Lucy Schwartz, a talented singer/songwriter from Los Angeles, contacted me last year after seeing "Boxcar Fair", the music video I did with Brock Scott for his band Little Tybee.Lucy loved the look and feel of "Boxcar Fair" and also, to quote Lucy, "was entranced by it's magic". After talking a bit via email, she sent me her song "Time Will Tell". The song is about a young boy wondering about his future. He wants the future to happen now and the lesson is "take it slow", don't try to rush it. Lucy describes it this way - ".... it's important to pay attention to the journey, because if you don't, the best parts of life pass you by......the journey IS your life (I'm saying this advice mostly as a note to myself....but that's sort of the idea behind the song....)"
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ I have to say I've been so fortunate to collaborate with these incredibly talented people - first Brock Scott, a remarkable songwriter but also a talented visual artist and sculptor. And now Lucy Schwartz, equally amazing singer and songwriter who I had the pleasure of experiencing her creative perspective on life while she was here in Atlanta. We spent the good part of a day hanging out in my studio as she sculpted a small figure. I was showing her my approach to sculpting and I learned a bit of how her creative mind works. Never before have I realized what could come out of collaborating with another creative person. Sure there is always an end product but what one gains from another person's perspective is immeasurable.
So in producing the video I knew we had to come up with a story to go along with the lyrics. We talked back and forth and came up with a story of a young boy walking around in the forest wondering about his future. He finds a magical mirror in which he sees his future love interest, a wind-up doll. He makes a wish to have this girl now and realizes his mistake when his wish comes true.
A single marionette was create for the shoot. The boy plays several characters, facilitated by changes in his wardrobe.
Here are some shots of the marionette in progress, including the changes we made to fit our look.
The young boy's body is carved from basswood. He had to be fully functional with jointed arms legs and neck. Also I hollowed out his chest to make him as light as possible.
I created 3 right hands, (and one left), so he could hold/carry various props. This actually worked out well. I could change out the hands quickly as they were simply held in with a small brass rod.
Here I just finished sculpting is head from polymer clay.
His body is all carved, painted, and ready to be dressed.
All dressed and ready for the strings. The white shirt was from a collection of old doll clothes I bought a while back. I put it on him and it fit perfectly; this so rarely happens. I rolled up his sleeves so his arms could move. I also had the sweater and it fit perfectly too. The sleeves were already cut off and were used for a pair of socks on another figure a couple of years ago. I love how this outfit came together and I love this look.
All dressed and strung for the first time.
Lucy thought his skin tone was a bit too red - a bit sunburned - so I did a bit of repainting on his face.
She also thought he looked a bit melancholy so I changed his mouth to give him more of a smile. She was right, he looks happier now.
From the beginning, since we would be shooting the video in many parts and editing it together, I had this idea of using different eyes and eyebrows to give him different expressions. I painted eyes and eyebrows on a piece of black masking tape and below you can see one of my test with the eyebrows.
The eyes before I cut them all out. We ended up using only 2 pairs; one regular and one downcast. I also created a closed eye look.
The boy's father is mentioned in the song so there's a few scenes where he's dressed up as his father. This is the suitcase the father carries. Made from a block of wood, I hollowed this out as well.
Lucy wears a key on her back - after all she is a wind-up doll. I made it out of wood and added strong magnets to the base. Here it's stuck to our refrigerator. She wore a thin metal plate inside her dress and the key stayed perfectly in place.
Shots from the video shoot - it took 2 days to shoot the puppet and one day to shoot Lucy's part.
The opening scene - we see him sitting on a rock staring at a lake deep in contemplation.
Here he's watering a flower that he just planted. You can see the magical mirror behind him.
Sometime getting the shot takes many people.
The young boy walks down a path and comes upon the magic mirror for the first time. Beau Brown puppeteered on Day 1 of our shoot.
Here we are getting the shot where the young boy dips his pitcher into a stream to get water for the flower. I'm moving the puppet's arm and Raymond Carr, our puppeteer for Day 2, is supporting the puppet's body. Andrew Kornylak is behind the camera; he served as our director of photography and location scout.
You can check out Lucy's music and other projects here.