Last Friday "The Umbrella Factory" was released to Netflix. It is a story of a dysfunctional family of adopted children with super powers who come together later in life upon learning of the death of their father. I had been approached by the production company last year about the possibility of providing an automata piece for a scene in the series.
Of course directors plans often change and the feature placement was eliminated but I was asked to supply a couple of pieces for the background in one sequence, hence my 1/5th of a second of fame! About 16 minutes into Episode 3 Vanya (Number 7), played by Ellen Page, walks into the rear of an antique furniture store, into an area where the shop keeper builds antique toys.
Below is a screen shot of the scene. That is Ellen Page walking into the workshop. In the top right corner is my "Trojan Cat" automata. Shortly later there is a glimpse of my "Owl Hijinx" on a crowded shelf below it. It won't make me famous but it is fun to see!
The latest addition to the rat orchestra is Percy the percussionist. He is the left of the photo playing the kettle drum. His arms move up and down to beat on the drum. He follows Clarence the Clarinet player, Viola Lynn the first violinist, and Victor the second violin who is kneeling on the floor. Anyway there are some more rats to come. Perhaps a cello, a flute, or a horn some kind.
Here'a an update on the rat peering over the side of the automata I'm working on. The first photo is him laying on my computer. I prefer to burn hair lines on my characters rather than carve them or cut them with a wheel. He takes on a brown appearance because of the ash generated by the pyrography pen. The second photo show his hollowed out belly. You can see the lever that will move his head. There is another yet to be added to move his tail. Although I have used just wooden parts before, this one has a 1/8" brass tube through the body and a 5/64" brass tube as the axel. The head will be secured on with CA glue. This is sufficient since therein very little load on the connection.
I’ve started another project and for now I dubbed it the “The Rat Band”. It will feature a few of the characters peering into the mechanism. Here are a few photos of progress to date. There is Clarence the clarinet player who lifts his instrument up and down as he plays, and Viola the violinist who bends at the waist to look over the edge of the top plate. Lastly there is one under construction that is kneeling to look over the edge that will swivel his head to look around.
Toying with making a rat band. Made a sample for scale. His head tips up and down moving the clarinet and his arms. He taps his right foot as well. He is about 3-1/2” tall. We’ll see what comes next!
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.