[About this site]
This site is about puppets, as the name suggests. The focus for this site is the stuff you can do at home. I do not own professional-grade puppets. Instead I build my own using fabrics, tissue paper boxes, index cards, and other materials. I do not own a professional studio with bunch of different lights and camera. Instead I do it home movie style, but I believe that with enough creativity and planning, you can still make videos interesting.
This is the site where I will post
1. How to make simple puppets: Really, you don’t need to buy them. I’ll share how I do it.
2. How to do different effects with puppets: Filming puppets has its own quirks that’s different from filming human actors. In fact, with puppets, there’s so much you can get away with!
3. My thoughts when I watch some puppet show: Usually with some kind of YouTube link?
My name is Kelvin and I love puppets. I’m originally from Taiwan, and I grew up watching Taiwanese puppet shows. Unlike how puppet shows are usually perceived in the United States (it’s for kids and so on), adults watch these puppet shows too. Taiwanese puppets can either be on stage or on TV. Traditionally it’s only done on stage. The stories they perform are sometimes based on ancient Chinese history and sometimes things that the master puppeteers come up with themselves. When stage puppetry was at its best several decades ago, there are many many different puppet troops performing at the same time, all competing against each other for ticket sale. Although that was before my time, I still saw many performances of this kind growing up. I was really fascinated by how much these pieces of wood and fabrics can convey.
Then Taiwan started to have TV stations and these puppet shows are adapted for TV as well. Puppeteers start doing very creative things using this new medium. The sets become more elaborated. Special effects (such as explosions and dry ice) become an important element of the show as well. In the recent years, green screens and computer animations are used throughout the episode to achieve things that they couldn’t have done before. This is an art that’s alive. The people are still making new episodes (two hours of DVD every week for rental) and constantly innovating.
It had great influence on me. I got interested in performing arts (puppet theatre in particular) because of it. I started making up my own stories. I started learning more about music because back then there was no mp3 and when I hear some music I like, I wanted to reproduce that myself. I got interestesd in voice acting because in these shows, the master puppeteer voices every single character (that’s the tradition that people still do now). To say that it has one of the biggest influences on my life would not be an exaggeration.
And then I started watching Sesame Street on TV as an adult (and loved it!). I started making my own puppet shows because I’ve been watching so much and I’d like to try to make one. I’ve seen puppet shows on stage. I’ve seen them on TV. I’ve seen them with no special effects. I’ve seen them with high tech 3D computer animations. There are many things I want to try, and really, playing with puppets is literally playing with toys. It’s just a fun thing to do.