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Preliminary Thoughts on Master Replica's Fozzie Bear

Discussion in 'Muppet Replicas' started by Kevin Knight, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. MuppetCaper

    MuppetCaper Well-Known Member

    You mean Travis? I know for a fact that he still works at MR cause Amy said that they are good friends and she went to his house for Thanksgiving last year. I remember her saying that he still works there but doing some different job. She really didn't get into it. I wonder who is in charge of the Muppets at MR now. Would be kind of interesting to know if Travis still has anything to do with the Muppets now. :confused:
  2. muppetperson

    muppetperson Well-Known Member

    He is now Marketing manager.
  3. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    He was always marketing manager, that meant he was in charge of promoting these things and it made sense he came on and gave updates before. I'm not sure if thats still his job or whether he switched to another area as has been suggested.

    It's dissapointing that the customers are feeling out of the loop on these replicas to the point pre-orders are being cancelled or not placed at all. It's Master Replica's own fault, they have the opportunity here of addressing probably 90% of the customers for these. The thing is though, we have the main Muppet Central site (who i'm sure could contact Travis, Terry or that other main guy they interviewed for Kermit), Muppet Newsflash, and MuppetCast. It would probably only take some motivation from any of the guys working on these sites to get some kind of more detailed word.
  4. muppetperson

    muppetperson Well-Known Member

    His recent voice mail says he is marketing Manager.Wasnt he just in Sales before?
  5. Ignohippo

    Ignohippo Well-Known Member

    Perfect point. It would take SO little time and energy to reach a huge percentage of their potential customers. I don't know of too many opportunities where you can say the same thing.
  6. ElecMayhem

    ElecMayhem Well-Known Member

    Hey everyone-

    First of all, my sincere apologies for not being around at all lately. As Amy mentioned a while back, my role with the company has changed pretty drastically. Before I get into the Muppety specifics -- those that I can address, anyway -- a little background on me, and what I do exactly (in broad terms).

    Interestingly enough, my title has not changed. I am Marketing Manager, and I have been Marketing Manager as long as I have been with MR. (I was, once upon a time, in sales at Palisades, but I was in Marketing the last half of my tenure there, as well.) Here's what changed for me: when I started with MR, my role was primarily in developing promotions and planning events, as well as placing ads and communicating to the public (and the media) specifics about products and product lines, etc. Basically, I was Marketing Communications, or MarCom.

    NOW, I have moved more into a PRODUCT Marketing role... which means that certain lines "belong" to me. I come up with the product plans, I create the P&L for these products, I work with Product Development & Engineering to ensure that they look right, work right, are on time, are within their budgets, etc. Everything. It all comes back to me. Getting pictures taken, copy written... I may not DO everything personally, but ultimately it's my responsibility to get this stuff done. On time. With the approved budget.

    While I have been transitioning to all of this, many of the MarCom aspects of the job have moved over -- in the interim -- to our Direct Marketing team. (Which included Amy!) Ultimately, I WILL BE responsible for the promotion and marketing of my lines. (We are in the process of trying to find the right PR Agency to assist in managing the day to day...) But I won't lie -- that's one area in which my attention has not really been focused. Don't take it personally that I've not been here. I am trying to get my 2008 & 09 product plans off the ground... and I started in this role late last year, so I am WAAAY behind the 8 Ball on the 08 plan! Working very long days (and nights) right now!

    (While I am making pathetic excuses for not being around btw, I wanted to let everyone know about my OTHER excuse... my newborn son Alexander "Xander" Warner Allen, who has been taking up the vast majority of my time outside of the MR office!)

    So, the burning question would have to be: which lines am I managing?

    The answer is: you probably don't care about the others, but I am managing the Muppets (and all of Disney, actually.) The bad news is the Gonzo and Animal were both 90% developed before I moved into this role, and so while I DID try to impact them both, my actual involvement is much less than I would have liked. Not to say that I don't think that both are phenomenal... they are. But they do have their issues. (Jamie's review of Animal I think, was spot on and completely objective! Thanks, man!) Fozzie will be my first Muppet, soup-to-nuts... so you can come after me with torches and pitchforks if he is no good... ;)

    So, I still cannot be here everyday, much as I would like to. But what I would like to do is start an "Ask Travis" Thread, which I promise to check several times weekly. I will start the thread tonight, and you guys can ask me anything you want there. (Maybe a Mod can sticky it up near the top or something..?)

