I recently had a chat with Zack Buchman, the creative force behind Furry Puppet Studio, and asked him some questions about his company and his puppet design process. I really respect his work and his devotion to his art. He’s also a fellow judge on this year’s Puppet Contest by Project Puppet. Here is the third and final installment of the interview:
PH: What has been your favorite puppet project so far?
ZB: It’s difficult to name one favorite, because there were so many great ones over the years. Many of my clients actually became good friends, which gives a project a whole new dimension. One of them is Spencer Halpin, the director of “Mortal Kombat”. We bonded immediately and every business meeting after that felt like a date!
My favorite projects are when I am asked to design a whole cast of characters. This kind of scenario is typically where a designer gets the freedom to leave his artistic signature.
PH: What has been your most challenging project?
ZB: We are very experienced in building sophisticated puppets so what usually challenges us the most is not the acutal fabrication, but designing a really good character.
One recent character that comes to mind is the Blue Viking. There is lots of detail in this creature, yet his expression and composition are still so simple and clear. I have many stories to tell about the process of creating him; as with many of my characters, it all started in a strange dream. I feel so lucky I can take creatures I meet in my dreams and bring them to the real world. A huge catastrophe occurred when I was working on his helmet, the metal powder I was using just spread all over the studio, covering everything, including me. Everything was covered in a thin layer of silver–my studio looked like a music video from the 80′s. Luckily all of the puppets were well packed and protected and no real damage was caused.
PH: Do you have any big, exciting projects in the works that you can tell me about?
ZB: We are not allowed to disclose details about most of the projects we’re involved in until they’re released. One exciting project I am allowed to talk about involves a huge hay monster and a cast of awesom barnyard characters, with lots of mechanical features. Stay tuned!
PH: What does the future hold for Furry Puppet? Where would you like to go with your work and what would you like to accomplish in the world of puppetry that you haven’t yet?
ZB: We would like to keep creating with as much freedom as we have now, building worlds and bringing life to foam in our own distinctive style.
To summarize, we want to push the envelope even more, set new standards for the puppet industry and bring puppets back to the mainstream.