Today is our 10th Anniversary and the day I am announcing the closing of the Puppeteers Unite! Blog.
First thing I want to address is that this is a personal decision. My children, wife and two full time jobs have made it harder and harder for me to put the time and energy (I feel) needs to go into the blog.
Times have also changed– when I first started the blog in 2005 there was only a few other puppetry blogs and resources out there and social media was at it’s infancy. My goal was to bring like minded puppet people together and help those beginner puppet builders find the information they were looking for.
Now, there are many social groups and easily accessible information that people can turn to a few key strokes.
What made this decision harder…
December 13 marks exactly ten years since I started this blog. I never revealed to anyone the reason why I started the blog on December 13th until now…My brother had Leukaemia since infancy and up until the age of 15 (after relentless treatments and 8 relapses) he died (that was 22 years ago). His Birthday was December 13th and in honour of him I started the blog. When we were younger, my brother and I would spend countless hours listening to Sesame Street Records, watching the Muppet Show and doing puppet shows in our front window for the pedestrians walking by our house- his love for Puppetry and zest for life was truly inspirational. Puppeteers Unite! was to be a personal tribute to him from me…so the decision to close the blog also came with some serious soul searching.
So now what?
I will let the blog stand for a while as a resource. Then I will re-directed the web address to my company website. My “How to videos” section will also be posted to my company site. I will be doing a personal blog on my website; at that time will transfer all the past posts from Puppeteers Unite! to that blog.
I know many of you loved the blog and maybe a bit displeased that I am closing it down…I am truly sorry for this.
Thanks again for everything you folks have done for me and Puppeteers Unite! I loved every minute of it and am just as sad as you to say goodbye.
I officially close this blog with the amazing words of Jim Henson (aka Kermit the Frog)
“Life’s like a movie, write your own ending. Keep believing, keep pretending.”
A Podcast for those who are Mascots characters or have ever dreamed of becoming one! The Unsuited Podcast is hosted by Matt, John and Morgan and is a great resource for anyone interested in Mascot work. They cover latest news, teach what they have learned as Mascots and have hilarious stories when in character. An amazing podcast that needs to be heard! Check it out HERE!
I love listening to podcasts; especially those that deal with practical effects, puppetry and industry leaders! Monsters and Microphones is a new Podcast by Dead Panic Studios featuring hosts Christopher Vaughan (Dead Panic Studios- Co-Owner/Executive Producer) and Nick Callow (2d/3d Artist). Their first podcast includes none other than special effects veteran Shannon Shea! Shannon discusses his 30 years in the movie business creating such amazing characters for Aliens, Predator, Jurassic Park and many more! Please give a listen, subscribe and add a review on iTunes! Also, buy Shannon’s book: “I’m Rubber, You’re Glue: The True Story of an 80s Monster Maker”.
We have had some fantastic submissions for ?#?BevPuppetFest? 2016 so far, but still have openings for adult and family shows. Puppetry companies – follow the link below to find information on how to submit a proposal to be part of next years festival.
Please note that although in a perfect world we would love to host companies from around the world, due to funding we cannot pay for travel costs from across seas. If you are a foreign company please only apply if you are prepared to cover your own travel, or are touring in the UK at the time of the festival.
I wish you had been a fly on the wall at Beyond the Sock. If you had, then you would know that the $1350 price tag for attendance would be worth saving for. I can’t think of any place better to enjoy myself while developing my professional skills than this program hosted by the University of North Texas. A brain child of James Martin, a professor in the Radio, Television, Film & Performing Arts portion of the University, Beyond the Sock is sponsored by two different departments at UNT: Department of Media Arts and the Department of Dance and Theatre. It features the teaching talents of Sesame Street puppeteers Noel McNeal and Peter Linz, with the puppet building talents of Pasha Romanowski of Project Puppet. To say that these guys are my professional heroes, is an understatement. The first year I attended the workshop in 2013, I was a nervous admirer. Now I have the pleasure of calling these teachers, my friends. These gentlemen are not only talented, but kind and down-to-earth.
The previous two years attendance have increased my skills professionally, and this year was no exception. Pasha’s online patterns are in a class by themselves, the best available. His patterns at the workshop are even more exciting. Each year I have learned a new technique to add to my skill set as a builder. The pattern you receive is not available outside the workshop and should be considered one of the valuable take-aways of attending. The monkey pattern from this year is now one of the most complex in my personal collection. It’s amazing that beginners and experienced puppet builders alike complete their puppets each year in time for a final video production at the week’s end. Pasha’s instruction and a massive scramble by week’s end ensure that every participant has a video ready puppet to perform on Saturday’s live Sesame Street style professional taping.
With a max attendance of 24-26 students, and classes split in two groups alternating between building and performing each day, each attendee gets plenty of individual attention from the instructors. Daily practice in front of monitors teaches participants the art of puppeteering in the style of Sesame Street, the best in the business. Peter Linz and Noel McNeal have both professional experience as puppeteers on Sesame Street and as teachers of puppeteering for Sesame Street’s international television offshoots. The puppeteering portion is a delightful mix of hands-on practice with the polished and playful demonstration of key concepts by two very funny, talented guys. I love watching Noel and Peter. I laugh and smile as I tackle the concepts with their encouragement. With monitors as a reference for puppeteering in frame, this style is not an easy one to master. You and other participants slowly learn this craft in preparation for a final show taped on the last day of the workshop.
Everyone at Beyond the Sock knows I love this workshop. I wear my smile every day because I’m tickled to be there. During BTS, I live, eat and sleep puppet for 5 days straight. It couldn’t be more fun. I plan to attend Beyond the Sock 2016. I wouldn’t miss it. Hope to see you there!
Check out “Beyond the Sock” video highlights CLICK HERE to see what you are missing!
A new exhibition at Black Book Gallery in Denver, artists Deepti Nair and Harikrishnan Panicker, have created a new body of work titled “Oh, The Places You Will Go!” Each piece is made from paper and lit from behind or below with LED strips and the boxes are exhibited in dark rooms to enhance the effect.