Sam Holland - Stop Frame PuppetsStopframe animation puppets and set construction for the animation industry.
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JOB: Frankenweenie
PRODUCTION: Walt Disney
DIRECTOR: Tim Burton

NOTES: A very talented technical crew and with some brilliant animators under great pressure from the start, we were able to produce a very beutifuly and dramatic film. We all worked hard and fast for this project.

Images © Disney 2012

JOB: Fantastic Mr Fox
PRODUCTION: Twentieth Century Fox
DIRECTOR: Wes Anderson

NOTES: My return back to the animation industry. It was great to get back into the animation industry where I was asked to come in and re-work the Rat character in the puppet department to Wes's liking. It was good to get back making puppets and props with a good team of people.
JOB: Specsavers, Postman Pat
PRODUCTION: Passion Pictures
DIRECTOR: Darren Walsh

NOTES: I was party to creating the sets at Amalgam models for this hilarious homage to Postman Pat (the cult 80's children's television series) which was sympathetically animated by the talented and kicking Gary Cureton.
JOB: Dairylea Dunkers, Dino eating woman
PRODUCTION: Bermuda Shorts
DIRECTOR: Merlin Crossingham

NOTES: Based on Ray Harryhausens classic animation. We were very lucky to have the great man himself come and meet the crew on this commercial. The Ball and Socket dinosaur puppet was made by The Puppet factory and was animated by the animator Merlin, (now at Aardmans) one of his first jobs I think.
JOB: BBC America
PRODUCTION: Banana Park
DIRECTOR: Derek Mogford

NOTES: A sardonic view of all things British, the exception being our Television. Shot in a freezing New York over two weeks. Foam latex ball and socket puppets were created by The Puppet Factory. A great shoot with amazing down time in one of my favourite cities.
JOB: East Coast Trains, Hornby Mini Adventures
PRODUCTION: Passion Pictures
DIRECTOR: Darren Walsh


NOTES: Another Passion pictures commercial. The design brief for the sets was to have a simplistic style, a look, as if created by a Hornby railway enthusiast. This was another enjoyable job working with Kevin Harwood (producer), Gary Cureton (director of Animation) and the Head boy Tristan Oliver (Director of Photography).
JOB: Dinosaurs
PRODUCTION: Jim Henson's

NOTES: Assisting Jamie Courtier, sculptor of the main character Earl. Jamie was great to work with, learnt loads off him, giving me background puppets to sculpt and assisting him on sculpting bits and bobs on Earl and model making and sculpting.
JOB: Vinney
PRODUCTION: Bigfat Studio
DIRECTOR: Danny Capozzi

NOTES: Produced by BigFat Studio, a production company Simon and I started, to encourage animators to make short films. We came up with a technique called "Scanamation" the reason being is that, we sculpted and painted texture sheets in plasticine then digitally scanned and then wrapped the textures around CGI constructed forms, giving a more interesting surface to the characters.
JOB: Crapston Villas
PRODUCTION: Spitting Image
DIRECTOR: Sarah Keneddy

NOTES: The reason I stopped drinking Coffee... Due to a pre-production meeting involving very strong coffee I remember shaking like a caffeine fuelled junky by the end of that meeting...never again. Lots of puppets, constucted by The Puppet Factory, lots of shoes, lots of silicone rubber, with the Great crew, what fun.
JOB: Pringles
PRODUCTION:Aardman Animation
DIRECTOR: Peter Peake

NOTES: One of my favourite directors to work with, technically lots of replacement heads made for these puppets by The Puppet Factory. A lot of work for a very short add, but worth it, I think.
JOB: Vespa
PRODUCTION: Banana Park
DIRECTOR: Derek Mogford

NOTES: A funny script to this commercial, Another homage Puppet constucted by The Puppet Factory. Look out for a tail and strange chest on the main puppet, this was due to the agency worried that they might be infringing on the copyright of a certain famous monkey. So we produced Snakeomonkey.
JOB: Johnson & Johnson's Powder
PRODUCTION: Lane-Fabian Jones
DIRECTOR: David Jones

NOTES: One of the first jobs about that combined CGI animation with traditional stop-frame puppets. The Puppet Factory constructed the Traditional ball and socket Puppets having real hair on these Pan Asian characters was always going to be a challenge for the animators. Two of the best were employed, Mark Waring (Corpse Bride) and Phil Dale (Laika animation).
JOB: Weetabix, Mary Celeste
PRODUCTION: Aardman Animation
DIRECTOR: Richard Goleszowski (Golly)

NOTES: Based on the George Pal's carved wooden replacement animation style and before Rapid Prototyping machines were used in the industry, (Coraline for instance). The Puppet factory, reproduced the replacements by hand, each of the puppets replacement heads, was sculpted, moulded and then cast in fast cast resin, before being finished and painted. The captain had about 20 replacement head expressions; it was a quick build, with a great crew and one of The Puppet Factory's first jobs for Aardman.
JOB: Pop
PRODUCTION:Aardman Animation
DIRECTOR: Sam Fell

NOTES: Worked with Sam back at Film Fair, it was a great place to work, a hub of great and the good worked there in the early nineties. As for Pop, a fun low budget film Sam made with his twisted wit shining through.
JOB: Fairest of them all
PRODUCTION: White Horse and Channel four
DIRECTOR: Jason Stalman

NOTES: Jason Stalman one the most accomplished animators around today. Worked with Jason on this great short film, The Puppet Factory was one of the first companies to use silicone rubber for the flesh of the puppets bodies. We learned a lot from the construction of these puppets, for future work involving silicone puppets.
JOB: Ilcommunication.
PRODUCTION: BigFat studios
DIRECTOR: Danny Capozzi

NOTES: A short film by Danny, we had very little time and money, a great looking film with strong design and shot beautifully by Mark Chamberlain.
 

