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More comedic small talk while James adjusts his “Hello Titty” mask.

Annette Pardini made this mask using a special form of papier-mâché. I chose the graphic, then she made a few prototypes until landing on a solution that would be malleable enough to animate merely by poking and prodding it with a pointed wooden stick. The only problem was the threads used for the straps tended to fray and that became visibly out-of-scale in 4K. So the solution was for me to simply replace the straps with fishing line. We could have used elastic thread, and maybe should have, but the nylon monofilament had some good properties too.

This solution made James appear to be talking and breathing along with the dialogue, without animatable mouth parts.

This was all part of my original plan to use the pandemic to my advantage. But the longer I’ve worked on POSERS, the more I came to realize it ultimately doesn’t matter. We get that these puppets are from another universe, and maybe they don’t need to communicate like humans.

We’ll learn more about their species later…

One last thought here. If you’ve ever seen Robot Chicken, you know how corny it is to slap mouth and even eye stickers on a doll to make it appear to talk. That’s certain a style, but it’s not the style I’m going for here. If I ever decide it’s important to animate their faces, I can do that digitally given enough time. My tact, instead, is to focus on communicating largely via body language from the get-go and see where that leads.

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