Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Music

Here's a little Melody for whichever Holiday you choose to celebrate this season.  

Melody is the finished product from what I posted a week ago.  She only took me two nights to finish.  Of course, by "nights" I mean from midnight to 7 in the morning, but since school is out for the winter I figured, why not?

Melody- as I've named her since she is a music note- was built for my friend as a Christmas present.  She works in a correctional facility where one of her jobs is to conduct a class that utilizes music therapy techniques.  She thought it might be nice to see how the guys would react to the puppet.  

It is my belief that you can appeal to any audience so long as you find what it is that they've come to see.  

One of my favorite things as a performer is getting to do the same show multiple times a day with a completely different audience each time.  I love the challenge of changing things up ever so slightly, in order to find the point where the audience and the performers all connect.  Now I know Melody's use will be a little different, but I'm anxious to see how my friend will be able to use her in class.  

As for the construction side of Melody...

I started off with no idea of what I wanted the finished product to look like...except for that I wanted it to look like a female music note.  As for the shape of her head...I played.  I thought I'd try a slight overbite, but nothing too drastic.

I considered lips but couldn't find the right color fabric that could avoid clashing with the inside of the mouth.  At the last moment, I found the right color for the eye lashes.  The pictures don't pick it up as well as I'd hoped they would, but I used a sky blue that really pops against the black.

My friend loved it and is excited to show it to her class.  I'm pretty happy with the results, especially since the whole project only took about 15 hours (with a few hours of playing with shapes). 

On my next project, I think I'm going to stray from the using the same dome eyes.  I love them, but I don't want to get into the habit of producing the same work every time.

Let me know if you think our puppets all look to much alike.  I'd be interested to know how they come across.    

Sunday, December 21, 2008


It's been a few days...Toby is with his new daddy, who took to him immediately upon introduction, Kyle is on break from tour now for Christmas and in route to our hometown by way of Pittsburgh, and I am getting ready to go home too!

Before I get going though, I have a little goal set for myself.  When my friend was in town visiting, she mentioned wanting a puppet of her own.  She works in a prison where she teaches a music therapy and appreciation class, and thought that a music note might be a fun way to go over some of the material with her inmates...so for her Christmas present, I've decided to take on her idea and hammer out a MUSIC NOTE puppet in a couple days.

I've sketched up some designs, but I think I might leave this one up to trial and error.  Sometimes I find it nice to be able to play.  I haven't settled on a specific style or shape to start out with, but I'm thinking about trying to find something new.  Originally I thought about using the same template I used for Toby's belly, which I may still end up modifying, but not until I get a chance to play around with some new shapes.

I'll post whatever I have as soon as I have it.  Now, it's time to go play!   

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Toby is Born!!!


Toby the Zombie Baby is now complete!

Here's a little video intro:

Here are a couple last photos of him too...

I used a black elastic for the stitches.  I didn't have a thick enough needle that was also sharp enough to sew the stitching in, so I had to improvise.  I had to individually poke, pull, and cut the holes so that the elastic could then be threaded through.  We talked about giving him a poopy diaper, but that would have probably had to take the place of the patch, and we decided that the patch helps give him more of a zombie look.  

I wasn't sure if I wanted to do stitches or scars.  I was worried about the fleece stretching if I cut into it and I almost tried it, but after seeing how well it covered to begin with, I couldn't chance it.  I think going this way was a better idea anyway, and it ended up closer to the original concept.

There is also a ring of stitches around his brain! 

Thanks for following the process.  I've got a couple puppets to finish up in the next couple weeks so stay tuned for more to come.  

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ping Pong Ball Eyes: A 10 Minute Tutorial

Here's a quick project I've been meaning to do for a long time. I made two pairs for a "mock audition" I just did at school after getting a "mock call back" for Paul in Carnival the musical. You may or may not be familiar with this method of training, but it can really be great for improving different puppetry techniques.  This is how the beginner workshops were taught when I started learning how to puppeteer in Disney World.  

