Hello, mystery enthusiasts and puppet fans! We're the team behind Fogtown, a new take on Sherlock Holmes made through the medium of finger puppets.

Fogtown blends old-fashioned puppeteering with cutting-edge virtual production tech. We film our puppets in front of large screens with realtime 3D environments in the Unreal Engine — the same way The Mandalorian is made, but on a micro scale.

We're neck-deep in crafting a pilot episode of Fogtown as well as a short choose-your-own-adventure game. We're working with some incredible voice actors, including Stephen Russell (Garrett from the Thief games, as well as probably most of your favorite characters from Skyrim and Fallout 3 & 4) and Rizwan Manji (Ray Butani in Schitt's Creek and Jamil the janitor in Peacemaker). Our videogame project is an FMV throwback, featuring actors like Dean Erickson (who's last and only other game role was playing Gabriel Knight in The Beast Within / GK2) Paul Morgan Stetler (the star of Phantasmagoria 2), Lenval Brown (Disco Elysium's narrator) and Rupert Booth (Contradiction)!

Here's a video that shows off what we're aiming for. You can visit our website for much more info about Fogtown. Oh, and we've been posting new videos every single weekday on our YouTube channel to promote our ongoing fundraising that closes August 30th!

We're here to answer questions about Fogtown, puppetry, virtual production, or other projects we've made (last year, our director made a finger puppet show about a Reddit argument that this site seem to enjoy quite a bit). Ask us anything!

(Currently present are series creator directors Sean Parker & Austin Hillebrecht and co-writer Devon Rawlings. Stay tuned for the appearance of possible special guests from our cast.)

The Puppets: https://imgur.com/qvUSxHn

Proof: Here's my proof!


EDIT: Looks like things are winding down, thank you everyone for participating today! We had a blast making silly puppet videos. Yes, even for the mean questions. We'll keep monitoring this account for a bit so feel free to send in latecomer questions over the next few days and we'll do our best to answer them all.

Comments: 94 • Responses: 32  • Date: 

RenX31363 karma

Are the puppets 3D Printed? Looks like layers there

OysterShocker40 karma

Where did you get the name? The only Fogtown I've heard of is a barbershop/clothing brand in St. John's, Newfoundland.

fogtownseries54 karma

We wanted a setting reminiscent of classic 1800s London, but with the freedom and flexibility only a new original world can give. Before any show titles were decided on, the backdrop of our show was itself the fictional city of Fogtown. Without giving too much away, the fog serves as an atmospheric and also metaphorical feature….

For several years the working title was Sherblock, or The Adventures of Sherblock & Blockson, but we wanted something that conveyed “original show” rather than just a parody. During a table read, one of our friends threw in the idea of calling it Fogtown and the group unanimously loved it.

MorphisStudios21 karma

Hey just joining - I was wanting to ask the actors how it felt to get the call for the show. What was the pitch? Such a cool project!

fogtownseries17 karma

Our actor Stephen Russell just chimed in over email with his response:

"It felt wonderful. It’s not often I get asked to be part of a project as inventive and silly, in the best sort of way, as this. I’m so proud to be part of Fogtown! May it roll on forever!"

babyigotyourmoni14 karma

Ha! We have a popular local barbershop and clothing brand where I live called Fogtown! You should look them up and hit them up for a crossover release of your merch! I am from St. John’s, Newfoundland, which we lovingly and colloquially call Fogtown. Where did you find the name for your production?

Muppetgamer12 karma

This seems like a big project. How many people are on the team? Did you fundraise or was this just a passion project?

fogtownseries17 karma

Currently there's about 40 of us involved, including cast. And yes! We're actually fundraising right now on Seed&Spark through the end of the month, although I don't think we can post the link. Easy enough to find with a little bit of Googling though!

SquirrelTale12 karma

What are some (more) of your inspirations when it comes to this project? Puppetry, mystery, television/ media inspirations?

fogtownseries33 karma

Some of our favorite works that lend a good deal of inspiration to Fogtown include: Wallace & Gromit, The Muppets, Poirot, The Mighty Boosh, Over The Garden Wall, Monty Python, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

AlllDayErrDay11 karma

First off, I love the amount of effort put into this and I can certainly see it becoming something larger.

My question is how do you go about portraying emotions in finger puppets?

I have a (crazy) friend who doesn’t like cartoons because real faces tell so much more of the story and after watching the clip (while I enjoyed it) I find myself agreeing with him.

It doesn’t seem like a show I’d devote much time to but I can certainly see how others would. Don’t let my negative comment mean much, I’m just curious.

fogtownseries12 karma

Honestly, it's a very fair question. We were actually once thinking of doing this show as a live-action piece, until we did some tests and fell in love with the disarming charms that puppets bring to the story.

