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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

TV Puppetry Workshop: Week 2

It was the second week of Michael Earl’s TV Puppetry Workshop. This week, we repeated some of the exercises from last week (cuz the basic stuff is always worth repeating), and also did some new stuff, mostly with partner/group work and improv.

There were more interactions between puppets this class than the last class. We had four puppets on camera at the same time reciting Mary Had a Little Lamb. Whichever puppet not talking would look at the puppet that’s talking and they would all nod in agreement at the end. I found that I still have some eye line issues and was confused about the left-right reversal at times. Fun exercise though!

Even more fun was the improv stuff we did. I think everyone did great. I also noticed something interesting: When I did the scripted stuff, I tend to focus on making the puppet do what it does. There’s not much that shows up on my face. However, when I did improv, I caught myself acting with my face instead of my arm more. Maybe it was because I was used to doing improv as an actor, but not so much as a puppeteer. I feel like my reactions were transfered 60% to the face and 30% to my arm (The rest was lost). Need more practice, hehe.

My favorite idea from this class was about quietness and anticipation. Being able to have your arm still when there was no good reason for movement would create good anticipation. There’s power in the quietness. And I like the story Michael told about what Frank Oz said about people waiting for the bus. We then tried the waiting for the bus exercise too. You could do a lot by doing nothing. The only problem with anticipation was that, sometimes I would look at the puppet on the monitor anticipating it to do something, but then to realize, oh wait, it was attached to my arm so I was supposed to make that happen.

Looking forward to Week 3. :-)


  1. September 17th, 2009 | 4:36 pm

    It sounds like you’re having a lot of fun and learning a lot too. That’s awesome.

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..Where to Get Writing Help

  2. September 18th, 2009 | 12:16 pm


  3. Na
    October 7th, 2009 | 10:26 pm

    Sounds like you’re having lots of fun!

    I did a ‘waiting for the bus’ exercise too during acting, and it always amazed me how much more people tend to act – and act better – when they’re told to do as little as possible. It’s so true of puppetry too, and Neville Tranter’s advice last year at UNIMA 2008 was that if something is moving, the audience will notice it. In order to have the audience watching the correct object (an actor or a puppet), you must get everything else to be still. I always liked that idea, and I think a lot of puppeteers forget it.

  4. October 12th, 2009 | 2:53 am

    I really should be good at the exercise because I’ve waited for many a buses in my life! 😀

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