First, you start off with a couple of ping pong balls.  I had a few sitting in among the box o' eyes, but haven't ever used them for a puppet.  Grab two ping pong balls and make sure the logo is facing the back.  Check for the darker line of white where the two sides have been fused together. Drilling into the line will give your eyes a cleaner look around the edges.  It also turned out that the logo was only on one hemisphere. (You can always scratch off the logo. To do this, use a razor blade... very carefully) Take a Dremel or a drill and go ahead and make two holes on the line. The first will be where the ping pong balls will meet when touching side to side. (see the last picture)  Follow the line down, and just slightly over a quarter of the way around make the second hole (see the small bit of elastic between the pointer and middle finger). This will make more sense in a moment.

With a piece of wire, make a hook at the end that is narrow enough to go in to the hole and come back out without getting stuck. Feed through a bit of elastic. I'm sure that string or yarn will do the trick too, but I like the snug fit of the elastic best.

Once the elastic has been fed into one of the holes, you may find it hard to get back out the next. Have no fear. This is why we made the hook! Stick the hook in and find your way around a center point in the elastic.  It's a good idea to feed in 3 inches or so. Once you pull it out, and have figured out which eye you'd like that one to be, match up the holes (the ones that meet in the center of the insides of the eyes) and repeat the pulling through action again with the same piece of elastic.

Once you've got extra elastic sticking out the bottom of the eyes, tie them around the middle and ring finger on your puppeteering hand of choice. Now give him (or her) a couple of pupils.  You can use anything from Sharpie to craft eyes.   Important to note: the bigger the pupils, the easier it is to learn how to focus with your puppet.  And... important for good focus is the placement of the pupils.  Aim them slightly towards where the nose would be so that they seem to point towards the same object.  Feel free to give him (or her) some hair or eye lashes.  

Now for the fun part:  Crank up some music and "lip sync" to your favorite tunes in front of the bathroom mirror.

Warning: I did this one night at three in the morning for about 40 minutes (one on each hand) and I was SO SORE the next day. It was great!

Let me know if any of this is unclear.  

Toby work is nearing an end!  Look for the finished product very soon...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Toby Time

So I did what I thought I'd do...I hooked up the old computer and without further ado, here are some new shots-

Check out the hair that held up the process...

It's just sprayed wire, but in the future, I may try some acrylic paint to see how well that works if I'm going for a similar look.

Here are a couple of how he looked prior to adding the mouth fabric-

I like that he looks as though he is pondering life's theories.

Once the mouth fabric was sewn in, Toby started to smile. Actually, we discussed whether or not to go with smile lines or without. I had started getting used to the roundness of the uncovered head, but now that everything is in place, I really like the way it's coming along.

Here's a close up of the eye. It's not all fixed into place yet, so things may look a bit cleaner as I go, but this is roughly where I want it to end up.

Sorry for the delay. He's getting closer. I've got to cover the ears, add the neck fabric, the belly button, and start on the scars.

(random side note related to scars: I did joker make-up for a friend today, and having never tried it before AND a time limit of about an hour to figure it all out, I'd say it went well. Drop a comment if you are interested in seeing it. I'll ask him if it would be ok to show on here. I also realize you have come for PUPPETS, not stage make-up, so I understand if there's little interest)

Keep checking back this week for more updates. We've got some great stuff in store for the near future.


Sick Computer

Hey guys. I've gotten a few steps further with Toby the Zombie Baby but...my computer is sick (I'm writing this on my girlfriend's). It wont start up and the Apple Store is booked straight for as many days as they have available to sign up for appointments. I got by for a few weeks with letting it go a couple days, then trying to turn it on again, but for the past week+ it's decided on being done with working. This means I haven't been able to upload any of the pictures yet...(it also means I may loose half of this build process, but at least I backed some of the beginning, along with the rest of the files on my computer)

So instead, for your viewing pleasure...

Enjoy this very cute, very perplexing picture of a monkey wearing glasses! YAY!

I think what I'm going to do is bust out my old desktop, move it across the apartment to a spot where I can hook it up to the internet, and see if I can get things posted that way.

He's so close to done, and if it weren't for the fact that this week is pretty much finals week (the conservatory likes to get things done early) I'd be posting the finished product by the end of the night.

"School comes first..." Bah. I'm definitely in a place both mentally and physically where I am ready to be done with the school part so that life as a starving artist can start happening, but as I realized last night while responding to a blog on Puppet Hub- I'm pretty glad I changed majors a few years ago and went for the training in theater.

