Wednesday, 11 September 2013

9. The Props

I realised quite early on that I would struggle to make all the puppets and props on my own. At this point I had no other crew on the film, and so I was effectively both directing and producing. So I started looking for someone to help me. In the end I found Mark O'Brien's work by chance whilst looking at pictures of cardboard sculpture on line. As I looked through his portfolio I was impressed and transfixed by the quality of his work. It had charm and character and the diversity of his models was lovely too - from shoes to cameras, cowboy hats to laptops and even a life-size Mini Cooper.

This is what he says about himself:

"Crazy cardboard craftsman for hire! I make work for use in shop display, illustration and set making/props. I use cardboard boxes to play in a seriously fun and creative way.
I'm also working on running workshops for anybody interested in playing with crafty cardboard and other recycled materials. In my spare time I just make things for the enjoyment of it! 
It's fun!
I am currently based near Manchester."

I approached Mark via e-mail with some details about me and the project, and luckily he was interested in coming on board. When we spoke on the phone he was really enthusiastic and I was sure that he would do a good job. I thought that his style would compliment mine, but was aware that they were quite different - Mark's is very realistic and mine is more stylized. So in order to create a sense of synergy, the props in any one scene are either made by Mark or myself. I found working together very simple and stress free. I gave him a brief on the phone about the things I needed him to make and we agreed that he would keep me up to date on his progress with photos. And so we began quite an exciting journey. It was great to get e-mails from him every so often with yet another beautiful model finished. I am truly grateful to Mark for his professionalism and the quality of his work on this film. And we've never even met! On completion of everything, he sent all the finished models down to London by courier, and they were as amazing in real life as they looked in the pictures.

In the end Mark made 3 sets of cutlery, 3 dinner plates, 2 napkins, a box of assorted biscuits, a flask, 2 paintbrushes, a paint tin, a hammer, a saw, a pair of 'Converse' high top trainers and a dog food bowl complete with loose cubes of dog food. [I made the giant burger and fast food container (which onscreen doesn't actually look that big but is in fact about 40cm square and approx. 25cm H)]

Here are some of the work in progress snaps that Mark sent to me along the way: