During the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020 I began work on a short live action puppetry film as part of my studies. It quickly became a labour of love and very much is a work in progress still. the sense of real motion in real time proved to be an exciting and challenging way of telling a story.
The Erpel story follows Geraldine Erpel, a widowed crane bird on her journey to the moon in a rocket that she and her late husband built. In an effort to preempt "NOSA" (National Ornithological Space Agency) a race against time begins to set their foot on the moon first. The name Erpel is German for "male Duck" and is based on "Villa Arpel", a film exterior set used in Jacques Tati's "Mon Oncle" (1958).
This model is used for the exterior shots of the Erpel mansion. it has several animated blinds which open and close and reveal interiors behind it.
Materials used: Bookbinder Card, PVC pipe, Buttons, Perspex, LED string Lights, plastic packaging, acrylic paints, moss, twigs and Branches.
Film still of Erpel Mansion
Filming Set up
Erpel underground Workshop
A Workshop interior set I made to illustrate the making of the rocket. It has got moving parts to it to show the workings of entering and exiting the workshop
Materials used: Wooden Museum display case, bookbinder card. Cappa board, sheet Laminate, wire, stones, plug in LED string Lights, wood veneer, wallpaper, dried plant roots, buttons, pins and model kit parts, plastic tubing, tracing paper.
Erpel 1 Rocket
This model is used for exterior space scenes, Launch and landing of the rocket. it has got integrated lights for the cockpit as well as the engine to enable adding filmed effects later on.
Materials used: Plastic bottle (Base) , Door Handle, bendable pipe, wire springs, plastic straws, hooks, plastic lid, carabiner, LED string lights, Bicycle Light bulb and holder, wrist watch
Erpel 1 Cockpit
this interior space of the rocket is animated with rod puppets. there are various animated parts which turn and blink during the performance.
Materials used: Bookbinder card, wire, rubber seal, fabric, Brass greeblies, pins, resistors, model kit parts, spray paint, sheet laminate, plastic beads, LED string lights, plastic tubing
Erpel in the Cockpit
Materials used: polystyrene ball, wire, mountboard, masking tape, duck tape, paper straw, electrical resistors, beads.
in the prologue of the film the Erpel Couple is seen sitting in a train carriage at night, discussing the grand plan of building the rocket. the scenery is mounted on a roll and gets animated by hand.
Materials used: bookbinder card. wood veneer, brass rods, perspex, kitchen sponge, acrylic paint, upholstery fabric, plastic pipes, tailoring fabric