While being a little too infatuated with the art of movement and the inanimate may be a great jumping off point into a career in this kind of work; I find the involvement in acting/dance/music/clowning and BEYOND to serve well as a means of standing out as a performer. As is the case in most fields, the more well rounded you are the better chance you have at success. What I love though, is recognizing the connections between the things that make me who I am, and working to highlight them.

Bob Fosse did that with his choreography, although interesting to note, he did it with the elements of himself that others considered to be weaknesses. The fact that he had poor turn out, rounded shoulders, and premature baldness, revolutionized the dance world forever.

When I started this post I didn't realize I'd be discussing my dreams like this but hey, since I don't have any Toby pictures, I might as well...

One of my biggest dreams has always been to help other people realize their own dreams. That may sound quite a bit mushy...that's because it kind of is...BUT it's true. Since I have been lucky enough to have as many positive influences in my life, telling me that I can do the things I dream, I guess I've been inspired to continue promoting that campaign. (that word is spelled so funny)

You wanna know where I'd like to be in 10 years?
...if you don't, click away because I'm going to tell you anyway.

Along side the group of artists here at Fisticuff, I want to have television shows, films, and web media reaching the masses, that will positively contribute to the change people want to see in the world and themselves. I want to help children of all ages to hang on to their imaginations, and I want to create programs where students who's dreams have been disregarded or who have been forced to grow up too quickly, can discover their creative passions...free of charge!

I wouldn't mind a lot of money either so I can pay back all the student loans and spoil my parents rotten since they've always deserved but never been blessed with a lifestyle of such luxuries.

Wow, so yeah...there's more to all that, but that's probably enough to read right now. I'll get the new pictures of Toby posted soon.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Little More Official

Well I haven't had much time for "Baby Making" but I did receive my business cards.

We decided it would be another jolt of organizational energy and motivation to make things more official, so we jumped on Vista Print and snagged some proof that we have a company. We decided to go with one of their pre-made designs from the premium business card selection and after searching through I believe a couple thousand, we narrowed it down to this one.

It's a great sight to check out and while I'm sure there are many good ones out there, I know for a fact this one loves their sales...long time! Check them out if you've been wondering about cards or any other type of tangible business STUFF. Sign up for an account (free) and make sure you get the emails...they send one just about everyday, but it's always about the sales. I suggest you go through the bajillion designs, bookmark your favorites and test your text on a few. Then once you have the one you want, keep it in your "shopping cart" or whatever they call it and keep checking your email until it says either 80% off or free premium business cards. You pay for shipping, and anything extra (glossy finish, color image on back). If you've got the change, it's not a bad idea to go for the color image on the back because as I've found today- people love to see if there is something on the other side of a business card, and when they see that there is, they get this giddy little excitement that makes it worth the extra money.

Sometime down the line, I'm sure we'll get the chance to incorporate a logo and design of our own into our literature to hand out, but while we wait for the day to come when rich people will want nothing more than to throw money our way, we hope these will do the trick. They really jumped out to us and I'm sure there will be plenty of good ones that will jump out for you, no matter what line of work you are in.

Kyle's are in the mail and should find him shortly (provided they find the right hotel, AHH!) Something you may notice is the lack of address...the lone "Chicago,IL" there in the bottom corner. Kyle's wont even get that since he's "found a life on the highway", but "movin' right along..."

...ok, that one was bad...and I'm not going to lie...I just did a search and read through all the lyrics to find anything I could use to punch up the joke...

Anyway, let us know what you think.

And I promise I'm practicing my Lamaze techniques so I can push this baby out a little faster.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

He DOES exist!

HOORAY!!!  The internet here in Virginia is modern!

So, you've probably noticed a complete lack of my presence these past few weeks.  Tour got a little crazy... enough said.  Things are still moving forward on the blue guy - albeit slowly due to the nature of working and traveling.  I could not have anticipated the difficulty of building on the road.

We are taking steps forward in the development of several web-based productions, talking with fellow puppeteers and consulting with other writers, etc...  Some of them likely will not be able to come to fruition until we can assemble our team in one place.  Even in this, the age of technology, it is so unbelievably difficult to virtually assemble a team considering the variety of schedules and stupid internet connections...  Anyway...

