The JamesCare Explorers is a program at the hospital designed to help kids cope with the emotional stress they can experience when one of their parents is diagnosed with cancer. The James approached Spacejunk to create a video that could serve as an overview to show to kids, both at the hospital and abroad. I oversaw the entire production of this piece—from concept, to scriptwriting, art direction, directing the live-action puppet shoot, and all of post-production (all-in-all about 8 months).
We landed on the idea of using puppets because of the fantastic examples already in place, thanks to Jim Henson and programs like Avenue Q. We centered the story around a family of puppets, the Mitchells, and follow them as they all learned to cope with the mother’s diagnosis. We also decided to shoot it in a typical, three-camera sitcom style.
The puppets were custom made, in collaboration between The James, Spacejunk, Joel Jackson, and Bo Pacheco (link).
The set was also custom built five feet off the ground to accommodate the puppeteers. Production ran over the course of a week at Central Grip & Lighting in Columbus.
Director: Karl Hein Producers: Richard Charney, Christa Cox Line Producer: Andy Murphy-Young Production Coordinator: Mike Gillespie Production Asst. : Isabella Silveira Continuity: Belle Fransisco DP: Wayne Sells Asst. Cameras: Andy Eggert, Alberto Vigilietta Video Supervisor: Brian Wells Key Grip: Brad Keplinger Gaffer: Jared Greene Wardrobe: Kelly Lane Prod. Designer: Heather Glass-Oaks Set Designer: Shane Bonnette Audio: Jay Alton Editors: Kurt Keaner, Xavier McAllister Colorist: Kurt Keaner Sound Design: Kody Orris
Puppet Designs: Joel Jackson Puppet Fabrication: Bo Pacheco
PUPPETEERS Spencer Lott – Ben Heather Asch – Taylor Sam Gold – David Chris Palmieri – Maria ADR (Maria) – Beth Josephsen