Friday, March 25, 2011


I'll admit that I am very pleased with myself for making a confetti cannon for use in the first episode of SOS. I figured that besides the part I wrote into the script that requires a confetti cannon, a confetti cannon would be useful in all sorts of metaphorical situations like to show rain or sunshine or whatever. Or maybe just to blast confetti on someone as a gag. I followed the instructions here, with some modifications. I didn't quite understand why the need for a coupler - now I think I get it. Mine has a larger turn valve which I think makes the confetti shoot out less forcefully had I used a smaller ball valve. But that's ok, it's still pretty awesome. Here are some visuals:

Not very big, a little larger than a shoe.

 You close the ball valve and pressurize the end chamber with a regular bike pump


I suppose tossing confetti would work equally well, but why just toss confetti when you can FIRE it out of a cannon??

Monday, March 14, 2011

Notes from Storybook Theater

I made a list of notes from when I went to see the Storybook Theater’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk. Here’s what I thought was important…

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: From the very beginning, the actors went into the audience and asked kids to be “helpers”. Simple tasks like someone to hold the bag of magic beans, or volunteers to play the “cow” Jack sells to buy the beans. One kid was even brought up on stage to tell Jack’s mom that he sold the cow for the magic beans. Very simple, but totally engaging. The kids in the audience LOVED IT. By the second half they were all sitting on the edge of their seats with hands raised whenever the actors asked for helpers.

GAGS: There was a cute gag during one of the songs where fishing poles with fake food were dangled above Jack, just out of reach. The kids were cracking up. It was like fried chicken buckets and fake hamburgers and pizza slices. I thought it was funny too. 

CHASING: The audience was ROARING with laughter during chase scenes. There were about 3 chasing interludes and wow, those kids loved chasing. If it worked for Benny Hill…

COSTUMES: This was the only criticism I found for this show. I feel kind of “meh” about the typical clothing scheme as it appears in this and other kids shows. More specifically: overalls. Adult actors in kids show always wear overalls it seems. I’d like to veer away from the “kids dress like this” mentality, but to where I’m not sure. I have to think more on this one.

SETS: Consisted of a reversible background about 6’x6’ on casters with the Giants castles painted on one side and Jack’s house painted on the other. Also a ladder on casters decorated as the Beanstalk. 

SONGS: Repetition, repetition, repetition. They had a “rapping” giant (the giant who owns the goose that lays the golden eggs). The kids weren’t too into that part, but they seemed to dig the other songs. 

Excellent research was done by going to this event. Sometimes as an adult we can assume to know what's entertaining for a kid, but seeing this show made me think differently about how make SOS interesting and engaging for a young audience. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sergio's Station

Part of the stage will be Sergio's Cook's Station. Sergio, as you remember, is a hand puppet about 3 ft tall. I'd like the station to look like a cafeteria line since he is the ship's cook. You can see in the drawing above that this would be a great design to hide the puppeteers, who will also be playing the Marine Puppet Band during songs. This way, if the station can hide at least 2 people, one person can play Sergio and a simple puppet like the lobster finger puppet and the other person can play the Octopus Singer and another the Squid stick puppet. I think it will work nicely.

I kick myself for recently giving away an Ikea bench that would be perfect for this, D'oh! Oh well. I didn't really have room for it in my apartment. It would have probably been too small anyway. What I need is something more like this:


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Banana Vs Robot Challenge #4

This challenge proved to edit. The kitties kept running away. I for one do not blame them. Since we had limited footage to work with, I thought up the short intro. I created the slides in powerpoint, saved them as jpegs, and inserted them into iMovie to "animate" the kitty. Got to love that powerpoint.

This challenge also features music by Messiaz, which is my friend Bruce Duff and recording partner Frank Meyer. Bruce generously gave me permission to use some of his tracks and I think they worked quite nicely for this video. Thanks Bruce!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I find myself attracted to an odd color scheme: Brown, orange, lime green, and pink. You might notice this color scheme from the blog you are currently reading! I think this combination first appeared in a poster I made for a conference of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography back when I was a graduate student:

This poster was for my graduate master's thesis on the dissolution of biogenic silica in the North Pacific. The doo-hicky in the middle picture is a hydride generator. We would inject seawater into this vessel and run it in a gaseous form through an mass spectrometer to measure germanium isotopes in the seawater. Thinking back, I'm pretty impressed that I did all this gnarly research! Now I just want to make puppets and goofy songs. I much prefer the latter.