I hope you all had an amazing family and friend-filled Thanksgiving.  I won't inundate you with a long story - but suffice it to say I learned a few lessons this year about what is important.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for caring.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Getting There

So I had hoped to be done today with my little Zombie friend, but as I projected, I have to wait until tomorrow to get some of the work done on the head which is holding up the rest of the process.

I also had to take a trip to the fabric store today since this is my last day of Thanksgiving break.  That doesn't sound like something that would take too long, but when you live in the city with no car, it becomes a whole production just to get there.  

Lucky for me today, I only had to walk a couple blocks in freezing rain, wait 15 minutes for the bus, take that bus, transfer to another bus, wait another 15 minutes in the freezing rain, get on the next bus, get of that bus, walk another block in the freezing rain and there we go.  A small price to pay for a place with a pretty decent selection of faux fur...Their crafty selection isn't all that wonderful, but I did see a Michael's on the way back so I'll try there next time for that stuff.  AND, there is a Home Depot close by that DOES carry the right kind of Contact Cement (some don't I've found) so that's good too.

Back to baby.  I feel like I've put him in the corner...

Take a look at the wire coming out of his head in this picture, this is the basic idea for the hair.  

This right here, believe it or not, is what is holding up the process.  I have to spray it black and I can't do that in my building so when I go into work (building the sets as school) I can use the workshop to get that part finished.  Once that part is done, I can finish the work on the inside of the head.  I'm hoping that what I am using to secure the hair will double as more support for the hand relieving all tension for the puppeteer.  Then it's on to covering the head!

Here's a picture of the body being covered.  

So far I am really happy with this fleece.  Even before picking out the stitches, it hides the seams pretty well which is one of the big things I was worried about.

Above is the covered body.  I'm not sure how great the color shows but he's a pale green.  I found it a very fitting color for a baby AND it should help to bring out his cuddly side.

Speaking of sides, here is his back side.

What is great about this shot is how well you can see the off-kilter placement of the arms.  (Side note:  I think I say "off kilter" a lot because I worked across for the band Off Kilter in EPCOT for a month and a half a few years ago.  Great music, check them out on youtube.)  

I couldn't be happier about the seams...You can kinda make out the one there running down the underside of the arm on the left but I haven't picked it out yet so it may disappear completely.  I hid the body seams along the sides and at an angle that would be hard to see even if the fleece wasn't behaving so well.

The things we builders/perfectionists/(insert your craft here) go through...

I timed how long it took to sew just one foot.  With possibly 4 minutes of interruption to instant message Kyle, it took 65 minutes to sew this ONE foot!  The toes were such a...pain...it took all Saturday to complete both hands and feet, a task many people would skip and go straight to the sewing machine for.  A task that would take 10 minutes at most on a sewing machine.  (The same amount of time it took me to hand stitch one of the little toes.)  This folks is why I enjoy the foam part more.  However...I am very proud of the way they came out.  I haven't even picked out the stitches so when I've done that, the hours will really have been worth it.  That end result keeps me coming back to doing it by hand...Check out the Booties I found at Target too! 

So now with school starting up again, I'm really not sure when I'm going to be finishing this guy.  I was hoping tomorrow but unfortunately I have another sewing project that might have to cut in line.  This one is all sewing machine though and just a whole bunch of straight lines, so it shouldn't take very long at all. Hopefully no later than Thursday I'll have some great pictures of the finished baby but we'll if not, definitely by this weekend.  

There's that epic battle with time we've talked about on here, stopping by to say hello.  I can just say that I'm glad we do projects like this right now so that when the time (and money) comes to do the big projects, we'll know exactly how much time to budget.  

Wish me luck friends.  I can't wait to show you how he turns out.


P.S.  "Toby"  seems to be taking the lead both on here and with friend's who have commented verbally.  

Friday, November 28, 2008

Toby OR Edgar OR Jasper OR Boo Update...

So far I've got Toby, Edgar, Jasper and Boo for possible names. Any thoughts?

The foam work is DONE!

Take a look. I'm pretty happy with the way he is coming out. The compact look is exactly what I'm going for. I also decided to play around with the idea of making the limbs different lengths. The way he was originally conceived, the limbs were all off-kilter so I decided to give it a try.

