File puptcrit/puptcrit.0803, message 111

To: <>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2008 13:18:10 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Principles of Puppetry

My knee jerk reaction was "there are no rules!" but after reading and 
reflecting that is just simply not true. When I teach and when I direct my 
biggest "rule" is big and slow, deliberate movements. I try to keep this 
mantra in my own when performing and creating a new peice. Of course there 
are places where fast and quick are needed and intentional, but as a "rule" 
big and slow help communicate actions best. Also when performing with hand, 
mouth and rod puppets you need to establish a height of the puppet 
characters and keep it consistant throught the performance. With marionettes 
you need to give them gravity.

Michelle Smith-Carrigan
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mathieu René" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2008 1:12 PM
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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