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Could some of you puppeteers tell me how you started as a puppeteers?  (Read 15657 times)
squirrely
« on: April 05, 2012, 09:42:19 pm »

I am a puppet-maker wanted to be a puppeteer.  No puppet talent at all, meaning not going to any Puppetry school.  :'(  Just reading and watching Puppetry.  That's good enough so far.   Smiley  I am making my puppets and being a puppeteer.  Soon searching for a place to do a puppet show for kids.

So could some of you puppeteers tell me how you started as one?  Thank you.       
Na
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2012, 01:25:02 am »

I studied theatre at university, which had combined acting/tech classes. You learned a bit of everything. For one semester in particular you get to do a bit of circus or a bit of puppetry; I chose the latter. I also met someone who was an actual puppeteer via the course, and that's how I got started.

I'll add though the majority of what I've learned over the years is self-taught, minus a few festival/workshops here and there.

You don't have to attend formal classes to learn it or to be good at it. Just lots of practice. Smiley

... I will admit there's one difference. I hate performing, and so I don't as much as possible.
Clewer Puppets
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2012, 03:18:35 am »

Hi squirrely. I had my first puppet at age 5. (I am now 53). When I  was 10, I would stage Punch & Judy shows in the street for the kids. As an adult, I had a lecturer in Theological college who greatly encouraged me (including a cash donation to start my puppet work). One thing that my husband and I do is to teach puppetry. If you go to our website-clewer puppets-you will find some free puppet tips under the "more" page. You can find our link on the Puppets & Stuff homepage under Puppets in Melbourne. Debra Clewer.
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2012, 06:46:31 am »

My story it a bit like both the above. I got my first set of puppets around the age of 5 and was always puppet on shows for the other kids in the neighborhood. While I didn't go to college I did take a lot of acting and theater classes in High school. Once I got out of High school I had the chance to go to work for a local puppet company and learned quite a bit there. The rest is just self taught.
squirrely
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2012, 08:04:37 am »

Thanks everyone for How you started as puppeteers.   
Snail
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2012, 12:05:37 pm »

I started in Belize the summer after I graduated high school working at children's camp, one of my team was a puppeteer, he could take a plain sock with marker dot eyes and make it come alive with voices and outstanding technique.  We found some fabric scraps, sewed some puppets and did shows for the kids. We did not know what we were doing but the kids came in droves and loved it. First stage was a blanket over a broom stick on top of the back of two chairs. Since then I have been on quest to find a better stage, better puppets, better scripts, better technique, and better sound. Wish this site had been around 40 years ago, it is awesome to see the different ideas.

Now I am thinking of how to continue puppets with old arthritic body, those walkers could make a nice  portable stage.
squirrely
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2012, 03:56:34 pm »

Good started as a puppeteer, Snail.  Learning from one puppeteer and making puppets your own.  Smiley  Like yourself, I amking my scripts, skits, and sounds so I can make kids laugh for my puppet shows.  Thanks.
LJ
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2012, 08:30:34 am »

It is all my children's fault! Even though as a teacher I had puppets in my classrooms they were for the kids to use and I never used them UNTIL my two sons joined a puppet team when they were in middle school. Then a couple years later the director quit so my husband and I were asked to take over. We decided it would be good to do something as a family so we said yes. I was amazed at what puppets could do!! When I went back to teaching a couple years after that I wanted to be able to use puppets in my classroom but could not take the whole team with me so I decided to start learning ventriloquism so I could have my puppets help me teach!! Then a couple years after that I started getting asked to do programs. Eventually my husband told me I needed ONE job and that he felt there was someone else who could teach my class and that I should start traveling as a children's ventriloquist. And the rest, as they say, is history!
LJ
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2012, 08:33:04 am »

Oh - BTW - my one son now works for Animax design in Nashville, the other is in Minneapolis still looking for full time work but doing a variety of part tiem theatre adn occasionally some puppet work. And my husband and I still direct a team and are in charge of the Dutch version of the Punch and Judy type puppets for our community.
Shawn Sorrell
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2012, 08:37:32 am »

Just wanted to share the link to Animax Designs where LJ's son works. http://www.animaxdesigns.com/  I really love their building! It shows up on the home page at the end of the main animation.
nynah
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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2012, 08:59:39 am »

Hi. Well, I'm not a pro or anything like that. Actually, our team just had it's first puppet performance two weeks ago. I started it at my church. I saw a girl using one with the children about six years ago...just the look on their faces had me hooked! I went to you tube and found out how to make a simple one, then joined here after some searching on the net. I searched around and found some patterns and started making my own. I now have a pretty good collection. I watched a LOT of you tube puppet performances to learn how to use a puppet. And, of course, I came here and read a lot of posts. Now we have a team and are doing shows. They are not perfect, but the kids think they are! :)Good luck!
cruppetman
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2012, 01:55:13 pm »

I guess something inside me always knew I would be involved with puppets. I would buy books on puppetry and had never held a puppet. When my church decided to start a puppet ministry, I signed up and started from scratch. I became the creative director, coming up with ideas for songs. I also began building some of the puppets we needed and eventually took over as director. Continued this for about 15 years, until we left that church and moved to a new one. Too old and tired to start a new puppet ministry, but still build a few puppets. My avatar is a clogging chicken I made as a group of five.
VampireWombat
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2012, 05:10:12 pm »

I grew up with puppets as a kid, but never knew how to actually use them. After my dad had his first stroke, he wanted to do something for the Cup of Cold Water booth at the fair. So I started learning how to properly use puppets and how to make my own. Unfortunately they weren't interested in the help after all. But I did co-found the (failed) Saturday Night Puppet Block on Blogtv and did a live show of my own for awhile.
squirrely
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2012, 09:19:03 pm »

Thank you, Pockets, Nynah, Cruppetman, and VampireWombat for your background life stories.  These are helping me picking up my puppets I've created and making them talk.  And wanting me to make my future theater if I can!  I will too.  Thanks.  Smiley
DrPuppet
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2013, 06:39:35 am »

Well for me I started as a builder i wanted to build for Henson. I had all these puppets i made but no way to show how they worked. So I got on camera showing how they moved and performed and sent lots of photos. Henson would then send a letter back giving me advice on my performance but nothing on my builds of the puppets. I was confused but continued this for a few years each time they always responded to me as a puppeteer. I eventually really liked being a puppeteer and when i did get to work for them it was as a puppeteer. I did hang out in the workshop on set quite a bit too though! They don't do this anymore I'm not sure why but I heard it was because people took the letters not as constructive criticism but insulting. Its just what i heard not sure if that's the real reason. Pity they really helped me.
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