It's funny, when you get to try not to make them look exactly the same, you still battle with the fact that you've got to make it right. I've dealt with that idea when building and painting sets or doing stage makeup where things are supposed to be disheveled or dirty. I think of it in terms of the way people view a Jackson Pollock original. Even though it looks like a mess, there is still an art to it that can't be matched by just splattering paint on a canvas. There is still a clarity in the chaos.
Here is a shot of just the body. I like that everything is attached right there already. I've never tried to cover something like this, but I'm ready to try.

Here's a shot of what he looks like from behind, in case you were wondering...

It's time now to cover him...I realized in constructing the body how much I like the foam work part of building the best. Maybe it's just that I've done more of it (I have so many started heads I can't even count) but I've noticed how easy it is to ruin a great foam work with...not so great stitching.

The fabric is always the biggest factor in how clean the final product will turn out. When it comes down to it, no one sees what you've done on the inside. I've battled some pretty awful fleece in the past which may be what scarred me from the covering process. The fleece I am about to try is new to me. It is quilting fleece rather than antron (which has just been too expensive to try yet) but I got it from a place I've never bought from before so I'll let you know how it goes...wish me luck.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Maybe a Toby...?

Toby came to mind as a possible name for the Zombie Baby. Now this may be because we watched a bit of the London launch of Sweeny Todd in class yesterday, but to me, the name Toby sounds like an eerie hug. A little random maybe but anyway...

I'm just about ready to attach his limbs! Here is a shot of what I've got so far.

I'm pretty happy with the size he is coming out. I'm a little nervous about covering him later on though, because I want as much mobility in the neck as I can get, yet I want a good flow between the neck and the body. Usually I'd just cover this up with a clothing item (I've thought briefly about using a bib) or I'd build it without foam to support the chest which allows the fleece that connects from the head to the belly to act as a neck and an upper body. In this case though, I really wanted a solid support for the arms, especially since the design involves the limbs being slightly out of place.

Here is what the hands will look like.

I made them pliable so he can suck his thumb, make different gestures, or even hang onto a "binky." I may actually have one lying around...I used to play Mr. Noodle at Sesame Place in "Elmo's World Live", so when people would leave their stuff behind (bottles, shirts, hats, sunglasses, etc...) I was told I could keep the lost items after they'd sit unclaimed for more than a week or so. Needless to say, I have a good amount of random prop/costumes for puppets now.

The rest of the limbs are almost ready. I'll post them soon.

Feel free to suggest some names still, I'm not sold on Toby just yet.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Making Babies...or shall I say...a Zombie Baby...

Here is a sketch I made from the design before the original made it's way through the laundry cycle.  It is very close to the sketch my friend had made with a few modifications...the ripped booties and the outie belly button were a couple of my touches.   I've been toying around with the idea to do a single tooth in the front on top but didn't add it to this sketch.

This is where I was heading with my comment in the recent post about having been inspired by the Puppet Heap dog. I love the compact look he has. It's so cute, and while I definitely wanted to stray from a carbon copy, I thought it was the perfect chance to mix a style I'd been wanting to try with the design I received (and a few thoughts of my own) to get the right look. It works so well with traits my friend was looking for...a cuddly yet morbid little friend.

I am also trying to figure out a good name for him.  Of course once he's out of my hands I'm sure he'll get a new one, but I'd love to call him something other than "Zombie Baby" during the build process.  If you have any good suggestions, feel free to leave a comment...I'd love to here some that I haven't thought of.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Body Building...

Here is how the belly and upper body came out.

I kept going back and forth trying to figure out if I wanted the belly to be larger, equal to, or smaller than the head of the baby. I ended up with a smaller belly than I thought I might try originally because I had just recently had a conversation about head size to body ratio in actual human development. Basically, your head as a baby takes up more of the length of your body than when you are a fully grown human...a clear observation to be made, yet an easy one to slip the mind when analyzing a design.

As far as the construction goes, I decided again on the same wedge concept as the head but made the pieces smaller which took eight instead of six to complete the sphere.  The top piece isn't anything fancy, just two pieces put together and shaped slightly.

I also drew out where I may be placing certain features once I start to cover him. I did this with the head as well. I feel like it really helps you get a chance to see how your ideas will fit on the same canvas, but the element of surprise is still there when you get started placing the features in 3D. The features of course help bring your creation to life...

Speaking of which, I realize I haven't made any "baby making" jokes just yet...

