Mike Finland On The Many Roles And Puppets Of Elmwood Productions Image

As the puppeteer, how much say do you have in the designs of the characters? And how does their look impact the voice and movements you ultimately decide on?
I have some say in what characters look like, but usually, I just trust in what Jon creates. He knows what he’s doing!

Now, if you’ll allow me, I need to fan out about my favorite character from The Risley Brothers, Schmutsy. You voiced the odd, dimwitted, but utterly lovable person in a very distinct way. How did you come up with that voice? It never failed to make me laugh.
Thank you, I really appreciate that so much. Shmutsy has been one of my favorite characters to puppeteer. His voice is based on a former co-worker and friend of Elmwood. He would often drink milk which is the main reason why you’ll see Shmutsy always with a glass of milk.

I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that we have fans…”

Head has garnered cult status, with the original run of DVDs entirely selling out, and the second batch is poised to as well. Clearly, your work at Elmwood, specifically Head, is resonating with fans all over. Why do you think that is, and what is your response to the fans’ reaction?
I am a fan; that’s how it all started for me. Head is fun, sad, scary, and just all the ingredients to have a good time, which is all people really want. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that we have fans, but if they enjoy what we do, that makes me happy, and if they don’t, I’m sorry (lol).

Elmwood Productions is celebrating 20 years now. That is a long and impressive journey. Looking back, what is your proudest moment and what are your hopes for the future of the studio?
Twenty years is crazy. I have only been with Elmwood for ten years, and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. We are going to make some crazy stuff, so get ready!!

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