Blog : Project Puppet

Beyond the Sock 2015: In Review

10314718_10205561939260522_8795810022628888910_nFellow puppet enthusiasts,

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.

11141338_10205561954860912_7724809932192865300_nThe 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.

22188_10205561983701633_3683008375425970816_nWith 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.

Pam-Pasha-PuppetsEveryone 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!

Review by Pam Groom

A Mini Episode

Here is a Mini Lesson (which turned into a full length video) 🙂 it was only suppose to be a quick “how to” and not part of the series. In this episode I deconstruct a puppet, this will shed light on the construction process.

Free Puppet Building Tutorial

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In the next couple of weeks we here at Puppeteers Unite present a new video series “How to Build a Puppet”. We are going to use the Roly Puppet Pattern found at Project Puppet and build a Monster puppet. This beginners course is totally free and will walk you through the stages of building a puppet from beginning to end.

Go to www.projectpuppet.com for the Roly Pattern and get your today before the series begins.

Project Puppet Contest Entry

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Tropic Fever is built by Benoit Hemberg (Belgium)

Since he was born, Tropic Fever was an outsider. Dreaming of a higher destiny he refused to follow the path of his brothers and sisters mosquitos. After all, what was the point to live on the back of all living creatures, drinking, drinking and drinking blood again to finally get squashed ?. Tropic Fever wanted to change the course of things. He wanted to be different and to him the only way was rocking. As a larva he used to spend most of his time to compose songs on his own. He then started a band, Kid Bug and started to become famous in the clubs circuit (among others, the famous “Swarm” and the more underground “Ant-Hill Of Hell”). Now, he’s still rocking but under his own name, thirsty of…changes, hoping that his songs could inspire the next generations. He won’t give up !. “Keep rockin’ in the free world “.

Project Puppet Contest Entry

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Gabe “The Jungle Herald” was built by A.J. Schraeder

There exist a prophecy as old as the jungle itself that speaks of a creature that is to be born from the pure energy of the jungle. It is said that when this force of nature arrives the jungles shall reclaim the earth and humanity will be reduced to 2nd class citizens. Gabe the jungle herald is not this creature, but he knows him. Gabe isn’t the brightest in the world but he’s certainly one of the most curious and can spend hours just examining his own paw or contemplating a Bar-B-Que. Originally it was Gabe’s job was to tell the rest of the animals about the plan for humanity’s defeat, but he got distracted. Personally he doesn’t mind humans sticking around since he thinks they make some pretty sweet shirts.

Gabe was built using the Melonhead pattern

Project Puppet Contest Entry

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Tegan was built by Kayleigh O’Connell

Tegan is a very cute Tigress Cub from the jungle of Africa .She coos like a real baby. She’s playful sometimes, and can get a bit hungry.

For the puppet I used tiger striped blizzard fleece, her hair is made of yarn, I made her eyes out of plastic Spoons, felt pads for pupils fabric straps and felt for eyelid and eyelashes.
 
Great use of materials in the construction of Tegan! Good Job.