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A Marionette Film I Plan On Making

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

Way back in 2006 I had an idea for a character and a setting. Almost immediately the story came, nearly fully formed, into being. As I started drawing characters and backgrounds the world-building developed quickly and the cast of characters expanded. There was just one problem; I had made it too big.

In those days I, and The CastIron Carousel Marionette Troupe, were exclusively thinking about ways to perform live marionette shows. Nothing was ever pre-recorded and we never shot video of those performances; out of a kind of superstitious protectionism, of the live experience, enjoyed by our tiny audiences. But this play was too complex, with too many moving parts and would require too much help and money to make it feasible for us at the time. I shelved it, knowing I would return when I had the skill and resources.

Now, fifteen years later, I think I'm finally ready. I have many more skills than I did then and a better grasp than ever on storytelling. However, I think this will be a film instead of a live show. As much as this would be great live theater show, I think I'll focus on a project I can do alone in my studio, for now. Miniature cinema can be a lone-artist project.

The story is about a robot in a post-apocalyptic, alternate-future, steampunk world. The world was once filled with gleaming New-Romantic skyscrapers and teeming with industrial worker robots and elevated trains but all that ended long before our story began.

A new world has grown up, where people build shelters inside the broken walls of tilted buildings, they power their dwellings with windmills, and collect rain water for rooftop farms. In this new world the time of networked robots and monorails is past and our hero is quietly doing a job nobody needs, forgotten by the industrious people outside.

The show is called NOTAMAN and it was always intended to be a 50-70 minute play, performed live, with dozens of marionettes, and many, complex, rapid set changes, using elaborate effects and lighting to accomplish a marionette stage play far beyond anything our audiences had ever experienced.

This is our main character, ANDi. He is an industrial laborer in a steel mill, designed to operate in inhuman temperatures without breaks and minimal maintenance, but he was used to having frequent contact with his fellows through the central network, and periodic updates to his operating systems from the central computer. That all stopped long ago and he continues to work, lonely, waiting the the world he knew to return.

ANDi does have one friend, a boy named Daniel who comes to visit him as he scavenges the blown-out buildings for technology, to bring to his grandpa, the village Doc. Daniel answers ANDi's questions about the outside world and helps bring him to the understanding that the way things were aren't coming back. ANDi must come to terms with the world as it exists now, and learn to move forward.

I don't wanna spoil any more of the story so I'll talk about some of the work I have already done, and plan to do, to make it into a film. Back in 2007 I started sculpting ANDi from oil clay and made primitive molds from his parts using tin silicone. The forms were crude,