About this project
Holy Hands of MANOS! We are funded (and then some)! Thank you! We are over the moon that we get to share Puppet MANOS with you all.
The campaign still has a couple days to go, so what happens now that we're past our minimum funding goal? MANOS in Cabo? No. More content for everyone? Yes yes yes!
Stretch Goals = Special FeaturesIf we get enough pledges, we can afford to produce some tasty Bonus Material for the MANOS DVD:
- at $12,500 add Audio Commentary Track ACHIEVED!
- at $15,000 add Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
- at $20,000 add a MANOS Music Video
Funded bonus material will be sent digitally to all backers who pledged at least $5 and will also be included on the DVD.
Thank you so much, and please continue to share us with friends, family, networks, enemies, handsome strangers…..you just never know who wants to be a faithful servant of MANOS.
And Now Back to Our Story...
MANOS - The Hands of Felt is a giddy puppet musical re-imagining of the cult classic MANOS: The Hands of Fate. The film's story of a family vacation gone horribly wrong combines with the backstage drama of a movie shoot gone horribly wrong to tell the bizarre tale of fertilizer salesman-turned-film director Harold P. Warren. With song and dance numbers. And puppets.
Since its 2011 debut, many people on the internet have said they are interested in witnessing MANOS - The Hands of Felt for themselves. So we're remounting the show for four Seattle performances in August 2013. To help it get to a wider audience, we'd also like to film it. This is where you come in.
We're asking for your help to create a high quality DVD of MANOS - The Hands of Felt. Here's the plan: During the second weekend of the MANOS run, we want to film each performance. Then after closing night, we'll do an extra day of shooting with a backer-only audience to pick up any moments we've missed, get tighter shots, audience reaction shots, etc. We'll use that footage to create a DVD of the show, which backers will get before anyone else.
So our KickStarter budget covers the basic basics of filming (equipment rental, personnel, etc) and DVD production (editing, reproducing), some nuts and bolts stuff (space rental), plus it will allow us to custom build the rest of the MANOS puppet cast (last time we had to do a mix of custom building and pulling from stock).
Who We Are
I'm Rachel Jackson, the writer/producer of MANOS - The Hands of Felt. (I also play Debbie in the show.) Original director Bob Koerner will be back with us for the remount, as will puppet designers/puppeteers Paul Velasquez and Sann Hall. And Ray Williams will be reprising his role as The Master from our Bumbershoot appearance.
Pressing Pictures LLC is joining us to handle the video production side of things. With strong ties to the theatre community, and solid experience in capturing live theatre performances, Pressing Pictures was our go-to production company. They'll be using a three camera system with an array of close-ups over the course of three performances. They'll then edit the stage-to-film version, and handle the DVD reproduction and streaming solutions for all of our backers.
More about MANOS - The Hands of Felt
It started as a joke. Late in November of 2010, I was riffing on the topic of "puppetizing" various existing shows. I looked down, saw my copy of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 The Essentials and blurted "MANOS - The Hands of FELT"!
I had no idea what I had started.
The next day, I got a vision of The Master as a ping pong eyed, Muppet-style puppet. Then I realized the wife fight could mash-up with The Ballroom sketch from The Muppet Show in a ridiculously satisfying way. Basically the idea took hold of my brain and refused to let go.
Talking to my bandmate Michael about the project, he pointed out that I was going on just as much about the story behind MANOS - The Hands of Fate as I was about the movie itself. Maybe I should try to work some of that into the story, instead of just doing a straight-up puppet adaptation.
How Did This Movie Get Made in the First Place?
Legend has it that sometime in the late 1960s, in or near El Paso, Texas, fertilizer salesman Harold P. Warren met future Oscar winning screenwriter Stirling Silliphant in a bar. After who knows how many drinks, Hal bet Stirling that he could make a movie. A movie that he outlined on a napkin right there in the bar.
For most people, the story would end there, but not for Hal. Somehow, he convinced a whole group of local community theatre actors to spend the summer making his movie. Unfortunately, even he didn't have enough will power to make it a good movie. MANOS - The Hands of Fate closed after a very, very short run.
For most movies, the story would end there, but not for MANOS. Reintroduced to the world by MST3K in 1993, the movie has become a cult classic and is considered by many to be The Worst Movie of All Time. As someone who has seen it at least 12 times in the past 2 years, I totally agree with that assessment. (Yes, I have seen Plan 9 From Outer Space. No, I have not seen Troll 2 or Death Bed.)
Is this just MANOS - The Hands of Fate with puppets? No. It's a mash-up between the making of MANOS, the movie itself and a whooole lot of pop culture. We start from the idea that Hal and his actors get stranded at Valley Lodge because they get lost on their way to a filming location, and go from there. Many of the scenes from the movie are intact, just in a different order and with a few line tweaks.
So, it's like The Muppets Doing MANOS? I'd say it's more like Avenue Q doing MANOS, what with the visible puppeteers and musical numbers and all. This YouTube clip should give you a pretty good idea.
Despite the presence of puppets, MANOS - The Hands of Felt is not recommended for viewers under the age of 14. (Adult language, bizarre sexual situations.)
Risks and challenges
"Allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster." - Shakespeare in Love
Producing theatre is and will continue to be a calculated risk. There's always a chance the theatre under contract will experience an unforeseen disaster, or puppeteers may need to bail, or the faces we've glued to our deviant little friends won't stay put, but none of these things in the last 15 years of producing theatre have stopped me from putting on a great show in front of a live audience. Yes, there will be obstacles - but, frankly, that's part of the fun.
We have a contract with a highly reputable venue here in Seattle, The Richard Hugo House. Our talented puppeteers have worked with us time and again and are a reliable bunch. We carry hot glue guns, duct tape and binder clips at all times in case of puppet emergencies. And last but not least, I've produced this show before to enthusiastic sold out audiences. They love it and they're looking forward to another run of this production. And so are we.
Now all we need to do is fund the project, so we can get the camera crew on stage, hit record, and show you why people love MANOS. We intend for this to be the best staged video production of the worst film ever made...with puppets.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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