Posts Tagged ‘Ruffus’

Ruffus The Dog’s Christmas Carol – Finally

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Ruffus The Dog’s Christmas Carol is now online and available for the world to see and share. You can even watch it here:

It would help a lot if you go to the YouTube site to Like and Comment on the show. That kind of audience engagement – *cough*buzzwords*couch* – really does make a difference.

We’ll also be posting it to our Blip.tv channel and a bunch of other sites very soon – as in: as soon as I can get my shit together to do so.

I promise to write a whole bunch more about how we made it, with photos and clips, and what our next steps will be for the Ruffus project – but for now you can check out what other people are saying by checking out their posts and leaving comments:

Please share this show with as many others as you can. It’s our gift to everyone for the holidays.

Download links will be posted soon – and if you want to watch the earlier Ruffus episodes you can find them on the official Ruffus web site.

And if you really really like JP Houston’s song “Merry Merry” you can find it on our Bandcamp site as a free download. It’s an immensely catchy tune and deserves to be heard over and over again. Enjoy!

Cheers.

P. S. Comments here are also appreciated. Tell me what you think of the show – I’d really like to know.

Merry Merry – Music Video From Ruffus The Dog’s Christmas Carol

Monday, December 5th, 2011

This is one of JP Houstons’ amazing songs from our production of Ruffus The Dog’s Christmas Carol – it’s called Merry Merry.

The full production will premiere online on December 17th. We’re also having a screening at the Revue Cinema that day where Ruffus will appear in person to answer questions. I’ll probably be there too.

Enjoy.

We Have A Poster! – And A Release Date

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

It’s official! On December 17th we will release Ruffus The Dog’s Christmas Carol online.

On that same Saturday we will also be hosting a public screening at the historic Revue Cinema here in Toronto. Showtime: 11:00 am.

Here’s the poster for the show.

Ruffus Poster

Not bad, huh?

Limited copies of the poster will be printed, signed and sent to our generous Indie Go-Go donors. There’s still time for you to get yours by visiting our Indie Go-Go campaign page and making a donation.

If you are in the neighbourhood – that would be Parkdale, west end of Toronto – and if you’re up for a family friendly matinee screening of a Christmas classic then come on by. After the screening there will be a brief Q&A with Ruffus – live on stage! The pay-what-you-can box office proceeds will be donated to the Toronto Public Library Foundation.

For more information on the screening, visit our Facebook event page. The official Ruffus The Dog web site will also have updates about the online release.

Tell your friends. Thanks.

Cheers.

Ruffus Christmas Carol – Help Us Get It Done

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The holidays are fast approaching and I made a promise last year that our Ruffus The Dog’s Christmas Carol would be finished and released by then. Here’s how you can help make it so.

When we started the project we attempted, through Indie Go-Go, to raise the full $8,500 we expected we could scrape by on to make the whole thing work and release it to the world. We only managed to achieve $2,090 but that generosity from our supporters convinced us to carry on and go ahead with the shoot. I’ve blogged about that before – here and here and here – and here’s our original Indie Go-Go pitch.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Ruffus show itself you can find all the original episodes on the official Ruffus The Dog website or on our YouTube channel.

Well now, after almost a year of gradually, inexorably (if not continually) working on the post production of the show we are coming down to the wire. The many favours and dedicated sweat equity contributed, in addition to the much needed cash, have carried us almost to completion but once again we find ourselves in need of real money to ensure the project gets finished at the level of quality it deserves and to enable us to release it to the world on time for the holiday season.

So we have launched this 2nd round of Indie Go-Go funding.

We’re trying to raise at least $3,000 to cover further post-production costs, DVD and bandwidth expenses, and a pantload of promotional work.

There’s going to be a screening at the Revue Cinema (I’ll be posting more info on that later) with the proceeds going to support the Toronto Public Library Foundation.

The show will be released online for free streaming and downloading with the option to buy DVD copies, songs, posters, calendars, t-shirts and (hopefully) a graphic photo-novella. But it’s gotta all be done and ready for release before December 15th.

Our clock is ticking.

If you can contribute that would be freaking awesome. If you can’t you can still help us with word-of-mouth, just telling people about the project.

Mention us and link to our Indie Go-Go page on your own blog, your Facebook wall, your Twitter account, or maybe just stand on the street corner with one of those sandwich board signs whilst ringing a bell and wearing a funny hat. Whatever it takes.

Full Disclosure: When I refer to “we” on this project I am mostly referring to “me”, since I’m the guy who has always chosen to wear too many hats. Hey – I got a fat head – might as well use it, right? But I always say “we” because I am not a one-man-band; I rely upon and have benefited from the extraordinary generosity of my friends and family – all of them colleagues and collaborators in this work with me. I couldn’t do a thing without them.

