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Good Enough for Kevin Clash

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by zns, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. zns

    zns Well-Known Member

    As an aspiring puppeteer, I am looking to work for some big companies. I know how difficult it is to get involved with the Muppets as a performer, but I wasn't sure if there was anyone who might be able to critique what I can do with my puppet, Morris monster. I have the link for the videos below. Would anyone say these would be good enough to show to Kevin Clash? Does anyone know how I can contact him or someone involved with Henson? Please don't hesitate to comment on what I should do. Thank you all and God bless.

    Zachary Snyder

  2. Mo Frackle

    Mo Frackle Well-Known Member

    Hi, Zachary.

    I'm an aspiring puppeteer as well, and would love to work with the Muppets someday. Though I think I still have quite a few years ahead of me before something like that could be possible.

    But you on the other hand, at least from what I can tell, have a really good chance of going to Sesame right now. I'd say yes, show these to Kevin or somebody involved with the Muppets. I really think you have a lot of potential as a performer. Your puppetry is very smooth and natural, your eye focus is great, your character feels very 'Muppety'. So I'd say go for it!

    As for getting in touch with Kevin, I wrote a letter to him sometime ago, but haven't gotten a reply yet. I'm sure Kevin's is very busy these days (which is totally understandable). But I'm sure he'll still reply to you. And possibly quicker if you send him a video. At least I would think so, as a video tends to stand out more than a letter.

    Though some words of advice with sending a 'demo video'. It's a good idea to try get in as much of your skills as you can in the video (including different voices/characters). It's also a good idea to make the video relatively short (I'd say around 2:30 minutes max). So a possible option would be to compile your videos into a short 'best of' video. Or make another video that demonstrates your skills.

    Anyhow, I wish you all the luck, and really hope you go far!
  3. davidmartiste

    davidmartiste Well-Known Member

    Hey Zachary

    I think you're doing some great work for an 'aspiring' puppeteer. Though, I would be tempted to just call you a 'puppeteer'. I would recommend you hold on to your vision about where you want your career to go and keep that puppeteer energy growing. Get involved wherever you can with your puppet skills. It really tells the universe "this is who I intend to be" and that energy kind of conspires to get you where you want to go. That's been my experience at least. I peeked at your MC profile and see you're in PA. The 2013 National Puppeteers of America conference is in PA. That's a great place to learn from others and possibly even make connections. Due to the scarcity of jobs on Sesame Street or The Muppets, it's always good to be open about other avenues to cut your puppet teeth on. You never know, you could end up touring with a John Tartaglia production or performing at schools or venues on an educational puppet tour or performing at The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. My mantra is to not have one "end game" ie: don't limit yourself. The adventure can be just as interesting and rewarding. One of the most powerful statements you can make is "I am a puppeteer." The universe will listen.
  4. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Your videos are pretty good. The only suggestion I have (and it's a minor one) is that you may want to make your movements a little stronger and more definite. What I mean by that is that when you decide you're going to have your puppet change its focus, commit to it and make the movement strong so it reads cleanly. You want to always have a reason for the puppet's movement.

    If you watch a lot of video of the Muppet performers they almost always move the puppets in a very definite way; the puppet's eye focus will go from one thing to another without a lot of arbitrary movement in between.

    Does that make sense?

    I really agree with David's suggestion of going to the National Puppetry Festival in PA next year. If you're serious about having a career in puppetry, you need to be there. Not only will you have the chance to learn a lot from other puppeteers, but it's a great networking opportunity. You should also look in to attending the O'Neil Puppetry Conference, where you can get a lot of advanced instruction from some of the best puppeteers in the United States.
  5. zns

    zns Well-Known Member

    I just want to say thank you to everyone for their advice and suggestions. As I have said before, I would very much love to send something to Kevin Clash, but I want to make sure that what I have is good enough for the possibility of a workshop with him.

    I am however trying to see if I can take a course with John Tartaglia in NYC and enroll in one of his group classes. I think this is the kind of thing that I need along with the 2013 Puppet Festival. Once again, thank you everyone for all of your help and I will keep you all informed on what goes on. God bless.
  6. zns

    zns Well-Known Member

    Would there be anyone else I could talk to besides Kevin Clash about working for Henson? Just a thought.
  7. CoOKiE

    CoOKiE Well-Known Member

    In the farm video, i felt there was a point you forgot your puppet became your hand. You pointed at a few things, with his head, instead of his hands.

    With that last part said, you should try working with your arm rods more.

    At some points i felt you were moving the top part of the characters head more then the jaw. Something i forgot to pay attention to in my early days as well, but we're not PEZ dispensers when we talk...

    Your lip syncing is perfect. Just pace yourself, and try different tones in your voice to add emotion. Like buck said about eye focus, everything in performing must be big and have a reason.

    If you were making a demo reel, maybe come up with some sort of personality for him. Watching the videos i was only able to tell he likes sports. Not because he was watching them, but he became involved in the game.

    Honestly tho, i'm just nit picking. You did a great job though!

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