If you're looking for more emotion in the characters, you might want to take a look at this scene and see if it changes your view on what's possible in the medium. We want to tell good stories first and foremost, with performances from great actors. All the visual stuff on top is just a bonus layer.


FunkatronicLightning9 karma

Super cool idea! Where is production based?

Javerage9 karma

Can I do a tiny voice cameo? Like a cough?

Deitaphobia9 karma

At what point does hell come to Fogtown?

fogtownseries9 karma

Jennzers6 karma

I've pretty much been a lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes, and I know all of you personally took inspiration from it to create Fogtown. So I wanted to ask what each of your favorite Sherlock Holmes stories are? And might they show up in Fogtown in some form? 😉

fogtownseries6 karma

Ooh, a hard one to answer! We could go in depth but can all agree that Hound of the Baskervilles really takes the cake in setting up an otherworldly atmosphere that is most spooky. It takes the reader on a tightrope walk of suspense and wonder of knife-cutting thickitude. Also gotta love that the !!Fog!!! on the moors is arguably one of the main characters! -Devon

I’ve also gotta jump in on this one to profess my love for The Dancing Men and the Greek Interpreter. Also… A Study in Scarlet is one heck of an origin story, and I love that it takes a wild left turn from standard Sherlock fare to a sweeping horror-adventure western with evil Mormons. Who’d have thought! -Sean

EverydayImprov6 karma

Honestly looks interesting. Do you plan on pitching this as a TV/streaming series, and if so, what is that process like?

fogtownseries7 karma

We do! We're focusing on making a pilot episode for now, and all the info about that is more or less available in this video.

It's our first rodeo pitching a show, so we don't have too many insights to share on the process of talking with studios yet, but our understanding is that "who you know" matters a ridiculously big amount. It's very hard to get a meeting with Netflix or other major streamers unless someone who's already established is willing to go to bat for you.

Cadvahn5 karma

This is so cool! How have modern interpretations of Sherlock Holmes (BBC's Sherlock, the movies with Robert Downey Jr, Elementary, etc) influenced the project?

fogtownseries12 karma

Austin says:

The idea for this show came about in the midst of me and Sean immensely enjoying the first season of the BBC’s Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch over ten years ago. Through our love of Sherlock Holmes, and mystery shows in general, we wanted to make something of our own that had our distinctly absurd sense of humor ingrained into it. The more recent adaptations of Sherlock have served more as a point of reference for what the public is aware of when it comes to these stories, but I would say that our true inspiration for Fogtown comes from a bizarre marriage of the Jeremy Brett Holmes adaptations and the 1960s Batman series. A combination of nice cozy parlor room mysteries with a wild and zany rogues gallery to boot.

gesasage885 karma

Was there a reason you decided to go with finger puppets and not another type of puppet like hand puppets? Just curious of the unusual choice.

neuromorph5 karma

What is the name of your micro volume?

quantumlocke3 karma

So it’s just a 4K monitor? Any special matte or anti-glare screen film? It looks really soft and natural.

fogtownseries4 karma

We've used a 4K monitor for most of our tests, but also a 4K 60" TV set. No anti-glare screen has been needed yet, but we do have to be pretty careful about where we place our lights, because they often show up in very obvious reflections. One thing that helps is a circular polarizing filter on the camera -- with this, we can cut through some of the screen glare and also have more control over how bright the screen looks.

Our tests with the TV set have been even more finicky than monitors. We love the added real estate that a big screen brings, but most consumer TVs are very glossy, and our puppeteers often have to wear dark clothes and black velvet gloves otherwise they'll show up in reflections (we're looking forward to the end of summer for that reason alone). One of our wishlist items for the full series is to get a large TV with a matte screen finish, and that should make things a bit easier.

BBlasdel5 karma

This looks like such a cool project! How do you plan to approach and understand the neurodivergence of Sherlock?

fogtownseries18 karma

This incarnation of Sherlock takes a lot of inspiration from the original character, but with one key difference (aside from being a block-headed finger puppet) being that our Sherblock is decidedly someone who has ADHD. He’s exceptionally intelligent, good at finding clues and deducing their meaning, the only problem is he sees clues EVERYWHERE, which tends to lead him down wildly random paths…for better and worse. We’re still developing exactly how to visually portray this character feature in a way that harkens back to depictions we’ve seen in the past (i.e.- mind-palace) while being something that feels fresh and more accurate to what it feels like to mentally deal with ADHD.

Jov_West5 karma

Are there any plans to make the finger puppets more sophisticated down the line, such as enabling their hands or facial hair to move?

fogtownseries4 karma

So far the plan is to further iterate the puppets to the point where we can get them to nod their heads up and down as well as rotate left and right. We think with that amount of articulation we’ll have everything we need to pull off the various actions and emotions the characters express. We’ve talked about making things even more articulated, but we like riding that line of having things just articulated enough so that in order to do giant emotional shifts, we would cut away to something else, and then cut back to the character who now has a different expression on their faces. We like the feel that has on the characters and the pacing of the show. Clever restrictions always make for interesting art.

