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Looking for a reference on a puppet maker!

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by Mister Hoggoth, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. rwb

    rwb New Member

    Statler and Waldorf by oliver

    i was in contact with oliver for making me the 2 old grumps. that i would die to have statler and waldolf for my basement he gave me a price of $3000 A piece which is real high. maybe $1000 each but 3 is way too high. I am really on the look out for the large made dolls of Statler and Waldolf. I want them for my bar in my basement anyone have them contact me

    thanks rwb
    HunterPeeples likes this.
  2. pd0062

    pd0062 Member

    Hi guys,

    After ordering and paying for a couple of puppets (not a Muppet knock-off I hasten to add, I have my Photo Replicas!) from Oliver for my upcoming wedding, I was fobbed off with numerous e-mails about being busy and starting my order soon, he only e-mailed me if I contacted him first and then his website mysteriously went down and hasn't come back up yet.

    It's been over a week now and still nothing and, if you search 'Google' for it now, the site isn't even listed in the search results, only his blogspot or MySpace site...

    I'm hoping my credit card company can help me get the money (or some of it) back and only wish I'd found this thread on the forum before I parted with my money.

    An unimpressed Scotsman! Och aye the noo etc etc

    :o :eek: :mad:
    HunterPeeples likes this.
  3. MuppetCaper

    MuppetCaper Well-Known Member

    I personally think Ravagefrackle and Melonpool's puppets are incredible and very different than the Muppet line. They are both good at what they do. If it was me to get a puppet made, your best bet is with someone who is original in there own design. I think this is what makes them special.
    HunterPeeples likes this.
  4. Puppetainer

    Puppetainer Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear things haven't worked out for you pd...maybe he'll come through eventually? Let's hope so. Otherwise you could always give him a little of the Scottish marshal arts (as described in So I Married An Axe Murderer).
    HunterPeeples likes this.
  5. Melonpool

    Melonpool Well-Known Member

    Thanks! I have to say that the best thing you can do is experiment. I've drawn these characters for years and continually try to make the puppets look more and more like the drawings. I think too many people think "this is close enough" when trying to match something -- or so many hours go into the initial build that they can't even phathom the idea of starting over from scratch.

    Which is what I'm about to do... again. ;)
    HunterPeeples likes this.
  6. Animal31

    Animal31 Well-Known Member

    Let's face it, who in this forum wouldn't want a Kermit in their personal collection? And those who can't build one would buy one.

    I e-mailed back and forth with Mike (Oliver) frequently a few years ago, it started with a compliment on "his" Kermit that he had posted on eBay that unfortunately turned out to be a doctored photo (I found the original posted somewhere else). He told me that he worked for Henson studios many years ago as well, which I can neither confirm or disprove. I did ask him a price for it, even back then it was $800.00 or $1,200.00 with legs. It was very disappointing to find out how things really were with him, but if I had the money, honestly, I may have gone thru with it. If this is something you personally do not support, don't buy it from anyone. Honestly, I can't see them selling many of these at $1,200 a pop anyway......

    I can understand why you would be so upset and against it when it's done for a living, but to help someone else out by building them one because they are less fortunate, or less talented, I just don't see the harm in it? I mean think about it, there are people out there selling R2-D2 replicas (There's even a builder's club), and Lost in Space Robot replica robots, and CBS isn't coming down on them. It's all part of a fanbase....

    It's good to be a fan, and I personally don't think dreaming of having a replica of your favorite muppet, robot, phaser, or Batsuit necessarily makes you a criminal.

    So rock on! :)
    HunterPeeples likes this.
  7. staceyrebecca

    staceyrebecca Well-Known Member

    I can't afford one & could probably build one for myself. In 8 years of making puppets I haven't, & I won't.

    Wheee! :)
  8. CoOKiE

    CoOKiE Well-Known Member

    Heres a good question...

    OK say you're hired to build a puppet for the Muppets. This character has NEVER been made till you came along.

    Is this your work or theirs?

    And does it matter who asked for the character?

    As opposed to Disney, if i were to ask someone to make me a green Mouse with a rhino horn... can they sell the same idea to someone else or does this mean that the idea belongs to me?
  9. staceyrebecca

    staceyrebecca Well-Known Member

    From my understanding (which is quite limited) if you create something at work while being paid by your employer they own the legal rights to whatever it is you created.

    When I worked at Disney they warned us not to doodle at work. That could have been a fun little scare-tactic to play with the college kids' minds, (which we promptly ignored) but either way, that's what they told us.

    Also, when I made/designed puppets at the puppet theater, they owned everything I made while at work.
  10. practicecactus

    practicecactus Well-Known Member

    You answered your own question with-
  11. CoOKiE

    CoOKiE Well-Known Member

    I figured that was the way things worked... however, i wasn't positive... so i figured i'd ask :) thnx guys
  12. Jivepuppet

    Jivepuppet Well-Known Member

    I make puppets, and I do a lot of commissions, but one thing I probably would never do is a replica of an exiting puppet, unless the copyrigh tholders are the one's who hired me. I do tons of celebrity portraits, characters people have created on their own, etc... But making a "Muppet" is a bad idea, hahaha... We puppet makers need to have good reputations!
    BTW... Anyone want a puppet? Hahaha
  13. spcglider

    spcglider Well-Known Member

    The fashion in which creative artists do business is wide and varied. I run a special effects studio and prop shop (for 20 years) and we usually don't get paid beyond the initial cost of the prop.

