Goodnight Lenin - Wenceslas Square

I was commissioned to build the two marionettes for this music video puppet love story. The characters were designed by Chris and Steven and I advised them on the sizing and jointing. To fit the small theatre set that had been envisioned we decided to make the marionettes as small as possible. The finished size was 32 cms in all with a large proportion of that being the heads which were more oversized than normal. 

The marionettes were made entirely from wood which was carved by hand and then sanded to get a smooth finish. They had joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, abdomen, hips, knees and ankles (boy only).


The small scale made the joints and movements tricky, for the girl character in particular her lower limbs had such negligible weight that gravity wasn’t enough to overcome any slight binding of the joints and I had to add little lead inserts to her arms just to get some feedback when puppeteering.  

Stephen had decided that he wanted moving and blinking eyes and moving mouths but he knew that not only would this be expensive it would make the marionettes more difficult to operate. Being a animator and director he wanted to try a new technique of using CGI to overlay the eyes in post. To achieve this I had to shape the heads and eyes to which we would later fit tracking markers. 


The shoot itself was done over two days at Second Home Studios in Birmingham, owned by Chris Randall.

I performed all the puppetry on the shoot and also instructed the band in how to use them for the close up shots of them with the controllers.

The video for the song is a love story of two marionettes trying to find each other. It’s always tricky to convey a story in such a short space of time and without words but I think it worked and all the effort put in by everyone shines through.