THE PIPE CLEANER FAMILY: NEW NEIGHBORS
commissioned by Children's Television Workshop
completed November, 1998
Digital Beta (captured on Hi-8)
first air-date: April, 1999 (proposed)
The idea for this one had been floating around in the back of my head for a while; green pipe cleaner neighbors that move in across the street that Dad instantly mistrusts; at the end, the families get along and Dad gets a lecture from the green Dad about being tolerant of others until he sees the yellow pipecleaner characters living next to the Dottlesons and packs up and moves in two seconds flat. Of course, that is too complex of a story to tell in 2 minutes, so I pared it way back and made it a simpler conflict just between the two families...maybe someday I'll go back and do the fuller version.
There are some interesting changes that took place to the script that were requested by Sesame Street; for instance, I couldn't let the two Dads walk away and leave the two babies in the middle of the street (funnier, I know, but it leaves the wrong message for children). And the original reason the Dottlesons approach the Greens is to rescue Baby who has crawled to the middle of the road, but that was considered bad parenting.
Several visual changes happened as well. The moving van couldn't say "Moving Van" on the side of it, yet we needed to let everyone know what kind of truck it was right off the bat. So I did a drawing on the side that showed a big moving van-like truck moving very fast. It seems to have worked. They also requested that I make a slight change to Mom; the double-breast look used in the three previous films had to go. Instead, I created a v-shaped chest piece that actually works quite well. I might someday use it in one of the longer films when Mom dresses to go out (an archeological awards banquet?), and Dad comments how much he likes that dress on her.
At 2 minutes this film is slightly longer than "Bear", but also required camera movements and up to 10 characters in some of the shots; it took about 2 1/2 weeks to finish. Again, close-ups were done against photo backgrounds because it's just darn easier. Jamie Haggerty again supplied excellent music, including a remarkable chime-like piece for the two babies.