More pics to come...and you can be sure the bad jokes are on their way as well...


Sunday, November 23, 2008

So that's what a Zombie Baby's head looks like...

My show closed today and with Thanksgiving break on it's way, that means a little more build time.  So as I mentioned earlier, I am in the process of building a "Zombie Baby" for a friend in class.  Here is what the head looks like so far.  

The method I used for the foam work is pretty much the same technique Philip Hatter of Thistledown Puppets used in the videos for the Red Panda puppet he put out last summer-ish on youtube.  I'm not sure if that is exactly where we learned it, but the way he is able to explain it can help a great deal if you are unfamiliar with it.  If you haven't (or even if you have) checked that whole slew of videos out, go for it.   There is something to be learned no matter how many times you go through the same resources.  It may spark a creative genius of your own.  As you can see, I went more for a sphere, and if you play around with the concept, I'm sure there are many more interesting shapes to be found.

I ordered the plastic dome eyes from the company I mentioned in an earlier blog post.  They can really give a great clean look to your puppets, and to me that is very important. 

I'm not sure if it would be considered an OCD tendency, but I definitely obsess over the clarity of line when I design and build.  It's a challenge, especially when you are piecing together your unofficial certificate of build training from online sources and DVD special features.  So much of this line of work is trial and error which is tough on a nonexistent budget, but when it's important for you, you find a way.  

Stay tuned...more to come.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lack of Time and a Zombie Baby

So you may have noticed the lack of posts this week, and there is a reason for that...

...unfortunately it's not any cool reason like, "we were busy shooting the coolest new puppet video that is sure to blow your mind!" Actually for me, building has been pretty much out of the question as I'm opening a show this weekend. (Completely unrelated to puppets though...I'm playing Tiny Tom in Urinetown)

OK, I lied a little. In my procrastination from homework and housework, I was able to start a puppet for a friend. He drew up the design on a scrap piece of paper in class (which I would show here had it not gone through the wash in a pair of my jeans). Never fear, I expanded on the sketch he made and will be posting the progress shortly so stay tuned.

I'll be trying some new techniques on this one as his original design for a "Zombie Baby" fits into a similar style that I've been wanting to try after having been inspired by a puppet that Puppet Heap just made.

A little side note...if you haven't checked out Puppet Heap in the past, go there now...I'll wait...I don't mind, really. It's good stuff that we all can learn from...

...Ok, now that you've checked them out and are probably confused as to what a dog puppet has to do with a baby puppet...I'll just say, check back soon to see the beginning stages of the "Zombie Baby" to find out, along with anything else we may post in the mean time. I hear Kyle's puppet is almost finished.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Take Two: A Big Success

So I wasn't able to go to the Muppets, Music & Magic showing Saturday night, but I must say I am very glad to have been among the lucky ones to get to join in the fun on Sunday! As I said in the previous post, David Rudman was there as the guest host for the event which was a real treat. He brought along a friend you might all know...who does in fact still love cookies...you guessed it, COOKIE MONSTER! And in case you were wondering, Cookie, will forever love his cookies...none of this Veggie Monster hub-bub that's been going around for the last few years.

The event showcased Jim Henson's early work as a film maker. Not only did it include some of his extremely rare commercials (as well as some you might have caught on youtube) but some of his even lesser known works which did not include puppets at all. What was great about some of these videos, is that you can really see Henson's artistic genius in a whole new light, and while many of you who may read this blog would already consider the works you have seen to fit in a category such as that, I'm sure it helped convince some of the people in the theater that his work was not just for children.

In case you were wondering what question I decided to ask him, here it is...you may not consider it to be the most original question, but not only is it an important one to us here are Puppetfix, but possibly to you...

"What advice do you have for puppet builders/puppeteers who seriously want to make the transition from amateur to professional?"

To which he replied, and I don't quote (because my inner-monologue was speaking simultaneously; unfortunately downing out some of these words of wisdom)...

Really get yourself out there. Find the people who are doing it and get your foot in the door. Find as much work as you can and get as much training as you can find...

