Credited As: Head of Puppetry


Hayns: YOU KNOW, THE PUPPET
DEPARTMENT IS LIKE A FAMILY. IT TAKES AROUND ABOUT 30 PEOPLE
TO MAKE ONE PUPPET. WE’RE A SPECIAL BREED, AND WE’RE LIKE A LITTLE
SORT OF ROVING BAND OF GYPSIES THAT TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD. YOU KNOW,
THERE’S NOT MANY OF US. WE LIVE, SLEEP, EAT, AND BREATHE
PUPPETS AND PUPPET MAKING. I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW
WHAT STOP-MOTION ANIMATION WAS WHEN I WAS A KID. I JUST KNEW THAT I WAS HOPELESS
AT SCHOOL, AT ACADEMIA. THE DOODLES IN MY TEXTBOOKS
WERE WAY BETTER THAN WHAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE
GETTING FROM MATH AND ENGLISH. SO I WENT TO ART SCHOOL,
AND THEN AT THE SAME TIME, I STARTED TO COLLECT
OLD VICTORIAN SCARY DOLLS. THEN I REALIZED
THAT ALL OF THE KIDS’ TV I’D GROWN UP WITH IN ENGLAND
WAS ALL STOP-MOTION. IT ALL SORT OF
MADE SENSE TO ME THEN. AND, YOU KNOW, MAKING A PUPPET
IS VERY MUCH LIKE MAKING A DOLL, BUT IT’S A DOLL
THAT YOU CAN THEN BRING TO LIFE, SO IT’S PERFECT. I STARTED OFF AS A GENERALIST, SO I DID A BIT OF EVERYTHING. YOU HAVE TO SAVE THE DAY
WHEN A PUPPET’S HEAD FALLS OFF, OR SUDDENLY
YOU’RE RE-SCULPTING SOMETHING, YOU’RE PAINTING IT,
YOU’RE DOING EVERYTHING. OVER THE YEARS,
YOU GROW WITH IT. YOU LEARN ALL THE MISTAKES, AND YOU TRY AND ACT
ON THOSE MISTAKES. I GOT A PHONE CALL,
AND IT WAS LAIKA, AND THEY WERE, “WE NEED SOMEBODY
WHO’S A GOOD PUPPET MAKER TO COME AND SET UP
THE PUPPET DEPARTMENT FOR ‘CORALINE.'” AND I WENT, “OKAY!
I’LL DO IT!” THERE ARE 65 ARTISTS
AND CRAFTSPEOPLE THAT WORK IN MY DEPARTMENT. WE HAVE A SCULPT DEPARTMENT. THE SCULPTS GENERALLY THEN GO
TO THE MOLD-MAKING DEPARTMENT. AND YOU DON’T
JUST MOLD A WHOLE BODY. YOU HAVE TO SEPARATE IT
INTO MANY DIFFERENT MOLDS SO THAT IF A HAND BREAKS,
YOU’VE GOT A SEPARATE HAND, AND IF THEY HAVE
A CHANGE OF FOOTWEAR, YOU HAVE TO HAVE
A SEPARATE FOOT MOLD. THE MOLD MAKERS THEN HAND
THEIR FINISHED MOLDS TO THE ARMATURE DEPARTMENT. THE ARMATURE BUILDERS ARE THE
PEOPLE THAT BUILD THE SKELETONS. THEY WILL THEN HAND
THEIR ARMATURES AND MOLDS TO THE CASTING DEPARTMENT. AND THEN YOU HAVE TO DECIDE HOW
YOU’RE GONNA ANIMATE THE FACE. AT LAIKA, WE PERFECTED
REPLACEMENT ANIMATION. EACH MOUTH SHAPE IS A NEW FACE THAT GOES ON
WITH EACH FRAME OF FILM. AND THEN WE HAVE ALL OF
SORT OF THE LOOK OF PUPPETS, SO THE PAINT, THE HAIR,
AND THE COSTUME. HOPEFULLY YOUR END PUPPET WILL BE A FULLY ANIMATABLE,
POSABLE PUPPET WITH A COSTUME, WITH A COMPLETELY PAINTED SORT
OF FACE, HAIR, COSTUME, HANDS, AND WITH A LOVELY WIG.
