File puptcrit/puptcrit.0904, message 419


To: <puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org>
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2009 16:31:29 -0400
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Fwd:  Fwd: The Case Against Bad Puppetry



How did I know you'd be a John K fan?

And I'm not saying that you need to be making money to create brilliant work, just that there almost always needs to be a market for that work in order for enough people to dedicate the time and energy for some of them to become great. You know animation, so you know it's the exception rather than the rule for great animation to arise from creators who couldn't have at least the hope of supporting themselves through the process. To me, the best work falls into two categories, either commercial animation for television and film, or state sponsored work like NFB in Canada or Yuri Norstein from Russia. I'm sure there are a few people who created great work without any possible economic outlet, but I can't think of any. Right now there isn't a great model for making money off short form video on the web. That means that it's very difficult to work full time. That doesn't mean that we should cease to be critical of this work, but there's no reason to be dismissive either.

B. Shur




> From: FLYINGHAND-AT-aol.com
> Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2009 16:16:01 -0400
> To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
> Subject: [Puptcrit] Fwd:  Fwd: The Case Against Bad Puppetry
> 
> Not necessarily, B. Shur,
> If the lowest is accepted as good, then the bar is lowered to accept that  
> standard as being good. In the 70's no self-respecting animator could  
> believe the pile of dung being produced by FILMATION Studios (the Archies.) But  
> as soon as that level became "OK" the quality deteriorated even further.  
> And animation suffered for years to come (until Ren & Stimpy redefined the  
> form.)
> As far as New Media goes, George Lucas single handedly invented the  term. 
> He RAISED the bar with Star Wars. Then all the Battlestar Galacticas  
> (original series) et al that followed in his wake had access to the same tools,  
> but not his imagination.
> Go back further. 
> Can you believe that the Bullwinkle Show debuted opposite the Wonderful  
> World Of Disney? Jay Ward knew he couldn't compete with Disney's budget, so he 
>  created his own style of storytelling and - - this is important for all 
> the  Muppet-clones ad nauseam out there to understand -- and you KNOW who you 
> are! -  - he devised his own set of characters that LOOKED and SOUNDED like 
> none before  him. Imagination and wit prevailed, not fiddling about in 
> mastabatory exercises  that exorcise your childhood memories all the while 
> waiting for the medium to  mature. Make it mature! 
> This dedication to originality: creative characters of quality  
> craftsmanship, compelling narratives with "classy" voices married  with skilled acting 
> - - is absent from 99% of the YouTube Puppet  Output.  
> As far as getting paid being the defining factor for  professionalism, 
> would that make Vincent Van Gogh  just a  dedicated amateur?
>  
>  
>  
>  
>  
>   
> ____________________________________
>  From: mr_utamaro-AT-hotmail.com
> Reply-to: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
> To:  puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
> Sent: 4/26/2009 3:21:35 P.M. Eastern Daylight  Time
> Subj: Re: [Puptcrit] Fwd: The Case Against Bad Puppetry
> 
> 
> 
> Here's the TL;DR version,
> New media never  produce genius work right off, and you very rarely see 
> great, polished,  professional work until there is at least the possibility of 
> the artist  making a living creating it. That's what the word professional 
> means. Watch  the dedicated amateurs in a new medium, and the best of them 
> will become the  professionals as the medium matures.
> 
> B. Shur
> 
> 
> 
> 
> >  From: mr_utamaro-AT-hotmail.com
> > To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
> > Date:  Sun, 26 Apr 2009 14:59:01 -0400
> > Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Fwd: The  Case Against Bad Puppetry
> > 
> > 
> > I'm not sure if "Bad  puppetry" is the phrase you're looking for here.
> > I feel really the  same way about most of this Muppets behaving badly 
> stuff, but, especially  for work on the web I think what you're talking about 
> isn't as much quality  as promise, or at least interesting intent.
> > 
> > I've watched  "Ask Blackie" and there's really nowhere for it to go, it's 
> doing a bad job  at what it's trying to be, but even if the execution were 
> perfect I don't  feel it would add much to the world.
> > 
> > For other stuff, like  Jigsaw or Little's creatures, the execution is 
> rough in ways, but the intent  is there. If they continue to polish their work, 
> it could become interesting  to watch (even if still very muppets 
> derivative)
> > 
> > I've been  very involved in webcomics for a while now, and there's a 
> similar dynamic.  The absolute best comics online are still not as good as the 
> best print  material out there. There is no equivalent of Maus, or The Maxx. 
> Both  web-based puppetry, and web based comics are comparatively new media, 
> and  before work reaches the levels of the best of old media, people need 
> time to  explore. They also need a revenue model that works. I can't think of 
> much  that is truly great in puppetry or comics that was produced without at 
> least  a way to pay for production costs. Online comics are really just 
> getting to  the point where a couple dozen people are making a living, and the 
> quality  is improving immensely. Online puppetry still doesn't have a strong 
> business  model. There were a couple comedy media sites, like Superdeluxe, 
> and  MyDamnchannel that tried to create a market for short format web video, 
> but  they've collapsed with the economy.
> > 
> > So in my mind, it would  be wonderful if there was online puppetry that 
> was a brilliant as Henson, or  Obratsov or Blair Thomas. But realistically, 