    As for Gonzo... the pics on the MR site are of the final factory samples. That is what the product looks like. BUT, that said, it's a bad photo... just like Animal. (Yes, we are working internally to address the photography issue...) What I will tell you is this: I have a Gonzo in my office, and I love him. My girlfriend in fact -- though admittedly not a die-hard Muppet fan like this crew -- says that Gonzo is her favorite of the four. Including Fozzie who is also in my office...

    The likeness on Gonzo is phenomenal. And the structure of the nose is great too. The issue that fans will have is that the nose is solid foam, covered with a netting material. This was, in the end, our only option. Why? Well, we know that the actual material corrodes over time, so that was not an option. We tried a number of other materials, but for one reason or another, they all failed. (We even flocked it at one point, which actually looked nice... but failed age testing!) In the end that -- the net -- is the direction that Disney wanted us to go, and we had spent months upon months experimenting with nothing better to go on. And so, here we are.

    I am going to try to get some better pics this week... if I have to take them myself. So I know that I am biased, but I truly believe that Gonzo is on par with Animal in terms of his accuracy. (Interesting note, the Gonzo in my office is actually not SUPPOSED to be in my office -- I couldn't resist him, and "borrowed" him from one of our engineering team!) Is he 100% accurate? No. But he's the closest thing we will ever have to getting the "real deal," and he's worth the price. (This as a fan... because I have to buy mine, too!)

    Sorry for the long, rambling message... I as sleep deprived on account of the new bundle of joy. Hopefully this message is somewhat coherent. Now, off to start the "Ask Travis" thread... Later gang...

  7. Kevin Knight

    Kevin Knight Well-Known Member

    That was great! I think that pretty much cleared up everything I've been seeing here. Not being a long time poster. I believe Travis has possibly assured some concerning Fozzie's future, and the purchasability of Gonzo. That was a great recap of what's going on. Rest assured that someone who works with Master Replicas IS indeed listening. Travis thank you thank you thank you. And congrats on Xander. Now we see all activity move to the greatest show of all time. What time is it kids! ASK TRAVIS! YEaaaaaaaah! BRING ON THE BEAR! :) :o

  8. muppetguy

    muppetguy Well-Known Member

    Hey Travis

    I already posted in the Ask Travis thread but wanted to say congrats on Xander! YAY! and thank you for listening to all of us. :)
  9. muppetperson

    muppetperson Well-Known Member

    I feel betrayed after we were told that Gonzo had gone back to the drawing board and that Amy told us that his nose was still being tweeked, yet we still have the sock nose!
  10. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    It appears that they tried to change it but were unable to go beyond the sock. Disney's licensing department likely had the final say about using durable less attractive materials. There's no way around that.

    I must admit, until Travis I had a hard time believing information coming from Master Replicas was on the level. Now I have great confidence. He's a brave guy coming on here (now on a regular basis) with us crazies. We're a cute lot, but some of us have been known to bite. :crazy: This is what we wanted from MR and they heard us.

    I still think there are other solutions to the nose that weren't explored - fabrication of a textured lightweight plastic material that could be airbrushed and molded to look much more like the real deal than stocking-covered foam. It is my thinking there was nobody at hand with the know-how for that rout.

    Either way, there's the final judgement that will take place when some of us own the little guy. He's the most challenging Muppet of the lot. I'm glad the pig is slated after Fozzie and not held till last or even after Rizzo. The set will seem core-complete with her inclusion.

    I don't think they will mess up the bear under Travis. Honestly, I don't think think is possible with that design unless they get a crummy factory. I still can't help but think accuracy was deemed less important with Gonzo. There's the - oh, he's wearing that cute little suit - and - I always liked that Muppet, but isn't his nose blue? - sort of mindset that seems to go on with him with many people and companies. So far it appears he is a Muppet doll, not a photo replica. Little difference to the casual observer - big issue for fans when forking over cash for him...or not.

    Again with the working prototype vs factory prototype comp.
  11. ElecMayhem

    ElecMayhem Well-Known Member

    Hey Eric- First of all, I think to say that you were "betrayed" is a bit extreme, regardless of the outcome of the situation.

    The truth of the matter is that we did go back to the drawing board, as I mentioned in my previous post. We tried a number of different options, and delayed the product for months -- in turn, delaying our cash flow and the ability to recoup the money invested in this very expensive product -- trying to get a more accurate nose. Ultimately, two factors contributed to the appearance of the final product -- (1) we reached a point where we HAD to move forward or kill the project, and (2) this is the direction that Disney signed off on.

