Our  Mission: To support and empower puppeteers by providing  information detailing puppetry news, performance, puppet building techniques and promote positive business practices.

 

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Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm – Kickstarter!!
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Pee Wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series comes to Blu-ray!!
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Monkey Horse Cop
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Performing Life
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Crash and Tim Lagasse Crash and Bernstein interview at D23 Disney Expo
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Done SWSCA B.J. Guyer Class puppet
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Hand Puppet Design and Fabrication with B.J. Guyer
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Stan Winston School offering a 3 Day Puppet Building Course
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Pariis Opera House – Hearts
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How a Community Builds a Puppet Show

Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm – Kickstarter!!


Jamie Anderson, son of late Gerry Anderson (Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, Space 1999) wants to continue the work of his father by producing one of his father’s series concepts “Firestorm”.

As they describe on their Kickstarter campaign:

Firestorm was originally conceived and developed by Gerry Anderson in 2001 under the title ‘Storm Force’. The series was eventually bought by a Japanese production company and developed as an anime series. By the time it reached the screen it was quite different to the original series Gerry Anderson had envisaged, and we want to go back to those original concepts and develop them as a true Gerry Anderson production.

Firestorm will see a return to several elements that we think are essential for a real Gerry Anderson project:

Practical effects – yep, that’s REAL explosions
Physical sets
Beautifully detailed miniatures
and yes… puppets!
Harking back to the wonderful world of Thunderbirds, we’re calling this updated combination of elements: Ultramarionation.

Here are some of the beautifully crafted puppets being built by the talented folks at Mackinnon and Saunders (Bob the Builder, Postman Pat and Fifi and the Flowertots, to Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox) Their Gerry Anderson connection runs deep – Ian Mackinnon had his very first paid job working on the 1980s pilot show Space Police, and the company was also responsible for the puppets in Gerry Anderson’s Lavender Castle.From concept maquettes, mould making and armatures to costume, hair and paint, their team will always go the extra mile to ensure the characters that are produced create the maximum impact on screen.

2014-09-12_Tokashi sculpting Sam

 

2014-09-15_Noel sculting McCallister 2

 

McAllister Front PRINT

 

Their Kickstarter campaign is chalked full for information and describes exactly what the funding will be used for. Please give to this amazing project!

Pee Wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series comes to Blu-ray!!

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If you were a child (or college student) watching TV in the late 80s, Pee Wee Herman, the cherubic man-child of Pee Wee’s Playhouse, was your patron saint of silly and fun. As a college student, I fondly recall rolling out of bed just before 10am on a Saturday morning to tune in for my wake-up call and weekly inspiration. Cool Cat, Dirty Dog and Chicky Baby were beat-poet, jazz musicians in the Puppetland Band, puppet fish swam in the fishbowl, while Randy, the bully marionette teased and terrorized. Of course, there was Pterry the Pterodactyl, Pee Wee’s ardent sidekick who loved to fly and play catch. There were several other resident puppets including Clocky, Globey, Magic Screen, the flowers, Mr. Window, Chairy and others. Pee Wee’s Playhouse incorporated everything you could love as a young puppeteer including claymation, animation, stop motion effects and wonderful humanette techniques. The psychedelic color palate and cast of characters were an artist’s dreamscape and, no-doubt, instilled inspiration for that generation of merry-makers and would-be puppeteers.

The entire series plus a glut of bonus gems will be available on blu-ray in US and Canada on October 21, 2014. If you were a fan of the recent Wayne White documentary “Beauty Is Embarrassing” with White’s brief focus on his days working on the Playhouse, the included bonus materials looks like a puppeteer’s and Playhouse fan’s dream come true.

From the Shout Factory official release:

Synopsis

TV Guide named Pee-wee’s Playhouse #10 of the Top 25 Cult Television Shows Ever!

All 45 wacky episodes, plus Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, have been METICULOUSLY RE-MASTERED from the original film elements — and now YOU can see this ground-breaking series for the very first time in beautiful HIGH-DEFINITION!

Winner of an amazing 22 Emmy® Awards!

Scream along to the SECRET WORD with Pee-wee Herman and his pals — Jambi the Genie, Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Reba the mail lady, Captain Carl, Magic Screen, Conky, Globey, Chairry, Pterri, Randy and many more! Aaaaarrrrrrrrr!!! I know you are, but what am I!?! Mecka-lecka hi… Mecka-hiney ho!