[ LAUGHS ] AND THEN I’M THE CENTRAL PERSON WHO SORT OF IS IN THE MIDDLE
OF ALL OF THESE PEOPLE, MAKING SURE EVERYBODY
IS REMEMBERING TO COMMUNICATE AND EVERYBODY KNOWS WHEN
THEIR THEY’RE GETTING THE MOLD AND WHEN THE MOLD IS GOING
TO THE NEXT DEPARTMENT. IF YOU FORGET TO TELL THEM
ONE LITTLE THING, THEY COULD BUILD SOMETHING
AND HAVE WASTED MONTHS. GENERALLY, I’M DOING THE
UP-FRONT PART OF THE PROCESS, SO ALL THE INITIAL
PROBLEM-SOLVING, SETTING UP THE TEAMS,
SETTING UP THE PROCESS. EVERYTHING
THAT I’M DOING IN A BLUE, THAT WILL BE EVENTUALLY MOLDED
IN SILICONE AND CAST AS A HARD PART. AND THEN EVERYTHING
THAT I HIGHLIGHT IN YELLOW WILL BE A SEPARATE SCULPT, WHICH WILL THEN
SIT OVER THE JOINTS, AND THAT WILL BE A SOFT PART. I ALSO WORK VERY CLOSELY
WITH THE DIRECTOR AND THE HEAD OF ANIMATION TO MAKE SURE THEIR VISION
IS REALIZED IN THE PERFORMANCE
THAT THE PUPPETS CAN GIVE AND THEN TO REMIND MY TEAM THAT THEY HAVE
TO COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER. Man:
IT TOOK ABOUT A WEEK. THE DUPES, WE CAN RUN
IN THREE DAYS OR LESS. -Hayns: OH, THAT’S GREAT.
-Man #2: I’M JUST GETTING READY TO CAST UP
THESE GRANDFATHER HANDS. Hayns:
WE’RE ON TRACK WITH THOSE? -Man #2: WE’RE ON TRACK, YEAH.
-Hayns: OH, YEAH. Woman: WE WILL BE ABLE TO GET
A LITTLE ADDITIONAL MOVEMENT. Hayns: YEAH,
I THINK THAT WOULD BE GOOD, AND I THINK THAT’S WHAT
THE ANIMATOR IS HOPING TO GET. MOST ARTISTS ARE — THEY’RE SORT
OF THE QUIET, DETERMINED TYPES THAT GO INTO THEIR OWN
LITTLE CREATIVE BUBBLES AND THEY JUST DO THEIR THING. CONSTANTLY HAVE TO REMIND
ARTISTS, “NO, NO, NO. YOU NEED TO TALK
TO THE PERSON NEXT TO YOU.” IT’LL TAKE
FROM THREE TO SIX MONTHS TO MAKE THE FIRST ONE-OFF
OF THE PUPPET. SO, THAT’S
ALL THE PROBLEM-SOLVING, GETTING EVERYTHING SORT OF
SET UP FOR MASS PRODUCTION. WHEN YOU’RE DOING A SCHEDULE
FOR A MOVIE, IT’S USUALLY CALLED
A ONE-LINE SCHEDULE, BECAUSE EVERYTHING’S
VERY LINEAR. YOU KNOW, WITH A PUPPET,
IT STARTS OFF AS ONE LINE, ‘CAUSE IT STARTS OFF
AS A SCULPT, AND THEN IT EXPLODES
INTO ABOUT 500 LINES, AND THEN IT COMES BACK
INTO A FINAL PUPPET. IT’S INTERESTING WITH PUPPETS
BECAUSE THEY ACTUALLY HAVE TO DO MORE THAN
A REAL, SORT OF, LIVE PERSON. SO EVERYTHING’S EXAGGERATED. IT’S CARTOONS, SO, YOU KNOW, YOU
HAVE TO MAKE THE ARMS, THE LEGS, JUST DO A LITTLE BIT —
WE CALL IT OVEREXTENSION. TO DO THAT, WE’RE ALWAYS HAVING
TO THINK ABOUT, INITIALLY, WHAT THE SKELETON CAN DO, BUT THEN, HOW THE MATERIAL
OVER THE TOP OF THE SKELETON MIGHT HINDER THE MOVEMENT. IT’S ALWAYS A CHALLENGE
OF MAKING THEM LOOK GORGEOUS AND GET ALL OF THE PERFORMANCE. AND I ALWAYS SAY
WE NEVER FINISH A PUPPET UNTIL THE LAST DAY OF FILMING, BECAUSE WE ARE CONSTANTLY
CHANGING IT PER SHOT. YOU THINK, “OH, WE’VE MADE
EVERYTHING THERE IS TO MAKE AT THIS POINT. YOU KNOW, THERE’S NO PROBLEMS
LEFT TO BE SOLVED.” BUT, OF COURSE,
EVERY SINGLE STORY BRINGS A NEW CHALLENGE
AND A NEW PROBLEM. AND EACH TIME WE START ONE,
WE’RE LIKE [GASPS] “HOW ARE WE GONNA MAKE THAT?” AND SUDDENLY IT FEELS
LIKE YOU’VE JUST BLINKED, AND IT’S DONE, AND THESE CHARACTERS
HAVE ACHIEVED EVERYTHING THE ANIMATORS HAVE WANTED. AND THE BEST THING IS,
WE CREATE THESE, LIKE, ENGINEERING LITTLE
SORT OF MASTERPIECES, AND THE DAY
THAT WE PASS IT TO ANIMATION AND SEE THEM BROUGHT TO LIFE
IS INCREDIBLE. AND THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. WE’RE ENTERTAINING, YOU KNOW,
THE AUDIENCE WITH WHAT WE MAKE EVERY DAY. AND WE’RE ALSO, YOU KNOW, HAVING A GOOD TIME
WHILE WE DO IT, AS WELL.

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