File puptcrit/puptcrit.0904, message 348

Date: Fri, 24 Apr 2009 17:48:42 -0400
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] The Case Against Bad Puppetry (or turnabout is fair

Serves me right after posting about "40 under 40" that I get called out on
my own stuff ;)

What I posted was a heavily edited version of a much more nuanced post and
some of my original thoughts got lost in the editing process. You make some
excellent points and I totally agree with some of them.

You have to realize that when I started writing PuppetVision there was
almost nobody doing puppet podcasts or web series. Wil Stackman was the only
other person even blogging about puppetry. In the beginning it was a chore
sometimes just to find stuff to write about. It felt like a minor miracle
when there were finally enough shows to do a bi-weekly "Round Up" of
episodes. So my original intent was simply "hey, look! Somebody's doing
this!" As I said in my post, the original goal was just to try to
promote/encourage this kind of work. For a long time there wasn't enough out
there to be choosey about it.

I'm not sure if you read through the whole post and/or some of the older
posts I linked to, but you actually make the same point I was trying to
make. After five years of PuppetVision I'm kind of bored. I've seen the same
stuff too many times, just like you say too much of it is more of the same.

And I do champion a lot of stuff that's lacking in professional
craftsmanship, but often I'm not so much championing the work as I am the
potential. A lot of these puppeteers are working in their bedrooms and
basements, but out of them one day is going to walk the next Henson, Baird
or Obratzof. I'd bet real money on that and it will happen sooner than you

The real question is how to be encourage/promote/improve the quality of work
being done out there? I'd love to hear some ideas about that! What would you

- Andrew

P.S. - Oh and the reason I'd condemn Ask Blackie and not Little's Creatures
is that Jonathan Little isn't asking women to send him topless pictures.

On Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 12:00 PM, <> wrote:

> Date: Fri, 24 Apr 2009 12:44:58 EDT
> From:
> Subject: [Puptcrit] Fwd:  The Case Against Bad Puppetry
> To:
> Message-ID: <>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
> I think you need to  take a deep breath, have a walk outside to clear your
> mind, then retackle  your good/bad criteria. Why condemn the drivel of ASK
> BLACKIE yet champion  the amateurish barking of LITTLE CREATURES? Turn down
> the sound; it (mostly) all  looks the same. Turn up the sound and they
> (mostly)sound the same.  The  material may be different, but the voices are
> obviously derivative nth  generation Sesame Street.  It appears to me that
> 99% of
> what you champion  seems to fit into the "WHO CAN LOOK AND SOUND THE MOST
> LIKE EACH OTHER"  category. Voices? Amateur Night. Craftsmanship? If inbred
> Muppets is the goal,  Mission Accomplished. Acting and writing? Come on. If
> you were to rub  the sleep from your eyes, could you in the clear light of
> morning compare  ANY of that work to the professional level of the true
> masters
> like  Henson/Sahlin? Or Baird? Or Obratzof? Or even latter day originals
> like Mystery Science Theatre or the Shining Time Station puppets? A deeper
> inquest into the genesis and expansion of puppetry is needed (Otto Kunze or
> Dick  Meyers anyone?)  A scholar like John Bell understands  this.
> I think the puppet  emperors aren't wearing any clothes.  If the word
> "great" can bandied  about without a caveat for a high-school level
> copy-cat
> goblin sculpture, then  what noun is left to describe the truly great?
> I love puppets and  puppetry, but, sadly, they mostly disappoint.  When a
> Broadway show can  hold auditions for Avenue Q and state in bold black and
> white that puppetry  experience is NOT required, then what does that say
> about
> the perception of  skill required for a craft to be called an art?
> ____________________________________
>  From:
> Reply-to:
> To:
> Sent: 4/24/2009 3:51:52 A.M. Eastern Daylight  Time
> Subj: [Puptcrit] The Case Against Bad Puppetry
> I get a lot of submissions for my PuppetVision Blog and  see a lot of what
> I've dubbed "YouTube puppet video cliches", shows or  videos that rely on
> shock value; puppets having sex, swearing and  drinking/doing drugs. I'm
> hardly a prude, but my frustration at seeing  this has built over time and
> ended up coming out in post I've dubbed "The  Case Against Bad Puppetry"  -
> I'd  be curious to hear other people's thoughts on  this.
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