Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm was successfully funded on Kickstarter and after a couple of years of development, we are now making preparations to head into production of the full series.
Firestorm will be made in Ultramarionation – a unique combination of techniques that are entwined with the Gerry Anderson universe: practical effects (real explosions), physical sets and props, model miniatures and, of course, puppets! We believe that the tangibility of legendary Gerry Anderson productions like Thunderbirds and Stingray was a major part of their success, and why so many generations have enjoyed and continue to enjoy those wonderful shows. We want to see a return to in-camera effects and film-making, and that’s one of the things we hope you’ll love about Firestorm!
Check out our early puppet movement test here…
The series is based on the series originally developed by Gerry Anderson before it was produced as an anime series in Japan in 2003. We’ve gone back to Gerry’s original notes, scripts, synopses etc. and redeveloped the show from those original Anderson elements.
We have many, many talented people working on the project – most of whom worked with Gerry himself, or have a love and understanding of those elements that make a true Gerry Anderson production. Meet the crew.
Firestorm’s pilot minisode was released to Kickstarter backers on 9th August 2018. We hope to be able to make it more widely available in due course. To stay up to date with Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm please join the Gerry Anderson mailing list, like Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm on Facebook, follow Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm on Twitter, and keep visiting this page for up to date information!
Ultramarionation is the natural evolution of Gerry Anderson’s classic Supermarionation technique – puppets with moving eyes and mouths that are synchronised with dialogue, combined with miniatures and practical effects.
But whereas Supermarionation puppets were strung using thin tungsten wire (with later puppets also being operated via under-control), our Ultramarionation puppets are operated using a combination of rods, wires and under-control.
This allows the Ultramarionation puppets to run, jump, walk, crouch and take part in action that just wasn’t possible with their Supermarionation predecessors.
It’s a technique we’ve been developing for a few years working alongside old Gerry Anderson team members, puppeteers, and some of the best puppet builders and animatronics experts in the business. We can’t wait to share the results with you.
While you wait, here’s an image from the very start of our puppet testing (the puppet has a blank head as the heads were still being constructed when we tested movement).
Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm will be filmed in Ultramarionation – a return to practical, physical, *REAL* characters, craft, sets and effects.
Kickstarter is one of the best known crowdfunding websites in the world. Creatives take their projects to Kickstarter to say: “Hello World! Here’s a thing I want to make. Do you want me to make it?”. Backers answer in the affirmative by pledging towards the project. In return the backer receives special rewards connected to the project, that are generally not available to the wider world.
For lots of reasons! You may be aware of our previous successful Kickstarter project which raised the necessary funding to complete Gerry Anderson’s final novel series – Gemini Force One. The project exceeded all of our expectations, and we thrilled to be supported by so many fans all over the world. Their enthusiasm and support directly led to getting a publishing deal with Orion which meant we could publish the first book, but also complete and publish the second and third books in the series. We know now that a successful Kickstarter project can get the attention of the movers and shakers in the industry.
We’ve showed the Firestorm project to a number of distributors, channels, financiers and TV executives during its development and the response has been fairly similar throughout – excitement at the premise, but uncertainty about the use of puppets and in-camera effects. “Wouldn’t CGI be easier?” they say. It may well be easier, but we don’t think the end product would be anywhere near as wonderful if we went down that route. We want to make Firestorm in as practical and tangible a way as possible – physical sets and props, practical effects, miniatures, and puppets. We hope that Gerry Anderson fans all over the world will want to see a new series made that way too!
It’s true that we originally intended to release a pilot to Kickstarter backers in 2015/2016. Development has taken a long time, and its taken a while to get the look and feel of the show ‘just right’ to feel like something Gerry Anderson would have been proud of. We’ve also been reliant on tens of people giving up their time to make the pilot minisode happen. Many of them have been tied up with their day jobs (such as Steve Begg – our FX supervisor and director working on Kingsman, Spectre, and The Commuter) during development, production, and post-production and having to squeeze in work for us as and when they can. Without these talented members of the team, we couldn’t have made this happen, but their busy schedules – and a few unlucky patches in terms of timing, availability of crew, equipment and studios – have had the cumulative knock-on effect of extending production over a long period.
It’s also worth saying that a lot of our development has taken place relatively publicly. On average it takes 4-6 years for a TV show to get to pilot stage and then hope to be commissioned or funded. Normally the majority of that period of time would happen in secret/private, so as a viewer you may not be aware of how long something has taken to get to the screen.