A paper puppet meets a certain end

This is a beautifully manipulated short with a paper puppet.

Now, I have to say that though I think this is really well done, it disappointed me. Let’s sum up. Puppet comes to life. Discovers world. Discovers that it is a puppet. Dies.

I was really excited when the video started, because it is beautifully shot and manipulated. I liked the way they let the light shine through the puppet and make no attempt to disguise that it’s a puppet made from brown paper. It is lovely. But then they had to go to the cliche ending. Granted, there are variations on this trope. Sometimes the ending is that the puppet kills the puppeteer.

This is not new material. I know, I know. There are no new ideas. I’ll grant that. But if you are going to recycle an old storyline, then you have to bring something new to it besides just making it pretty.

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6 Responses

  1. Evan Nichols

    Ideally, yes. I think most talented people underestimate their skill in crossover creativity. I notice it particularly with artists who make comics with predictable stories, clichéd characters and rambling dialog, but the drawings are excellent. It’s far less frequent to have someone who excels at both the writing and execution of storytelling.

  2. -d-

    It was short, as you say, so you didn’t have to suffer long.
    What are the possible endings you could have in a piece that short?
    You mentioned that sometimes the puppet kills the puppeteer. In a longer piece like Pinocchio the puppet becomes real, but has there been a show where the puppeteer becomes a puppet?

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal

      Yeah, yeah the ending where the puppeteer becomes a puppet is pretty popular too.

      I probably shouldn’t diss it, it’s just that I’ve seen this story so very many times.

  3. Alex Wilson

    I’m with Evan. This is a common problem in most nontext media, that the story is the weakest link. I’ve read a large number of short scripts and one acts (and seen a large number of results) from local directors, artists, animators, etc., usually more interested in me as an actor than as someone who can possibly help with the script.

    Most are capable of writing a coherent-to-mediocre story (with coherent-to-mediocre dialogue, characterization, etc), and they’ll go ahead and do that rather either improve their storytelling ability or work with a writer, because their focus is elsewhere (cinematography, image quality, innovation, etc). And they’re vindicated whenever a standout director of derivative yet passable stories excels because of her or his overwhelming quality in other areas.

    But I always think of pre-Toy Story Pixar, sold to Steve Jobs because George Lucas needed to free up some assets in his 50-50 California divorce. The splash Lasseter & company made with their short films at computer animation conferences wasn’t because they were technically interesting among hundreds of other technically interesting animations. Mostly it was because they focused on telling stories instead of technical dazzlement, and they excelled (and continue to excel) at it.