REFERENCES

Over a period of over twenty years, I have had the pleasure of working with Sam Holland on many stop-motion animation projects.

He has created and produced a wide range of puppets for many of the different stop-motion animation disciplines that I have worked on, including series, commercials and features.

Sam’s ability to consistently produce quality puppets under the usual time and budget constraints is firmly based on his ability to access some of the most talented puppet makers available. His skill is being able to gather and develop a key team who can get the job done.

With a thorough knowledge of budgeting a wide range of projects, Sam can see this process through from initial concepts, through design phase and into production.

Being able to maintain and adapt puppets through a project is also one of his key abilities, which ultimately is based on his in-depth understanding of the process as a whole.

From working with Sam on the many projects over the years, I would not hesitate in recommending him, and would look to him as a key player in any project I work on in the future.

Mark Waring
Animation Supervisor
Frankenweenie

--

I I am currently the Line Producer on Tim Burton’s upcoming
feature length, 3D stop-motion animated feature “Frankenweenie”.

I originally worked with Sam Holland whilst making ball and socket
puppets for the “Astro Farm” Children’s series at Film Fair back in 1991. Through this meeting we later went on to form a partnership and formed “The Puppet Factory” a stop-frame puppet making company where we worked on over, 100 commercials, 30 childeren’s series and over 20 award winning short films producing over 2000 stop-motion puppets along the way. We had a small dedicated team of 20 employees and trained and nurtured their talents not only to our benefit but also the industry as a whole. Sam’s expertise, knowledge of materials and techniques in stop-motion animation has therefore been built up over many years and he has an extensive knowledge of how to lead a team, listen to the clients needs and build puppets that not only function in the short term but will be user friendly and maintainable throughout the duration of the project.

It must be remembered that there are only a very limited pool of good stop-motion puppet makers in the world and those with motion picture experience are in an elite class.

In conclusion, Sam has made critical creative contributions to many projects and two major motion pictures and several award winning television productions.

I therefore do not hesitate to recommend Sam to you as he is more than qualified to offer assistance to your on your project.

Yours sincerely,
Simon Quinn

--

I have worked with Sam on many projects, including feature films and many commercials. His commitment to the budget and scheduling as well as the creative aspect of the projects has proved to be a skill that many others I have worked with have quite often struggled to balance.  While working together on the feature films – Wes Anderson’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ and Tim Burton’s ‘Frankenweenie’ -  Sam was able to make sure the puppets were produced not only on time, but also of a very high quality, allowing them to perform as they were required to do. Of the many commercials I have asked him to work with me on, not only has he provided a fine quote in the early stages, but he has also seen the job through, always going above and beyond to ensure the project reaches its full potential.  Sam is professional, committed and always good fun on set which combined with his experience of dealing with Aardman, Passion Pictures, Tim Burton and Disney make him a first choice in my opinion.

Kev Harwood

 

 
About Sam

Stop Frame puppets is a company specialising in the construction of stop motion puppets for the animation industry.

It’s founder Sam Holland, started his career in live action, learning the art of puppet construction and puppet effects at Jim Hensons Creature shop, then working at Asylum Model and effects, learning new skills within one of the finest model making companies around.

Having started his own business with Simon Quinn, The Puppet Factory. A  company specialising in the construction of stop frame animation puppets. Working with some of the best talent in the animation industry for 20 years, has lead Sam to be one of the most connected and experienced modellers in his profession. Working either as  Head of department or Model /Puppet builder, co-ordinating with directors, producers and agencies on commercials, short films, television series, exhibitions and feature films.

Clients
Aardman Animation, Academy, Amalgam, Asylum Models, B Sky B, Banana Park, BBC, Bermuda Shorts, Bolex, Bigfat Studios, Brother, Brothers Quay, Bumper Films, Channel 4, Dennis Russo, Dorling and Kindersley, Ealing Animation, Elm Road, FilmFair, HIT, Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Just So Productions, Lane Fabian-Jones, Loose Moose, Mackinnon & Saunders, Nexus, Passion Pictures, Picasso Pictures, Aka Pizazz, Publicis, Puppetoon, Spitting Image, Tandem, Triffic, Uli Meye, Vince Productions and The Puppet Factory.
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© Copyright Sam Holland 2012

Thanks to all production companies for the loan of imagery and Royksopp for loan of Triumphant track. All rights belong to all companies I have credited.