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

Patron me, maybe

Here’s a video we made about two weeks ago. I am the $5 sign, $10 sign in the beginning and the green puppet. Enjoy!

This is a little online commercial for the drama/theater program at a local high school. This kind of program, contrary to how it might have been portrayed on TV shows like Glee, actually has no fundings for their productions. Instead of having the kids sell necessary stuff like candies, the teacher, Leah, decided to start a patron program.

The shows are normally $5 per person at the show. But by joining the program at the $5 level, you get two tickets to the show instead. And for $10, you get a pair of tickets to every single one of the seven shows throughout the year. It was quite brilliant, I thought. It raises money, and at the same time brings more people into the theater. Subscriptions and the season pass model have worked well for many professional theaters and apparently it can work for school too.

So Leah, a fellow graduate of Puppet School, gathered several fellow alumni to put the video together. She’s the orange puppet, and we have Josh (purple), Jenn (pink), and Ray (gray) on this project as well. It was a fun collaboration. We all contributed ideas of what the shots should look like and how to accomplish them.

As puppeteers, we are all looking at a monitor to see what’s being filmed. Usually, looking at the monitor is what the director does, while the human actor doesn’t get to do so. So in puppeteering, it feels like you are half directing and giving the actor (your arm) notes while the filming is going on. So what a shot should look like becomes a collaborative effort, especially on a small project like this.

And I had never imagined that sticking signs into shot to give a puppet something to react to can be so much fun. 😀


  1. October 25th, 2012 | 1:24 pm

    Looks like a lot of fun — I love the new lyrics too. I like them much better than the original, in fact. I was a little concerned that the song was going to say “patron me maybe,” and thus leave doubt in the listener’s mind, but there were no mixed messages here!
    Chris Edgar recently posted..Some Steve’s Quest Studio PicturesMy Profile

  2. October 25th, 2012 | 2:27 pm

    Whatever lyrics is, it’s just so catchy. Of course, they are much more direct “So, be a patron!” More demanding and authoritative. On the other hand, I fail at writing marketing copy with my… hesitancy?
    Kelvin Kao recently posted..Patron me, maybeMy Profile

  3. October 25th, 2012 | 4:37 pm

    Looking at this, it occurs to me that this is much more difficult to coordinate than it appears. I suppose the video screen helps, though! I’m always happy to see how much fun you’re having. :-)
    Michelle recently posted..How I Saved $31 Dollars at the Grocery Store in 10 MinutesMy Profile

  4. October 25th, 2012 | 8:58 pm

    The monitor helps A LOT, because you can try something and in half a second you will know whether it looks good or not. You can then adjust it really fast. It’s a wonderful thing to have.
    Kelvin Kao recently posted..Patron me, maybeMy Profile

  5. October 28th, 2012 | 4:14 pm


    Somehow your notice about a new post got dumped in my Spam folder, but fortunately for me, I found it.

    This was FUN. I love seeing the puppets and I hope this will bring lots of patrons:~)
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  6. October 29th, 2012 | 1:02 am

    What? Your spam filter is stupid. No spam in the history of spam has ever used the word ‘maybe’!
    Kelvin Kao recently posted..Patron me, maybeMy Profile

  7. October 29th, 2012 | 4:56 pm

    You guys must have a lot more money than us – amateur performances here can barely afford the rights to the script, let alone getting the same sets! (Er, scratch that. If you’ve got TV actors in your local shows, it’s not amateur… funny, here it’s either amateur or totally pro. There’s no middle ground, no real off-Broadway thing)

    Also, it’s typical for shows that have jokes in them to have placeholders so that you can tweak them according to current issues or location. I’ve seen a few shows from the US that were tweaked for an Aussie audience or which famous person fell on their face recently.

  8. October 29th, 2012 | 5:40 pm

    Naomi, are you referring to the other post about Avenue Q? I wouldn’t call that one totally amateur. And the tickets, though not at the $100+ level, were between $30 and $60 depending on where the seats are.
    Kelvin Kao recently posted..Patron me, maybeMy Profile

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