Quietly in the background we've started editing the first five minute episode of The Squirrel King ...
And so the time has come to finally shoot the last shot of that episode. The reverse of the shot I'm lining up in this production still from last year. ... This little squirrel's view inside the cat shelter!
Surfing the web I came across these wonderful body parts.
It's amazing what a little paint can do, and it reminds me of how wonderful it can be to have a thing stand in for that thing ... Gondry did this so well with a horse in "The Science of Sleep". It's a really interesting concept :)
As many of you know, Justus' climbing partner in our series is played by Bill Watterson from Ohio.
What some of you might also be aware of is that there is another Bill Watterson from Ohio, and in a funny way we at The Squirrel King are connected to him too. That second Bill, or first by age, was the genius behind the much-revered comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.
So how are we connected? Christopher Browne, who is currently editing our first episode was a producer on a documentary about Mr. Watterson and his well loved characters.
For more on that documentary, check out the website for dear Mr. Watterson. Congratulations Chris, your film is getting out into the world!
As promised, here's a few images from the stop motion component of our titles sequence shoot last week.
It was a decidedly intricate affair that took over two days and about 300 individual frames of delicate small moves of the elements.
As sometimes happens on magic occasions, our specially devised technique for this shoot worked even better than I'd hoped!
We laid the yellow backdrop over two layers of cardboard and constructed a couple dozen wires skewers with pins delicately taped to both ends. ... If you look very carefully at the detail photo on the right, you can see my skewering our jackhammer squirrel. The other end of that skewer was then inserted into the cardboard.
The trick was to keep the skewers aligned directly towards camera and behind the props ... easy with the small skewers, much more difficult with skewers used to hold squirrels flying towards camera!
The title sequence we're working on is an action oriented affair, with squirrels swinging from ropes, standing on ladders, wielding chainsaws, jackhammers, spanners, hammers and slingshots, to name just a few elements.
Rest assured though, we've been playing with a plan!
With action sequences in general, and stop-motion ones in particular (in which you literally shoot each frame as a still photo and then go in and move the elements), it really helps to have exact story-boarding.
What you see here are the whole sequence mapped out, plus some details of individual blocks.
Oh, and those pom-poms and yellow slips and what not were relevant to the shooting we did over the last couple of days!
More on that next week, plus lots of awesome photos.
Continuing work on our title sequence, it has been important to whip together a construction crew of mini-squirrels.
With this in mind we've started making the requisite tools our mini-squirrels are going to need for the job! By all means shout out anything you can think of; so far we have a jackhammer, a suspended platform, a chainsaw, hammers, spanners and megaphones to name just a few of the elements. Oh, and a sling shot :)
More on this super awesome piece of our puzzle soon!
It's been a long time gestating, but recently we finally landed on the concept for the title sequence of our series. I'm very excited about this piece and I'm positive that you and everyone else will thrill to it once we've brought it to life. At the heart it will be the mini-stunt squirrels wonderfully manic rigging and constructing our title card!
But first, we will open with our wonderful protagonist Robin laying her head on her bed.
Working with the ever effervescent Shi Ne Nielson, the opening shot was simple enough, and not a long one, but it required a camera move.
In good Squirrel King fashion, I figured this was a perfect opportunity to use our newly wheeled table! In the end though, with the Trouble and Strife pulling focus, the good old skateboard did the trick :)
Already the top is covered in activity (more on the construction worker squirrels shortly) and the Trouble and Strife hasn't yet had time to plant her sewing machine on its new home! Oh, and I'm thinking of using the wheeled feature to double as a smooth dolly later today :)
Of course there's more to come, we still have to add the overhead lighting.
In the wonderful world of The Squirrel King, objects come in all shapes and sizes, and from the most unexpected places. Yesterday while searching for some thing to double as a hard hat for the mini-squirrels (more on that later in the week) I was delighted to discover that the inside of a juvenile gum nut is the perfect miniature watermelon double.
And of course the hard-working squirrel I handed the watermelon to was even more delighted.
It seems there's something about watermelons and The Squirrel King ... you may recall Justus' watermelon from some time back. The exact reasons are still mysterious to me too, but they are colorful!