So, here are some tips I’ve picked up …
- Eye contact is everything. If an audience cannot connect with your puppet’s gaze, they won’t connect with your puppet
- If you want to make your puppet look as if it is thinking, hold a 45 degree eye line at the floor and keep it still
- Break up each movement with stillness: move, hold, move, hold, move, hold ….
- In this way, it’s very similar to stop-frame animation.
- An audience’s eyes will ALWAYS go to the movement – if you want something to be looked at, make it move (and visa versa)
- Structure your scene with action, reaction, action, reaction. If your puppet notices everything, it becomes aware and believable
- Where a movement initiates the will make the audience believe it is the puppet moving itself, or the puppeteer moving the puppet
- To engage audience, let puppet make eye contact with them, and then lean forward slightly.
- Puppets SURVIVE – they are animal, they react to their immediate surrounding
- Keep the body language clear. What would look melodramatic on a human looks ‘natural’ on a puppet
- When a puppet thinks, it builds tensions as the audience anticipate what will happen next
- Trust the image you create and let it be … constant unnecessary movement can detract from an image
- A puppet is always being PUSHED/PULLED, SHRINKING/EXPANDING
- Know how you puppet thinks, survives, breaths
- The communication of an event happens in the silence after the event – holds moments, don’t rush on with the next action in your piece
- When an audience is engaged in a puppet, they will breath with it
- It’s vital you find the RHYTHM of your puppet / character
- It’s stronger to finish on a strong image / pose
- Movement initiates from the puppets eyes – it looks at it’s hand and the table before it moves it’s hand to the table.
- use puppet to cover the face/mouth of the puppeteer for big noises or sounds
- invest time. clarity of image is key.
As you can see … it was quite an intense first day!