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How do I get a job as a Muppeteer?

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by Fozzie Bear, Sep 26, 2004.

  1. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Well-Known Member

    Good Stuff

    Good stuff, thanks for the information. About 6 years ago I was contacted by the Henson Co. in regard to their internship program. I have all the information at my parent’s house in NY, So sorry but my memmory is a little foggy. I had written another one of the many letters I sent to the Henson Co. and a very nice young lady called me back to see if I was interested in an Internship. Having a degree in Advertising Graphic Design she thought that was the kind of intern I wanted.

    I wanted a puppetry internship but those slots were all filled up and I would have to wait until next year to reapply. There were other none performing slots open, but like a fool I did not want one of those. You have to be in school to qualify, and I only had one semester left before graduation so at the time waiting to reapply next year was out of the question.

    I am guessing that this is different now; they may no longer be offering internships. The performing interns go really quickly so you have to get on the stick about having all your ducks in a row. It is also a good idea to have some money in the bank because if I recall correctly they did not provide housing or food for there interns and I cannot remember if they were paid spots or not. If i go home for the Holiday I will see if I can dig out My Muppets file and get the address for you all.

    I have a question to all those who make/ build there own puppets.....No I am not looking for you all to spill your secrets out to all of us here. I just want to know what kind of Glue you use to glue the foam together...I was using rubber cement, but after painting my puppets the cement bond failed and the puppet fell apart. Is there a better type of glue or bond that will work better? :)
  2. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Go here to discuss glue situations:
  3. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Fozzie, anyone, wondering what oppinions are here. Dave Goelz will probably auditioning off his characters one day in the near (we hope not too near) future (at least I assume so as the others have gone, Jerry, Frank, etc.)

    How can we find out when, how, where this is happening and get to audition?

    I would hate for Beau to be lost in the transition, or Gonzo's character, or, well, anything. It would be great if some fans could try out for the characters they love so much.

    Bea:zany:{What color are their hand's now}regard
  4. Phillip

    Phillip Administrator Staff Member

    More than likely when the day comes, Henson/Disney will recast Dave's characters from within. It has worked very well with Frank's characters (Piggy, Fozzie, Grover, Bert), Carroll Spinney (Big Bird), and hopefully with Jerry's characters as well.

    Recasting is so much more than just a voice or even puppeteering. Just like with the characters themselves, it's the relationships and interactivity between the performers and puppets that shine onscreen.
  5. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Yeah, well, it took them long enough to re-cast Janice, Scooter, Dr Tooth, etc from within. just wondering, what if they can't find anyone to do Gonzo from within? Or Beau? Or Bunsen?
  6. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Like Phil, I would seriously doubt that there would be any kind of open auditions. For one thing, some sort of open "cattle call" would mostly be a waste of time because there are not really that many people who are talented enough to work at the level of someone like Dave Golez who aren't already known to the Muppets. With the amazingly talented pool of talent they have access to it's highly unlikely they'd be unable to fill in a character from within.
  7. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    is it just me, or does it seem that nobody reads thru soem of these posts?

    anyway, buck and phil are right, it is highly unlikely that they will do some sort of open cattle call in the near or distant future, and besides as i have stated before, in order to puppeteer in film or telelvision you need to be a union memeber, (AFTRA or SAG)
  8. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Well-Known Member

    Frank OZ

    I did not know that Frank's Characters were re-cast. The last Muppet thing I saw, was AVMMC which stunk. But Fozzy and Piggy still sounded like Frank, the rest of the voices were a pritty bad. Robin, Janice, and Scooter were probably the worst. Not to mention the puppetry was not as good, I mean not as smooth or fluid, or alive if you will, It was more like a puppet show, than the Muppet Show.

    I also thought the Henson Co. had retired Scooter out of respect because his performer had died from AIDS.

    I have to agree, the muppets will work with the tallent they have. When and if they are unable to find soem one with in then they will look outside there core family. Which is why I stress being tru tot he craft, and working to be the best puppeteer you can be.
  9. rumtar_10165

    rumtar_10165 Well-Known Member

    Answers to some questions

    yep. And I will share mine. (looks both ways.>.> <.<.) I use foam glue.
    This type you can get from the hobby stores or (if you have one.) Wal Mart.
    I designed my puppets and use the glue and it works. But I die my foam first befor I glue. that way there is no lines where the foam is stucked together.
  10. rumtar_10165

    rumtar_10165 Well-Known Member

    How did I contact the muppets?

    your right. So here is how it came about.
    I am a major fan like everyone of the muppets. Right before my highschool graduation. It hit me where am I going to go from here. I read somewhere how Steve Whitmare joined the muppets. And since I wanted to work with Jim I found the address that would change my life forever. It was to Henson Associates. I wrote them a first letter.
    I wrote ' Dear sirs, I would like to work with you I have expriance in puppetry.' I added my pics of my old puppets at the time. and two tapes an audio tape and a video tape.
    Their responce was quote 'Your voices sound a little weak except one, the dog's voice'
    They was willing to interview at the time but like I said there was problems, Money was one of them but the other, (after reading the old letter I still have framed. and proudly show everyone." they were not looking at the time.
    To some it may sound not to thrilling but they did like my work and my voice of the dog. My friends are, as of late, wanting me to try again since I had gotten much better and more a pro at it.

