I subscribe to the Henson.com podcasts, and in looking back over the past 3 years worth, found several centered around EXACTLY what I'm interested in these days...
Puppet Up! Uncensored - Backstage (06/15/09) -- Behind 4-5 years of magic? More magic!! And I saw these same performers in the August show! Allan Trautman (puppeteer-imp), Julianne Buescher (puppeteer-imp), Drew Massey (puppeteer-imp; friendly guy), Colleen Smith (improviser-pptr), Brian Clark (improviser-pptr) and Victor Yerrid (who taught Colleen & Brian puppetry -- met this nice guy, too)... Along with the show's Creative Director and Host Patrick Bristow and Music Director Willie Etra (GROUNDLINGS awesomeness!!!)
How hard is it for a puppeteer to get really good at improv? Allan feels his brain is divided into 2 parts - 50% for puppetry; 50% for improv. Thinks the improvisers have it harder. Probably bc some of the puppeteers have had equal years improv & puppet training.
Victor comments that for their KIDS shows, the kids aren't even slightly impressed that they were doing improv; really had to make a story, and make the characters fun... as you should do in all good improv.
Puppet challenges? You can do a lot with your puppet's body & arms, but need to boil it down... "Have to label stuff your puppet is grabbing, really telegraph things more, and be really specific with your movement -- be really simple and clear with your puppet movements."
AND, Puppet Up! on tour??? SOON, my friends, very soon!!!
Haunted Stories from the JHC Lot (09/29/08) -- Video!
Henson Digital Puppetry Studio (06/30/08) -- Misty Rosas and Drew Massey (saw this sweet puppeteer in Puppet Up when I was in LA) talking about how they create "Sid" from Henson's "Sid, the Science Kid" show.
Puppet Up! Uncensored (06/16/08) -- interesting to hear the show from a year ago
Jim Henson Company Lot Tour (02/26/08) -- Video! I so wanted to do this when in LA, but without the right connections, no go. Great to get a video tour. Could have watched this first and saved myself the sheepish pleading I did with the JHC security guard to let me in the gate.
Fun fact: the lot was built by Charlie Chaplin in 1917 and used for a lot of his films. It changed hands several times, and when Universal moved out in 1999, Brian Henson & Co. saw the potential, cleaned it up and moved in.
Puppet Up! Uncensored (01/29/07) -- Interesting to hear the show from 2 years ago and how it got started... Brian Henson wanted the art of IMPROV brought back into the company. Brought in Patrick Bristow (who was teaching at the Groundlings school) to teach a 1 day workshop... and they had such a blast they kept going at it!!! (Well, DUH!!!)
HENSON.com Podcasts -- No iPod required!
And there is this interesting LOST VIDEO.