Of course I'm sure there was much more but the inner-monologue was saying..."Wow, you just asked David Rudman a question. Why did you start the question looking at the popcorn box and not at him. He's going to think you lack all confidence in the world to actually be able to be a great puppeteer. Make eye contact. Good. Wow, David Rudman is answering my question. That's pretty cool...Wait, what was that? Crap, I missed that...see he can make good eye contact, why can't I when I asking a question?"

Something to the effect at least.

Afterwards, I was able to talk to him with my girlfriend. We both worked at Sesame Place where she had been "great friends" (wink wink) with Baby Bear, and I with Cookie Monster so we were able to share that with him. He was great to talk to and I really hope we have the chance to meet him again in the future.

I'm waiting for conformation from him to see if I can post any of the pictures I took. I don't want to get your hopes up, but you can understand my want for doing things the right way. Until then, enjoy this totally random picture I'll post instead...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is why...

This morning, a schoolbus of children happened to be driving by as Elmo and Cookie Monster came outside the arena for a newscast.

From over 100 yards away you could hear the cheers and screams of delight as the kids realized that they were actually seeing some of their best friends live and in person.  The newscasters had to hold off taping until the bus pulled far enough away and the sounds of elation could no longer be heard.

Making dreams come true can be a daily thing... so why shouldn't it be?
This is why we do what we do... and we look forward to doing it for the rest of our lives.


Monday, November 10, 2008

So... I didn't quite make it...


It was a noble attempt... But due to me forgetting about our three-show Saturday and the fact that I have to pack - I was not able to complete the newest puppet...

BUT CHECK HIM OUT!  I like him a lot!

Today is a travel day, so I may be able to do some more on the bus to San Antonio.  Upon our arrival, I will likely find food first - but then I have a hot date with finishing this little fella.

Let me know what you think and keep an eye out for the final product!


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Muppets, Music & Magic at the Gene Siskel Film Center

Last night, I tried to go to the Muppets, Music & Magic event at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. Having missed it in NYC, even though I was coincidentally in the city for a mini vacation on the same day (long story, I'm still not over it yet)...I was excited to find out there would be an opportunity here in Chicago! With David Rudman (Cookie Monster/Baby Bear and more) here to kick off the festivities, I definitely wanted to go, especially since I live right down the street!

...it's not fun when the one thing you've been looking forward to for all of your loooooong week of school and work and rehearsals is SOLD OUT!

I got there and they were already having to turn people away. The venue is not the largest, but since I hadn't seen too much about it around town, I didn't think there should be much of a problem getting in.

Not-so-long story short: I have tickets now for today (where he will be hosting once again) and now all I have to do is figure out what I'm going to say when I get to meet him...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Challenge Update 1.1

As you can tell by the limited number of posts here thus far, 
this blog is Brand Spankin' New!

According to the previous post, I felt extremely ambitious and tricked myself into this present challenge... and thus sparking the idea for many challenges to come (more on that stuff later)!

If I can get this video thing to work, I made a short video to show you some of my progress... It may look like a step back from some of the pictures you may have seen - but as you may have guessed, these things take planning... and there are a lot of layers!

So, if there is NO video... I'm working on it.

If there IS... Grab your favorite snack, person, animal (real or stuffed), and ENJOY!

  ... although its very short so maybe you should just grab a small one.
                        ... Snack, that is... Unless you prefer smaller people?

I guess what I'm trying to say is - 

[Post edited - For some reason I can't load the video I actually wanted... I'll try at the next hotel]

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Self-Induced Challenge!

      Here's the deal.  I travel for a living - limiting my life to two suitcases, a backpack, and a messenger bag - BUT I'M ADDICTED (hence the title of our blog).  I NEED to be able to work on my craft while traveling, but its not easy!  Essentially I travel with a mobile puppet workshop so that I can get my fix on the road -

Which brings me to the point of this post...

I started this week with just a head - then challenged myself to finish a puppet by the end of the weekend.

So keep your eyes open and strap yourself in - I wouldn't want you to fall off the edge of your seat in anticipation... 
               ...unless you tape it so we can all laugh about it later.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The New Old Couple

Here are the newest puppets we've created at Fisticuff Puppet Productions.  Happy and Ethel were built for a client who performed a risque show all about sex.  Through the beauty of song they addressed the common misconception that as you age, your libido wanes...  
In case  you were wondering

Try getting those images out of your head!  At least now you can imagine this fantastic-looking duo instead of people you know...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Take One, Pass it On

We're the kind of people that believe that, when something great happens to you, you should pass it on...So we're doing just that.

