With the pilot minisode going live at FirestormHQ.com from 27 October, we hope you’ll join fans from across to globe to watch Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm! But what is Firestorm? What is Ultramarionation? What’s a minisode? Don’t worry – we thought you might have some questions, so here’s a guide to everything you might need to know before you watch Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm’s pilot minisode!
What is Firestorm?
Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm is a science fiction adventure series based on the Thunderbirds creator’s original idea from 2001. We’re making it with classic techniques like puppetry, miniatures and practical FX – but all brought bang up to date.
If you know classic Gerry Anderson series then you can think of it as being somewhat similar to Thunderbirds combined with Captain Scarlet. If you don’t know classic Gerry Anderson series then… what are you doing on this site? But you can think of it as Marvel with puppets.
The series is set in 2102 and follows the members of the 9th division of Storm Force who are trying to unmask an evil organisation known only as Black Orchid. Their mission codename? Firestorm!
Who is behind Firestorm?
The producer of the show is Jamie Anderson, Gerry Anderson’s younger son. Developed and produced by the Thunderbirds creator’s company Anderson Entertainment, together with an incredible creative team – many of whom worked with Gerry Anderson. The team includes:
VFX Supervisor, Director and Associate Producer Steve Begg (Terrahawks, Dick Spanner, Space Precinct, Casino Royale, Skyfall, Spectre), Production Designer Richard Gregory (Terrahawks, Dick Spanner, Space Precinct, Event Horizon, Lost in Space, Walking with Dinosaurs), Model FX Supervisor Mike Tucker (Red Dwarf, Doctor Who), Director of Photography Peter Tyler (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Doctor Who, Red Dwarf), and puppet makers Mackinnon and Saunders (Mars Attacks, Postman Pat, Bob the Builder, Corpse Bride, Fantastic Mr Fox, Lavender Castle).
Oh no! Not more CGI!
No! Very very little CGI, in fact. We’ve gone back to old school techniques with this show. Real puppets (although a little more advanced to their Supermarionation cousins), miniatures, real sets and practical effects – yes, we do mean real explosions.
Continuing the tradition of calling the filming method a special name (like Supermarionation), we’re calling the combined methods we’re using ‘Ultramarionation’.
If we brought the team that made classic Thunderbirds forwards in time to 2018 and presented them with all the technological and digital tools that we have now, we think the way we’re making Firestorm is how they would make a brand new show.
What is Ultramarionation?
Ultramarionation is our combination of puppetry, animatronics together with miniatures, real sets and practical effects.
Our puppets are controlled by rods, wire/string, under-control and other methods depending on what the characters are required to do. Using rods has the advantage of allowing our puppets to walk, run, jump, crouch and spring into action with ease.
Why use all these old-fashioned techniques? Why not move with the times?
Puppetry is pretty timeless. Particularly when combined with the latest animatronic and digital tools. In a world filled with CGI, making a return to the practical, tangible and real not only makes for a refreshing and exciting viewing experience – to most of today’s kids, it’s actually brand new!
There’s something magical about puppetry – breathing consciousness into an inanimate object – which activates your brain in a very special way. The additional suspension of disbelief that takes place when watching puppetry draws you in more than 2D animation and CGI, and often even more than live action.
If you combine that with real miniatures and effects – behaving according to the laws of physics, in a way that the human brain naturally finds pleasing and fascinating in equal measure, then you have an exciting combination of techniques that give a pleasing nostalgic twang, as well as feeling exciting and modern.
What’s a minisode?
Simple – a mini-episode. Thanks to our Kickstarter backers and supporters, we were able to make a very short episode as a proof of concept. It’s that proof of concept we want to share with the world. The minisode itself is a cut-down version of a full half-hour story, and was made on a shoestring budget. Due to budgetary constraints, we were also limited to just three puppets, so we also had to cut down on the number of characters in this short story. Still – we hope it gives you a flavour of what we want to do for a full series, when you watch Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm – the pilot minisode
Who is Firestorm for? Kids? Adults?
Both! We believe one of the many reasons shows like classic Thunderbirds have stood the test of time is because it didn’t talk down to its audience. It didn’t pigeonhole itself as being ‘just for 6-8 year olds’ as so many modern shows do. For the children who might watch this, we think 6-12+ is the range of ages who will enjoy it. But Firestorm is also great for an adult audience. It’s spectacular, dramatic, fun and funny, and can be enjoyed by kids and adults of all ages!
Why are you putting this online?
There are several reasons, but our main reason is that we want Gerry Anderson fans all over the world to be able to see what we’ve been up to – and hopefully get as excited as we are about the potential for a brand new Gerry Anderson series!
The other reason is to help us convince broadcasters that this series is a fantastic idea! These days the best way to show that the viewing audience wants something is to put the material out into the world and see what the response is. Views and feedback on a YouTube video give broadcasters and streaming companies confidence that a show has the potential to gather a large and dedicated audience.
So, if you want to see this go to series, please watch, like, comment on, and share the Firestorm minisode as far and wide as possible! It really could make all the difference!
How can I watch the minisode?
There are two ways.
If you can make it to MCM Comic Con London on 27 October at 1pm then you can watch it live together with a fantastic panel presentation with giveaways, exclusives and more!
If you can’t, then you can watch the minisode in full from 1:40pm at FirestormHQ.com!
When can I watch the series?
Well, we have to make it first! The minisode release is one of the last steps we need to take to get the series greenlit. We have interest from broadcasters and investors, so now it’s time for Gerry Anderson and science fiction fans from all over the world to help us get the deal sealed and get us into production!
How can I help get this to series?
If you want to see this go to series, please watch, like, comment on, and share the Firestorm minisode as far and wide as possible! It really could make all the difference!
Please talk to your friends about it down the pub, online, via email, Whatsapp and text.
And if you feel so inclined, then also please do tweet, Facebook message and email the broadcaster or streaming service in your country, and tell them you want them to show Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm! It really does help!
Do you have any more questions? If it’s after 27 October 2018 then why not head over and watch Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm – the pilot minisode at FirestormHQ.com or on the Official Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm YouTube Channel.
While you wait…
If you can’t wait to watch Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm – the pilot minisode then check out some behind the scenes footage…
And our early puppet walk test…