Special Thanks

Now it’s done I’d like to sing a few people’s praises of all the people who were really helpful. Even though it was a micro short so many people offered me advice that was indispensable:

Shelley Page for setting a brief that I could really get excited about, and for recommending I look at Barry Purves’ Screenplay right at the beginning as well as the other great short animations she showed us!

Steve was a huge help at every stage, from the first storyboard to the last few days when he said “it’s finished, move on to the next project.”

Birgitta for her encouragement of the idea at the beginning and for setting the essay that made me take the time to properly research Kabuki and Bunraku.

Laura Stevens for the music she composed especially for this film. She was a dream to collaborate with!

Carlos (my mentor) encouraged me to take a risk and try out stop-motion. I was still wondering if I should animate it in Flash, but after he said that I had the confidence to go with the puppets.

Darryl’s advice was so brilliant, and he made time to talk to me about stop-motion. He was so passionate on the subject and gave me so much valuable information each time we spoke.

Amber for giving advice and encouragement and inspiration on everything from technical details to making the Arial puppet more beautiful.

My sister who watched and critiqued every version of my animation that I sent to her in New York, and my parents who listened to me go on about Kabuki for three months.

Ioli who engaged with my idea from the pre-production stage and gave me some great advice on the choreography and on the puppets themselves.

Maki Utsunomiya who gave me all the beautiful Japanese fabrics that I made the costumes out of.

Mahra for the wire and mesh.

Steve in the film and video department was so accommodating and put up with me and my puppets day after day.

Bea Hendry at the RSC for her reminder to focus on the characters not get to wrapped up in the set-design.

The Bard, for all his verse and prose.

And finally the stranger in the lift of Covent Garden tube station who I overheard talking about an exhibition on Kabuki that subsequently inspired my film. Thank you!

MADAME BUTTERFLY

On Tuesday Amber took me to see Madame Butterfly at the ENO. It was the Anthony Minghella adaptation. The sets were really brilliant they used bunraku puppets. There were plenty of references to Kabuki; the Kurogo stage-assistants operating lanterns birds and puppets. One of the stage sets included the hanging blossoms borrowed from Fuji Musume. It was visually really engaging and definitely helped my project. The opera was imbued with the cinematic, as you would expect form a film director’s vision.

Although some of the costumes didn’t appeal to my eye it was a very imaginative and visually enthralling experience. It is such a moving story, it made me look again at Pjotr Sapegin’s Aria that Shelley showed us when she set the brief. I really love his interpretation of the story. It’s so painful at the end when Pinkerton goes of with Barbie in the Jeep and leaves Cio-Cio to her tragic fate…

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One other indispensable discovery was in the Madame Butterfly program. I saw a picture of Sadayakko, and so I’ll tell you all about her in the next blog post….

RAPID THUMBS

Shelley Page approved my proposed idea for the Transformation of Ariel into a Harpy a couple of weeks ago. She suggested I did a rapid thumbnail storyboard as soon as possible to work out where I needed to spend most time and effort. I’m going to begin a tighter and more explicit storyboard this weekend, but I just wanted to get the ideas down first… before I forget them.