Dustcats were once ephemeral beings who have, by unknown means, achieved considerable solidity.
Dustcat puppets on the other hand were once ephemeral ideas that are now being reality.
Here is some dustcat fur!
Puppet maker Matt Inkel says that he is waiting for stuffing and thread and then needs to decide what technique he will use. He said to us “I suspect I will sculpt a head and make a simple plaster mould to be cast in something soft and then attach it to the fur body… I just want to finalise my thoughts on the transition between the two materials and hiding the join and blending the fur”
More as it happens!
(We are now off to rasp our faces for signs of dust)
Dustcats are one of a number of Hopeless Maine cat species. They are adorable, floating cats who use their long tongues to slurp up dust. In normal circumstances, dust is their main food, but it is important to remember that dust is basically particles of dead skin. A hungry dustcat might not wait for the skin to naturally fall off.
Dustcats have been known to eat people’s faces. Island lore has it that they only eat the faces of the beloved dead, so this is only going to happen to you if you have a dustcat who loves you very much. Probably.
Like all cats, Dustcats are pointy in way they can use to attack and defend. However, they have additional capacities for violence. They can regurgitate dust – a process not unlike throwing up a hairball, only this is a dustball and can be launched from higher up.
In extreme circumstances, dustcats form a wrecking ball – knotting their tails together in the middle and putting all the pointy bits on the outside. It is a formidable thing to encounter.
What would a dustcat look like in motion? What would it look like as a puppet? We want to know. We know we are not alone in this. If you want to know these things, and you can spare a few pounds to help us make dustcats, we’re crowdfunding puppets for the Hopeless Maine film. If you aren’t able to chip in but want to help, please share your love of dustcats and help us find people who can help! We have social media badges and everything. More over here – https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/bringing-hopeless-maine-to-the-screen-one-creature-at-a-time/team-dustcat/
Hello lovely blog readers! Mostly we’ve been sharing the history of the process of making a film on Fridays, and mostly what you’ve been getting is the backstory, not what’s going on right now.
But, what’s going on right now is rather exciting, so, below is a little video of the 3d model Matt Inkel has made as part of the process of developing puppets for the film.
I blogged a few weeks ago about how Matt Inkel first got involved with the film project – https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/2020/03/06/monsters-matt-and-muppets/
As things started to get moving in the autumn, we went back to him to talk in more detail, establishing that yes, he really was up for this. We talked a lot about different kinds of puppets, how they might be deployed to interact with actors, and what we would need puppets of.
At this point it became clear that child Salamandra would have to be a puppet. Those of you who have read The Blind Fisherman will likely know why, for the rest of you, here come the spoilers…
The central action in the story involves Sal as a baby being thrown into the sea by her father, encountering agents of change, and then being rescued by the fisherman. Clearly we could not throw a small child into water to make this film. Further none of the team has a small child to whom they are not overly attached and people don’t often rent them out on these terms. So, our child character would have to be a puppet.
On the plus side, that means an adult who knows what they are doing is entirely in charge of making that child character do stuff. On the downside, this character is key emotionally and evoking complex emotions with puppets needs thinking about. It’s been a consideration while writing the script.
At some point, when we have funding, Matt will be building both a child Sal, and a sea monster to fight with Seth. How many puppets he makes is probably going to be dictated by funding. There’s scope to have puppets of the same thing at different scales to allow different kinds of scenes to be more easily filmed. Basically, we can go utterly mad with this if the money is there to enable it…
We met Matt Inkel at Asylum in Lincoln back in 2018. He was sporting a fetching Steampunk Ghostbusters backpack of his own making, and we got chatting about what he does as a maker with his Arcane Armoury hat on. This was just after we’d started looking at old, silent films, so the timing was perfect.
After the event, Tom and Matt continued chatting online. He expressed an interest in making Hopeless Maine stuff and this led us to the Salamandra’s Key project – Matt made a version of the key Salamandra has in The Gathering. You can find out more about that over here – https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/2019/01/04/salamandras-key/
One of his keys ended up in the award winning Case of Good Fortune – and more of that story over here should you feel so moved. https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/the-case-of-good-fortune/
One of the things Tom and Matt have in common, is a love of Jim Henson. Hence me sneaking muppets into the title! Matt talked about his experience with Jim Henson’s creature workshop and how cool a Hopeless Maine film would be. Tom of course had a series of muppet-moments.
At this stage it was just a bit of shared daydreaming. The kind of conversation where you go ‘wouldn’t it be lovely if…’ But, this is often where serious projects come from – those idle speculations that at first seem too preposterous to take seriously. And so you keep playing with them because it’s just messing about, and before you know it you’ve set your heart on a Hopeless Maine silent film with puppets and live action.
And so it was that Matt Inkel joined the film project before there even was a film project. He will be making puppets of some of the island creatures, and of course the sea monster whose fight with The Blind Fisherman is a key part of this little story.
You can find Matt Inkel’s Arcane Armoury on Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ArcaneArmoury