Got a response from the Sesame Puppeteer Workshop...

crazy chris

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LOLOL...if that is said out of "disbelief" then i respect your freedom to think that... i honestly have nothing to prove with anyone...nor did i have a personal stake in this contest... so making up something like that would benefit me in no way... however blasting my source would only serve to hurt them.

take it for what its worth...

cc
 

Slackbot

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That's actually something that many people have actually made threads on before in the past... where are aspiring puppeteers supposed to get their hands on monitors?
My laptop has a webcam. If I turn off mirroring, then I get a monitor image like they use. I've played with that a little, but not enough to get a puppet to look at the lens without a few false starts.
 

D'Snowth

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My laptop has a webcam. If I turn off mirroring, then I get a monitor image like they use. I've played with that a little, but not enough to get a puppet to look at the lens without a few false starts.
In the earlier days of Steve D'Monster's YouTube series, the camera I used had one of those pull-out LCD screens that I could turn around and use as something in lieu of a monitor, but then I had made the switch to a digital camera, so without any kind of monitor, I was performing virtually blind... but I must have gotten accustomed to it, because Steve appears remarkably focused, even though I couldn't see what I was doing.
 

Oscarfan

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This is the response i had... I thought it was the standard reply -

Thank you for submitting a video for the 2014 Sesame Puppeteer Workshop. There were a record number of submissions and selecting participants for the workshop was a very difficult task. While we found your video enjoyable, we cannot offer you a slot in the puppeteer workshop at this time.

We encourage you to keep developing and working on your skills. Precise lip sync, bold characters, and ability to perform with a monitor are some of the things we look for when searching for new puppeteers and we hope that you will continue working on all of these puppeteering techniques.

Continue to be creative and may we wish you success for the future.

Sincerely,

Matt Vogel
Martin P. Robinson

Yeah, that's the exact one I got.

I wouldn't be surprised if this was to find new puppeteers to carry on some characters. I mean, performers like Marty and Fran aren't getting any younger.
 

D'Snowth

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If that really is the case, then yeah, that I would take some issue with, because that is, arguably, misleading. Like in Grade 4, our teacher once gave us this extra credit homework assignment: write a recipe for a peanut butter cracker (as in a cracker with peanut butter spread on it, not a peanut butter-flavored cracker), seemed simple enough, so we did. You know who actually got the extra credit? Those who actually wrote down certain directions, such as to take the cracker out of its wrapper, or package, or whatever it came in (as the teacher pointed out, how can you spread peanut butter on the cracker if you don't take it out of its package), among other things... only a very small number of students actually wrote such steps, and were the ones who got the extra credit. It's a similar case here: they asked for originality, and specifically said not to immitate or impersonate any of the existing Muppet characters, but if that's what they were actually looking for, then again, that's misleading. I also find it a little hard to believe that they would simply select replacement puppeteers for certain characters from homemade audition videos, rather than pass them down to actual Muppet performers who may have spent the better part of the last 10 or maybe even 20 years right-handing, performing background characters and AMs and such.

But, we don't really know if that is at all true, or not, and at this point, I guess it's not our place to be concerned with it - we were rejected, and that's the end of the matter.
 

ashkent

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In the earlier days of Steve D'Monster's YouTube series, the camera I used had one of those pull-out LCD screens that I could turn around and use as something in lieu of a monitor, but then I had made the switch to a digital camera, so without any kind of monitor, I was performing virtually blind... but I must have gotten accustomed to it, because Steve appears remarkably focused, even though I couldn't see what I was doing.

The camera screen is how I work at the moment. I have a Canon camera with a line in socket and a flip out screen. I have been thinking of moving to a stand alone camera for a while but finding one with line in is a nightmare. I have resigned myself to the fact that i'll have to combine the camera and laptop to record the audio and sync it to the video. I think you do get used to working blind after a while though.
 

D'Snowth

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I eventually started doing something similar, and I kind of wish I did it much sooner, but neither of the cameras I used during the series were particularly good at recording audio: the old camera was decent enough, but since it recorded on video tape, there's an audible hiss, which is a problem; then, with the digital camera, as has been pointed out to me before, the overall audio quality was rather poor and almost had an AVI quality to it. Eventually, during the last handful of entries in the series, something donned on me, and I started dubbing all the dialogue and such in post-production, and the results were much better... though, as I say, I wish I had thought to do that much sooner.
 

Buck-Beaver

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I have no inside knowledge of how they cast characters on Sesame, but I agree that it's very unlikely they would hand off a well established character to someone who just walked in the door. They have a very deep, very experienced pool of performers on the show - and many of them just do background puppets.

Re: equipment, personally, I would spend less time worrying about audio and more on puppetry skills. The solution imho is to get a decent external microphone. The hiss you heard on your older camera probably has nothing to do with using tape, if it had a built-in or "on board" mic it's probably noise from the camera itself. That will happen even with a brand new $3000 DSLR camera (it could also be noisy lights or another electrical appliance). A mic has to be designed and positioned so that it does not pick up the sound the camera makes while it is recording and it helps to turn off anything that might make an electrical buzz in the room where you are recording.

A great, cheap lav mic to buy is the Audio Technica ATR-3350. While not the world's greatest lav, it's pretty decent and can be found on Amazon for under $25. If you have more to spend, Rode makes some great external video mics that you can mount on almost any video camera for $150-250.

Almost any cheap HD camcorder should have some kind of line out, most have HDMI ports built-in that can connect to any HD TV set (I've seen these for $200-250). You could probably even pick up an older cheap SD camera for under $100 used on ebay and connect it to a 4:3 TV set. Just make sure it has a line-out that you can connect to a TV and a mini-plug jack for an external microphone.
 

crazy chris

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I honestly agree with you guys... ive always heard about henson policies and how handing down a character is akin to knighthood ...etc... and i always loved and respected that whole concept...

However, according to my source the scandal from last year has apparently rattled some doors and times they are a changin... I dont think anyone will be walking off the street into an established character or even a speaking role... but harvesting the national talent pool isnt that far fetched. This is a powerful corporation that learned recently how easily the possibility of being brought to their knees by one puppeteers bad choices can be...

Now they simply want to be prepared for anything....

cc

ps- peace and love... peace and love! <3
 
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