Copyright ©2004 Michel Gagné






Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets Production Diary

November 1st, 2004

Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppet Show
Posted by Michel Gagné

Last July, I had a meeting with Anissa Dorsey, director of development at Cartoon Network. Anissa expressed her enthusiasm for my work and asked me if I'd be interested in doing shorts for CN.

Upon my return home, I started thinking about the idea of doing another short film. After all, it's been almost ten years since I finished "Prelude to Eden". After a few weeks of brainstorming, I came up with a concept for not just one film but an entire series: Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppet Show!

A couple of months ago, while visiting Vancouver, I met a young and extremely talented Flash animator named Jayson Thiessen. Jayson showed me his work and I was very impressed. Upon my return home, I received an email from him. We started communicating back and forth and eventually, I invited him to my house. I pitched my series to him and he loved it. I told him of my need for an amazing animator and how I wanted to push Flash beyond anything that's ever been done before. A deal was struck, and Jayson became my "Insane Shadow Puppeteer".

The series will use a combination of softwares such as Flash, After Effects, Photoshop, Maya as well as traditional hand drawn animation. I haven't been that excited about animation in a long time.

Click here to see the teaser!

In a couple of weeks, I will be pitching the series to Cartoon Network, Disney, and Nickelodeon, and upon my return to the Pacific Northwest, I will be pitching to the National Film Board of Canada.

November 10th, 2004

Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppet Show 2nd teaser is on-line!
Posted by Michel Gagné

I'd like to thank everyone for the astounding support I've been getting since announcing my new project "Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppet Show". I never realized how many people wanted me to do more animated shorts. Thank you all so very much. I'll try to live up to the expectations.

I'm working extremely hard and I regrettably do not have time to answer every one of your emails. I promise that I DO read them all.

To all those who have sent me Résumés and links to your websites and such, thank you. I currently have a dial-up modem and It's just too slow. I'm planning to upgrade to high speed internet in the coming weeks and I'll make sure to have a look at all your work.

Thanks and enjoy the second teaser!

June 2nd, 2005

Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppet on Nick
Posted by Michel Gagné

I'm delighted to announce that Nickelodeon has ordered 12 short animated pieces of "Shadow Puppet" for their Halloween programing. I'll be directing, producing and designing all of them. I've managed to gather a small but incredibly talented crew who will help me bring this insane and spooky vision to the screen.

June 15th, 2005

Mike Hogue and Andrew Scott Join the "Shadow Puppet" Crew!
Posted by Michel Gagné

I'm pleased to officially announce the addition of two fantastically talented artists to my small crew.

Mike Hogue (president of Sketchbook Animation) is now working full time on my short series for Nick. I am totally impressed with this guy. The animation he's producing is nothing short of incredible. We're really pushing the bounderies of Flash Animation and Mike has an in-depth knowledge of the software. With the combined talent of Mike, Jayson Thiessen (the original Shadow Puppeteer) and myself (hope I don't sound too much like a megalomaniac here), I'm confident that these short pieces are going to be visually stunning.

Another asset to our crew is Andrew Scott, my sound architect. Andrew's delivering some awesome stuff. Working with "Frankenstein" equipment, he's accomplishing miracle on a budget.

I'm receiving a huge amount of emails and I do not have time to respond to everyone. This project has practiquely taken over my whole life (I've been working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day since starting production). Thank you for all your support!

The crew for Shadow Puppet is now complete and I'm no longer looking at reels or portfolio. If we need help in order to meet our deadline, I'll post a notice on the website. In the interim, please understand that I do not have time to review work emailed to me.

August 24th, 2005

Shadow Puppets - It's a wrap!
Posted by Michel Gagné

We've done it! We just wrapped up production on the first 12 "Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets" bumpers. We finished post-production at Rainmaker Studio in Vancouver yesterday and the broadcast masters have been shipped to MTV Networks in New York.

My small crew really came through on this. It was a lot of hard work but it really paid off. The shorts turned out beautiful.

At first, I was a little nervous about using the Macromedia Flash software as our main production tool. I really wasn't sure if I would be able to get that smooth, classical animation look I was after. I didn't want to have that "cut-out" feel associated with most Flash animation. Well, Mike Hogue, who became the main animator on the series, quickly put my mind to rest with his dazzling skills. What he has accomplished here is unlike any Flash animation I've ever seen! I really have to give him a big tip of the hat for putting up with all my nitpicking, although I'm sure he will agree that it was well worth it.

Big props as well to Jayson Thiessen for being the first shadow puppeteer and proving that my vision could be done using Flash; and to Andrew Scott for labouring over every details of the soundtracks.

The bumpers will be featured on Nickelodeon as part of the "Halloween Shriekin Weekend". which will run from the middle to the end of October. Working with the people from MTV Networks was fantastic. I was given full creative control and they were receptive to all my crazy ideas.

To top it all, I was delighted to get permission to feature all the films on my website starting November 1st. So be sure to come back here on that date. You'll be very happy you did!

November 1st, 2005

Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets

Click on the banner below and watch the first 12 animated interstitials I created for Nickelodeon!

November 8th, 2005

Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets Update

Holy smoke! Thank you so much for the amazing feedback. The response has been incredible. A lot of people are really digging the spots.

Check out the responses to the notices I posted on Animation Nation and the Flight Forums.

Bloggers from all over are spreading the news. Check these out:

Cartoon Brew
PuppetVision Blog
Cold, Hard Flash
Flash animatie
Enrico Casarosa's Blog
Monsieur Bizarre

The influx of traffic caused the website to choke for a couple of days, but I quickly had the level of bandwidth accessibility raised to accomodate the demand.

It's very encouraging to get so much support.


November 9th, 2005

The Rejected "Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets" Episode

In the middle of producing the interstitials for Nickelodeon, I started feeling like they were not scary enough - so I decided to try and push the edge a bit. The result was the first version of the "Nightmare". (Read more...)

August 15th, 2006

"Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets" at Siggraph 2006

When it was announced that "Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets" would be shown at Siggraph 2006's Electronic Theater, Mike Hogue, who animated on 3/4 of the shorts, immediately purchased tickets to go partake in the event. Unfortunately, I had other commitments and couldn't attend, so I made Mike promise that he'd send me a full report upon his return. Here it is

October 31st, 2006

SIGGRAPH 2006 Electronic Theater in Montreal

If you live in Montreal, you might want to check out the SIGGRAPH 2006 Electronic Theater screening on November 1st. From what I hear, this is a superb program really worth your while. The screening features several ground breaking shorts and clips, as well as my Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets interstitials. This might be your only chance to see these on a big screen. We created a hi-rez master specifically for the Siggraph showing.

I was also delighted to see that Siggraph used one of my "Shadow Puppet" images to promote the screening. Cool!

Click here to find out more about the event.

October 24th, 2007

Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets Wins Awards at Flash Animation & Motion Graphics Conference

I'm happy to report that "Insanely Twisted Shadow Puppets" has been selected as a winner in the 2007 Best in the SW : Flash Animation & Motion Graphics Awards in three categories:

- Best of Show
- Best of Show: Animation
- Best Animated Interstitial

To see the complete list of 2007 Best in the SW Award winners, click here.