2009 began with a great character puppet project for Perdue Chicken- 'El Pollo Gula,' a gigantic, animatronic Gluttonous Chicken puppet, with a huge, lead weighted swaying belly to graphically show how the competitors' chickens are fed some very questionable things. We designed the character on the computer in Maya and Z-Brush and then we produced the character design to match our approved 3D CG design exactly.
Our always busy animatronic Grizzly Bear costume was chosen to be in a commercial for Korea as the picky hitchhiking bear who waves countless cars on and will only accept a Hyundai to pick him up - and his family it turns out, who pop up from behind a rock and hop in when the right ride finally arrives. Our animatronic Grizzly Bear costume also worked in a Carmax commercial, wrestling with a Canadian Mountie. We finally realized a longtime goal and were hired to create a brand new, animatronic Polar Bear costume for a series of Softbank commercials for Japan, where our Polar Bear costume was composited to look like a group of Polar Bears.
Three of our animal puppets were chosen to play a number of animals that work in an office building for the CEO 'Mother Nature' in a series of very funny Vitamin Water commercials - featuring our Deer xeroxing his backside, our Badger accidentally revealing that his was viewing porn on his laptop at work, and our Rabbit needing the umpteenth day off for the countless children that have been born to his wife that year. Our Raccoon was used in a Search Me commercial.
We created the three Chinchilla puppets as part of the 'Chinchili Day' ruse used by employees to finagle three day holidays so they can spend in more time in Las Vegas. Two completely different commercials have been created for this campaign - in the first our Chinchillas are the bad guys, terrorizing a small town until their armed uprising is finally put down; and in the second, our Chinchillas get to be the heroes, and they ride on burros into a small town, to bravely challenge, sword fight and ultimately save the town from being terrorized by hoodlums. Our animatronic Squirrel puppets were shot for a couple of Lunchables commercials, with one of them hanging on to a woman's head as she runs through a devastated street. We worked on two Mountain Dew Voltage commercials, creating a giant animatronic Mosquito puppet that can't handle the power of Voltage, also a huge Albatross and two smaller Birds that are literally knocked out of the sky by the power of rising Voltage bubbles.
Adding to our list of makeup achievements, for another wacky and extremely challenging Skittles commercial we created a series of three successive Old Age Makeups that had to all be applied to the same actor. Anyone familiar with makeup prosthetics will know that aging an actor through four different extreme ages all in one day has got to be some sort of world makeup record.
We created two new prosthetic makeup appliance effects - a big Muscle Arm Prosthetic to show how a doctor is so distracted by watching True TV that he transplants the wrong arm to his patient and Lockbrow prosthetics, showing the many creative ways a man whose brow is permanently frozen up in a surprised look can get himself into trouble. We also created two very painful looking effects for Boost Mobile - a big construction nail gun shoots nails into his back then nails his hands to the wall, and a over-enthusiatic sports fan pulls his friend's hair out as they follow a tense soccer game on television.
For the new MTV HD Channel we created pullover likeness masks of rock stars filmed in Florida where they are seen acting very uncharacteristically - Bono locks his car doors and tries to ignore a homeless woman at a stoplight, P Diddy digs through his pockets and can't seem to come up with enough change to pay for a meal at a fast food hamburger stand, and Robert Smith gives himself a radical sunburn while out sunbathing.
We are proud of the costumes we created for a major new campaign for Budweiser - multiple Bud Light Bottle costumes and bundle of Wheat costumes, used in a series of spots telling the story of their romance, and the subsequent creation of Bud Light Golden Wheat beer. Our suit actors were terrific in these spots, being called upon to perform all sorts of difficult stunts, like skating and falling, all without the benefit of being able to even see. Budweiser liked our suits so much that we were asked to create many more, walkaround versions of these Bud Light Bottle and Wheat costumes, for appearances at nationwide Bud Light events.
For a Caribou Coffee commercial filmed in Minneapolis, we created two quirky and funny animatronic Puppet Characters that envy someone enjoying drinking Caribou Coffee and ask, "So you're saying we're fake?" We also created a pair of sassy, animatronic Talking Pants for Dominoe's Pizza. We created a number of Bag costumes for White Castle; and our Crash Test Dummy suit was featured tap dancing in an AT&T spot.