Thanks in advance for your generosity. If you have any comments or suggestions or if you have any questions please feel free to post them here or via email.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back in the basement and keep working on the show.

Cheers.

Ruffus The Dog – A Christmas Carol Update

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

I know – I know – it’s been months since I last posted anything about our online holiday special: Ruffus The Dog’s Christmas Carol. What can I say? I’ve been busy. I had to pay the rent. My car had a flat tire. My suit was still at the cleaners. My dog ate it. Insert applicable lame excuse here.

Actually, I have been working on it and as it slowly nears completion I eke out small portions to share with other people to get their opinion and to just generally let folks know I’m not neglecting the task at hand.

Here’s a few more.

As you may recall from previous posts about the production and some behind the scenes footage – this production of Charles Dicken’s classic is just a tad out of the ordinary.

We shot this thing in my living room. We used green screen in a very small area with no prepared background elements prior to shooting. It was all very much a seat-of-your-pants kind of shoot. Everyone who worked on it wore several hats and helped out with everything that needed to be done. It was a lot of fun.

All the backgrounds – our virtual sets – are being constructed after the edit was completed. We had to get the timed cut done so JP Hosuton, our composer, could record the soundtrack. He worked with a lot of rough images, layered un-composited green screen shots and a lot of frames with just text describing what the hell was supposed to be going on.

The task of creating the CG virtual sets has fallen to me and I now find myself esconced in my basement edit suite working on a Hackintosh (thank you, Mark!) with just Final Cut Pro, PhotoShop and Cinema 4D to craft and piece together the necessary elements for all 230 separate shots – most of which contain 4 to 10 layers of footage. Wheee!

Sounds like work – but it is fun.

I am liking what is coming out. It looks good. I wish it was going faster. I wish I had some staff to do things for me – like get another beer. I wish – well – as they used to say: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Wishing won’t get me closer to completing the work. All there is for me to do is to just fucking do it.

And that I am.

Here’s a song clip for you. It’s one of JP’s great tunes – it takes place during the visitation from the Ghost Of Christmas Past where she shows Scrooge how his lust for money lost him love for Alice.

Let me know what you think.

There’s more to come. Much more.

Cheers.

P. S. It is definitely odd to be spending the dog days summer cutting together snow scenes.

P. P. S. And I’m still looking for a paying gig.

Ruffus RoundUp – Thus Far

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

As you may have noticed I’ve been posting a lot about our efforts to get Ruffus The Dog’s “A Christmas Carol” financed through contributions from the crowd-funding web site IndieGoGo.

Once upon a time . . .

The time has run out for that effort and while we didn’t raise the full $8,500 we were hoping to, we did clear over $2,000 and managed to garner a bit of attention for the show itself. It’s all good.

The process of using IndieGoGo was an interesting learning experience. I have no doubts we’ll bring other productions forward through that site. The level of participation from contributors is a difficult one to anticipate; I’m sure everybody thinks their own project is the absolute most bestest in the whole universe. There are a lot of great recommendations from the operators of the site on how to best leverage awareness of your project and ensure you are getting the maximum return for your efforts – but it is up to you to make it happen.

Did I do everything humanely possible to guarantee full or even excess funding of “A Christmas Carol”? No, of course not – I’m a lazy procrastinating slob with too much work in front of him and preternaturally shy about blowing my own horn. We did have a lot of help from many people out there – friends, family, colleagues and total strangers – to which we are indebted. It’s gratifying and humbling to see others get out and make noise in an effort to help us in this quest.

Thanks to you all from the bottom of my sordid little heart.

Today is Tuesday – next week, on Monday, we will begin shooting “A Christmas Carol”. I’ll be documenting the entire process here on this blog and probably on another site set up just for that show. There will be photos and tweets and possibly a live video feed on UStream. We can’t get too ambitious with all that because we do have a show to shoot and that is, perforce, ambitious enough in its own right.

When it is all finished and ready for release it will, of course, show up on the official Ruffus The Dog web site as well as its own online location, and right here and on YouTube and anywhere else we can place it.

There’s a lot for me to do between now and when we wrap the shoot – as well as thereafter with our tight post-production schedule – and while there is plenty for me to be raving, raging and ragging on about (TSA, Copyright, Internet Censorship, stupid cat videos, Net Neutrality, the Singularity, government corruption, cool art, corporate malfeasance, fascist hijinks and general monkey assholery to name but a few) I shan’t be able to indulge my usual blog musings in earnest for a while. That doesn’t mean you won’t see things posted here – I am, after all a lazy procrastinating slob – just that my posts may be somewhat minimal for a few more weeks.

After all is said and done will it have been worth it?

