Lady in the van puppet

Above: a few pictures of a felt puppet I made after the Lady in the Van movie.

I looked at felt puppets everywhere and got inspiration from Louise Evans and other felt doll makers.


Lady in the van artefact

Since the group wanted to go with an artefact constructed around the book (i.e. the van popping up from the pages), I looked into that myself. It seemed like a good idea to make a cutout scene of Alan Bennett’s driveway, including the van, the trash and the lady. The reason I didn’t pursue it further is because I couldn’t find a way to make it stand out from all the other book cut outs, nor did it seem to capture the essence of the movie.

Example of book cut outs I looked at (below):

Alexander Korzer Robinson art

I also looked at other concepts for artefact making, from a more artistic point of view. Example below:

Lady in the van research

Reference links:

Understanding ‘Lady in the van’

Margaret Fairchild: Think about the religious aspect of the name she chose for herself (Mary, Shepherd).

The fact that she discards her actual name= abandoning her past self, moving forward away from what she was before.

Development, motivation, her character in relation to Alan and her role in society.

Antagonistic, lack of redeeming attributes, but relatable at times.

Maybe what she meant to others(how they saw her) ex: her brother and her parents, her teacher, the nuns.

They all had different views/expectations/ways of dealing with her, that tell us something about the range of her personality.Religious fanatic. She is both comical and tragic.

“There is the unconsciously hilarious voice of pretend-posh English suburbia — yet, as Mr. Bennett eventually discovered, there was more to Miss Shepherd than that”.

Alal Bennett: explore character arc, main traits, motivation, his position in society, how his mother sees him, as opposed to how Miss Shepherd sees him, how his neighbours see him. They are all aspects of his personality
Initial notes:

Reference links:

“Exploring visual storytelling” notes

“Always emphasise contrast”: character names or personalities, colour, etc

Rule of the three: jokes start with set up, reinforcement and pay off; in a story, the hero fails two times and succeeds on the third attempt; etc

Brainstorming steps:

1. Decide on a word/phrase that sums up the envisioned product

2. Write down any random words/phrases associated with it

3.Give yourself a few days/weeks and write down new ideas daily

Observe your surroundings, tastes, smells, mannerisms of people everywhere

Outline the project’s story and plan your time

Define context, goal of story and motives/desires

Show instead of tell: translate intangibles into tangibles on screen

Create conflict and emphatic links: “exposition best revealed during conflict”

Create facts about the characters: will show in behaviour

Plant information that pays off later

Don’t forget about cause and consequence

Consider personality types when creating the characters

Each character has different ways of dealing with obstacles

Obstacles can sometimes be characters

“A great visual story must be crafted so that not every obstacle encountered is overcome and not every obstacle results in change”

“The main character is the source of all obstacles and plot points.”

What’s going on? Who’s involved? How should the audience feel?

“Conflict occurs whenever two forces with mutually exclusive goals meet.”

“Tension is the emotion experienced by the audience while anticipating conflict.”

Consider the stakes: 1-10 and what they mean to the main character

“Plot is a method of organising scenes in a visual story. Story is the impact of events on a character with whom the audience identifies.”

“A scene in a visual story is all the action that takes place until there is a significant change in time or location.”

Long shot – shows relationship between character and environment

Full shot – shows character’s actions

Medium shot – shows more subtle action than full shot

Close-up shot – shows what character feels in regards to a situation

Extreme close-up shot – shows detailed emotion/objects important to the story

The 180 degree rule: “The camera should remain on one side of the line of engagement through a sequence.”

“Each new shot needs to deliver new information to the audience or it grows bored.”


Arnold, B. and Eddy, B. (2006) Exploring visual storytelling. Nashville, TN, United States: Thomson Delmar Learning.

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