Anonpareil5 karma

Will you be using entirely new plotlines or will there be a unique Fogtown spin on ACD classics? Love this project, btw…

fogtownseries5 karma

We're planning for a mix of both approaches, actually! For the most part, Fogtown's focused on new plotlines, but a lot of classic Holmes characters will pop up with some Fogtowny twists. The pilot episode is an original story, but if the show goes to series we plan to adapt some of Doyle's mysteries as well, yes!

MeatHamster4 karma

Where and when is this going to be aired?

fogtownseries3 karma

It's too early to say, as we're still producing our pilot episode (which should be finished by spring 2023). We're really hoping to get picked up by a major streamer, with a first season most likely in 2024.

Anonpareil4 karma

One burning question is on nearly every BBC fan’s mind.
Are you gonna queerbait us?

fogtownseries8 karma

Nope! Fogtown will have loads of varied people loving the people they love. In short, there will be many LGBTQ+ characters. If we hint at queer romance between characters, you can expect a proper payoff.

inphu510n4 karma

Where did you all get your start and how did it lead to this project?
This is a combination of several different animation specialties and it's really cool to see some of how you're making a cohesive animated world with it all.

fogtownseries6 karma

Pretty much all of us have been in the film and tv industry in some shape or form for years, running into each other on various sets and film fests and what not, slowly scheming how we may work together at some point. For Sean and Austin, it started decades ago back in middle school when they made silly home videos together and progressed into more formal education–Austin taking a focus in animation and Sean in film production. The two of them had been developing Fogtown for years before finally sharing it at a virtual table read with colleagues in 2020 and that’s when the duo became a larger team. Devon started out in acting and while she’s been a secretive writer for years, she made the official jump when she joined the lads on Fogtown.

inphu510n5 karma

Well that's awesome.
I made a bunch of terrible stop motion movies on Hi8 video wayyy back and basically because my friend at the time was a terrible person, they were all horror skits mirroring Alien movies. I kind wish I still had them though...
Bravo to you guys for doing what you love and keeping at it. I'm sure it hasn't been an easy road.
Do you plan on using full CGI faces at some point or are you keeping the stop motion stuff as "live" as possible?

Thanks for the AMA! I wish you stupendous luck!

stratiuss4 karma

I know nothing about getting a TV show made, so what's your plan? Do you have studios you plan to send the pilot to? Is there a plan A and plan B? If so, what is plan K?

fogtownseries3 karma

Plan A is having Fogtown on a major streamer like Netflix, Apple, Hulu, or HBO.

Plan B is striking a deal with a traditional cable network. Still pretty cool!

Plan K is like... making it for no money on weekends and airing episodes once a year on public-access television.

Blewyouremyboy3 karma

Did you know there was a fogtown brewery in bar harbor Maine? The beer kinda sucks....neat logo though

fogtownseries3 karma

Nope! It's funny how many Fogtowns we've learned about since embarking on this show. Coffee shops, breweries, barbershops, clothing lines... perhaps we'll need to take a Fogtown world tour someday.


You guys read mr. Higgins comes home or any of those other mignola books? This looks like it would fit into that universe

fogtownseries5 karma

I haven’t read that particular book, but I am a big fan of Mike Mignola and love the Hellboy books. Based on what I can recall of his stories, Fogtown would need to go through a heavy pass of dark shadows and eldritch monsters to properly crossover with Mignola’s world. That’s not to say it’s out of the realm of possibilities… -Austin

agent_wolfe3 karma

Did you enjoy the production value of Team America World Police? (Not necessarily the plot, just the puppets and the elaborate crafted sets.)

fogtownseries5 karma

Absolutely. Amongst the many things that Team America nailed, the limitations of their puppets helped make it funnier than it would have been in live action. We hope to achieve something similar, although our puppets are definitely simplified.

Also, we're very jealous of the fact that those puppets have legs... something we're still trying to figure out how to pull off at finger-puppet scale.

hitheringthithering2 karma

What is your favorite Sherlock Holmes short story?

fogtownseries2 karma

Sean here: it's really hard to pick, but I love The Dancing Men. Maybe not the most memorable or bombastic of Sherlock's adventures, but it's got a great balance of heart and spookiness that I've always had a soft spot for. And weird coded cyphers are a mystery element that just immediately piques my interest.

KeyReaction31751 karma

Do you ever get the urge to say Mandicksuckian instead of Mandalorian?

DurantulaRedditFake-9 karma

Puppets? Are we children?

DurantulaRedditFake-9 karma

Wow, actually even more cringey that you made this response in that time.