December 19, 2011 Jill

Talk about DIY!

What can you make at home with the help of a few friends and a few thousand bucks raised on Indiegogo? If you’re Rob Mills the answer is an awesome broadcast quality Christmas special for the whole family… But instead of delivering it to television by cable or dish network that www.satellite911.com offers, you give away for the whole Internet to enjoy for free.

Don’t read, just watch… although, Ruffus the Dog is all about promoting reading… but watch first, read later.

Ruffus The Dog's Christmas Carol

If you don’t know him, Rob Mills is a Henson trained puppeteer. That’s right, he was the animatronics puppeteer for Donatello in the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. More impressively, he was a writer, director, producer and puppeteer on Big Comfy Couch.

In 1998, he had a TV series called Ruffus the Dog.  The series is set in a library and retells classic stories with puppets.  It’s meant to encourage kids to read.  When the TV rights reverted back to Rob a few years ago, he started putting the episodes online for everyone’s enjoyment.

Then he got a stupid idea.  How about making a new episode of Ruffus? Only this time, instead of producing it with a big TV budget in a full featured studio with a well paid cast and crew, why not do this new one in his living room without any funding and only his family and a few friends to help?

Okay, maybe the idea wasn’t so stupid.  No matter what, the result is amazing!  It has taken a lot of work and a lot of time to get Ruffus the Dog’s A Christmas Carol completed, but it is astounding that so much can be accomplished with so little.

Not that the work is done by any means.  Rob screened the episode on Saturday for friends and family at the Revue Cinema on Roncesvales. It  looked incredible on the big screen and it was fun to celebrate the completion of that phase. But Rob still had (and even now, still has) work ahead of him.

Later on Saturday, there was all the uploading to do and the work of embedding the video on sites around the web.  Now there is tons of promotion to do. And eventually, he’ll have to get the business piece in place and start offering his audience opportunities to give him money for his work

And since this is a Christmas special, all that promotional work is going to come around annually.

Rob is up to the challenge. He’s a massively talented and hard working guy who understands the web space.  He has some plans and a whole lot of enthusiasm.  I am always excited to see his next move.

This — just in time for the holiday season — is a Christmas miracle for all creators: a beautiful example of how much we can make with so very little.  Here’s hoping we see more creators just going out on their own and making great entertainment in 2012.

Comments (10)

  1. Holy Smoley, Jill! Thanks for all that. When I work I always keep my head down and focus on the task at hand – if I had any idea it was as you just described I’d probably have run away screaming. Thanks again. Happy holidays!

  2. What can’t that Mills-Valleau team NOT do? I am hoping – having handled the ghost of Henson past . . their next project is . . . .

    giving Aardman a run for their money ! And they could do it in the basement ! Ah show bizness in the 21st Century . . . Congrats to Rob and all!!!!! Wish i coulda been there

    merry merry all . . .

  3. admin

    You’re no slouch in the awesome department, Cheryl. Hope to see you in 2012. Merry merry back at ya!

  4. Cheryl Q

    I can’t say enough how much I loved this production. It made me laugh out loud; it made me tear up; it made me feel like a little kid with my nose pressed to the television watching my favourite Christmas show.

    Thank you SO much to the whole team!

    Cheryl Q

  5. tim gosley

    Wow! What lovely puppets and puppeteering and everything else. thanks …

  6. Jeff

    Dear Jill,

    I see Metropia reruns all the time on Omni, but I’m wondering if the show will ever be released on DVD. I loved watching it when it was on, and I’d prefer to relive the 90 episodes at my own leisure instead of once daily on OMNI.

    So, any word on the show being turned into a box set or something/

  7. admin

    Hey Jeff,

    Glad you liked Metropia. I wish they’d issue it on DVD too… or release it on the web. Or do anything that gets it into some new markets. But I don’t foresee anything like that happening. At least not on its own. If you want to spearhead some kind of movement, the owners are Incendo http://www.incendo.ca/.

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