    I do not know if I must contact Disney or Henson for a try at the muppets, So can anyone answer that question?

    I hope this helped out with your question. if not let me know.
  11. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Well-Known Member

    Contact Information

    Several months ago I was on the Henson website; I have included the link below.


    I do not know if this has changed with the Disney merger or not, but there is a section of the web sight where you can ask questions and get answers. The questions and answers are posted in a forum so that any one can read past questions, and see the answers. I posted a question with my email address so they responded to me directly.

    I was asking about how to get a Job with the Henson Co. And I was told I would need 3 things...Experience, Experience, and Experience! But they also gave me the address to send resume, demo tape and photos of my work. Not having any experience under my belt as of yet, I kind of had to put my application on hold until I build my first puppet.....I was trying to put the cart before the horse.

    Any way I do not know if that is much help, I have not been on the Henson sight in about 6 months because we are not flash enabled here at work.
  12. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Well-Known Member

    Get That Muppet Job!!

    OK Gang I found this in my files and thought I would pass it along to all of you. This is where to send your resume and demo tapes.

    Dear Andrew,
    >You should know that there are many requirements for working with
    >The Jim Henson Company as a performer. The requirements mostly
    >consist of three things, experience, experience and experience. If
    >you have a resume and would like it to be considered, you can send
    >your resume with a cover letter to:
    >Human Resources
    >The Jim Henson Company
    >1416 North La Brea Avenue
    >Hollywood, CA 90028
    >You may also fax your resume and cover letter to (323) 802-1833,
    >or email human_resources@henson.com.
    >Regards . . . The Jim Henson Company
    >For the most Sensational, Inspirational, Celebrational,
    >...This is what we call...collectible Muppet Moments!
    >© 2002 The Jim Henson Company. THE MUPPET SHOW mark & logo, Kermit
    >Head Logo, MUPPET, MUPPETS, characters and elements are trademarks
    >of The Jim Henson Company. All Rights Reserved. Please read our
    >Terms of Service at www.henson.com
    >At 12:01 PM 1/30/04 -0700, you wrote:
    >>This is really a very simple question, and I have asked it many
    >>times throughout my life. I know that now days no one gets a job
    >>based on intent or interest, and no one does business with a hand
    >>shake. But it would be dreams come true to work for the Jim Henson
    >>Company as a puppet performer. So my question is this; how can I
    >>acquire a job with The Jim Henson Company?
    >>Thank you
    >>Your friend
    >>Andrew Dusing
    >>Please send me and email response.
  13. Doctor Teeth

    Doctor Teeth Active Member

    You know, of few of us could just band together, make a loada cash, and buy the Henson company. :D

    Think of it! Muppets, run by the fans! Ah, so great. Out from under the iron and suffocating grip of Disney.

    Jim Henson's dead and gone, but his Muppets MUST live on.
  14. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Here's the hole in your plan:
    Jim Henson Company NO LONGER OWNS the Muppets, period. Disney now owns the Muppets, and they are still in the grips of Disney whether someone buys the Henson Co. or not.

    The only deal Henson has with all that is a 7 year contract to 'train' Disney how best to use the Muppets, not that they used them that often to begin with themselves.

    I think I've changed for the time being, and I've noticed the Muppets popping up in an LOT more places lately than they did before Disney bought them, so Disney may not be a bad thing---for now. We'll have to see how they are after a few years, so I'm still being judgemental.

    BTW--this doesn't have anything to do with the question every kid is asking everywhere: "How do I get a job as a Muppeteer?" I'm sure there are a lot more things we can say and remind the kids about.
  15. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Well-Known Member

    Muppet Job

    Well if you read through most of my posts I have tried to state all the information I have about getting a job with the Muppets. The spring of 1999 I was the closest I have ever been to making that dream come true.

    I know A lot of you are making your puppets, and are really performing well, and that is great. I havent made a puppet in about 4 or more years. As I have said in the past be true to the craft, and know you trade, be the best that you can be.