> that's not going to happen for  a while. Not until there's money in it, in my 
> opinion.
> > 
> >  Again, looking at webcomics, here's the technically ugly work of a 
> dedicated  amatuer. 
> > http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/1998/11/18/
> >  
> > Here's what they developed into after more than a decade of  work
> > http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/4/8/
> > 
> >  The story repeats itself again and again in online comics. Artists with  
> weaker technical skills, but positive ambition create work worth looking at 
>  after a few years working in the medium, and as importantly, when  
> opportunities for the work to become profitable open up. The same thing can  be 
> said of blogs, even though it's more similar to print formats than online  
> puppetry or comics are to their predecessors. The earliest blogs were not  
> impressive compared to newspaper or magazine writing.
> > 
> >  There's no reason to dismiss a sub-medium in it's infancy just because 
> it  hasn't reached the heights of it's predecessor. If it follows similar 
> media  at all, the stuff to watch is the stuff with room to grow, the stuff 
> with  promise. Give it a few years and a little money and that's where it gets  
> really interesting.
> > 
> > B. Shur
> > 
> > 
> >  
> > 
> > > Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2009 10:52:03 -0400
> > >  To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
> > > From: puppetvision-AT-gmail.com
> >  > Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Fwd: The Case Against Bad Puppetry
> > >  
> > > I have to agree with you about Meet the Feebles; Peter Jackson  did do 
> > > it first and best. Another project that I like is Fur  TV, an MTV 
> > > project which is probably not to everyone's taste,  but is performed 
> > > by some of the better TV puppeteers in the  UK.
> > > 
> > > I also have to agree that many (most) of  these shows do derive their 
> > > appeal from basically being  "Muppets behaving badly". I'm trying to 
> > > think of an online  puppet show that does derive it's appeal from 
> > > being  puppetry...I think the Rag Show - 
> > >  <http://www.theragshow.com>http://www.theragshow.com - is somewhat  
> > > unique in that it wouldn't quite work if you did it any other  medium.
> > > 
> > > Some of these shows also benefit from  their premise being amusing, 
> > > rather than the quality of the  puppetry. "Duffy and the Crab" is a 
> > > new show on YouTube about  a giant crab that lives with actor Patrick 
> > > Duffy (of Dallas  fame) - 
> > >  
> <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwaWrHuHxvg>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwaWrHuHxvg
> >  > 
> > > I also enjoy seeing shows that are perhaps not terribly  polished on a 
> > > technical level, but have creators that are  creative and 
> > > experimenting with new things. Jigsaw - 
> >  > <http://www.jigsawfanclub.com>http://www.jigsawfanclub.com - is  one 
> > > of those. I also like a lot of the things that Brian Hogg  - 
> > > <http://www.hoggworks.com>http://www.hoggworks.com -  is trying to do 
> > > in the puppet podcasting space.
> > >  
> > > - Andrew
> > > 
> > > 
> > > On Sat, Apr  25, 2009 at 12:00 PM, 
> > >  <<mailto:puptcrit-request-AT-puptcrit.org>puptcrit-request-AT-puptcrit.org>  
> > > wrote:
> > > 
> > > 
> > > Date: Sat, 25  Apr 2009 01:42:11 -0400
> > > From: Alexander Winfield  
> <<mailto:sheepwpunks-AT-gmail.com>sheepwpunks-AT-gmail.com>
> >  > Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Fwd: The Case Against Bad Puppetry
> > >  To: <mailto:puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org>puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
> > >  Message-ID:
> > >  
> > >   
> <<mailto:7336f0e60904242242k189f41b1la458805d2c6804eb-AT-mail.gmail.com>7336f0e60904242242k189f41b1la458805d2c6804eb-AT-mail.gmail.com>
> >  > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> > > 
> > >  It would seem to me that none of these works so far mentioned, 
> including  Ask
> > > Blackie, Avenue Q and Apollo's Pad derivetheir appeal from  utilizing 
> puppets
> > > per se, but because they reference and  pervert memories of the Jim 
> Henson
> > > shows, which
> > >  most North Americans of this generations (20s to 30s) grew up with.  
> The
> > > quality of the puppeteering matters not so much,  then,
> > > as the sight of creatures from childhood memory acting in  grotesquely 
> adult
> > > fashions.
> > > This, by the way, was  done earliest and quite effectively by Peter 
> Jackson
> > > in his  greatest film, MEET THE FEEBLES. Everything since is dribble.
> > >  It helps me then to think of these skits as not so much sincere 
> attempts  at
> > > puppetry or the realisation of character through puppetry  (the 
> characters in
> > > Apollo's Pad never even look at each other  correctly, for Christ's 
> sake) but
> > > as just a few more pieces of  post modern fluff.
> > > It is ironic and unfortunate that Henson,  who took great pains to 
> promote
> > > the many masters and obscure  arts of puppetry in his lifetime, could 
> not
> > > quite prevent his  posthumous fame and influence from obscuring the mass
> > > public's  perception of all other forms of puppetry other than his own. 
> See
> >  > also how the fame of Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS has dominated fantasy 
>  since
> > > its publication. Pre-Tolkien fantasy was remarkably rich  and varied 
> (see A
> > > VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS, THE OTHER SIDE, THE DREAM  QUEST OF UNKNOWN KADATH, 
> THE
> > > NIGHT LAND, THE WORM OUROBOROS  etc.); since Tolkien its all, with 
> exceptions
> > > (ie. the works of  John Crowley) dwarves and elves.
> > > But I digress.
> > >  
> > > To end this on a pleasant note, here is an excellent group I  met 
> called Les
> > > Sages Fous:
> > > 
> > >  
> <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfx333i2Fhs>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfx333i2Fhs
> >  > 
> > > -Alexander
> > > 
> > >  _______________________________________________
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