Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Talons for the Birds!

Dear Reader,

The other day the aliens' bird costume legs arrived in the mail.

Modeled in all their glory here by Alien One.

Adding to that the busts, the costumes are really starting to take shape. Now I just need to complete the wings and figure out the head because ...

... as you can see the talons are already looking pretty awesome :)

Initially envisioned as papier mache, our go-to medium of choice, I decided to branch out with wire, fabric, tubing (previously used to clean our real fish tank) and thread that the Trouble and Strife has rejected.

In consequence they articulate! Squirrels beware!!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Frame Grabs from Ed's Arrival

Dear Reader,

As promised yesterday, here's two frame grabs from Sunday's shoot.

They need a little color correcting (a bluer hue will make them more night) but the content of the images still gives you a sense of how Ed's enthusiastic driving might cause trouble ...


Robin, beware! Those are orange cones flying off the back of the truck Ed has just screeched to a halt.

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims


Monday, August 29, 2011

Ed's Arrival

Dear Reader,

What a day yesterday ... and well on into the night!

It began with Lou, our Ed, adding lights to his felt truck, which long-time readers may recall was actually built last year.


Meanwhile, the Trouble and Strife laid the rutted tracks down which Ed would later drive.

But before we got the truck's arrival there was a need for some high up telegraph power lines ... yes, that's me perched atop a tall ladder in the dark setting up the matching shot for Justus' power pole climb of a couple of months back.

And the loppers Justus dropped back then ... well eventually they had to hit the ground, in this case delicately orchestrated by three meticulous puppeteers.

With a little luck, I'll have a couple of frame grabs to share tomorrow :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Friday, August 26, 2011

Aquarium Kit Prototyping


Dear Reader,

Yesterday the Alien's invited a friend over to test the Squirrel King aquarium kits.

Carefully clad in my old shirts (not part of the kits), the constructions began with seaweed and coral painting.


Then, with great care, willowy water was added to the wound wire frame and ...

... everyone got hungry for ...


... the day's rejuvenative sustenance: sushi, made by Alien One's own hands - look at that pride of worksmanship :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

PS Sometime next week we'll source some more fish for the aquarium ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Outside Perspective

Dear Reader,

A couple of weeks ago I spoke with Teddi Curtis of the Young And Pretty blog. Her article yesterday is a great outsider's perspective on The Squirrel King; take a moment to check it out on the Young And Pretty blogsite.

Meanwhile, Lou, our Ed, rescued an orange traffic cone from incineration, something that will be very useful come the later episodes in the first season.

And just to keep mixing things up, today holds prototyping for the kits again :) Hope you too are enjoying all the variety life has to offer!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flight - not just for the Birds

Dear Reader,

Yesterday I made good on an early summer promise: trapeze.







Both Aliens took to the skies in swirling swings of delight, putting all their acrobatic skills to the test, including hanging by their knees thirty feet in the air on a swinging bar!

Indeed Alien One almost got real air swinging for a catch ...

video


Of course it's always difficult to predict where inspiration will take you, and yesterday's little jaunt was no different with our day concluding on a return to our own Squirrel King birds ... well the making of their talons (the foreground represents the scaffolding for our birds feet, while Alien One's witches hands represent a typically tangential activity).

More on the feet themselves tomorrow.

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Monday, August 22, 2011

Scouting along the River

Dear Reader,

What a joy to pop out of a tunnel, and into nature!

Yesterday, Justus, the Aliens and I scouted a Forest where Justus, the character, will first meet the cat burglars.




And while the Aliens tested the literal waters ...





.. Justus had a quick scurry up a rock he'll need to climb.

So much fun, still to come!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Sample Contest Entry!

Dear Reader,

Starting September 23rd we'll be running a contest to bring you further into the world of The Squirrel King!

In general, we'll post a raw unedited clip, give a theme and motif, and you'll submit an image related to our post. For a more detailed explanation of how the competition will work, click The Contest tab above, unless you want to see an example first ...