Includes Bonus Features:

– OVER 4 HOURS of brand-new interviews with the cast and crew, plus never-seen, behind-the-scenes footage—all part of TEN FEATURETTES, including:
– Building the Playhouse
– Opening the Playhouse
– Writing for the Playhouse
– The Look of the Playhouse
– Music of the Playhouse
– The Cast of the Playhouse
– Puppets of the Playhouse
– Animating the Playhouse
– A Very Merry Christmas Special
– Fans and Memorabilia of the Playhouse
– These featurettes include interviews with actors Laurence Fishburne (Cowboy Curtis), S. Epatha Merkerson (Reba the mail lady), Lynne Marie Stewart (Miss Yvonne) and John Paragon (Jambi the genie).
– Mark Mothersbaugh and Danny Elfman explain the music of the show and the Emmy award-winning production design team of Gary Panter, Wayne White and Ric Heitzman explain how the sets and puppets were imagined and produced.
– Animation Supervisor of all 5 seasons of Pee-wee’s Playhouse, Prudence Fenton (Liquid Television) talks about all the types of animation used in the program and animators Peter Lord and David Sproxton (Wallace & Gromit) discuss their contributions.
– Ve Neill, the multi-Oscar winning make-up artist talks about designing the make-up ‘looks’. Two of the shows writers talk about how the scripts were created.
– Other cast and crew explain, in fascinating detail, stories from the production of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. If that weren’t enough, many of the shows puppeteers and voice artists are interviewed about how the puppet characters were brought to life.

Article Written by: David Manley- Up In Arms

Monkey Horse Cop

Produced by Redleg Films, Monkey Horse Cop is an action-comedy web series that stars Puppets as police. It’s Lethal Weapon meets Sesame Street, it is currently in Pre-Production and they hope with your help  they hope to move it into production this fall. Please give and let’s get this made. CLICK HERE TO TO TO KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN

Done SWSCA B.J. Guyer Class puppet

So here is my finished puppet. He’s a cute lil’ cat- but don’t let his outer exterior fool you. He is part of an elite force that call themselves “Extinction Force 5″. Street performers by day, assassins by night- EF5 tour the world in search of extinct animals to save by eliminating their threat using the latest high tech weapons.

The puppet has adjustable hands and tail that is basically armature wire. The tail is supported inside by L200. His tongue is carved/dyed foam and his eyes are vacuum formed with dremeled (so they match the curve of the eye ball) buttons for pupils . The Fur was patterned in multiple pieces to provide me the grain direction I needed and I used a hair dryer/comb technique in some areas to blend or change some grain direction. The ears also have armature wire so I can adjust their position if I need. The nose is Crayola Model Magic-dried and covered with dyed Antron. The time consuming part was hand stitching the stripes and grey palm on his hands and othe fur work such as trimmimg. I also modified the body a bit so it has more of a cat like look- a bit more longer and curvy :-)

All the armor and the goggles weigh next to nothing as they are L200 craft foam or PVC. The gun is a Nerf water gun which I opened and gutted/modified, then affixed it to a rod. The long sleeve shirt I distressed and ripped in a couple of areas. If this was an actual show I would have also made a couple of more character heads that would be weathered and dirty to reflect the the costume but for this class I decided to not weather the character so I could use him in other projects. I referred to the tutorial by Rob Ramsdell on metallic painting techniques for paining the armor. For flexible L200 I had to prep for painting by coating it with 7 layers of pva glue and 2 coats of black plasti-dip so the paint won’t crack after I put it on. I also added decals to the armor for more realism. There is some actual leather work on the belt and goggles as I felt L200 wouldn’t provide me the look I wanted. There are leather looking pieces on the back armor that is actually L200 painted to look like the leather I used in the other pieces.The eyes were an issue for me as I wanted to add a black “liner” around the eye because I felt it got lost a bit against the white fur. But after some trials I found the black made him look older and or Gothic, which didn’t lend to the character, so I decided to go with the original look of white on white.

I’ve included some shots without the armor and with his mouth closed.

All in all I learned some amazing techniques from this class which I will definitely use for future projects and would love to thank BJ Guyer for his support and for the pattern this character is based on- funny how much a pattern  head can change just by adding a muzzle :-) Thanks also to my other classmates that helped with their suggestions and offered their knowledge to make parts of this build easier.

PS- Yes I use toilet plungers as puppet stands LOL Don’t worry they weren’t used prior. LOL

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Hand Puppet Design and Fabrication with B.J. Guyer

Hello Everyone,
Sorry I haven’t posted in quite a long time. My wife and I welcomed our newest member to our family on June 5th- our son Elliott and since then not only have I been focusing on the family but I also been busy building a puppet for the Stan Winston School of Character Arts Hand Puppet Design and Fabrication course with B.J. Guyer.

So far the course has been fantastic! B.J. is such a wealth of knowledge and he even provided us with a pattern to work with. Even though this is a introduction to puppet building course I have learned a lot of techniques I will definitely use for future puppet builds.  The other people who signed up for the course are all very talented and as they post their work I am always in awe of the calibre of talent they possess.

