środa, 1 lutego 2012

5 questions to... Matt Ficner

I love Creepy Puppet Project. And I think everyone should - what's not to love about a show full of zombies singing and telling bad jokes (and with tutorial video on how to make realistic mucus). I'll say it out loud - it has everything the wicked freak adult child needs, really sick and awesome pack of candy. It has gore, humor, stupidness, horror, parody and bizarro spirt. And puppets, lovely, repulsing puppets. And it all comes from workshop of Matt Ficner - one man band, who works for years, with great determination, to run this strange theater. He has talent, he has enthusiasm, he has really cool attitude towards life. Oh, enough babbling, let the man himself speak - here is an exclusive interview with this incredible creator!

Hello, and we’re starting with a first question. As one can see on Your website, You have amazing set of skills. You can do practically anything special effects/visual arts related, as well as write, direct and score Your productions. But on the other hand, Your puppets are quite detailed and sophisticated. How much time it takes to make one guy for Creepy Puppet Project for man of Your skills – DIY, basement workshop style?

Hello and thank you!

Yes I do have my hands in all aspects of my C.P.P. films as I do enjoy all the challenges and creative aspects of each “department” when it comes to media/ TV / Film production. I developed all of these skills by volunteering and apprenticing on a variety of productions early in my career. I was fortunate to have found opportunities at a time when the media industry was still accessible and I got to learn from some of the best in the industry.

As for creating a puppet “cast member” for one of the films, it can take as little as two days or as long as a month to complete a character. It depends on the level of mechanical / sculptural complexity of the character. On average, I would say it’s about a week per puppet.

Puppetry is far from gone, but needless to say, everything tends to be done with CGI in cinema and TV nowadays. On the Internet, the situation is different. We have some decent puppet shows and series using puppets, and puppetry seems to be a good choice for “small budget – all creativity” approach of independent creators. Do You thing the Internet can be the future for puppet shows, a good niche for this kind of craft?

Puppetry is unlike animation or other forms of CGI where it can take weeks to render a few seconds of film. One of the aspects of puppetry along with practical FX is that, once the puppet/ creature is made, you can go straight to camera with them. I think that the use of practical and “ in camera” FX is a little more accessible to most people and that’s why you see a lot of those types of projects popping up online.

The internet itself is great for aspiring film-makers and artists because it does give you instant access to an audience. The online world is undoubtedly the way media and entertainment is going, so it’s encouraging to see puppet, monsters and all other practical creature FX making a comeback online.  There are some film-makers out there who are exceptional at networking and sharing their work online. I certainly respect those who have the know-how and skills to do that.  While I’m more or less a “one-man-operation”, most of my time is focused on creating the puppets, stories and finished products to the best of my abilities in hopes that the quality of the product will speak for itself.

You’ve done lots of pastiches of popculture in Creepy Puppet Project – zombie versions of known songs and music genres (disco!), shout outs to hit movies like Alien, lots of horror tropes and nods to many other things. Is there some work of popculture, that You would love to recreate or parody next, some personal dream of that kind?

I do have a long list of parodies and pop-culture twists I’d like to do. There is certainly no shortage of inspiration for things to make light of and hold up a mirror to mankind and have it laugh at itself.  I would love to be able to bring all of these ideas to light.  These days it’s simply a question of time and budget.  If there were no financial limitations, I’d love to build a whole ¼ scale city filled with unusual creatures and characters. I’d have them do everything from bizarre twists of popular talk shows to original super hero / action stories. The zombies would be there of course too.

As for Internet productions, You’re also involved with fantasy series Spellfury, as an actor and as a puppeteer. I must say, I don’t like the series that much, but some of the puppet work in it is very fine. Can You say a few words about Spellfury and Your role in it?

I helped out briefly on the Spellfury series. Travis Gordon was the creator/director of those webisodes. I appeared in one episode as a character and puppeteered some elements they used throughout the run of the series. I did only a little bit for that project, but I was happy to help out another film-maker.

You’ve worked on lots of TV shows, even few big screen movies, but there are some pretty strange entries in Your portfolio. The one that baffles me is Planet Bizzaro: The World According to Zoomer. It’s very hard to find any information about it, so I must ask – what is the history behind Your involvement in Malaysian/Singaporean s-f children show?

Planet Bizzaro was a fun TV series that was shot/produced and aired in Malaysia. It was about a group of strange alien creatures who lived together on a tiny planet and a rather inept space pirate who would always cause trouble for them. My involvement with that show began when I was contacted by Brian Zimmerman who is now a great friend and colleague of mine. Brian was one of the head producers of the show and he had seen samples of my puppet work online. I built a variety of alien creatures for the show and I also had many of my existing creatures and monsters play bit parts for the series.  It was a heck of a lot of fun to be a part of and I got to perform alongside some great puppeteers who all got together in Kuala Lumpur.  I’m not sure what the plans are for additional distribution for Planet Bizzaro, but I’m sure it will start popping up in unusual places.

Thanks for the interview!

Thank you for the chance to chat!
In closing, I do want to thank you and your audience for taking the time to check out my creepy and unusual works. I’m very fortunate to have been able to follow my life long passions of playing with monsters and making creatures come to life.  I’m still doing all I can to get other short films and artworks out there.


Creepy Puppet Project awaits for You here:

Rest of Matt's mad world here:

Here You'll find strange fantasy made with his involvement:


And I found a flash promo of Planet Bizarro for You:

Bonus round: the freshest (but still rotten) zombie musical number:

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