Author: Liz V

Cam and Friends: We Are All Different.

I made Cam and Friends similar to Jim Henson’s plan with the Muppet production Fraggle Rock—different species all living together, sometimes not getting along so well, but sometimes working together and understanding each other. My dragons are many different colors, shapes, sizes and species, and they have friends who are not even dragons–unicorns, griffins and other creatures are included in their friends and classmates. They don’t always see eye to eye, but they at least know they can share the same spaces peacefully.

We are all Different

Cam and Friends: Big Pink.

Short green and handsome

Can we have a little love for Big Pink?
She is a Peluda, a species of dragon that has fur. Peludas derive from medieval France, where a fur-covered dragon known as “The Shaggy Beast” once terrorized  the area around the  Huisne River.
Big Pink is a member of “The Big Dragon Club”, which consists of Cam, Pink, and their winged friend Floyd. All three are much bigger than their friends, family and schoolmates, and have decided to stick together to help each other with oversize dragon problems. They have known each other since they were little. Floyd and Cam see Pink as simply a “sister” and have no interest in dating her, which is just as well, since Big Pink has an unrelenting crush on Chuck.
And poor Chuck. A bit like Kermit and Miss Piggy, he often has no idea what to do or how to escape the advances of a determined female nearly three times his size. He is sometimes undecided in his interest in her, mainly writing her off as simply “too danged hairy”.

Neat trivia: Big Pink has been a character of mine since the 80s.
Her full name is Prudence Fishbreath, which only her parents, Cam and Floyd know.
Her appearance has changed a bit over the years, as she was meant originally to be quite menacing.
Her colors are meant to be very “80s”, with dusky pink and tiger stripes, and a teal top. Her ears are inspired  by tiger ears in color, but they hang like a hound’s ears.
The appendages on her head are very sensitive, like antennas, and are called “poongas”.

Filming Today.

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My online-show-in-the-making, Go to Your Room, features a puppet building section called “Caution: Puppets Ahead”, and I had filmed an episode already, but thought I could do better, and filmed something else entirely. I still would rather have a proper background and lighting, but I have got to go on and dive in and just do this even if everything isn’t perfect right now. I was rather pleased with this first episode, entitled “The Three L’s–Look, Lip Synch, and Live”.

Tumbleweed.

First new drawing May 2020 bb

I have been sitting on this a while. I wanted to bring this out specially for Dana Petty’s birthday(I am friends with her online), and I’m afraid I am about to explode so I will get it out a day early(also in case I don’t have a chance on the actual day).
Back in ’89, when Full Moon Fever came out, I wrote to Tom Petty, and you of course have all heard about my populating the letter with the rooster character I made of him, and little bird characters of the Heartbreakers and the Wilburys, and he sent me my guitar pick. Well, what I never have revealed was the third of three TP characters I have: Tumbleweed the Winged Mustang.
Tom was very into westerns, and it seemed like such a perfect, perfect character for him. Storylines I envisioned involved Tumbleweed swooping in to save other horses from mistreatment out in the West, or showing a lost human traveler where to find water, etc…

helendorf
I have included a photo of me with a very overpainted tee shirt I did way back then at a puppetry festival; Tumbleweed existed as a puppet back then and I had him on my shirt and on my arm and I was quite proud of him. The likeness between the puppet and the drawings weren’t too spot on, but, I was getting there. Anyway,I included the shirt (on an obviously very young Liz) so you can see just how old this character is. Compare, of course, with the new, updated drawing. 
Tumbleweed was in some of the margins of that original letter, so if Tom read my letter, which it seems to be proven that he did, he saw him. That still thrills me to no end, even if this never got anywhere. See, back then I was pretty ambitious and I was determined..DETERMINED to produce an animated short featuring Tumbleweed, and I wanted Tom to perform his voice. No other would do. I didn’t know how I would contact him or pay for it. How, how how???
I did get a few animation jobs and as I gained skill the more I thought about making the short. Then Tom did the voice of Lucky on King of the Hill and I remember thinking, “OH, god, that is THE voice, too! His hillbilly voice! I gotta do this!!”
But, obviously, it never happened, and I left the fandom for a while for weird reasons.

When I hear “Into the Great Wide Open” is when I most visualize little Tumbleweed, flying down and observing the weird things humans do, sitting on rooftops and fenceposts. “Learning to Fly”, one of my ultimate favorite songs in the catalogue, plays out a video in my head of how he GOT his wings—it happened magically.


I bring this out for you, my Dearest D, on your birthday, a bit early,but with the utmost love and affection for such a beautiful man. My Golden Boy, my Tumbleweed.

Mastodon video: DEATHBOUND

This was an extremely fun, well-paid, and momentous day: I was performing (and lending some of my own puppets) my own puppets in a music video for a well-known band,I worked with a lot of my fellow Atlanta puppeteers, I learned about working with fire on camera, and I met two of my best friends, Shane Morton and Madeline Brumby, who I would go on to perform with in their Silver Scream Spook Show.
Now, the video and song may not be to everyone’s taste; I’ll warn you right off the bat. VERY METAL,VERY LOUD!
However, I can assure you the members of  the Atlanta, Georgia metal band Mastodon, especially their drummer, Brann Dailor, were really terrific to us. I had worked with Brann on yet another puppet project I’ll talk about later, and it was a grueling experience, yet he was as professional and friendly as could be.

Here is the video!

 

Next,I’ll show you some screencaps of what I did, and puppets that are mine:

Mastodon video 1

In this one, you can clearly see my little cyclops guy, Mo! I was operating him.

Mastodon video 2

I think my pal Melissa was operating my puppet called Dinky Donkey back there. And Shane Morton is in the giant green cyclops costume!

Mastodon video 3

This is a case of “my puppet is back there”–my wolf, Lonnie, is in the background. I am operating someone else’s puppet in the foreground. It’s the red one. Several explosions happened here!

Mastodon video 4

The red monster in the back is mine, although he doesn’t look like this anymore. That’s Duddey.

Mastodon video 5

Funnily enough I have a second donkey in this video–Tack, to the far left.

Gliz: Back again

Gliz is my grumpy monster alter ego. She can say a lot of things I might not be able to get away with, especially to her husband, Gruno.
I brought Gliz out to try her out on some of my new puppet videos. I didn’t want to use all monsters and ghosts, but since I had her handy, I thought I would fiddle around with her voice and see what might stick–Weird Words was my first thought.

Gliz small1