Tuesday, March 6, 2007

JUMP TO IT...

In the spring of 1996 I made a series of live action and stop-motion films for Sesame Street featuring friends of mine dressed up as giant letters running amok in Brooklyn.

In the first film, J was going to meet UMP and dance about. But the fogginess of the day and the fact that the Astroland Park rocket was being repainted that day (which would ruin continutity) meant that we had to improvise. The idea: jump around like crazy.

Here I am instructing the actors as to their motivation:



Here the verb relaxes between takes:



The following day we picked up a few friends for a stop-motion version of the word TAXI, which we shot frames of the letters as they inched across a few Williamsburg streets.



Special thanks to my then girlfriend (now wife) who produced the whole insane alphabetical two-day shoot and promptly resolved never to work with me again.

The letters were made by then neighbor Karen Young (a different assignment than this or her work at Martha Graham) whose apartment was transformed into a crazy jumble of humungous letters (the trick was to measure the height of each actor for head placement, so that when they stood together they would align properly).

After the shoot, I had no place to store all those letters, so, reluctantly, they were destroyed. Except for the letter X, which I displayed prominently for years so that even while I was married I could say I lived with my X.

These films along with very short shots of the individual letters dancing can still be seen on Sesame Street.