A Little Birthday

Hi! How’s your 2018 so far? Mine is pretty rad.

Scale model overview

I’m so very behind schedule on Bobby’s Birthday but that doesn’t mean I’m not working on it. I’ve completed a 1:12 scale model of the show, made from cardboard and posterboard and bamboo skewers and tape and whatever.

The entry façade

In photos, this model is just a single iteration beyond what I already have—concept sketches and floor plans and so on—but actually seeing it with volume, in a way where I can’t fudge details but need to make sure everything really fits together in space, has been so valuable. I had to really figure out how those backdrops work, and since I know they’ll be made of fabric, I can disassemble these paper prototypes and have a functional template for the real thing. Awesome.

A closer view of two scenes

As a refresher, we have four scenes that are all 10’ wide, 8’ tall, and 4’ deep; the height includes a 2’ skirt along the front, and the deck and walls of each scene are sloped toward the center for a bit of forced perspective. The backgrounds will be canvas or muslin; the characters will be stuffed animals with wire armatures and some simple repeating animations, courtesy of some recycled motorized linkages from Halloween. The architecture and props will be cardboard and papier-mâché. The first scene is a projection of a short little tiny film introducing the characters and their world, which will probably just be a puppet show that reuses characters from the other scenes, maybe against a green screen; the entrance will be a painted curtain with maybe a cardboard standee in front of it for photo ops. (The big brown monolith in the corner of the model is an off-limits area that serves as a closet and dressing room; this model is designed to fit in the gallery at Access Theater, which is where I hosted Graveyard Swing 2017 and where I hope to put up this attraction as well.)

The audience view of one scene

These figures are flat, but the real figures will be pretty flat too. I’ve had a bunch of muslin and polyfill just sitting in my apartment for months now and I’m getting ready to actually use it.

Right now I’m in California, visting my family (and Mickey Mouse) for a few days, and I’m halfway through an inter-employment hiatus! Remember Spooky Week back in 2016, when I spent a week between jobs building skeletons? This is like that, but twice as long and three times as cute. This first week has been mostly about cleaning my apartment and deleting old emails and falling asleep on the sofa and hanging out at Disneyland, but week 2 is when I’m making time to create some stuffed animals, I swear. Then I start a new job! I’m very excited about it!

This attraction is not happening in mid-April as originally intended; right now I’m thinking maybe June. More soon! Next time you hear from me, I’ll have some really adorable photos of my new fuzzy friends for you.