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  • Paola Sanchez

Week 3 - Design & making

Updated: May 30

Monday 18th January


I started doing the final toucan puppet with some of the materials that I exchange yesterday with Manuela and Victoria. It is made of sheep wool and cardboard, trying to keep the same natural movement that I achieved in the model. I found really interesting the use of sheep wool to build the puppet because it gives the toucan an organic look, however, I think I might have lost it a bit when I added colour.



I also designed an image for the play, so the marketing team can create a poster to sent to LAT and start promoting the show. The circle is a concept that seems to be closely related to the show as a way of showing the connection between the animals.

Victoria, Manuela and I had a meeting with Susannah in the afternoon. We were feeling quite overwhelmed with the deadlines we have to meet this week and we wanted her opinion about the set design, as well as the planning and development of the idea.

It's easy for me to start worrying and feeling anxious when the others are. I need to remember that everyone has its own pace and that I'm doing the best I can. It's when I'm relaxed, that I'm able to enjoy the process and actually get the most of it.


Then we had a catch-up meeting with the rest of the team. We shared the puppets we're making and asked them to research about the animal they'll puppeteer in order to study their movement and potentially build their set; this last idea came up today and we will further discuss it tomorrow. The puppets need to be done by Thursday morning so Paris can pick them up and we'll need to prioritize some things over others when building the set, due to the short amount of time we have and the condition of not been able to work together.

It is hard for me to stay focus and participate in the sessions after I've spent all day in front of the screen. However, I've found that working in smaller groups keep my attention for longer.

 

Tuesday 19th January


Today started with a meeting with Manuela. We built the puppets and talked about the set design, so we could email Alison to let her know what we might need to cover in the workshop tomorrow. We've decided to make a small spin wheel and use it as a device to connect the animals but not as the main set. Each puppeteer will have their own set according to the animals environment and it'll be built between the puppeteer and the design team. Later, Victoria joined the meeting and we start working on the storyboard.



In the afternoon, we had a catch-up meeting with the rest of the team where we updated them about the decisions mentioned before. We agreed that Victoria, Manuela and I would finish the storyboard to then share it with the others during the workshop tomorrow. However, Rebecca and Laura ended up joining and by sharing some interesting facts they've learnt from their individual research about their characters: the toucan and the whale, we were able to build the story.



 

Wednesday 20th January


Today we had a workshop in the morning with Alison where we discussed possible ways of approaching the making of the set but we haven't made any decision yet. In our production seminar with LAT in the afternoon, we updated everyone about the progress made in the last week. We started by sharing the puppets, the storyboard and the idea of the spin wheel device. Victoria played the music she has been working on so far and we also talked about the marketing schedule.


We have decided to record the show from our own flats instead of doing it in the TV Studio at school, since we are not able to borrow equipment from AV and we are not supposed to go to school unless it is something we cannot do from home. We also talked about possible ways of lighting the show which I'm interested in doing but since its an area quite new for me, I would like to experiment to then be able to create a lighting rig that anyone could have at home. It is an interesting challenge and definitely not the way I was expecting to learn lighting design, but I will try and get the most of this experience.


I also contacted two aunts who live in Mexico and work in the educational field to tell them about the show. They replied quite quickly and said that they'll check with their supervisors for which I need to make a document with the information I have and send it to them as soon as possible.


I think it has been hard to stay motivated for everyone in the team in general. There are many things going on right now. We are learning how to work from home, trying to find a balance between school and personal life when everything is happening in the same little space. The changes in government restrictions often affect our plans and when the energy of the team is low it's difficult to make progress. I'm sure we're going to learn a lot from this but at this point its fair to say that its not being easy.

 

Thursday 21st January


Today I met Paris in the tube station to give her the Toucan puppet and some painted wooden sticks, which she will then give to Laura. I also created a document in spanish with all the information about the show and sent it to my aunts in Mexico so they can share it with their superiors and hopefully make a decision soon.


Promoting the show in Mexico is making it feel real, which is exciting and at the same time feels like a big responsibility. Because personally, I like the work I produce and share with others to be of good quality.

 

Friday 22nd January


One of my aunts replied early today saying that her school has already approved the proposal and that they are very interested in the show! We'll now agree the number, date and time of the show. It's very exciting to start feeling that they show is coming to life!


Manuela and I met this morning to discuss the aesthetic of the show, we made a mood board on Pinterest and a list of materials we need to buy. We'll build the three sets with cardboard and coloured paper and they'll have different layers to give some perspective as well as tridimensional little props.


 

Saturday 23rd January


I received the materials we asked Rhian to order yesterday: acrylic paint, coloured paper and white markers. Since Manuela started doing the ocelot set, I decided to initiate by building the toucan set. But before I start making anything, I did a sketch in order to clearly share with Manuela the idea I had in mind. I planned to do various layers of the top of the threes to show volume and perspective. This layers would be broken down into 25-30 cm pieces, so they would be easier to transport and Laura would just have to stick them together to create a long line of threes, which would be long enough to simulate the movement of the threes while the toucan is flying by pulling them with one hand while puppeteering with the other. I included a big three for the toucan to stand on a branch and eat fruit, since the spread of the seeds is going to be linking element with the land environment.


 

Sunday 24th January


I continued building the toucan set by painting the trees with various tones of green. It's coming nicely to life! However, there are some tridimensional elements that I want to add as well as more puppets such as fruit, clouds, the sun and other birds.



I usually need a lot of time to finish any work because I tent to plan every single detail before I start making. This time a tried a different methodology, a faster and more relaxed one. After doing a rough sketch, I start experimenting without worrying too much about the decisions I was making and the final result. I didn't cut the cardboard perfectly and quickly drew the silhouette of the trees. To paint them, I used a mixed of brushes and sponges. I wasn't trying to achieve a realistic look (which is what I would usually do) but just a contrast between shadow-light. Many times in theatre and other art works, the final look doesn't need to be perfect due to the distance of the audience from the scenery.

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