Even though it’s been about seven years since I put my short-lived puppet web series Bear Town online (check out an episode on YouTube), I still occasionally get asked if I’m ever going to do something with it. Well, after several years and a few false starts, I’m happy to finally say that the answer is “hopefully”. I spent the first half of this year directing a demo for Bear Town that’s intended as a first step towards finally producing it as an independent feature film.
Although this was just a demo, this was one of the biggest and most complex projects I’ve ever worked on. Twenty-three puppets were built for the shoot, including rod, hand and rod and Bunraku-style fully body puppets. It took a large and talented crew of people to make this happen, most notably the Unraku gang who were responsible for all of the puppets, costumes, props and sets and puppetry, aided by a bunch of new puppeteers and freelancers. A total of seventeen puppeteers were needed on set; I was especially thrilled that Chris Grom – who played Hank in the original “Bear Town” videos – agreed to return. It was just about the best group of wonderfully creative puppet people you’ll ever meet and we were blessed with an equally fantastic and very professional crew.
There’s not much more I can say about Bear Town at this point for the usual, pesky-but-legally-necessary reasons. Although the demo isn’t finished yet and probably won’t be available online for quite awhile, there’s a set of photos from the build and shoot for the Bear Town demo available on Flickr for you to peruse and enjoy.
Photos via the Unraku Blog.