    You can be "work for hire"... meaning whatever you do belongs to the employer. Or you can negotiate rights if what you're being hired for is your creativity. I did a puppet build for a museum and they wanted to know that they owned the rights to the character I was building for them free and clear. So I charged them more. That was for them to "own" what I had created. I let go of any rights or claims to the image or likeness of the character.

    What it comes down to is that there is no standard as long as you have a good agent or lawyer on your negotiating team.

    As for making replicas or building "in the style of" or "being stylistically influenced by", they are totally different things. And its true... the intellectual property argument has been flogged to death here, but its pretty complex and there is always someone who isn't completely informed on what its all about. So, when in doubt, don't hesitate to ask questions!

    If what you make is identifiable as a replica of a given character, prop, costume,etc. (someone else's intellectual property) you are TECHNICALLY infringing on that property. But just because the law says its illegal doesn't mean that the law is applied equally in every case. In MOST cases of "healthy fan-related activity", rights holders don't get draconian about the law. It isn't worth it. Universal Studios could crack down on every fan who ever made a Serenity Browncoat costume and they'd be perfectly within their legal rights. But what does that get them? Nothing except a big lawyer bill and the enmity of their fans.

    MOST of the time, this sort of thing is just ignored. In the case of the R2 builders group, they have been extremely careful to NOT overstep friendly boundaries with Lucasfilm. They do not manufacture R2-D2s for profit. And they enjoy a level of intimacy with the people of Lucasfilm... even George himself. And groups like the 501st Legion actually participate in Lucasfilm approved events and appearances like the Disney Star Wars Weekends. So in those cases, its all a matter of perspective.

    But when someone makes a thousand replicas of that costume and sells them at a profit, the Studio will probably sic a lawyer on them with a "C&D" (Cease and Desist Order). That's just the first warning. Its politely designed to let you know that unless you stop manufacturing or replicating their copyrighted or trademarked items, they will pursue real legal action.

    And unless you can convince a judge that what you're making could not be misconstrued as a replica under scrutiny, you're going to have to pay the intellectual property owner some big bucks. That's what they call "damages".

    Now, I do puppets. And I use many of the same materials and techniques that the Muppets use. No matter how my design differs from the actual Muppet characters, my works will always have traits in common with them. My vampire puppet, LeShoc, is turquoise, bald, has bat-wing ears, a square nose, wears no cape and is extremely thin. Yet people still walk by and accuse me of "copying" Count Von Count from Sesame Street. Really what they're doing is proving how unfamiliar they are with the design of the REAL Count Von Count considering that I purposely and consciously avoided any details that were replications of those on the Sesame vampire. And when you watch my videos, it is pretty plain to see that this vampire is nothing like The Count. And even if I were manufacturing copies of my Vampire LeShoc, I would be able to stand in front of a judge and defend him as my own design.

    Oliver does excellent work on his own original puppets. But somewhere along the line he got the notion that because nobody else was making replicas of Muppets that he could just come along and do it. And he was wrong. And even if he knew what he was doing was illegal, he stupidly thought that the rights owners (namely Disney) would either not find out or would ignore his activity. But its not ever that simple.

    Disney found out. Then they waited until they could prove how much money he'd made selling replicas. Then they could really press the case for damages in court. In fact, they probably waited until he had made a really decent amount of money so they could really be sure the prosecution was worth it. Lawyers ain't cheap.

    Please notice that Oliver no longer posts images of the Henson-owned Muppets nor the Disney-owned Muppets on his site. Disney and Henson must have cracked down on him. All of the characters he shows are Sesame-owned Muppets and its likely they don't have the budget to sue him for the infraction.

  14. AveQ

    AveQ Active Member

    Guys, I had e-mailed this guy in June about my own Photo Puppet, almost went through with it, but then suspiciously started being short and stopped responding.

  15. muppetsliveon

    muppetsliveon Well-Known Member

  16. charlie bird

    charlie bird Well-Known Member

    They were deleted for some reason. I wonder why he's still trying to sell replicas acording to peole here he's been sued.I also read on his web sight awile back that he doesn't sell replicas,hmm....
  17. Animal31

    Animal31 Well-Known Member

    Hey, just a heads up these are from a different person than the one you're talking about.

    He posted a thread a few days ago that these would be up on eBay from his personal collection.........

    HunterPeeples likes this.
  18. AveQ

    AveQ Active Member

    He used to sell replicas and got sued, but now is under the alias of Oliver Hinds.
  19. charlie bird

    charlie bird Well-Known Member

    Good, I was wondering because I was such a fan of his originals.I loved them ,but I thoughte from what I heard on here that he was still doing replicas ,just wondering what was going on.Thank you for telling me
    Thank you
    HunterPeeples likes this.
  20. pd0062 - It's been a few years now. Mike Lisa is now known as "Creature Clones". I too have recently designed and ordered (and stupidly paid for in full) a puppet to be custom made. I too have received similar contact. Emails to say that there are jobs ahead of mine and that I need to be patient.

    I finally asked for a rough estimate of when I'm likely to receive it. He told me the date he was going to ship the job directly ahead of me, and that mine would begin production after that. Photos of that job he described have been posted by the Creature Clones Facebook page, and today is the day that my job is supposed to begin production.

    Can you please tell me if you eventually received your puppet? Did you ever receive another email from Mike? Or were you able to get your money back?
    HunterPeeples likes this.

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