Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What I'm learning from the Puppet Challenge project.

Some things I know about puppets that I didn't know 3 months ago:

1. Shadow puppets need to move, a lot. Even if they are intricately detailed, or colorful, they are basically very subtle creatures and need to overact to make their presence felt.

2. I dislike being removed from the action -- I want to see it from the front or the top, or the side. But from the back...unh. And what I'm seeing isn't even what the audience is seeing, only the thing that is creating the shadow that the audience is seeing.I love shadow puppetry, but I'll sit in the audience from now on, thank you..

3. But...remove the screen that separates the front and back of the stage, leaving paper figures on sticks or strings...that's exciting. True, I think anything made of paper is exciting. And, personally, I believe you can make just about anything out of paper. Preferably newspaper.

4. Also exciting is to take the shadow puppets off their sticks, and use them for animation, a la Lotte Reiniger. But maybe that isn't, strictly speaking, puppetry. If that's true then I'm in trouble.

Some things I do know, but need to be reminded of:

1. Fancy mechanics are fun to design and build, but they aren't usually necessary and utilizing them will probably just make your hands hurt.

2. Simplify, simplify, simplify. I like Done to Death, but I don't do it very well.

Next time, my models...

1 comment:

Clive Hicks-Jenkins said...

I can see the problems here. For future reference you might profitably take a look at some work I did last year, where the same issues caught me out. The result was that I took what had been intended as a shadow-puppet, painted the surface, operated it on a horizontal board with the camera looking down at it (like an 'animation-table' set up, and the result was magical. A puppet that just wouldn't hold together and behave in the vertical position, worked a treat when operated on a slightly downward tilting horizontal board. Check out the film on the post:


No problem if you choose stop-motion animation for the challenge. They're still puppets!