"The Flying Machine"

Prod. 2010

Directed by Martin Clapp

Over sixty puppets in 1:4,5, 1:9 and 1:18 scales were made for The Flying Machine. During this production I was Head of the Puppet Department. I supervised the creation of puppet bodies and the finishing. I personally made the costumes for a number of characters in the film: Anna, Chip Chip, Antoine, Anna's Father, The Accountant, and others.
The main characters are a little girl, Anna, and her cousin Chip Chip, who are on screen almost constantly. Because of the length of the production and the requirements of stop-motion technology, each puppet in the 1:4,5 scale was replicated 11 times, and 5 times in each of the other scales. That makes for 21 identical copies of each main character.

Each puppet was furthermore equipped with a set of several interchangeable heads bearing different facial expressions, and different technical capabilities. Each head had its own particular wig.

To make things more complicated, the characters go through a metamorphosis during the film. To achieve this, several sets of differently styled outfits, wigs and other accessories were created: clothes made up to be dry, wet, semi-wet. In the course of the production, Anna's tights and pigtails, Chip Chip's shirt, and other elements often wore out, became too dirty or damaged to use, or were simply lost.

Because of this we were constantly making more props and costumes, not only in the pre-production stage but also during the shoot. A countless amount of handmade outfits, wigs, eyeballs, handbags, shoes and spectacles to dress the two main characters.

There were ten more puppets in the supporting cast: Father, Antoine, The Accountant and Anna's Aunt, also in several copies each. The remainder, some twenty puppets, were background characters, each with two sets of clothes, who appeared in the Paris Flower Market scene.