We have one more class then two weeks to finish the puppet and submit it for grading.  Here are some pictures of the puppet and costuming I have been busy trying to complete before the deadline- my goal is to make a Puppet that is camera ready. I will post regular updates here on PuppeteersUnite! as I build the character to completion.
Tiger concept sketch Battlebelt fb59bb3ea635d101edd27cd78afd37 Goggles Done Goggles SWSCA Puppet (1) SWSCA Puppet (13) SWSCA Puppet (15) Tiger

How a Community Builds a Puppet Show

MonsterPress

Up In Arms’ latest puppet musical, “Monster Intelligence“, makes its debut with 3 shows free to the public in Orange County, New York on May 10, June 7 and June 14, 2014. Looking back, it’s been quite the journey. Over a year ago, many of my friends in the puppet community had been discussing the hurdles we face as full time artists. Bookings were and continue to be low and balancing budgets and the prospect of producing new shows becomes difficult to reconcile. This article won’t be about the hardships that we all know too well. I’d rather focus on the triumphs and community of puppeteers and supporters who made this show possible.

Last year, I became aware of a grant available through our county office of tourism which promotes arts events here in Orange County, NY. Several grants would be awarded at a maximum of $5000. Part of the funding had to come from the applying organization which just meant I had to show that I was investing in my project as well. It was my first grant and I had two very smart and educated nieces guiding me as they were both familiar with the grant writing process. Months after the grant was finalized, I was notified that I was a successful applicant and my project would move ahead with funds from Orange County Tourism and the County of Orange. This is the major reason why the show was even able to move forward in production.
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The grant and budget would pay for the script writer, music arranger, recording studio, puppet materials, additional puppet builder, scenery and props, photographer, talent rehearsal and performance stipend. Along with that, I had a community of people ready to lend a hand. Derek Lux is a builder from LA who was kind enough to buy an Up In Arms t-shirt when I had them printed to raise funds. I always enjoyed his artistry and was happy to be able to employ him as my additional builder. Although the materials were supplied, he jumped in at a reduced fee to help build some of the puppets. Pasha Romanowski from Project Puppet has always been a champion of all we do at Up In Arms and lent his artistry in drawing some initial concept designs for many of the characters. When it came time to construct props, I needed a drawing of a young monster for a cereal box. Of course, Dave Hulteen came to mind and I knew just the character of his I wanted to use. When I asked for use of the character, he not only allowed me to use it but, mocked up what he thought the cereal box cover might look like and it’s now being used in the show. These are all people that I’ve developed relationships with online over the years but, it still fills me with love and support that these people believe in what I do. Relationships in this community are everything to me. I met puppeteer Charlie Kanev at the POA festival in Swarthmore, PA last summer and he wanted to help in any way he could. I want to support this young talent, not only because of the friendship we’ve forged but, because of the amazing artistry and potential that he so obviously has. When I needed a butterfly for the opening scene, Charlie, with his knowledge of rod puppet mechs, built me a beautiful butterfly rod puppet with flapping wings. Charlie was instrumental in designing and painting some of the set pieces as well and will be puppeteering for the premiere performances. A designer I met at the Puppetry Guild of Greater New York (NYC) was Justin DuPont who designed and built a simple rolling frame for the monster’s doors which roll on and off during the show.

I took Colette Searls’ workshop “Directing for Puppetry” at the POA conference and realized that I’ve had to direct from within for my shows, being both director and puppeteer. Having an outside look at your show or having someone with that vision can be so helpful. With all of the great music and artistry that’s already gone into “Monster Intelligence”, I wanted it to achieve a greater vision. One of my favorite puppeteers that I’ve worked with on “Helping Drew” is Amy Rush as she’s always inspired better performance from me. I also met Joshua Holden, another amazing artist at the POA Festival, and enlisted the two to workshop “Monster Intelligence” so I could have that outside look and observe what’s possible with the various characters and their scenes. Amy and Joshua were a joy to work with and helped me see a better vision for “Monster Intelligence” that I couldn’t have completely seen for myself.
 
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Of course, there are more than just puppeteers and puppet builders that made this show happen. I’m lucky to be part of an arts community where I live and called upon talented friends for the initial table-read of the show, vocal talent to record the show, Scott Test, our exceptional music arranger, my friend Hannah Blair Butler who created costumes for a few of the characters and, my insanely talented friend John Simpkins in Oregon who painted the backdrop for the show. Major kudos, of course, to my creative partner and script writer Alex Ishkanian for taking on the ‘monster’ task of bringing this story to life. “Monster Intelligence” is ready to be embraced by an audience with a community of exceptionally talented and caring individuals behind it.

Article by David Manley

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