Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Recently at work, I animated this iPad book with some help from Dylan Forman, for the Jibjab Jr. brand.  Here's a video of an enthusiastic customer enjoying the book.  Its so cool to be a part of something that brings happiness to kids and their parents.  This really made my day!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

El Gigante: The Singing Luchador!

Last week at work, we got two days to make anything we want for whats known as The Jibjab Lab.  This time around, I collaborated with Francisco Hernandez and Kevin Elam to create a remote controlled animatronic puppet.  I've been dying to get into animatronics for a long time and this was the perfect opportunity to learn from a technology wizard like Francisco!  While Francisco and I focused on building and making the puppet somehow work, Kevin was painting the ring.  The main challenge for me was figuring out how to fuse the design with the technology that Francisco was building.

Here are some pictures of the work in progress...

After two or three sleepless nights, El Gigante was complete!   As you can see in the video, our Luchador's movement is jerky, to say the least.  However, I feel he has a certain charm to him and think he's super cool and hilarious.  Awesome work gentlemen!

El Gigante from Mike Chiechi on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Opera Man

Heres a little birthday ecard I made a few months back.  It was my first foray into live hand puppetry, and I think it suits the piece well. Assisting with the acting is Artist/Animation extraordinaire, Kevin Elam.  Thanks buddy!  Here are a few bts pics from the shoot.

...And heres the final video!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cave Worms

Its always great when I get to collaborate with super talented/cool people at work.  Thus was the case when Justin Parpan and myself got to work together on this fun (and bizarre) little short.  We describe this as our ode to David Lynch in ecard form!  Justin drew some amazing concept art that I based the puppet on.  I felt that the puppet needed a slimey, veiny texture, so I pushed aside the fleece and got out a jar of some latex rubber for the creatures exterior!

Here are some pics from the shoot. Alan Cook helped with the lighting and Justin made some awesome backgrounds made of clay which fit perfectly with the puppet.  In the end, I put everything together in post and The Cave Worms were born!

Heres the final video.  Enjoy!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spock: The Puppet!

Being a fan of the original Star Trek series, I felt that building a puppet of Spock would be, well...logical.  Besides, I felt that Leonard Nimoy would make a great subject to caricature.  However, I had no idea when I started building him that it would lead me to meeting the man (or vulcan) himself!  Angie and I went up to San Francisco last weekend for a Trek convention to nab a photo with Mr. Nimoy and the puppet.   I knew it would be a difficult mission, but I was determined! Here are some photos of the puppet in progress.

As you may imagine, there were a plethora of Trekkies there, and a bunch of them even wanted their photo taken with Spock puppet!  I was happy to oblige...

Finally, after a long drive to SF and a full day of Trekkie-ness,  here's the man and puppet together at last!

The puppet had him cracking up and he was so cool about the whole thing.  He seemed genuinely amused and impressed that I had built the puppet version of himself, and I couldnt have been more happy when he said, "Now, Ive really seen it all!"  Mission accomplished! (Thanks Angie!)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Elvis Lives!

This little ecard has a special place in my heart, as it was my first exploration into the world of puppetry. First, I wrote and recorded the song using some old beat up instruments and Garageband.  I even belted out my best Elvis impression for the track!  Then, with the help of some concept art by designer extraordinaire, Alan Cook, I took on the task of building my very first puppet!  Here are some pics taken by Alan and co-worker Maureen Tzudiker of the work in progress.

Finally, I decided Elvis needed a backup band, so why not some frogs?

Heres the final video...Enjoy!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Year In Review 2010

This year, it was decided that Jibjabs' Year In Review would be a full blown puppet extravaganza!  I was more than happy for the opportunity to create some puppets for the short.

The first puppet I made was probably the most complex Ive built so far...The Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger!  Starting off, I knew he was going to be a pretty big puppet, but things quickly got out of hand.  He wound up being a beast!  I suppose its fitting for the big guy.  Here are some pics of the work in progress.

Overall, Im happy with how he turned out and feel I made some strides in my puppet making ability while working on him.  Besides, look how friggin' big he is!

Next, I moved on to building a puppet of Rahm Emanuel.  Thanks to an awesome design by Justin Parpan, this was pretty easy and lots of fun to make.

Once the idea was thrown around that the JibJab logo should be made in puppet form, I jumped at the opportunity to make it happen. Unfortunately, I only had two days to build and shoot them.  Thanks to the wonders of caffeine,  I was able to pull an all-nighter and build these suckers.

Check out these guys and more in the final video!