Robin, in an ever-so-slightly different role.











It's on NBC at 10/9c, just look out for the girl with tattoos.

Soon we'll have our own footage to share too :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dinner Without The Trouble And Strife

Dear Reader,

While the Trouble And Strife was off at a high powered lawyers retreat, the Aliens and I treated ourselves to sushi ... and miso soup.

The excursion was thoroughly enjoyed by all ... but not without trouble and strife.


See if you can pick the difference between the next two photos. Hint: it's not just the satiated looks on the Aliens' faces.

















Off to scout more climbing locations :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

PS In case you're having trouble with the spot-the-difference, consider my leg as an extra hint (and that's just my right leg).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Inspiration: Part 2 (Halfland and A Bug)


Dear Reader,

A double dose of inspiration yesterday. Firstly I was pointed to a wonderful site, Notes From Halfland, where Shelley Noble is documenting the making of a magical world for a short film of her own ... she's been at it for a few years now and there are some truly awesome images. She even has some acorns!

And secondly, on her blog, was a link to Christina Spangler's site where I found this cool little stop motion piece.



Truly awesome what one can do with a little imagination!

Hope you enjoyed as much as I did :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Monday, May 9, 2011

Toasting Marshmallows With An Old Friend

Dear Reader,

With Tom, our cinematic genius, enjoying a sojourn in Spain, the opportunity arose to reunite with with Kev Robertson, the sculpture of light behind Butterfly Dreaming, my first film. And what better way to reunite than over some marshmallow toasting!


After placing and replacing the same, variously toasted marshmallow to stop-motion the cooking I was left with a handful of sticky goo - yes, that's a lot of marshmallows in my hand :)

The final product looks pretty awesome!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims







PS The Aliens themselves, meanwhile, grappled with gravity.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day


Dear Reader,

Along with a plethora of precious pictures, including this rendition of Rainbow Heart Girl, the Trouble and Strife was showered with gifts yesterday.



Many of them home-made, and all of them dripping with love.

Though none more so than this "build-your-own-heart-neckless-kit", completely conceptualized and designed by Alien One herself. What a sweetie!

From all of us here at The Squirrel King, to all the wonderful mother's out there, we hope you had a great day yesterday!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Friday, May 6, 2011

Our Squirrel Queen Rocks (literally)

Dear Reader,

Much of yesterday was spent with Vivian, our Squirrel Queen, perfecting the squirrel kits for kids and adults. As always crafty time is a good chance to catch up and hear about what else is happening, and this is always particularly fun with our wonderful team. You never know what you'll find ...

Turns out, FLY MY WAY, a song Vivian wrote for Asian sensation Yoga Lin is coming out today on their album Wonderful Life (in Asia at least). If you're curious about the song itself though, you can check that out on Youtube, along with a cool stop motion video clip.



Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Robin gets tattooed for LAW AND ORDER

Dear Reader,

It's funny how actors are asked to inhabit such different roles. I was chatting with Shi Ne, our delightful Robin, about The Squirrel King yesterday and she mentioned that she just played a character on LAW AND ORDER: LA. ... A character covered in tattoos.

It's this season's finale, so keep an eye out for it. Shi plays opposite Alfred Molina and Corey Stoll (the leads on the show) and her character's name is Hannah. I'll remind you again as we get closer to the air-date.


Hooray Squirrel Kingers!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

PS Just don't forget how delightfully innocent she is in The Squirrel King.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Morning Plaster

Taking advantage of a slow start to the school-day, Alien One and I got the final plastering done on the town's telegraph poles. Paint to follow shortly :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims