So by now, I hope you have had a chance to read all about the creation of the children’s television programming endeavor that has been in cold storage since 2006. Today I am presenting the first of two pilot episodes – “Afraid”.
“Afraid” and “Trains” were written by Emily Tobin. When she sent me her first crack at scripts, I laughed out loud. Emily has my same sense of irony and comic timing, so I knew we would make a great writing team. The week before shooting, Kevin and I practiced our parts at my house, so that we would be showing up on recording day pretty much comfortable with our lines.
What I hadn’t planned for was the multiple cameras, the monitors, the teleprompters, keeping my head out of the shots…being a professional puppeteer takes time, not overnight. At the end of the day, Phil Lane, the director of the show said we did great. The camera operators and the lighting techs and just about everybody had to hold back their laughter on every take. We knew we were making something awesome.
These first episodes would be kind of a test for all of us to get our feet wet getting started with the show. The full set wasn’t built yet (more on that in later episode synopsis blog posts), but we had the starting of a cool clubhouse backdrop. You will see the background really come to life in later episodes. This was new territory for all of us, so we planned a full working day just to work on two 2-minute shorts. You would be amazed, but I equate making television like making maple syrup – 10 gallons of sap is boiled down to get one bottle of syrup. Getting 2 minutes of footage takes lots of takes, lots of shots, and lots of careful planning before we all begin. After this hard-yet-fulfilling day’s work, (I think we started at 7:30 and ended at 3:30), I knew that doing a full-blown half hour show was out of the question after that – at least until we all got more streamlined. I liked the simple format of doing 2-minute shorts for the time being. They were cute, funny, and punchy. And those kinds of short attention span jokes I respond to really well, so my hope was that the kids of Michigan (and you) would agree.
“Afraid” (pilot episode) Releasing August 12, 2012
Max is totally afraid of the dark. But Fin explains sometimes its okay to be afraid.