Jim Henson’s Creature Shop has joined forces with the production
company, Culture Films, to set up Cultured Creatures - a commercials
production company catering specifically for advertising agencies and
their clients who want to make commercials featuring animatronics,
puppetry and advanced special effects.
The new company will be run by John Stephenson, the creative supervisor
of Creature Shop, with Camilla Williams and Phil Contomichalos from
Culture Films. They plan to offer a service that encompasses the entire
ad-making process, from script-writing through to post-production.
’The biggest problem is making something for a commercial without the
level of involvement from day one that gets the best results,’ said
’All too often, creative ideas get spiked before they even make it to
Creature Shop’s door or Creature Shop is approached too late in the
Williams, a former producer for Rose Hackney, set up Culture Films in
July with Contomichalos. The company represents directors including Jon
Canning, Ross Cramer, Kevin Godley and Andrei Konchalovsky, and has
already shot ads for Safeway.
Until now, the Creature Shop has been used only as a facility. Now, as
Cultured Creatures, it will offer a total production service. ’Once
there’s awareness of what we can offer, we are confident the industry
will really start exploring our potential,’ Stephenson explained.
The Creature Shop has worked on a range of high-profile films including
the Dark Crystal, Babe and the English Patient, as well as servicing
numerous commercials. It made the Sugar Puffs Honey Monster and has also
worked on campaigns for Harp, Heineken, Smirnoff and Weetabix and
recently made the Penguins in Penguin Biscuits’ ’pick up a person’
Williams emphasised the importance of knowing which director is best for
a particular job: ’It’s not just a matter of getting a technical
director; often you need a comedy director to get the best performance
out of an animatronic or puppet.’
Culture Films and Creature Shop will still operate as independent
companies as well as combining forces for Cultured Creatures
Cultured Creatures’ first job is a commercial for Duracell, which is
sponsoring extra time in next year’s football World Cup.