SHOT 104

James shakes off the pain and slips the pistol back into his jacket pocket, minus the silencer which we hear bouncing off the pavement.

This is our first clue that these puppets have interchangeable body parts. When new, the hands are very difficult to get on and off without destroying the current pose. But over time they loosen up and I get better at applying leverage at key pressure points.

This was also my first mistake, in that James’ finger was never on the gun’s trigger. I realized later that even though the fingers on some of the hands are fused together, they can be sliced apart with an X-ACTO blade. And from there they are flexible enough to grip a whole variety of objects.

Oh well — no one would have notice this unless I had just pointed it out. But part of the motivation behind this blog is to help educate other animators who might be tackling similar projects.

Keep thinking outside that box.

SHOT 102

We see the gun go off in James’ trembling hand. The muzzle flash is done with the PROGUN plug-in from PixelFilmStudios.com. I love the contrast of the yellow gunfire against B&W.

At 8 frames, this is probably the shortest shot in the film. That’s 1/3 of a second at 24 FPS (frames per second). But the jolting sound effect really sells the fact that James is at a minimum intoxicated and should probably be reported to HR.

SHOT 101

Act 1 opens with James Bondáge stumbling drunk through a Tokyo neighborhood at dusk, desperately looking for a place to pee while trying to screw a silencer onto his pistol. Here we set the tone visually for our character’s Cold War roots by using a Cast filter and a soft-focus background.

This is a 1:6 scale Phicen M31 puppet, approximately 12 inches tall. The costume is specifically for a Secret Agent, and the fit is always too tight. The head sculpt is an older Sean Connery. I found the hat separately, and had to trim its brim with manicure scissors to match Bond’s original Trilby hat.

Phicen puppets, and most of these costumes and props are made in China. The posable figures feature a stainless steel ball-jointed armature with 26 points of articulation. They have a seamless body made from medical-grade silicone. And yes, they’re anatomically correct. They have substantial weight and can reproduce 90% of human movement. Plus plenty of inhuman poses!

I chose to limit any use of rigging, like traditional screw-downs or magnets, preferring instead to achieve each pose by natural balance. I love a good challenge, pushing the limits whenever I can. In the case of POSERS, each puppet requires a different negotiation of trust through trial and error.

These 126 frames of animation were shot on the cyclorama green screen stage I designed and built from scratch. More on that later — it’s pretty cool.

The background is video I shot on my iPhone near the Tokyo Imperial Palace. If you listen closely, you can hear some kind of martial arts class taking place inside that building.

The music here is my own original score, playing homage to older James Bond theme music from the 1960s. Throughout POSERS you’ll see and hear layers upon layers of music, and other mixed media, synced with the animation — often on the beat.