Today we received a shipment of white dome eyes from www.puppetminister.com.  The order had been placed a few weeks ago but hadn't seemed to come in nearly as fast as it had when we ordered from them a couple summers ago.  Only a few days ago, we got an email explaining that the order had made it's way into their spam folder instead of to their regular emails.  Today when I opened the overflowing box, there was a little message saying, "I threw in a few extra pair.  I hope this makes up for the delay."  Some may say that's just good business.  To us however, it is a wonderful example of an act of great kindness, an act that can and will easily be passed on.

If anyone has seen the movie Pay it Forward, the concept is not foreign to you.  But for those who haven't (and if you haven't please check it out asap) I'll explain.  One person does something great for three people who do something great for three more, and so on and so forth.  The way we see it, those are not just a couple pairs of extra eyes.  They will become great puppets that will be built for a company, puppet troupe or church group that will share their show with families, children, or anyone who may then be inspired to share something they love with the rest of the world.  

It's the butterfly effect (which is not as good a movie so you don't have to check it out if you don't want to).  Something so small can create something bigger than we'll ever know, and what's better than a little reminder to spread some creative energy?

Good luck with whatever it is that you choose to share with someone else today, and if you need some great eyes for your next project, don't hesitate to look them up.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Well, you most likely find your news elsewhere, but I feel compelled to share that Pepe the King Prawn wrote a book - which was released TODAY!

He will also be on CBS' "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson."

I anticipate laughing heartily at his oft-racy antics and hiLARious accent.

In other news, pictures are starting to emerge from the first round of Muppet Whatnots available from FAO Schwarz.  I am curious to see what kind of materials they use and which corners they cut to make their price so accessible.  I plan on ordering one for myself in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out here as well!

And just for fun, here is an old school Sesame Place production...

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Here's the deal...
We are two young puppeteers striving to be the best.  We have steadily climbed into the world of professionalism and are now looking to get our work out there.  Essentially this blog will serve two purposes.

-  First off, we are being selfish and want a catalog of 
our work that we don't have to pay for.  It can be so 
costly sometimes and we have other things to be 
working on - which leads into...

-  The real reason we created this blog is to give those 
people who care (or fancy themselves our peers) an 
opportunity to see our work(s) in progress.

-  The third "surprise" purpose is to help ourselves 
keep realistic deadlines, which as you might have 
guessed, can sometimes be the absolute downfall of 
artists and perfectionists alike.  It seems the two can 
not coexist, which makes life and work VERY difficult 

We've got some fantastic ideas floating around inside our dangerously creative minds and would like you to enjoy them as well.  They may not turn out to be as good as we originally conceived them to be (few things are), but this is where YOU come in.
We don't want to be the only ones with a say in this stuff.  Heck!  If you are reading this you should get a say in what you want to know and what you want to see...


We're open to suggestion(s) and look forward to having others care about these projects as well.  Some of our ideas are dumb, some are quite sentimental, and most of them seem to lean toward ridiculous, challenging, and somehow meaningful - but we know that in order to realize our plethora of dreams we need to have something to show for ourselves and that will not be possible without you.

It seems like sometimes artists become disillusioned into their own brilliance - we have our parents to thank for constantly reminding us that we still have a long way to go - but without people to enjoy our work, it has no significance.  Basically what I'm saying is

PLEASE read/watch/savor our posts (I promise there will be many)
PLEASE tell others about these two cool cats who are trying to make a difference in the world (more on that kind of stuff later)
PLEASE feel free to tell us how you really feel (we both have very good electronic ears if you need a virtual shoulder to cry on)
PLEASE DON'T forget about us (we NEED you...)

Wow... This is pretty long... If you made it this far leave a comment because you deserve a prize!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Welcome To puppetFix

Welcome to puppetFix, brought to you from the guys at Fisticuff Puppet Productions.  What will be great about this blog, is the fact that a couple of us will be posting from different parts of the country.  We'll bring you news on any puppet findings we come across, as well as give you a peek into some of our up coming projects.  We are builders, puppeteers, enthusiasts and more so this blog will reflect that.  Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to let us know what kinds of puppet paraphernalia you need for your fix.