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

TV Puppetry Workshop (Intermediate): Week 2

Today, we continued our exercises while adding more details into the puppets’ performances, like taking a deep breath, touching the face, adding a roll to the head motion, etc. The rest of the class (big chunks of the time) were spent working with a script and blocking out our musical routines.

We worked with a script today. The script was taped to the monitor, so we didn’t need to memorize it. We just needed to read lines off the script. However, it wasn’t as easy as it sounded. It was tricky, because we had two things to look at: the monitor so we knew what our performance looked like, and the script so we knew what the next line was. I had to quickly look back-and-forth, or use my peripheral vision to get it done, and I found myself losing the place in the script quite a few times. We will be working some more on this workflow next class.

And then we worked with the staging of the musical numbers again. In this course, each student was supposed to bring in a song/ musical number that he/she wanted to work on, and we would work out the choreography together. The person who brought in the song would be the lead singer, and there would be two back-up singers in the background backing him/her up. We started last week, but we didn’t remember all the choreography we worked out last time. We did remember certain bits and pieces though. I thought that worked well, because the parts that were forgotten probably weren’t too memorable to begin with anyway. We did work out quite a few details this class though, so we taped them this time. In the next class, we could play them back to refresh our memory and go from there.

There were five people signed up for this course, but one had to drop because he had to work three out of the four weeks. The other person is an actress and she hasn’t been able to come because she was on a set shooting something. So these two weeks, it has been just three students. And since all these group exercises used one lead singer and two backup singers, we were always doing something and didn’t get to sit down much. It was quite a good workout. It was especially a workout for me because I happened to be taller than these two classmates, so I had a harder time keeping my head out of the frame. I had to either spread my feet wider, bend my knees more, or tilt my head, but you know, puppeteers will do whatever it takes outside of the frame to make sure what’s on screen turns out good.

Since each student brought in a song, we had three different routines staged. When we watched what we taped, I saw puppet characters reacting to one another quite naturally. They had arm movements, head movements, lip sync, focused eyes and they looked expressive. They weren’t perfect but there were a lot of good stuff in there. Again, I was impressed with how well the class had done. This was such drastic improvement from our very first class. Back then, we couldn’t keep the puppets straight, we couldn’t focus the puppet’s eyes on the camera, and we also forgot to move the puppet’s mouth at times when it was supposed to be speaking. Well, none of that now.

It has been another fun class. Again, looking forward to the next class. (Just two more weeks left!)

Related Posts:
TV Puppetry Workshop (Intermediate): Week 1
TV Puppetry Workshop (Beginning): Week 1
TV Puppetry Workshop (Beginning): Week 2
TV Puppetry Workshop (Beginning): Week 3
TV Puppetry Workshop (Beginning): Week 4
TV Puppetry Workshop (Beginning): Weeks 5,6


  1. October 25th, 2009 | 2:29 pm

    Before I started reading this blog, I never realized exactly how much work and talent goes into one of those productions!

  2. October 27th, 2009 | 12:03 am

    Yep, anyone can just pick up a puppet and shake it around, but to make it actually look good definitely takes work. 😉

  3. November 5th, 2009 | 2:15 am

    […] Posts: TV Puppetry Workshop (Intermediate): Week 2 TV Puppetry Workshop (Intermediate): Week 1 TV Puppetry Workshop (Beginning): Week 1 TV Puppetry […]

  4. Na
    February 9th, 2010 | 9:49 am

    It’s good that you could see progress: both classes definitely sound worthwhile!

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