Sci-Flyers is an upcoming web series detailing the adventures of a misfit crew as they explore the unknown. Alongside Dr. Landerson and Captain Admiral, the series stars Rusty - the ship's engineer and “culinary expert,” Claude - the alien pilot with a mysterious past, and DENNIS - the ship's alarmingly androgynous Artificial Intelligence. Together, they will discover new alien species, fly though the far reaches of space, and completely ignore any pesky mission regulations.
The creative team behind Sci-Flyers set out on their own mission; to successfully blend the adventurous themes of old school sci-fi, with the fun and light-hearted nature classic puppet shows are known for.
“Going with puppets was definitely a risk at first,” says Justin Woychowski, Director/Executive Producer, and one of the writers on the show. “We knew we could do the show live-action no problem, but we also knew we weren’t the only ones in that arena. Utilizing puppets filled a void we hadn’t really seen explored yet, plus watching these characters come to life as puppets was simply magical.”
Sci-Flyers is a web series comprised of three 6-10 minute episodes, with an aim to create more in the near future. Executive Producers Morgan Rhodes, Justin Woychowski, and Brice Shultz brought together a team of incredibly talented film-makers to create, shoot, and edit, the series with the utmost eye towards quality. “We knew we wouldn't go far if the show wasn't up to the highest standards,” says Morgan Rhodes, whose company Journey Blue Films was ultimately responsible for producing Sci-Flyers. “Although there are not a lot of high quality puppet projects on the internet, there are a fair amount of low quality ones. We didn't want to fall into that category."
Of course making the decision to shoot with puppets brought about challenges of its own. “My home was covered in materials of every kind for months,” laughs Woychowski. “There were piles of foam on my kitchen table, my couch was filled with bags of fleece, and the place always smelled like glue... very strong glue.”
Not only did the specific looks of the puppets have to be designed and created by hand, but the ultimate visual look of the show, created by Executive Producer Brice Shultz, had to perfectly blend the practical and digital worlds together in a complementary style. “As a lifelong fan of puppetry and science fiction, I just wanted to make something that I would watch. Sci-Flyers is a combination of hand drawn art, puppets, space, aliens, ships, and crazy situations, anything is possible, and I welcome that as an artist,” says Shultz, whose stunning artistry crafted the visual style of the show starting with the concept art, and following through to the final visual effects. “It's quite an amazing experience to see an image from your imagination come to life in front of you.”
Sci-Flyers may have started as a labor of love, but the logistical side of the production was enough to keep everyone on their toes. “One of the ways we sought to tackle the technical side of the production is to bring on the incredibly talented Director of Photography Eric Hann, whose technical knowledge can only be described as that of a mad genius,” says Woychowski.
“Growing up, I loved puppet movies! Sci-Flyers was my chance to explore new ideas with puppets and visual effects workflows. It was a blast working to achieve a look that started on-set and completed in post, marrying graphical background artwork with some totally unique puppet designs. I can't wait to continue our ideas and push the Sci-Flyers look even further,” says Hann. A goal the whole production shares as they look to the future.
Blast off with the crew of Sci-Flyers on October 31st, and stay up-to-date with their adventures at: