Help...Professional Custom Builders!!!! Posted by lovable puppet pals on Nov 01, 2008
Hi Guys,
I was asked to create custom characters for a new children's radio drama program, so that puppet teams can purchase the puppets and recorded episodes. 
First of all, they want a quote for design and then a quote for manufactured puppets.
How do you go about charging for the design of the characters?  This is new to me!
Also, I've added a pic of the characters I need to create... help on patterns to start with, or other advice would be appreciated!  

Re: Help...Professional Custom Builders!!!! Posted by Billy D. Fuller on Nov 01, 2008
First of all............... How many are they wanting to purchase? when they mean manufactured puppets it usually is a large amount intended for resell by them or there company.
How much will you your supplies cost? Do you work alone or will you have to hire extra help to start them in production?
I had a company that wanted me to make and produce hand puppets..... because of the " Factory" part of my name they assumed I could mass produce. I had to turn them down because I am just a one man show and lacked the confidence at the time to take on that type challenge.
I wish you the best........... but with out knowing more detail about what is involved in the production of the puppets I can not give you a formula for pricing. Perhaps more experienced in this area can help.

Billy D.
Re: Help...Professional Custom Builders!!!! Posted by DrPuppet on Nov 01, 2008
If its going to be mass produced I suggest either making molds or using patterns or a mix of both to reprocuse the eleements the same everytime. The biggest problem you will have is A. what happens if they get orders for a couple hundred or even 50 at one time! B. how long will it take to produce one and C. can you buy your materials in bulk. Most big companies get a deposit upf front to cover materials. that being said you really need to build the protoypes to see how easily they can be mass produced. It may need to be latex or injected foam. Its hard to say until you start designing. You most likely need a very detailed list from them. What they expect from you as a turn around time and what you expect from them. Also as for drawing and designing it sometimes help to start with a flat hourly rate for that. Figure how much time will be lost on designing rather than building puppets for other clients then break it down to hours. Figure how many hours (roughly) it will take to design the character (this inclused thinking concepts for molds and patterns as well) and then bill them accordingly. Let them know any changes to designs or modifications are an additional billing. remember your time is valuable to. If you are working for them you can't for others. And these characters will most likely be trademarked meaning they will make money on just the looks of them anytime anyone licenses them to use.
Re: Help...Professional Custom Builders!!!! Posted by DrPuppet on Nov 01, 2008
Additonaly rememeber the prototypes most likely will go through some changes as they refine the look. So that needs to be considered to.
Re: Help...Professional Custom Builders!!!! Posted by lovable puppet pals on Nov 01, 2008
Thanks for the help!  Keep it coming!  )
Not sure of the number of puppets for the first order yet, should get that info soon.  I do have until next October to have the finished product, plus an inventory of them to sell at a conference that month.  And I also have a number of friends that can help me with the process, if needed.
The company has already decided that they want dyed reticulated foam puppets, to keep the cost down (no fabric purchase), and they do want them as simple as possible, so that churches can afford them.  That will help! 
I will keep you all posted with the process over time here! 
And if any more of you have any advice...let me know!  I'm new to this side of the building business. 
Re: Help...Professional Custom Builders!!!! Posted by DrPuppet on Nov 02, 2008
Well if your keeping the cost down reticulated foam is expensive compared to regular foam. Its still cheaper to use regular foam and fleece than use reticulated.

I wish you luck!
Re: Help...Professional Custom Builders!!!! Posted by Jon on Nov 02, 2008
Those are some very interesting characters to try to puppetize.  A Microphone, a Keyboard, a podium and a bible.  I've seen several different bibles so that shouldn't be too hard.  the one that I thnik would be most challenging is the Keyboard.  Best wishes on the project..

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