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Adults Need Puppets, Day 116

September 1, 2010
Filming for Wolfy's Journey

Filming for Wolfy's Journey

After a successful Saturday skydive (more to come when the DVD arrives), I spent the next two days learning the importance of channeling my inner dragon and not my inner diva.  Well, perhaps I should clarify: the silver-sequined head of a two-headed dragon attached to my left hand for most of Sunday afternoon is quite the diva.  In this photo on the other hand, I still happily wear a smile, aid the production gracefully, and enjoy the benefits of having one arm tied to a talented, smart, and practical puppeteer named Kim Berman.  Leat Klingman, the incredibly gifted puppet-maker, screenwriter, and vision behind the film Wolfy’s Journey, has an even greater talent for assembling intelligent, accomplished, and passionate people like Kim.

Shachar Langlev as the director of photography works tirelessly and meticulously for each shot, constantly discussing production with Leat in Hebrew, making my Puppet Land even more extraordinary.  Although I have yet to operate one of the above-table puppets, Lake Simons, Erin Orr, and Lisa van Wambeck performed quietly and skillfully, adding character to the beautifully created and voiced animals on set.  Everyone else from Leat’s incredibly helpful neighbor to Shachar’s friend and assistant cinematographer to Leat’s mother and father visiting from Israel made both days both possible and successful.

In hindsight, I can only hope to have added more substance to the film than drama to the experience as one head on a dragon and especially as a tree.  Owing any skill from the first day to Kim, who knew how to tactfully and without apology request breaks when needed, I truly didn’t appreciate on Sunday the incredible worth of that ability.  Leat Klingman, as I have previously gushed, takes great care of her support team and clearly insisted that we let her know a few minutes before we would need a break.  On Monday, playing two unfortunately angled trees from underneath the table, I let the Anglo part of my background oppress my nerve to request breaks, nourishment, and rest for my arms that occasionally experienced pain or lack of feeling.

Hours later, I learned a very important lesson.  One can make a scene by trying too hard to please others quietly as easily as she can loudly.  After waiting too long to come out from under the table when a rest for lunch arrived, Leat and I talked through my quiet tears to discuss the difference between voicing frustrations and bluntly asking for a break.  In this case, I would have contributed more to the process as a colleague by clearly speaking my mind and not tainting the atmosphere with less effective hints (aka complaints).

Shouldn’t I have figured this out by now?  Isn’t the toxicity of passive aggression common knowledge, something that children ought to discover as an ineffective solution to most problems?  Hmm…  perhaps I still need children’s books and puppet shows.  In fact, I think we all do.  Kids often instinctively ask about the purpose of wars and hate and look for meaning in life; whereas we adults often mindlessly go about our days accepting the daily drudgery, forgetting to appropriately question authority, forgoing the journey in lieu of comfort and luxury.

Filming Wolfy’s Journey, I found myself relating to Wolfy as he questions his desire to maintain his identity and yet roam.  This piece addresses life, loneliness, friendships, art, and so many other profound topics in a medium accessible both to children and adults, such that we all could stand to learn something from Leat’s vision.  Please take a minute to visit Wolfy’s IndieGogo site and support a message of exploration and generosity from the heart of my friend and example Leat Klingman, by whom I have already learned so much.

Thank you, Leat.

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