Nothing can replace the atmosphere of a live performance, and the magical interplay between performer, puppet, and audience.
But Television can bring the wonderful world of puppets towards a larger audience, which might otherwise never have a chance to be exposed to the art of Puppetry and Theater.
After his first Television assignment of building and manipulating the legendary Paper Peter in eight TV episodes, Bernd Ogrodnik has created and operated Puppets for a variety of commercials, TV spots, and one more episode.
Having specialized in wood-carved puppets, that bring about a feeling of strength, value, and integrity, he never tires to develop new styles and mechanisms to suit the individual project.
Just as puppets have found their way into education and therapy, advertisement agencies have long discovered their unlimited creative potential. For Puppet-Artists the world of commercials has brought wonderful opportunities to showcase their craft and creativity to meet the most unusual challenges.
The puppets of Bernd Ogrodnik and his Figura have been featured in various powerful campaigns.
Produced in 1989/90 and adapted from the story by Herdis Egilsdotti about a paper-boy that comes alive out of a drawing, the series became an instant success in Iceland. It was later completed as a feature movie under the title “The Adventure of Paper Peter”. The main character was the only puppet among life actors in the script. He was supposed to look as if made of paper and yet featured movable eyes and mouth, which was no small feat at that time. It was also Bernd’s first exposure to working puppets outside in windy conditions.
Bernd also delivered the illustrations for the Children’s book under the same title.
Created in the spring of 2007 this commercial was the first project that was not only built but also filmed in the studios of FIGURA. The elaborate sets were created in painstaking detail and the finely crafted marionettes proved themselves take after take.
A new adjustable bridge system for the Puppeteers was installed into the studio, allowing enough space for both the camera team and the operating of puppets.
The charm of the characters combined with clear actions made for a powerful campaign.
The humorous images were so intriguing that stills from the shoots could be used with great success.
In the fall of 2003, Lifsheilsustod in cooperation with Hvita Husid produced five short TV- spots to raise awareness of the main causes for accidents among small children.
Figura was asked to design, build, and manipulate a puppet-character that could be used instead of a real child to demonstrate the horror of accident and death.
The result was “Samuel’, a 75cm tall wooden, fully jointed marionette, with huge charming eyes. Samuel drowned and was poisoned, choked on plastic bags, and fall down the stairs. And keeps doing it repeatedly, as the powerful campaign is aired again and again on National Television.
The Magic Book
Produced in the 2004 Figura took on to construct and manipulate puppets for a 24 episode Christmas Calender. The story was conceived by Inga Lisa Middleton (who also directed the Series) and cowriter Margret… (who also delivered the soundtrack.)
In an attempt to create an alternative, in a Children’s Television market that is swamped by fast-talking “Mouth–Puppets”, Bernd derived a new rod-puppet style. The new technique applied to the wood-carved puppets still offered the ability to comply with fast action and a rather talkative script, but at the same time brought along the flair of old-time Europe.
Like so often in productions of that kind, the time to build and rehears falls victim to an all to a tight budget. But the audiences were pleased and valuable experiences were made.