Some tips of the trade…

After reading Andrew’s blog today( ) I thought a bit about maybe writing some “Tips of the Trade” I developed. So here they are…

  • When performing, always bring with you- a sewing kit, a glue gun-and sticks, contact cement, safety pins, and scrap fabric!
  • Bring a Tide “stain out stick”- Sounds corny, but trust me on this one.
  • Use your “prototype” puppet to interact with the kids after a performance. I found many puppeteers shy away from kids after the performance has ended, packing, then rushing out to their next gig. The end of the performance is a perfect time to “network”; meet and greet with potential future customers. If you are afraid of children damaging your puppet characters, try this: When building a custom character- build one prototype puppet first, then build a second one for performance purposes. I then use the prototype puppet for the meet and greets using similar clothes ect. The audience rarely notices, and you don’t have to worry about a child accidently spilling ketchup on your main character…see #2 if this happens…Now I know most of you are saying, Tom, I don’t have time or money to make a second character! I know, I know! But one time, after a performance, a main character went “missing” and we were frantically searching everywhere. The end result was that we had to cancel two performances and lost a large amount of money. Imagine if we had a prototype at hand….hmmm…enough said I think.
  • TEST EVERYTHING! Give yourself plenty of time before a performance to test gear, and any sound, and/or physical effects you have. I attended a performance where there was about 100 kids in attendance, everything was going fine until… suddenly, the sound system let out a huge screeching noise scaring everyone in attendance. Many people left with their scared, screaming kids, requesting their money back, and leaving in a huff…at least it was a memorable performance 🙂
  • Practice! Test yourself in front of a video camera, rewind, review, redo better.
  • Save all puppet patterns!
  • Don’t be mad if someone copies your material, imitation is flattery.
  • Punch out people who… copy you, and make more money than you…just kidding…or am I?
  • Give a hand to anyone who asks, especially other puppeteers.
  • Make every piece of staging light and easy to put up and take down.
  • When you are having a miserable day, think about those people who are living day by day in jobs they hate…If you hate your job, maybe its time to take time off.

I’ll post more later in the week…See ya, time to watch Jamie Oliver’s adventures in Italy 🙂

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