    Then get your demo tape together and send it to Henson CO./ Disney.
  16. Rugby

    Rugby Well-Known Member

    "there are lots of interesting stlyes of puppet and puppet theatre out there, from marionettes, to rod puppets, to the indonesian Wayang Gollucks, "

    While that may be true, these forms of puppetry are no where near as endearing and cute as muppet style puppets. When was the last shadow puppet show you saw on tv? And if the rod puppets aren't MST3K style, nobody is going to watch. There is not much of a demand for the 'other' kind of puppetry. If you want to be a starving artist, then that may be your avenue, but as of today, your best shot at making a living in the puppet business is in the muppet style of puppet. Crank Yankers anyone?

    The reason muppet style is so popular is because you can convey so much emotion and animation with the style. It's like cartoon characters come to life. You just aren't going to get that with the other styles, But then again, I may have Team America to prove me wrong.
  17. ravagefrackle

    ravagefrackle Well-Known Member

    "While that may be true, these forms of puppetry are no where near as endearing and cute as muppet style puppets. When was the last shadow puppet show you saw on tv? And if the rod puppets aren't MST3K style, nobody is going to watch. There is not much of a demand for the 'other' kind of puppetry. If you want to be a starving artist, then that may be your avenue, but as of today, your best shot at making a living in the puppet business is in the muppet style of puppet. Crank Yankers anyone?"

    seems to be a rather limited veiw of the art of puppetry, TV is not the only avenue for puppets, a truly talanted puppeteer with a vision can achieve a range of complex emotions using any form of puppetry, it what makes a well rounded performer,

    as for people not being interested in other forms of puppetry , that same argument could have been made for animated puppet films like"THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTAMS", a film using a animation style that had not been used for such a ambitous project since the hey day of RANKIN/BASS, and it did amazingly, and developed a huge fan base.

    their is also theatre shows, here on the east coast in New York , Basil Twist has created a amazingly succesful show called SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE using a giant water tank, and bits of cloth and fabric to create a "puppet water ballet"

    or look at the broadway show THE LION KING, or the puppet show PETER AND WENDY,

    you most definetley can make a living doing non muppet stlye works , it just takes imagination, and the skill to see it thru.
  18. christyb

    christyb Well-Known Member

    I'd be happy with an internship or answering the phone myself. Just being around would be like a kid in a candy store for me.
  19. The Good Doctor

    The Good Doctor Well-Known Member


    I completely understand, at the time I only had 1 samester of college left. The deal with the internship was that you had to be in school, and I was although my college career was comming to a close. Considering all the puppet internspits were filled I had to make a very hard decision to finish school, or to to take an internship answering the phones. I chose to get my BFA in Graphic Design instead, and really I have no regrets.

    My goals have changed slightly, being married and wanting to have a family I need to be able to put food on the table. My plann is to open my own studio here in Denver CO, and begin building and performing puppets. My first big project will be The Wonderful Wizard of OZ, the true story, the only story that has never really been told. All the adaptations have always changed the story and fallen short of its original vision written by L. Frank Baum and published back in 1900. I want to bring it to life with the words and style that he originally invisioned.

    I have a long way to go, but I know I will get there. I am gathering information now and hope to be building puppets by July of 05. Who knows what crazy directions I will go in then. :)

    FISH'N'WOLFE Well-Known Member

    Also, this is the letter I received at the end of April 2003, about 4 months after I sent out a demo tape which I and my best friend Lucas made. Please note this was just prior to the Henson family buying the company back from EMTV and I have not heard anything more as of yet.

    Dear Kevin,

    We recently received your demo tape regarding your interest in becoming a puppeteer with the Jim Henson Company.

    Kevin Clash has reviewed your tape and was very impressed by your work. Though we would to invite you to our next workshop for an audition and training, we have no set date at present. Therefore we will keep your details on file and contact you accordingly.

    In the meantime, I am returning your tape as I thought you might like it back. We know how much work goes into creating one. Thanks so much for your interest and keep up the great work.

    Joe Roddy (Signed)

    It was wonderful to receive this, especially since I actually completely forgot about it after I sent it out. But one of the best things to do if you send out a tape is just keep busy with other projects and not think about the outcome. I had many of my own puppetry projects to do with my production company that Lucas and I were was busy with. We actually did this for fun, not expecting anything out of it whatsoever.

    Here are the actual contact addresses and numbers as printed on the letterhead:

    New York

    117 East 69th Street
    New York, NY 10021
    Telephone (212) 794-2400
    Facsimile (212) 570-1147

    Los Angeles

    1416 North La Brea Avenue
    Hollywood, CA 90028
    Telephone (323) 802-1500
    Facsimile (323) 802-1825


    30 Oval Road, Camden Town
    London NW1 7DE
    Telephone (171) 428-4000
    Facsimile (171) 428-4001

    If anyone would like photographs of the letter, e-mail me and I'll be happy to send some.

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