Fruitima's Collaboration with Walt Disney's Lion King

It was a truly amazing experience. I was contacted by Nic Greaterex from the Disney Theatre Company asking me to do a 3D carving of Rafiki from The Lion King Movie. I mean, I was extactic, however, a 3D carving of Rafiki wasnt going to be an easy task.

Few days later Nic contacted me and said he would like the Lion King Head carved on a pumpkin instead and it will be recorded to make a promo video. I felt a little relieved, but on camera? Well that was another matter.

So, on the morning of the shoot I got to the Lyceum Theatre all ready to create the masterpiece. As I went into their office all the staff were very friendly and were really excited about fruit carving. They had all visited my website and had a sneak peak of my work. I was already gathering a fan club.

As they set-up the studio,camera and lights for the recording, I gathered my tools and prepared the pumpkin.

I felt like a mini celebrity, I mean it was my lovely manicured hands that were going to be on the spot light. I was thrilled that fruit and vegetable carving has become so popular that its a sought after service, especially by the world famous Walt Disney company.

As the Camera was being set, I was told I could not move much and the pumpkin should stay in one position otherwise the image will be out of focus. Talk about working under I was under the spotlight, couldn't manouvre too much and His Royal Highnes, Mr Pumkin, should not be moved an inch away from the camera. Well He was the Lion 'King' after all!

If I was carving at home, I would start with an acrobatic intro of myself, and throw the carving knife up in the air, and start the carving eloquently. And the dear pumkin would be moved pillar to post so that I can access all areas for thorough intricate carving.

So it was time for Action and the camera was on. First of all I etched the Lion King Logo on the pumkin, then I started the carving. The difficult part was to remember which line of the mane needed to be carved out and which part to remain as it is. The eyes were another tricky part. Which part do I carved out, the eyeball or the pupil? Whilst the camera was on continous record mode, it was also taking a picture ever ten seconds. I also had Mufasa's head in the background watching over me. One mistake on the carving, he would roar his heart out.

I also had quite an audience, who popped into the studio to see how much I had progressed. I love that kind of attention! Its a re-enforcement that they absolutely adored what I was producing.

It took approximately two and half hours to complete the whole pumpkin carving. Once it was complete, the Lion King head was looking at me fiercely with the light beaming through his eyes. Giving me his approval that he liked the sculpture of himself. I was happy and smiled back in contentment.

This is a carving I did as a practice before the actual shoot, but it with a watermelon.

For the final video of the Lion King carving please click below.

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