The 3rd of October saw our group embarking upon a rather dynamic challenge – making a live shadow puppet film. My group consisted of myself, Ruxandra, MO, Qun, Yixing, Michael and Theresa. When we first gathered we began throwing about visual ideas we found interesting to work with (for example – confetti and stars bursting into them); then I pitched the idea that maybe we could work with the star as a character itself and the story evolved from there on very organically. The more we streamlined our process and focused it on the main character and the obstacles he would face, the easier it got to string along a story about the same – a story that was nowhere near what each one of us had in our minds initially, but incorporated our individual contributions quite seamlessly.

The team then split into smaller sections; some of us searched for a space to set up the film while the others worked with set and character design. Since we did not have much time to work around the sets as such, we began working towards character design. Grace was the one who came up with the final design while each of us gave inputs towards it. Our final character also had intricate patterns which Qun drew. Meanwhile the character design for the moon was a product of my explorations. While making the assets we kept the shapes in mind and made all other elements (except the star and the moon) much softer and round so that our main characters would stand out even more.

The storyboard of our little shadow live grew, funnily, more and more ambitious for a minute-long film. Instead of it being a little story about the star exploring the new space after being separated from its home – the moon, it changed to the star’s quest of reaching back to its home. Amidst our now overly enthusiastic story-making process, Shaun suggested that we give the moon a more motivating role to play in this short since the character in itself has a lot of power anyway. All of us agreed with the same and we worked around the moon being more active in the story and bringing about more motivation for our main character.

We had about 15 minutes to get the live recording by the end of everything. Without wasting any time we started rehearsing the whole storyboard. That was when we realised that we didn’t nearly have as many hands on board as required or physical space to include more puppeteers. Another obstacle we faced during shooting was developing a proper language of direction and communication amongst all of us. I believe it took us 4 whole shoots to coordinate as required but in the end it was a rather enjoyable time. The end product and the sounds used in it were almost a surprise to the ones who were on the other side of the glass door, puppeteering away.

Working in a group is always a new experience for me because more often than not I find it overwhelming in the beginning. Being an introverted team member allows one to listen to all the ideas and try and do justice to all but it also limits you when you want to speak about your own opinions – however, I’m glad that this time over, I could successfully do so – all thanks to the very accommodating members of my group.

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