Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Puppeteers Aren't Born

I am learning how to do puppetry for film. Not so much by taking classes, but by filming, then messing up, then filming some more. I'm pretty excited about some of the shots we've gotten & pretty darn upset with myself for other shots.

The director at our theater always tells my students, "Nobody was born knowing how to do this. Everyone has had to make these mistakes and everyone has had to learn how to correct those mistakes."

Sometimes I think I was born knowing how to do all of these amazing things, and then when I do them for the first time (or the 89th time) and it's not perfect, I get frustrated because, dag nabbit I should have gotten that right the first time. I should have known, etc.

I'm making beginner's mistakes & just wish I wasn't a beginner.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy New Puppets!

Since I last wrote anything here, a new year has begun, a puppet show has been created, and 4 show puppets have been built. This show was a collaboration between a fellow puppeteer & myself. It was the first show that we've done together in 5 years without another puppeteer whom we regularly performed with. I wasn't sure if we could pull it off. I wasn't sure if our humor would be of the same caliber, or if I could make the amount of puppets needed without his help. I'm so very pleased with how everything turned out. There's a sad empty space where the person in our group used to be, but we've survived our first round of shows without him there. I've passed the test I put myself through. I'm proud of myself. I'm proud of the other puppeteer. We work well together.

I'm going to now go into a mom thing....I can't help but record this little moment. I'm on the laptop in my bed...the boy asleep next to me. His tiny little hand stretched out and relaxed & his fingers are so soft. I keep grabbing them & he clenches them up a bit more. They remind me of his baby hands. I love that he wants to grow up to be an artist. Even if he choses math or sports, I'll be OK. For now, I'll enjoy that he reminds me of his newborn puppy-boy ways when he sleeps.

OK, back to puppet-talk.
With all of the puppets I made this time around, I experimented more with using halves of ping pong balls, instead of whole balls. I think I'll need to be more patient with attaching the ball to the face, so there are no gaps. Filling in the empty spaces with foam is common sense at this point. I love that I'm at a point at which some aspects of puppetry are common sense to me. Not so much for things like arm-rods, or even foam body construction. And a friend did come in and save me with advice for saving a beak.

What's next for puppet building?
I'm going to take my time with some puppets. I'll neglect my Etsy shop just a little bit. I'll spend some serious time with a puppet or two in February. I thought, if this chicken is what I can do in 4 hours...then what could I do with 14 days? Of course, my immediate response is, "well, I can mess around for 12 of those days, think about making the puppet for 2 of those days, then in the last 4 hours I can whip out another one of these." But that's instinct & I'm attempting to go against my instincts.

Oh those little hands on my tummy.....