File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 414

Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2008 17:13:13 -0600
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Scaling back

Seems lots of people are saving money by using the internet to  
advertise/market their shows,
DVDs, Puppets, etc.
youTube, Flickr, mySpace, Facebook, goggle video, google pages, their  
own web pages, etc.

Marketing Without Advertising by Michael Phillips (Author), Salli  
Rasberry (Author), Mary Randolph(Editor)

- mm

On Nov 23, 2008, at 4:00 PM, Charles Taylor wrote:

> Michael of Moodoo Puppets asks: =93Anybody got any other ideas on cost
> reduction/ discounts/ promoting?=94
> I was very much impressed with his list of scaling back expenses and
> fees which seemed to be excellent business judgment.
> I=92ve always been intrigued with people who come newly into puppetry  
> with
> the concept that they must make three or four foot tall marionettes so
> that their audiences can see them.  I=92ve performed for audiences of  
> two
> thousand with twenty two to twenty four inch puppets and had only
> compliments and NO complaints.
> As a young apprentice to Harry Burnett, Yale Puppeteer and one of the
> owners of the Turnabout Theater, I was told many anecdotes that he had
> experienced regarding the scale of his puppets.
> One story  involved an audience member that approached Harry  after a
> performance. After viewing the puppets backstage he wanted to know  
> where
> he could purchase the huge magnifying glass that made the Turnabout
> Theater Puppets appear larger than they really were.  Harry explained
> that the illusion was created by using proper scale and strong lights.
> This man further explained that he was a jeweler and if he could
> incorporate Harry=92s magnifying lens that was  concealed in the
> proscenium of the puppet stage he could show his jewelry to better
> purpose in his store.  Again Harry tried to explain there was NO
> magnifying glass used. The jeweler stormed off very angry that Harry
> would not share his secret.
> Another story I should like to share would be regarding Bob Bromley
> whose puppets were large and extremely heavy.  Unfortunately as Bob  
> made
> it into his late sixties, he developed Parkinson=92s disease. It was
> extremely difficult for him to hold his puppets and make them  
> perform as
> he did most of his career.  Bil Baird said once to me, =93Bob Bromley  
> was
> the creme de la creme  of manipulation!=94  But Bob=92s puppets were so
> heavy that they required a great deal of strength. Bob was forced to
> give up his performing due to the shear weight of his puppets.
> Another anecdote   that Bob Bromley and I discussed had to do with the
> expense of constantly building new productions.  A famous puppeteer  
> once
> said that he spent over a hundred thousand dollars per show.  Over the
> decades he spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars creating new
> productions.  In contrast, Bob Bromley  was proud to say that he built
> ONE show in his entire career.  Instead of changing shows, he changed
> audiences.  His puppets were improved during the years but they  
> replaced
> the ones worn out or retired. Bob Bromley performed at all the top
> theaters and night clubs in the U.S. and Europe and he boasted that he
> was the highest paid performer during his time in the thirties,  
> forties
> and fifties. He insisted on having top billing on the marquee and the
> best dressing room with a star on the door.
> I am now on a quest to further scale down the  height of my puppets  
> from
> 22 inches to  under 18.  For small birthday parties, this should be
> adequate. The puppets will be easier to store taking up less space and
> weight and certainly less expensive to build. The lighter weight  
> should
> be easier for me to handle in my dotage. At this point, the longer I  
> can
> perform and earn a living off the puppets will be more profit for the
> investment of time, energy, skill and love of the art. My concern will
> be scale of puppets, fabrics, props and the response of the puppets to
> my manipulation.  I=92ve noticed that very young children are not as
> fearful of miniature puppets as those that are larger than they are.
> Perhaps it has to do with the instinct of survival.  Something bigger
> might eat you.  Something smaller is less of a threat.
> Charles Taylor,
> <>
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