    All I can say (again) is that I love the product. Is it 100% accurate? No. Is it the best Gonzo ever produced -- and most likely, that ever will be produced. Yes. I will try to get better pictures this week or next, but the only thing that I can say -- man I feel like Ken -- is that you vote with your wallet. So you can either buy him, or not. And that's that. And if you DON'T like him, I don't begrudge you that. It's okay to not be pleased with the final product. But please don't infer that we misled or lied to anyone. We did everything humanly possible to get the nose 100% accurate, but it simply was not possible. Not when we're producing these en mass, and not for the price.

    My only suggestion would be that if you want one with a foam nose that exactly mirrors the real Gonzo, you can either (a) commision one from a puppet builder (for probably somewhere between 8-9 x the price), or (b) have someone build you a nose for the MR one. (This, by the way, I do not advocate, as you void your MR warranty...)

    I hope this reply does not come off as snippy... I just don't think it's fair to say that we betrayed anyone. Strong word, and we've been honest throughout the process.
  12. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    I can agree there, an exact made to order Gonzo would be about $5,000 from a puppet builder so it is really a testament to what you are achieving for just a few hundred bucks. I would say though that seeing as you near enough managed for $300/$400 to nail Kermit, Animal and its looking like Fozzie too - it's kinda understandable that customers will be dissapointed. It's not just the nose build either, there are things that could have been changed like the suit color, eye position, the color painted on the nose that would have made him a lot more accurate. Obviously not everythings possible but i hope now you have the controls again these will be as close to 100% humanly accurate as possible. They deserve it, its such a cool product.
  13. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I couldn't fathom any company tackling such a task in the first place. Until Palisades, Gonzos always looked crummy. Ken pushed for a lot of changes with Henson to make for a new standard! It was not easy.
  14. muppetperson

    muppetperson Well-Known Member

    muppet fleece would of been better than the material ladder nose.Travis, no hard feelings.I said I Felt betrayed, not were betrayed, but looking back, they were strong words.just the dissapointment I expect of not hearing anymore since we were told he was getting re done, and then later hearing he is the sock nose again,which I wasnt expecting to hear.Sorry.
  15. ElecMayhem

    ElecMayhem Well-Known Member

    Hey man, no hard feelings at all. Believe me, as a fan I agree with you. But I've watched the process and seen (or at a minimum, heard about) everything that we tried to do... and ultimately, our hands were tied.

    Anyway, no harm, no foul. Hope all is well with you!

  16. Kevin Knight

    Kevin Knight Well-Known Member

    Bring on Da Bear! Looking at photo's I was surprised to see a difference in fur length. I am not saying a word about the future product of Terry's proto. I was just really surprised when looking at pics. Figured Henson would just always use the same um.. stock fur? I would assume for sake of charater that henson makes their own fabric? It would only make sense or am I giving them too much credit? Rock the next 6 months till the Bear! **** I'd be happy to see even more pics of the proto! (yes I think i've seen all the ones out there by now too! lol)

  17. Was Once Ernie

    Was Once Ernie Well-Known Member

    My understanding is that they buy in large quantities and store it, but when it's gone, it's gone. I don't think they use enough of any one fabric to have it made. The amount you would have to buy to make it cost effective would be massive.

    Look at the current Cookie Monster. That looks like completely different material to me. But even the fleece used has changed over the years. It was originally Nylon Fleece, then Antron Fleece, which has gone through several generations itself.

    They're in the same boat as Master Replicas when it comes to searching for the right material.

  18. Kevin Knight

    Kevin Knight Well-Known Member

    Wow I really appreciate it! I must say I'm really surprised to hear that though. Figured it might be somewhat cost effective to make it then just color dye it depending on making it for cookie, then oscar, elmo. etc. Thanks alot for the info though. I wonder just how many of one character they've gone through. If they have a hero puppet for filming, a traveling, an international, etc. Or even if they just go through the process of making a new puppet say before production of a movie for some consistancy. I hate talking about the Muppets like this though to tell you the truth. Like when I was asked about TMM how did they get them to ride bikes through central park. I responded put one leg over and started peddling! LOL Gotta keep the mystique. OH well.

  19. Kevin Knight

    Kevin Knight Well-Known Member

    sorry to post twice but I just noticed that Fozzie pre-order looks like it should be within a month. Well they said spring 2008. That is also the "date" they specify for gonzo's shipment, and he's been launched from what I've heard. thoughts?
  20. MuppetCaper

    MuppetCaper Well-Known Member

    How did you figure this?

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