Lucy in America (Again!)- Day 13

Day 13: Thursday 8th June, 2017

Today the puppeteering class moved to the television studio with real tv cameras!

The first exercise was to practise entering the camera frame, focusing the eyes of the puppet in the camera and having the puppet talk about where it was and where it will be going. This was so everyone could practise what we had learnt yesterday. Today, Molly, my pink travelling companion in the flowery dress, and Coco, the Terry Angus Dog were the puppets Miss Hannaford used the most in class.

We also worked on sharing the frame with other characters so that the camera shot had a nice composition. It can be really tricky to share the frame with other characters, especially when the puppeteers are different heights. Sometimes our teachers would have to sit on chairs in front of the class to puppeteer as they are much taller than Miss Hannaford and I, but they needed to be in front of the class so that they could lead the activity.

One of the things that Miss Hannaford found difficult was moving a puppet through the depth of field of the camera. We had to start moving the puppet from the back of the set, up to the middle of the frame and then move to the right of the frame, keeping the puppet on camera for as long as possible. It is really hard to do and the only way Miss Hannaford was able to get close, was if her teacher Peter, put a puppet we were calling Coffee Monster at the top corner of the camera so that the puppet Miss Hannaford was using had something real to look at! Using depth of field is something Miss Hannaford needs to really work on improving.

 

 

Other fun activities were

  • Bouncing (introduction to puppet dancing)
  • Following the ball
  • Listening
  • Conveying emotions

After our delicious lunch at a healthy sandwhich shop, it was time for the next puppet building class!

The first thing Miss Hannaford wanted to do, was to have our puppet travelling companion Coco the Terry Angus Dog sit next to Terry, the Terry Angus Dog who belongs to Pasha Romanowski. Terry was the dog from the instructions Miss Hannaford followed to build Coco, so to have the two dogs together in the same place was really special to Miss Hannaford. It was also an opportunity to compare the results of the building side by side!

During class, Miss Hannaford started to add the bone structure to the face of her pirate using special curved foam shapes that went around the eyes. The process started by sketching the bone shapes lightly on the foam around the eyes that were going to be used. Then, Miss Hannaford used tracing paper to make paper patterns of the bone shapes on one half of the face. In this photo, the “bones” are just pinned on.

After class, all the students and teachers met after dinner to work on sewing, performance ideas or to just chat.

It was a wonderful day!

Lucy and Miss H

 

Lucy in America (Again!) Day 12

Day 12: Wednesday, June 7th, 2017.

Today is the first full day of performing and building for Miss Hannaford. In performance class with Peter Linz and Noel MacNeal, Miss Hannaford worked on revising the important fundamentals of television puppetry including:

  • Lip sync- making the puppet look like it is talking.
  • Focusing the eyes of the puppet on camera so that it is looking at the audience.
  • Utilising the puppeteer’s hand’s full range of motion to achieve a full range of emotion.
  • Tilting the puppet’s mouthplate so that the puppet can look at other characters or places.
  • Learning to create the illusion of a puppet walking in and out of the camera’s frame.

Miss Hannaford got very excited when after she practised with my travelling companion Molly, the puppet walking exercise in front of her teachers, and one of them said “perfect”! It was the first time in two years of learning puppetry for television and film that she had gotten that kind of feedback. Miss Hannaford has been practising at home and at school a lot, hoping that one day she would hear from her teachers that she is improving.

My new puppet friend Yoop, who we made last week in New York, was picked up by Miss Hannaford’s teachers as an example of a sock puppet with a flexible mouth!

Towards the end of the lesson, the students got to play a really fun game of moving the puppets as a group around the frame without tripping over each other as puppeteers. The rules were that the puppets were not allowed to touch the edges of the tv frame and when freeze was called, the puppet had to look directly at the camera.

After lunch, Miss Hannaford’s group moved to the puppet building room to start construction of her pirate. The first step was to open the boxes of supplies and start cutting out the materials.

Miss Hannaford’s puppet building teacher, Pasha Romanowski demonstrating how to insert the puppet’s mouthplate.

By the end of the day, Miss Hannaford had the entire body and head of the puppet’s skeleton assembled.

After class, many of the students had dinner together at the steak house restaurant next to the hotel.

It was a really fun day!

Lucy and Miss H