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Our own puppet characters

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by Erine81981, Oct 11, 2003.

  1. Erine81981

    Erine81981 Well-Known Member

    I was just thinking how cool would it be to bring all of our own puppets together and make some kind of Show of our own. Would that be cool. It could have all sourts of things. Animals, monsters, people and and odd shaped characters. If anyone has any good ideas of what the show should be about we could all come together and produce and film our show. And what ever kind of characters u have mention them in this post. Give a discribsion of ur character or characters. Here r a few of mine.

    Sam: Bald yellow man who acts young for his age

    Manford: Bald white man same here but acts his age

    GreenBean: Green Monster w/ anteaus

    BlueFur: Blue Monster

    Orangston: Orange Monster

    Those r my five main characters. (have more but use them as background ones)
  2. jediX

    jediX Well-Known Member

    My best friend of 17 years and I used to have our own show w/ characters, and might incorporate them into our new show if it gets picked up by our college's access channel.

    Here's a few characters from various incarnations of the show over the years. I'll post links to pics when I get em.

    Snoid-A blue guy, often confused with a clam. He sorta assumes the "Kermit" role. Just think Kermit, but blue, crustacean-looking, googley eyes, and a really irritating singing voice.

    Gremlin-A green gremlin that is partially Snoid's sidekick. He is calm but can breathe fire when angry.

    Snid-Snoid's evil twin.

    Birdragon-Half bird-half dragon. Assumes the Sam Eagle type role by keeping the show "cultural," or at least attempting to. :attitude:

    Education Demon-Red demon w/ beanie hat, #2 pitchfork/pencil w/ eraser on the end and lead pencils for the prongs.

    Herman The Vermin-I'd say this rat is more like Cartman from South Park than a particular Muppet. Smart mouthed, witty, and due to the fact he was hypnotized by Gremlin in an early episode he acts like a chicken whenever limbo music is played.

    Squirmy & Wormy (the worms)-Squirmy is a beatnick worm, with shades. He fakes his death in the first episode as a publicity stunt but because the network got such good ratings they decide to kill him (with a creepy sniper that looks eerily like Big Bird ;)). Wormy assumes the role of worm after Squirmy "dies" as the host of the news segment. Squirmy in fact is not dead and tunnels out of his grave to return to the show.

    Beatnik-I guess you could call this guy a hillbilly version of Crazy Harry combined with Animal. He sorta just goes around breaking stuff.

    Snoidica-Snoid's girlfriend, she is green with orange hair and looks exactly like Snoid does.

    Jerry Seinfeld & Kramer-We made puppets of them for a Seinfeld parody scene in our all-puppet rendition of "Titanic" for a class project in 7th grade. The teacher in fact liked this video so much she put a copy in the school's video archive. :D

    The Lizard Pirates-We created a couple small lizard pirates to use in a project about cloning.

    Jim Camel-We didn't build this puppet, but Jim is ashamed of his brother Joe (I'm sure you know who I mean) and plays a wide variety of roles: from lawyer to scientist to game show host to a worm's bodyguard.

    Cookie Monster the Ventriloquist-in the segment about the aftermath of Squirmy the Worm's death, Cookie Monster becomes a ventriloquist to a small monkey puppet using the classic "who was that lady I saw you with last night?" bit. Note that ol' Cookie makes for a terrible ventriloquist. ;)

    Network Head-Ok so this is just Bert, but he speaks differently and has a nervous twitch

    Theres a lot more, I'll post them when I find the puppets.
  3. Rossilli

    Rossilli New Member

    Our Own Characters Online

    That sounds like a really interesting idea. Especially with the Internet as our vehicle for creation. I am currently involved, as a composer and voice talent, with an animated project that is being developed totaly onlinel.

    I think it would be really cool if everyone posted pictures of their own creations to put faces to our characters. Your descriptions (personality) would have more power and influence if we were able to see pictures.

    I don't think I am a talented enough puppet builder at this point, however, I have extensive experience as a composer, writer, film editor, etc. where I would love to be involved.

    Count me in :)
  4. jediX

    jediX Well-Known Member

    My friend and I might get a show on the college's access channel.
  5. Rossilli

    Rossilli New Member

    Can we see the Puppets

    What type of show? In need of any music? Went to your website and didn't see any puppets.

  6. MIKEB97

    MIKEB97 Well-Known Member

    Hi guys,

    I just finished building two puppets. One is a boy with froggy green skin and blue hair. The other is a red worm, which is is slightly similar to Oscar the Grouch, but has no arms and a friendly face.
  7. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Hey, here's an idea...what about a "collaborative puppetry video"? We could pick a theme or idea then any puppeteers on here who want to participate in it could tape a short (say 30 second) clip of their character(s) talking about the theme/topic. The clips could then be spliced together as people contribute and viewed on line.

    I recently got an FTP server set-up and I've been playing around with CGI scripting and PERL so I could configure a directory on it for the project and put together some sort of web interface.

