Here are some notes about “TV Puppetry” that we learned with Caroline Reck prepping for “PIP on TV”

  • Important to mostly be still, and MOVE the puppet with direct movements
  • Puppet looks forward for your deliverable moment; sharing with audience
  • EYE FOCUS — where you look and when; the puppet wants to look at precise things; have it set in YOUR (puppeteer) head what the puppet is looking at; let it “SEE” the environment
  • When looking towards another puppet, look down & over @ 3/4; roll the back of your hand (a bit) towards the audience. Keeps the eyes looking sideways, without them going into profile. Can’t see the pupils from the side/profile
  • Look straight into the camera to express your idea
  • Look at the sides for thinking
  • Always be doing something
  • If always facing camera (straight on), find a moment to look elsewhere, and look at it for emphasis
  • Tilt & 3/4 turn for side-look
  • Rotating around eyes for subtle look
  • Look at mouth of the other puppet while they talk; keep eyes stationary
  • Bounce to walk
  • Make agreement on where to look (as “planes” go by)
  • Use the depth of the stage to show intensity
  • Eyes to LOOK and compliment scene partner’s look
  • If you’re too close to the camera, it limits the space you can move
  • Play with variety in how you fill the frame of the camera; play with depth (foreground | midground | background)
  • Find other places in the environment to look
  • DOOOOoooo something!

Another thing we learned was that variety in the improviser’s HEIGHT was a problem. How do the Henson guys deal with this?