Of course! I get the chance to play with my friends in a creative endeavour and tell a great story in our own way and show it to the world. What’s wrong with that? Paying the bills would be nice too but that’s gonna have to wait until we’re finished this – then I’ll go out and get a job and complain about it at length here.

In the meantime, I’m taking great comfort and inspiration from a slender little volume I picked up at our local bookshop – The River Trading Company, on Queen West (the real Queen West: Parkdale) – where I found it perched in their front window display of nifty holiday stuff.

A lovely thing.

It’s an Atlantic Monthly Press 1920 reproduction of the original edition.

I don’t believe in omens and signs but I’ll take what I can get – and this will be the book Ruffus reads from in the show.

Once again – my deepest thanks to everyone who contributed and supported our fund raising efforts – our creative team will now strive to make the best Ruffus show possible. Keep tuning in for updates.

Cheers.

Ruffus The Dog UStream Marathon

Friday, November 19th, 2010

The Flying Spaghetti Monster in “A Christmas Carol”? Hell yes! Read on!

As we continue our pre-production efforts on Ruffus The Dog’s A Christmas Carol you can watch streaming episodes of Ruffus The Dog – along with numerous shameless plugs asking for funding contributions – on the Ruffus UStream.TV Channel.

Or you can watch it right here:

Why am I doing this?

It’s coming down to the wire for raising funds to make our version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and the shoot is just a little over a week away.

Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!

Relax. Breathe in – breathe out – repeat if necessary.

It’s all good.

I’ve already posted about our funding efforts – you can find some of them here and here and here.

We don’t have nearly as much money as we intended to have in order to pull this off – but that’s not going to stop us. The production is going ahead as planned. If you – or anyone you know – can help by contributing even a few dollars via IndieGoGo it will go a long way to helping make this exercise in creative insanity just a little less impossible than it already is.

I may make it sound like our efforts to release this production of “A Christmas Carol” online by December 21st are nothing more than a folly doomed to failure – but actually I’m delighted with what we’ve been able to achieve in such a short time with so few resources. This is going to be an amazing show. It would not have been possible without the dedication and determination of the talented team who have come together to help make this happen.

You can help too. Visit http://www.indiegogo.com/ruffus-the-dog and tell others to do the same. We’re counting on you to help get us across the finish line with enough in hand to make this journey work.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go finish my storyboards, render more CG virtual sets and make a Flying Spaghetti Monster – you know – for kids.

Here it is as a work in progress:

FSM

Enjoy the shows. Thanks for your support.

Cheers.

A Message From The Producer

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Today I posted this short video as part of our last efforts to raise productions funds through IndieGoGo for “Ruffus The Dog’s A Christmas Carol”.

The process of using IndieGoGo has been interesting and I’m pretty sure it will prove to be useful for other projects we come up with in the future. Our initial goal was for $8,500 which was a painfully low amount considering how ambitious this production has become. With only 5 days left to our IndieGoGo deadline we have only managed to secure about 20% of our goal – but we’re forging ahead with production regardless.

I’m sure I could have done a better or more aggressive job of promoting our efforts to raise funds but all excuses and caveats aside – I’m a puppeteer, dammit! We did manage to get a very nice mention in BoingBoing which helped draw a lot of attention to all this nonsense we’re up to.

Luckily, I’ve been blessed with a team of friends and colleagues who are both dedicated and talented. Their generous contribution of time and skill will be what makes our version of “A Christmas Carol” really shine.

Our shoot days are coming up fast and I’m looking forward to the four days of hilarity and hard work that lie in store for all of us.

The miraculous Jane Edmondson, assisted by Tatiana Hernandez-Deutsch, has been creating wonderful miniature ealry Victorian wardrobe for our cast of puppet characters. And our designer, Karen Valleau is crafting new puppet characters and just finished an exquisite snowglobe with St. Paul’s Cathedral inside.

Earlier this evening I had a Skype call with our composer, JP Houston – he’s currently in L.A. recording and rehearsing for a European band tour – and he’s been sending me demo tracks of the songs for this production and they are frickin’ awesome. Unfortunately he won’t be able to come to Toronto for the song recording sessions so we’ve been organizing a back-and-forth effort with him sending tracks here – we record the vocals and send them back – and so on and so forth until my brain melts out my ass.

It’s all fun and games until someone’s brain melts out their ass.

And for those who know me well – today I found myself alone in the kitchen making production sketches – and involuntarily let loose with one of those maniacal laughs.

Felt good.

Please, do what you can to help us out – or at least encourage others to help – every little bit is greatly needed and appreciated. The finished show WILL released online on December 21st. So there.

Here’s the original IndieGoGo pitch video:

And here, of course, is the widget that leads you to our IndieGoGo pages:

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go edit some footage of Sinbad the Sailor and these two pigs, Ray & Harry, the Hausen brothers.

Cheers.