behind the scenes


HeartStrings Media

HeartStrings Media is the innovative production company who bring "The Gum Rappers" to life!  

HeartStrings Media combines experts in Film, Music, Puppetry, and Entrepreneurship to foster an enlightened view of the modern world. This is reflected in the tolerance encouraged by this diverse, progressively-minded trio!

Additionally, the company has pioneered a unique process for filming puppets  in eye-popping PuppetVid3D® anticipating the technological break-out of "glasses-free" display screens, the newest technology for viewing 3D video.

PuppetVid3D is a registered trademark of
Heart Strings Media. All Rights Reserved.


The Team

Steven Widerman

Master Puppeteer

Steven is a professional puppeteer involved in the application of puppetry to entertainment, education, industry and advertising. He is considered a world-class marionette artist and has designed and built a remarkable variety of more than 400 puppets — including the Gum Rappers. Steven’s work has ranged from owning and operating the renowned Puppet Company theater in Manhattan to working on a commercial for the 2017 Super Bowl. More…

Michael Gregory Jackson

Musical Director

Michael is a composer, guitarist, sound explorer, educator and poet. By age 20, he was an integral part of the fertile New Haven CT music scene and was widely considered one of the most innovative guitarists in New York’s avant-garde jazz scene in the 70s. Rolling Stone magazine called him “the most original jazz guitarist to emerge since the sixties.” Michael embodies the nature of a true and natural artist, perpetually cultivating new ideas and directions. More…

Mark Coelho


In collaboration with HSM, Mark has been a creative, forward-moving whirlwind, pioneering the filming of marionettes and puppets in both 2D and 3D. His writing, directing, filming, and editing capabilities propel the Gum Rappers into the real world as a trio of marionettes struggling to be relevant in an ever-increasing digital society. His extensive experience with set design and dressing is evidenced in the elaborate sets and on-site locations he has conjured for the Gum Rappers to exist in.

Mark is also currently finishing work on "Transcending Terror", a film documenting the life of Shimon Schwarzchild and his personal evolution having left Nazi Germany at 8 years old. 

Mark has over 30-years experience as a writer, producer, director and set designer in the film and TV industries.  He career began in 1988 as a production designer for PBS’ “Reading Rainbow” and went on to become an Animator on such stop-motion classics as The California Raisins and Bud Bowl I & II.  

Early in his career he worked as a set dresser on Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway”, John McTiernan’s “Die Hard III” and Robert Redford’s “Quiz Show”.

Other design and art direction credits include work on: The Jon Stewart Show (1993), Martha Stewart Living, Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect" and The Montel Williams Show; and extensive work for Saturday Night Live, AMC, MTV/VH-1, Jim Henson Productions, and scores of national commercials and music videos

Paul Widerman

Creative Producer

Paul works closely with everyone on the team creatively integrating all aspects of the projects. Performing in the The Puppet Company’s NYC theater in the 90’s, Paul observed spellbound audiences whenever the Gum Rappers performed. In addition to HeartStrings Media, Paul is the inventor and founder of a new mind/body product, Heart®. Much prior to these efforts –he was an Olympic Team Alternate and Co-Captain of Wrestling at Harvard. Paul founded Thinkfit® and invented SmartBells®, a revolutionary mind/body fitness system. More…