Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Creating the illusion of life

The other day I was coughing about when I got an SMS from my friend saying "I didn't know you have a puppet in a movie". I SMSed right back "neither did I". He then sent me a clip from a 2006 Israeli kids movie titled "Little Heroes", which indeed features a puppet I made and sold, having no idea it will star in a film (lawyers already advised).

More than not knowing, more than not being credited or paid, I was shocked at the horrible way the poor puppet was operated. No wonder it looked so blue. Time for a puppet operating and handling 101 boys and girls, based on all the errors made in the movie clip my friend sent me.

Here we go - watch and learn.

The errors are:
  1. Poor thing is being operated from the.. well.. butt.
    God (or me, in this case) gave your puppet an operating opening at the back of the neck. Use it! No need to sodomize your puppet, or hurt your arm. The operating hole is placed at the best place to provide optimal control of the mouth and head, and minimal harm to your wrist.
  2. The puppet is not focused.
    His eyes are all over the place, which ruins the illusion of a real character talking. The eyes of the puppet, and therefore, the point which should be facing the audience, are on your knuckles. Make sure you are holding your hand with the knuckles facing straight and slightly downwards. Practice in front of the mirror, to make sure your audience, be it many or or a single person, feels the puppet is looking and talking straight at them.

  3. He is moving his mouth too much
    The puppet's mouth is moving non stop. If you look at yourself speak in the mirror, you will realize much of the speech is pronounced with a closed mouth using your tongue and teeth. The puppet should not move its mouth more than twice per word. Practice your puppet saying "toilet sit" (or אזדרכת in Hebrew) while moving its mouth only twice.

    Check Erez singing Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix for reference. I'm moving his mouth way too much in this clip, but still it is about half the times the blue one is moving in the movie. This is, after all, opera!

In conclusion, here are the three golden rules for creating a successful illusion of life:
  1. Use the tools the puppet designer gave you. Learn the advantages and minuses of your puppet, and the proper way of operating it. And practice practice practice.
  2. Keep the puppet focused on its audience.
  3. Move the puppet as little as needed. Mannerisms are nice on a puppet, but only in the right measure. Do not make it look as if it is possessed.
If all this made you long for a puppet of your own, I will gladly make you a small or large one.


sefi said...

איזה בלוג חמוד ומפתיע יש לך. תמיד כיף לגלות כאלה ותודה על ביקור אצלי. אבוא לבקר שוב.
אה, והיצור שיצרת מקסים.

Sharona R. said...

תודה רבה לך


staceyrebecca said...

Very nice!

Sharona R. said...

Much obliged Stacey!