To fit with the inceptive nature of this post, the sample inspiration clip we're sharing with you shows how Robin, The Squirrel King's protagonist, starts her days:

video


Supposing the theme for this sample entry was: "share with us how you lay the foundations for your day", ..

.. and the random weekly motif was: "any incorporation of pom-poms", ..

.. then the top right image on this page would be a superb submission, though the bottom left image would obviously receive additional consideration for incorporation of the weekly motif.

Sign Up for the actual competition begins Sept 23rd, so check The Contest tab then!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Clips and A Competition!

Dear Reader,

The time has finally come for us to share with you, a little of the raw footage we've shot - starting next Monday!

We wanted to add some interactivity to this revelation, and so we're launching a competition next week, in which we'll ask you to share images of your own, inspired by the clips we share (no you will not have to compete against the Aliens).

Of course there'll be prizes! One for everyone who enters, and a truly magnificent grand prize for the eventual winner. Stay tuned, Monday all will be revealed!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stop Motion Plates

Dear Reader,

We've started exploring the inspiration from our little vacation, specifically the inspiration from Denise Duong's paper-cut paintings.

And while we waited for a sizable shipment of paper to wend its way to us, Alien One and I riffled through the fabric scrap boxes to see what else might work - the skeptical look on Alien One's face pertains only to my suggestion that the rainbow material in hand might function well as the trunk of a tree.


With Alien Two processing the vacation in her own way (asleep in the other room), Alien One put the finishing touches on her Safari collage.






If you look carefully, beyond the obvious, you should find a monkey in the trees, a turtle on a rock, and said turtle's reflection in the pond. My own work is slightly slower and I'm still a little ways off the stop motion backdrop plates for some of our driving scenes.

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Robin's Bookshelves Go Up


Dear Reader,

Before it went up on the wall yesterday, Alien One stood, confused by the relevance of the felted woolen sweater I'd pulled from the fabrics odds-and-ends box - somehow the white wall brackets just weren't going to do the trick for me.

A little glue-gunning and some winding in white wool, and we were ready for the affixing ...



... to our bedroom wall for now, as Robin's room is still little more than a virtual vision that at some point will occupy our living room.

I'm pretty pleased where the final product arrived, building on the inspiration of others.

Stay tuned for a big announcement in the next couple of days :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Monday, August 15, 2011

Two-wheeled Aliens on Dirt Tracks

Dear Reader,

After our great little vacation - call me a proud dad - but I simply can't resist sharing with you a couple of clips of the Aliens tearing up the dirt tracks above Park City.

video


And in case you thought tearing up the tracks was just for Alien One, check out Alien Two's effort!

video


I think there's about a year before the Trouble and Strife and I need bikes to keep up with them :)

Still we'll always be able to share the gorgeous chairlifts back to town!

Chin Chin
Ruthless Whims

Friday, August 12, 2011

References: Part 8 (Denise Duong)

Dear Reader,

Earlier this year at the Art Institute of Chicago I came across a couple of fantastic non-traditional tapestries that made magnificent forest scenes from swatches of fabric. It felt like a natural fit for our aesthetic, but left me pondering how to bring it's static nature to life.

Here in Park City, while wandering through some galleries, I came across the work of Denise Duong, a delightful artist who uses many fine papers and fabrics cut to shapes to make whimsical mixed media pieces with transportive titles such as "Happily Lost" (below). Check out her website to see more highlights.


Her work got me to thinking again ... and I think, with the addition of half a dozen layers of glass, I might have an idea of how to incorporate some similar elements into the world of The Squirrel King.

I can hardly wait to return to LA!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Alien One Masters the Machine ..

... the sewing machine that is!

We're on vacation, and yes, that's right, the Trouble and Strife did bring her sewing machine and fifty yards of fabrics with us! Which means, all manner of Squirrel King clothing prototyping is underway.

