File puptcrit/puptcrit.0803, message 109

To: <>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2008 13:12:51 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Principles of Puppetry

Thanks Daniel,
you understood the kind of information I was talking about.
Yes, "Conventions" is probably the better word.

I'm not talking mysterious "sayings", I'm looking for simple efficient rules 
that we all use, consciously or not.

Music did not lose its soul when a code was implemented to write it down. It 
has flourished!
Cooking is now a science, and all the time we can discover new flavors 
because people have and are thinking about it, studying it, making it more 
varied, paving the way for better!
Painting has codes of color, composition, perspective, texture, lighting, 
sfumato (etc), and all these have been passed down, so that today, painters 
have all these tools to create mind boggling pieces of visual!

Puppetry is capable of fusing various artforms into a kinetic, life-emoting 
object that can teach, entertain,  enlighten.
If the Arts we use for Puppetry have their own sets of conventions, then 
logically, Puppetry must use them.
More precisely, Puppetry has its own needs because it has its own purposes. 
So there must be specific conventions for Puppetry.

Let's keep the ideas coming, we can discuss and debate them, who knows what 
inspiration will come out of it?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Kismet" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2008 5:13 AM
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Principles of Puppetry

>I think we are missing the point here....again...... Mathieu is asking us 
> nominate some principles that guide us in our craft, I think we call them
> conventions. Id like to jump on my high horse and say that Im not bound by
> principles and protocols but I am! So here are a few that I utilise...not
> because they bind me but because communication is founded on agreed
> principles or conventions and the audience has learnt culturally to
> recognise these semiotics so it actually frees me. . . . .
> I always use blue light to represent night. Any one not? Its a readily
> accepted convention or principle.Why? Why does red mean stop, green mean 
> go
> and blue mean night?
> My "cute" characters have large eyes and small mouths.....nearly every
> culture observes that convention as well as round faces, large eyes and a
> big mouth means a gregarious character.......why?
> My mean characters have thin lips, sharp noses and narrow eyes..... for 
> over
> 400 years this convention has been observed in Commedia.
> IMHO Proportionally correct characters dont read very well in 
> puppetry......
> I tend to make the head and the hands somewhat larger than the body and 
> legs
> because to me that reads better....its a convention that I have
> adapted......
> When building sets I always exagerate the perspective and shorten the
> vanishing a set more depth in tight spaces.....
> I often, but not always, borrow from the animators/cartoonists convention 
> of
> only having three fingers or even mitten glove hands ie a thumb and a flat
> pad instead of fingers.......Jim Henson also borrowed this
> convention........
> Plenty of other examples but I think most will be getting the drift.
> Of course these arent absolutes...there are never absolutes but a 
> compendium
> of conventions may...or may useful......well maybe for a
> beginner...or out of would be helpful to have an 
> explanation
> of WHY we do what we do......
> Cheers
> Daniel
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Katy Lloyd" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2008 7:19 PM
> Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Principles of Puppetry
>> I'm afraid I have to agree with Jim here. There are many students on my
>> modelmaking course who are very knowledgable about SFX, but it doesn't
>> make
>> them any better at what they do. The more talented ones just tend to get
>> on
>> with it, being inspired not by study, but by simply whatever captures
>> their
>> imagination, and having the common sense to to be able to honestly judge
>> their own work. I get annoyed at those who obsess with their research -
>> their work always looks like a rip-off of someone else's work (Jim 
>> Henson,
>> Tim Burton, etc). It's good to be inspired by others, but I believe good,
>> exciting work comes mostly from within.
>> Anyway, puppetry, like any art, is completely subjective. You can't write
>> a
>> list of rules for something which is different for everyone - if I had a
>> personal list, number 1 would be "Be Original", yet it wouldn't make 
>> sense
>> to tell this to someone who wishes to make traditional marionettes,
>> because
>> they would have their own set rules to follow to recreate the
>> authenticity.
>> Puppetry is all about visual communication, something which should come
>> naturally to us, it is intuitive. At university, we had to take some
>> lessons
>> explaining the theories of communication. Perhaps I am stubborn, but I
>> found
>> these lectures tiresome and pointless - surely if you are in the business
>> of
>> making models and puppets, one should already know how to bloody
>> communicate! Else no amount of study will help you.
>> Hope I didn't offend anyone.
>> Katy
>> -- 
>>> Jim Menke wrote:
>>> >Thinking of principals as we work and perform can take all the joy out
>>> >of
>>> our profession. Sure we have to do good work but to obsessed by it can
>>> ruin
>>> it.  ----------
>>> Jim, I agree that obsesssing over and anylising everything can ruin
>>> things
>>> (been guilty of that), but as in most things, moderation is a must.
>>> Without
>>> studies, how can we rethink what we do, and make it better?
>>> Some of us go at it very mentally, some do it physically, learning by
>>> process.
>>> I seek balance, and for me, it comes only with a bit of both: study and
>>> doing.
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