Pest Control Company Commissions Army Ant Puppet Build from James Kemp Puppets

I love getting to show off any of my work that is a collaborative effort (as most of it it).  These puppets were thought up by Austin Albany, creative director at Sublime Media Group for use in some new pest control company spots.  We’ve been doing pest control spots for the last couple of years using a spider and some gnarly looking bed bugs that are among my favorite creations.  This year, we wanted to do something a little different.  Austin contacted Dave Hulteen of Bang and Bump fame to do some concept art of these characters.  I loved what he came up with.  Dave is a great cartoonist.  My job from there was to translate these wonderful drawings into something that works as a three-dimensional puppet. 

Puppet Building Materials Make or Break a Project

These army ant characters presented some fun, new challenges for me.  Their structures are made up from several different materials for different levels of flexibility and rigidness.  The little arms in particular were an interesting challenge because of the fact that they have to be unique, noticeable, and not take up too much of the frame when shooting with the puppets.  The arms are actually attached on doll joints, so they are capable of swiveling in place.  The helmets were also something I had never tried to do.  I made them from patterned L-200 foam and used several layers of spray rubber to cover them before covering them in several coats of army green paint.  The antenna are actually part of the hat, and not attached to the puppet’s heads. 

This was such a fun project to work on, and I always enjoy puppeteering with my friend David Hosay.  We shot this outside, which offered us a really great lighting source and produced a really unique look for this spot.  Check out the video below of the army ants in action.


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