File puptcrit/puptcrit.0803, message 91

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Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2008 13:41:32 -0500
Subject: [Puptcrit] Principles of Puppetry


My thirst for knowledge is infinite.
And right now, as I am working on my first short puppet film, I am dreaming 
of a list.
The list would be called: Principles Of Puppetry.

Only principles that most of us can agree upon as being essential building 
blocks of our Art.
Just like the Laws of Physics, which all Earth-dwelling elements must obey, 
there must be something similar applicable to Puppetry.

While there are differences of opinion among any art form or any 
disciplines, there are also principles that most can agree on, upon which we 
can build and develop. Don't all trades have something like that?

Although, maybe the word LAW is a bit strong for some, so I'll try with 

These principles should probably be categorised into sections,between 
Puppetbuilding and Puppeteering, cross-referencing each other, as they are, 
in my opinion, in a symbiotic relationship.

Respected and wise Puppet Scholars with ease of access to the litterature 
would be more suitable for the task of compiling and editing this list. 
Even if none of our Elders are available at the moment, we can at least 
start the ball rolling. And even an "in-progress" list would be a good tool 
to have. I'd love to see it posted on the website, 
and mirrored elsewhere, for safe keeping.

I wouldn't suggest this if I wasn't willing to get involved. I'll work on my 
end as much as I can, and hope that more will do the same, so we can compile 
our findings together and see what comes up.

Just share your Principles with us, or what you think might be principles, 
so that we can discuss them and reach conclusions. This is bound to stem 
long Puptcrit discussions. How fascinating!

I'd like for us to think about these things we take for granted, and those 
we rely upon for better puppet movement and storytelling. I'd love to see a 
list  compiled of those Principles, so that we can all refer to them in the 
future, saving us much troubles even before we start a new project. Instead 
of sorting through all that is out there everytime we meet a challenge in 
our creative process, that list of Principles would certainly help, every 
step of the way!

Of course, if such lists already exist, PLEASE share them with us.
There must be books out there with principles from past and current Puppet 
Masters and Directors?
If you have made one for yourself and it is working for you, why not beat 
the shyness and share?
We can take everyone's lists and edit/compile them into one.

I can anticipate a certain resistance in front of this big workload ahead 
("why not learn by doing?"), but let's keep that for another thread.

Can we try?

Some of them we know about, but I would like us to work on the formulation, 
so that each Principle can be summed very efficiently in just a few words, 
in an easy to remember sentence. Maybe in a later incarnation, each 
Principle could form a paragraph, or even a chapter.

Some that come to mind at the moment (to be discussed and evaluated as 
possible Principles).

-Puppet eye focus (with or without eyes) most conveys illusion of life.
-Puppet "breathing" conveys illusion of life, especially in moments of rest 
or "listening".
-Puppet movements must be well defined at each step, for clarity. (needs 
-Puppeteer transfers own essence into puppet (perhaps less esoteric terms)
-Puppet that does some things very well will appear to be able to do 
everything (need quote here)
-Puppeteers work with their bodies, which should be fit, and warmed-up 
before rehearsals and performances.

-Puppet mechanics must be efficient in simplicity. The less complex the 
better, less occurence of mechanical breakdowns.
-Puppet features must be emphasised to be visible by the entire audience (of 
the size you plan to have).
-Puppets MUST be as ergonomic (weight, position, movements) as possible. A 
comfortable puppeteer is not an injured puppeteer.
-Balance is an essential ally in puppet movements. Marionnettes are a fine 
example of this. (see Dwiggins)


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