VH1 "Reality Theatre" TV Pilot

I recently designed, built, and performed some puppets for a TV pilot for the cable music channel VH1. The concept of the show is to recreate famous (or infamous) moments in the history of pop music using a variety of different mediums, including animation and puppetry. One of the segments I worked on was a re-telling of the Melissa Etheridge/David Crosby story from a few years ago, where Melissa and her lesbian partner Julie Cypher had kids using David Crosby's, um, contribution. For that sequence, I created celebrity portrait puppets in the style of Barbie dolls.

The whole Etheridge puppet family

The heads were made of Super Sculpey, a waxy, flesh-colored polymer clay that is baked hard in an oven after it is sculpted. It has a lovely translucent property, which looked terrific on camera.

David Crosby puppet actual size!
From left, the Barbie-sized portrait puppets of Jan Crosby, Melissa Etheridge, Julie Cypher, and David Crosby, costumed for their Rolling Stone magazine cover of 2000.
At right, a closer look at the David Crosby head.
Okay, let's get real for a moment. Hold a quarter up to your computer over the picture of the quarter above right. It should be actual size. That shows you how tiny these heads were! It was a tremendous challenge to sculpt the heads at this scale. The pupils of the eyes are about the size of the head of a pin! Also building the puppets and costumes were Ronald Binion and Erin Slattery.

Close-up pictures of all the puppets' heads on the next page.
Warning: it's a slow loader, because of all the pictures.


Photos from Private Collection of Rick Lyon
Unauthorized Reproduction or Redistribution in Any Form Strictly Prohibited
"Reality Theatre" © VH1/MTV Networks