Later, after the Trouble and Strife had shown Alien One the ropes on the machine, the two retired to their respective corners and focused respectively, on a super-fly shirt for me and scrunchies.


Meanwhile Alien Two and I are just enjoying some holiday downtime :)

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

PS Fear not for the fish, we have a house-sitter :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Accumulation Conundrum: Part II

Dear Reader,

The Aliens and I have reformed! And to show how serious we are, we've simply tossed Ed's windows which were cluttering our work and living space (in any event, they are no longer needed for filming).










Then I got really serious! With the aid of Matthew's circular saw I whipped up some shelves in the office.
They might not look like much, but that big open space you see on the floor in front of the Trouble and Strife (the floor, that is); that's new! And the look on the Trouble and Strife's face is simple incredulity :)

The Alien's bedroom is next, but with our work space already recovered, things will no doubt move faster.

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Inspiration: All Is Not Lost

Dear Reader,

OK Go have long been a source of inspiration and reference for The Squirrel King. Here is one of their latest videos, a wonderful upbeat message to the world:



Hope you too enjoy this!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Monday, August 8, 2011

An Underwater Forest of Green

Dear Reader,

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while might remember the tumultuous times we had last year when the aliens first began learning about the cycle of life through the acquisition (and subsequent demise) of pet fish.

In true Squirrel King fashion we (and the remaining few) have, however, persevered. Those who survived now reside in such a splendid aquatic paradise that it seemed right to share.

The inspiration is so strong that Robin's own fish tank may well find itself fabulously augmented to keep pace. Stay tuned as we get closer to filming Robin's apartment.

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Accumulation Conundrum

Dear Reader,

Yesterday I ran into a dilemma: Alien One rightly identified a plant in need of a new home (cf. the cardboard plea). And while the Aliens had both, in their whimsical way, forgotten the chaos that's already befallen our apartment, in the back of my mind I did recall words of reason from The Trouble and Strife.

The Aliens' bedroom for instance is already on the brink of sink!

While I, myself, may also be a little guilty of the accumulation conundrum, I have vowed to The Trouble and Strife there will be shelves and a general mayhem overhaul! And so we left the forlorn plant for another, more responsible, guardian angel.

Stay tuned, and keep me on task viz my own commitment to order.

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another Covert Shot in the Dark


Dear Reader,

Yesterday afternoon the Aliens helped me grab Ed's truck from Matthew our rock star composer (don't all composers have trucks?).




Then, under the cover of darkness we filmed Ed's entrance. Always on
the move, this is the best still we have of him!

Later, Justus extended his double duty (the workman on the back of Ed's jumpsuit being Justus' genius) to triple duty when he slated Ed's inspection of the power box.

Thanks again to everyone who helped!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Vlad's Portrait: The Final Product

Dear Reader,

What I didn't show you yesterday, was the final incarnation of Vlad's portrait. Behold the magnificence of "The Squirrel King", replete with roasted squirrel on a spit.

Nor did I share Justus' significantly greater expertise at lifting said portrait from Ed's house, or as the still below shows lowering the portrait. The high risk stunt move, in which Justus hung from the second story window by his toes and lowered Vlad's likeness to rest on the first story window ...

was saved till well after the Aliens were in bed and asleep; the Aliens don't need any encouragement viz stunt moves!

Bob, on the other hand, could learn something from this agile climbing bum!


Chin chin
Ruthless Whims

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stop Motion Cat Burglary

Dear Reader,

Yesterday was an amazing shoot, with a number of elements really coming to life, including our first footage of Bob, The Squirrel King's inauspicious cat burglar apprentice.




However, while Justus can comfortably climb most things in flip-flops or simply hang about like a lark even during the warm-up ...






Bob is a little less adept ...

And things invariably don't pan out as well for him (yes, that's a potted plant that's just split open on his head below).




Can't wait to share the actual footage with you!

Chin chin
Ruthless Whims