Long time listener, first time caller... Posted by Uncle Dirtnap on Jul 02, 2018
Hey All!

Long time theatrical prop builder and non-traditional puppet maker.  (If you think about it, any human actuated prop is a puppet in a way).  My background is on the technical side of theatre - lighting mainly, but specialization is a luxury.  I have worked for Disney on Ice, ran a commercial haunted house, and now make stuff on the side for various folks.

I have an odd reputation locally as someone who handles the 'weird stuff', and so I get to help out with some brilliant folks' projects.   This can vary from zombie FX to one-man-band costumes to set design.  It's fantastic - I get to do the fun stuff, and since it's on the side I don't have the burden of making it pay the bills.    

I recently agreed to make 15 puppets for a old friend who is recreating a TV show.  Puppets!  How hard could it be?  Jump down the rabbit hole!

Wow. I don't think I've ever had to dust off this many skills at one time.  In general, I have a pretty wide set of skills, but dang.  Plus, there is so much fairly specialized equipment - I think I've spent most of my time creating a 'puppet workshop'.  I'm a few months in and I don't have a single finished puppet- but I'm getting close.

Thankfully there are places like this - it has been a HUGE help through the whole process.  The community in general is very generous, and I look forward to being a part of it!

Re: Long time listener, first time caller... Posted by Shawn on Jul 03, 2018
Welcome RJ to Puppets and Stuff. Would love to see some of your work. If you are a prop maker then I bet you have all the skills you need. You are right  you kind of have to be a jack of all trades to build puppets, but isn't that kind of the same with props?
Re: Long time listener, first time caller... Posted by Uncle Dirtnap on Jul 03, 2018
True - everything gets thrown in the mix with props.  I think the difference is the level of skill needed - most prop building is a mile wide and an inch deep from a skill perspective.  Puppets seem to be 1/2 mile wide and 1/2 mile deep.

For example, I need eyes.  Some of the youtube puppet guys are just casually making silicone molds and all sorts of fairly next level stuff.   At one point I was making a plaster mold so I could make consistent eye forms to vacumm form over.  I never had a vacuum former, but had thought about building one...no project really needed it. 

Sewing, sculpting, foamsmithing, airbrushing....it's really putting me through my paces. 

I'll get some photos up soon - I actually don't have a single complete puppet yet.  It's hard to do specific people - half the time I get a puppet halfway done and realize it's someone else.  It's like using a Ouija board - you want to talk to Grandma, but 30 minutes in you realize you are talking to an Aztec priest or something.

I've recently switched horses for the 4th time and I am going back to fleece after the recent flock-pockalypse.   Hopefully soon-


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