THE PIPE CLEANER FAMILY: BEAR
commissioned by Children's Television Workshop
completed November, 1998
Digital Beta (captured on Hi-8)
1min 30 sec.
first air-date: February 19th, 1999
I animated "Bear" first, using the bedroom set Robin Ator originally built for "The Dirt on Mom" and was seen in only one shot. But I discovered I had to slightly adapt the set to make it suitable for Sesame Street. Robin had adorned the wall behind Junior's bed with the pipe cleaner equivalent of centerfolds; I covered them with more generic poses. There is also a pennant hanging on the wall that said "Team"; CTW doesn't want any writing to appear so I created a simple pattern. I also filled out the shelves behind Sis's bed which didn't show in the one shot in "Dirt"; look especially for a rocket and a globe of the world (I don't think you can call it Earth) that contains just two continents joined by a ladder. Also on the shelves is a button from the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, and on the table under the window are the keys to my computer.
Early versions of the script had Dad come in and subtly threaten to cut the bear in half with a pair of real-size scissors. In this case Junior and Sis actually gave the bear to baby undamaged. But the scissors were seen as too threatening, and Dad got isolated to the next script.
Animation took about eight days for the 1 1/2 minute piece. Most of it was filmed in the main set, but close-ups of Junior and Sis were shot with larger scale characters against photo backgrounds. Scenes looking up at the ceiling were actually filmed horizontally; that way I don't have to hurt my back by trying to animate with my arms up in the air. Jamie Haggerty again supplied wonderful music; the entire piece was enthusiastically received by CTW.