This week’s blog from the From Her Point of View programme features a lesson in puppetry: both the creative scope it can lend to a project and practical puppet making techniques. Catch up with Kerrie, one of the young women taking part in the training who is also acting as Press Agent for the films…
Week Eight brought with it the bonus of an extra session on Wednesday, a newcomer to the Blood Warriors crew, and our first session outside of Knowle West Media Centre! We headed to KWMC: The Factory, a space for all kinds of creative enterprise, including furniture making, signage, installations, exhibitions, and bespoke commissions.
We POV ladies would be receiving a masterclass in puppetry from Marc Parrett, whose company Monster World specialises in the making of all kinds of puppetry and animated theatrical props. Marc began by showing us a few of his creations, including a fuzzy felt mouse on rollerblades, a dog with a chainsaw in place of a head , a miniature version of Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors in bud form (the bigger, more maniacal plant, Audrey 2 is also a specialty!) and a smaller version of the puppet used in Bristol Old Vic’s 2016 production of The Snow Queen, which I was overjoyed to realise I’d watched. I’m a massive fan of theatre, and the design of sets, props and puppetry, like the kind Marc does, really excites and interests me.
I loved Art at school, but haven’t actually made anything arty or crafty for a good few years, so just on the basis of those two things alone I was incredibly excited to see what Marc had in store for us. On the other hand, my disability means I don’t have great co-ordination which is a bit of a challenge when doing a workshop like this. I needn’t have worried though, Marc was ever patient and accommodating.
We all started with two things: newspaper and tape. Marc talked us through the various stages of creation, and eventually after much folding, cutting and sticking, we each had the bare bodies and heads of our respective puppets. We could accessorise and animate them as we saw fit and the variety of individual characters we ended up with was pretty amazing, including a granddad, a manic chef, a punk rocker and a mummy!
After our creations were complete we did a little filming, just of all of us sitting round together having a mess around with our puppets. This sparked a plan for our second day…
The plan? Make a short film featuring our eclectic cast of puppets!
Day Two with Marc was spent coming up with ideas for the film and delegating jobs when we were set on our vision. It was decided to emphasise the newspaper print aspect of our puppets and shoot in black and white, and we settled on the puppets being on a cruise where all kinds of shenanigans ensue, including a run in with a sea monster!
Some incredible props were made by the ladies, including a dining room table, a chandelier decorated with nuts and bolts and motorised fish main course, as well as the boat and waves. I gave Marc a hand with the sea monster, making the mechanism to move the head, and painting our creature.
On Day Three we filmed!
It was so much fun and I think we were all really proud of our achievements – and how much we achieved in such a short space of time with no set brief. Being let loose to have a bit of fun and create something from nothing is really liberating and I think I once again rediscovered my love of being arty, even though my disability sometimes means this is a little bit trickier for me!
This programme is supported by Creative Skillset’s Film Skills Fund, with BFI’s Film Forever National Lottery funds.