UCLA Puppetry Workshop

Dept. of FTVDM, UCLA

Designed as a hands-on overview of Puppetry Arts as it intersects with film and television, including animatronics and motion capture. From designing and fabricating simple puppets, improvising, storyboarding, real-time character operating, lighting, experimenting with camera placement, and finishing a short Product.
For Creators-- Animators, Filmmakers, Storytellers, Actors, Directors, and Visual Artists
12 sessions of 3 hrs each, twice a week

Steven Barr (aka Ritz-Barr) started acting and producing theatre while studying at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, where he earned a degree in Education. From 1978 to 1989 he resided in Paris, France, where he studied at LeCoq's Movement/Mime School, before committing to the Art of the Puppet. He developed and performed over twelve original productions, appearing in France, England, and Belgium, and in festivals in Hungary. He also designed abstract puppet figures and participated in two large-scale modern dance productions that toured extensively throughout Europe. After moving to Los Angeles in 1989, he began work in the film and television business. Among his numerous film credits as a puppet performer are Batman Returns, Alien Resurrection, Muppets Tonight, Men In Black and Team America. His first puppet-film production FAUST is the first of several works in a series entitled, Classics in Miniature.
www.classicsinminiature.com  and www.lapuppet.com

Puppetry Overview (with video and discussion)

Simple puppets (fabricated by students)
Complex Hand, Rod, and string controlled puppet operation.
Animatronic Puppetry
Conceptual overview of Motion capture
Shadow Animation
Create story, perform and shoot it.


SOU Puppetry Class



While preparing this class I realize it cannot be everything to everybody but I will try to make it that way. Most people in the class are experienced theatre instructors, some have some puppet experience, and some are younger students within the Theatre (stagecraft, costumes, dance, music). I settled on a main theme of making and operating a soft foam puppet because so many references in the bios. mentioned Avenue Q (not War Horse or Lion King). But we will be exploring Puppetry in all its splendor just the same. If this workshop is not FUN, then I will have failed you all. (note the time changes from early outline.)

The SOU 2012 PUPPET CLASS Reader –divided into Parts 1-5--contains articles you may find interesting when you have the time to do some heavy concentrating (hopefully before the class begins so I can address any questions you have about an article or essay). But the class will be primarily a lab/production class and the Reader contains info. and essays that I find either motivating or highly interesting to me.

The first day of class you will get handouts that address fabrication, manipulation concepts and exercises, and the scene study work briefly outlined here.

Monday July 23, 2012
9-11:30 Meet. General Hellos. Puppet concepts. Pass out eyes. Start exercises.

THEN onto Class presentations….
Cultural Puppetry through visual presentations on:
Japan, China, Myanmar, Indonesia, Russia, Germany, France, Great Britian, Italy, Turkey, Native and Indigenous People, Middle East, Vietman, Africa, South and Central America.
Puppetry in Prehistory, Puppetry Arts in Religion, Political Puppetry, Puppets in Therapy, Pageant and Parade Puppetry, Puppetry in Public Health.

Hopefully if your 5-10 min. presentation is with PowerPoint we will all be able to share it (include links). Bring it on a memory stick so we can easily go from one to another. If you haven’t been assigned a topic yet, write me ASAP, (my email is in the header).

12:30 -3:00 finish class presentations

discussions around CLASS READER A and B  (please read some of them before you come to the workshop—or at least honestly attempt to go over them ).

3-5  Exercises for the Puppet operator with Eyes and Hand only.
-- Lab/movement work on human sensations associated with puppetry. Puppet concepts: push, pull, direct, horizontals, verticles etc. (Rod, string, hand puppets, hybrids).

--Introduction to 7 Great Passions and their expression through sound and movement of Puppets (calm, fear, anger, joy, envy, greed, jealousy).

7-9pm See Puppet films by Classics in Miniature and our other shorts:
Quixote, Faust, Drunk Driving PSA, maybe more

9-11:30 Begin soft-foam puppet fabrication (all materials provided)
Draw patterns onto foam, cut them out, then glue it all together

12:30 – 5  Work on Fabrication of foam puppet;
including arms, hands, hat, hair, rods

7-9pm  SEE theatre together Medea, MacBeth, Cinderella

9-11:30    Fabrication continues at warp speed; probably we will NOT cover puppet with fleece fabric because we will be short on time, but you will get the fleece so you can do it later.

12:30 – 5    Finish Puppet fabrication for the time being and begin
Manipulation techniques with the puppets. Do character introductions, movement, get to know puppet and explore your playing field (voice, movement of character in space & in place, your connection to the puppet. Concepts; fixed point, momentum, dynamics, spatial depth, lip synch.

7-9pm   STORY development and character development session. Puppet scene study with Ave. Q; and Waiting for Godot.

9-11:30  Assuming everyone has a finished puppet, and knows “who” it is, and can operate it with some authority, we will form 4 groups ( Earth, Wind, Fire, + Air). Each group then decides on specific theme or event to dramatize with their puppet in a group.

12:30 – 5       Group work on final project.

7-9pm             Group work on final project

9-11:30pm       Group work

1:30 – 5            Final tweeks with group work

7-9pm            final presentations and PARTY-TIME

-Bring special tools and materials you may have for making puppets if you want (scissors, special fabric, glue gun or other items).

-Also bring loose fitting clothes that allow you to move in all directions. If you have black clothes you may want to bring them too for the final presentations but this is not essential.

-Optional: Bring prepared monologues or be ready to improvise one (preferred).

-And be prepared to sing or lip synch a song of YOUR CHOICE. Bring some recorded lyrics that you can listen and follow along.