Cartoon Lagoon

Behind the scenes of a new show from a local producer

Building a puppet show in 80,000 easy steps. Part One.

I usually blog about really silly things, but today I am writing about the very serious issue of puppet shows, and how you make one in the most complicated way possible.

I’ve been a lucky guy in the last several months, and one of the reasons is a pretty sweet project conjured up by my business/creative partner Manny Galán, called  “Captain Cornelius Cartoon’s Cartoon Lagoon.” It will be a show with puppets that are partially animated (animated facial expressions, and traditional puppet bodies). The show is about three sailors who travel in a tiny submarine called the “Manta Ray.” They explore a lagoon in search of the worst cartoon ever made. It will debut on DVD in the fall of 2012. The show is a huge wet-kiss of a love letter to everything we watched as kids. We think grownups will appreciate it as much as kids will.

We shot the first two episodes in August 2011. The “set” was painstakingly handcrafted in Manny’s basement, and then reassembled in a Catholic Girls’ School on the Lower East Side, upstairs from The Puppet Kitchen. Since school was out for the summer, and the ceilings were very high, we had the perfect location for a puppet show. 

The real story here may be about two guys (my partner and I) wading into the treacherous waters of opening a business, and the doubly treacherous waters of going into "show" business. On the "opening a business" part, the sheer complexity of lawyers, taxes, state fees and paperwork, insurances, makes us ask (often), "Why are we doing this again?" From Restaranteurs to Hot Dog Stands, I have a new respect for entrepeneurship. Because it is HARD. I started a comic book company several years ago, and got my first taste of what this would be like. But this has been infinitely more complex. There is an awful lot of math, so kids, remember, stay in school, or at least marry someone good at math. 

The "show business" part should be much more frightening, but in a weird way it isn't. We think we have something really original and interesting to put in front of audiences, and we really have no choice in the matter. We are like those fish that can't help themselves and just keep swimming NORTH. Is it SALMON? Or Perhaps we are Lemmings and helplessly on our path off a cliff. Either way, we're that committed!  

Patch comes in, because here we are, a guy in Long Island (Huntington Patch) and a guy in New Jersey (Montclair Patch), as an outlet for a local business to get the word out about the arts. We fully hope to do big debut screenings in our area, and want to keep reminding folks that great (or in our case mediocre but funny) art can come from anywhere. Not just Hollywood. 

Over the next several months I’ll be sharing some behind-the-scenes, some inside stories, sketches, some amazing friends I have been working with, and maybe even some actual scenes from the show. I'd also like to talk about the stresses and trials and plain goofiness involved in getting something like this done, while still commuting on the LIRR back and forth to Huntington. In fact, I’d better stop blogging, and go back to whatever it is that I am supposed to do to get a puppet show made. I'll let you know when we actually figure it out!

Until then, Check out our show blog at cartoonlagoonshow.blogspot.com.

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Constance Allison May 08, 2012 at 03:57 PM
This looks great, Pat. Nice work.
Pat Giles May 08, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Thanks Constance!


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