Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Two Video Puppetry Training Classes

So you want to be a Muppeteer? Or you want to be a cast member of Avenue Q on tour, perform on stage for shows like Pee Wee's Playhouse, maybe even do a puppet greeting card for Jib Jab or Puppet Greetings? Or perhaps you want to do your own YouTube puppet series? Maybe you're an actor with mad improvisational skills, but the moment you put on a puppet, your character looks like a wet noodle?

If so, you gotta learn your video puppetry chops.

Resources for learning this specialized skill have increased dramatically recently. Not long ago, your best bet was joining your local Puppeteers of America Guild, gaining techniques and advice from others, watching old episodes of Sesame Street and The Muppet Show over and over again, practicing lip-sync with your hands to songs in front of a camcorder. Another approach (which I used) was working at a Cable Public Access Television station. These are still great ways, but now you have more options!

Why not sign up for a hands-on video puppetry class? Two of note are:

Michael Earl's Puppet School
John Tartaglia's Puppetry Classes

I can highly recommend Michael's class, as I was lucky to try it years ago. Michael worked on the original Muppet Movie and played Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street. His teaching approach is similar to a dance instructor -- build up dexterity with specific moves set to music first, repeating them until mastered. Then learn fancier choreography and improvisational techniques. Now he has extended the class into an entire school that features workshops in Seattle, NYC, and Los Angeles.

John Tartaglia was one of the original stars of Avenue Q on Broadway. Now he's offering a class in Los Angeles, with more to follow in NYC presumably. If you happen to take his class, please let me know how it is!

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posted by Brian at 1:23 PM


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