This weeks edition is with Richard Mansfield of Mansfield Dark. He’s very much a kindred soul and have a similar approach. The weirdness that his first feature film is titled ‘Wolfskin’ and my first mascot is Wolfun? Totally coincidence and awesome at the same time.
1 – Where did you get your start in Puppetry? Was there a moment where you knew puppets would consume your life?
I was very young, about 4 years old. I remember seeing some marionettes hanging up in a toyshop and I was mesmerised. They were Pelham Puppets, a British toy company that produced hand made string puppets. They were made in the UK from the late 1940’s till the early 1990’s and I collected them for years.
2 – Do you have a favorite moment in your career, or a project that you feel defines your body of work?
Around 2007 I really got into shadow puppetry having been using marionettes soley in my film making. I performed a live show of the classic German story ‘Suck-A-Thumb’, it became my one of my first silhouette films and my most successful playing at film festivals all over the world. It led to my first feature film ‘Wolfskin’ a silhouette film that took over three years to make. I’m very proud of the achievement of everyone involved. ‘Wolfskin’ is available to watch free on my website!
3 – Where do you draw character inspiration from? Do you have a set way of creating or do you allow spontaneity to take over?
I’m pretty spontaneous with my character design. I usually design everything in advance but sometimes I’ll just cut it straight out of card and go from there. Most of the time I do develop design as I need multiple puppets in different sizes.
4 – Name one tip you would give an aspiring puppet builder / performer?
Be fearless! Just make a start, watch others perform, watch films, seek out puppet building tutorials on Youtube, anything. Just develop your ideas and your own unique style will emerge.
You can learn more about Richards work on his website, Mansfield Dark.