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