    I mean programmers and musicians do this sort of thing on the net....why not puppeteers?

    What does everybody think?
  8. jediX

    jediX Well-Known Member

    My friend is a music major and I write songs of my own, so we don't really need that.

    My site is very incomplete and I'm also migrating it to another server right now.
  9. jediX

    jediX Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure what our show will be. It definately won't be totally puppets...they will probably be side characters or in sketches. We might not start it up until next year, though.

    Its called The M&E Show. It is improv comedy sketches, parodies, etc. Like SNL, but improv without sketches that totally bomb.
  10. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    I'm for it! Sounds like loads o' fun! We wouldn't market it outside of just the cost to make, right? Then make it available to each other and other MC members?
  11. mkelley

    mkelley Active Member

    I like the idea, Buck.

    And I think it's a terrific idea to keep the guidelines somewhat restrictive (kind of like writing Haiku or a Shakespherean sonnet). 30 seconds -- no more, no less (so you're working within the time constraints of a commercial, for example). Then whatever you want to do with your puppets on that theme.

    This could be quite a work of art considering the varying levels of talents and ideas that abound here -- I'm sure I'd participate. Would we FTP our AVI/MPEG/Quicktime to you? Do you want a standard format, or can you convert anything thrown your way?

    I can see this as a building project as well -- as the theme evolves people may (or may not) want to make self-referential videos that advance the "plot", and people may want to contribute more than one.

    But Buck, my experience with this kind of collaborative effort is that it does require leadership (and time): if you are willing to do that it would be really wonderful but might end up being more than you imagine. For one thing, you don't want to spend *too* much time deciding on a topic/theme (that alone could spawn endless discussions). If I were you, I'd either go ahead and just announce it, or at the very least solicit ideas for only a couple of days before you decide (and, yes, it's not a democracy, mon capitain).

    Let us know how you'd like to proceed.
  12. Erine81981

    Erine81981 Well-Known Member

    I was also thinking we could have the characters going around their neighborhood and film people talking to them about whats going on in the world or have them talk about it at a table w/ a human or actor (u get what I'm saying in when I mean actor) and other actors or Characters.
  13. mkelley

    mkelley Active Member

    I would think you could do anything you'd want to in your 30 seconds -- but it should attempt to stick to whatever theme and topic has been decided. You could have 100 characters and human actors doing a chorus line at Radio City Music Hall (and perhaps all sing about the topic/theme) -- or have a single puppet do a monologe surrounded by black. It's all up to you.
  14. pdbooch

    pdbooch Active Member

    Oh, I'd love to be involved. Let me know any details as they emerge.
    This could be very fun. For real!
    You should post this over at toughpigs.com too, I know there's some
    puppet enthusiasts there.
  15. mkelley

    mkelley Active Member

    How about it, Buck?

    So it seems to me the ball is in Buck's court right now. What about it, Buck? Care to give us a topic/theme and a place to FTP files to? (I'm guessing FTP since many email servers have problems with large files. On that subject, do you want to limit the actual file size sent to you? File format, specifications, etc?)

    And in an attempt to be helpful, I'll throw out a suggested topic/theme: friendship. Sufficiently broad (and inoffensive) enough yet offering lots of possibilities for focused fun. Or something else of your choosing (but choose: I suspect this thing will take off and I'm sure there are many who would like to get started).
  16. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Sorry not responding about this sooner everyone, I was out of town for most of the last week and my net access was kind of limited.

    Foz - I was thinking we would distribute it for free over the `net, since it is sort of an experimental thing after all. If it starts using huge amounts of bandwidth I might set up a PayPal donate button or something to help cover costs, but only if really necessary.

    Mkelley - I'm thinking it should be wide open too; whatever the puppeteer wants. But it should be kept to 30 seconds so people have to be innovative/creative and so bandwidth won't be a killer.

    Files could just be uploaded to the FTP site I'll set-up. I'd prefer quicktime files, but I can convert almost anything as long as it's not using a really weird codec. The only limitation is NO WINDOWS MEDIA. It doesn't seem to be compatible with anything other than other useless Microsoft software. Uncompressed AVI files should be avoided too, if only because they tend to be huge.

    I'll splice together the videos as they come in and post the "in progress" work as it develops. That way, other puppeteers can view it and contribute additional segments (even "rebuttals" to previous segments) and the work can be really collaborative and organic; able to take on a life of it's own.

    We could do one month as test (I'll just pick a theme or someone can suggest one we all like), then have users vote in a web poll for the next month's theme. Web comics artist Scott McCloud does something similar with his Morning Improv.

    I'd also like to do something along the lines of Nothing So Strange, one of the more interesting film projects on the `net. It's an "open source" movie; anyone can download the source files from the film and edit them together anyway they like. Maybe we could do something like that. Have a linear, edited version put together as segments come in AND have the source files available so people can edit their own movies from all the footage too. Note sure how to make that work, but it's something to think about.

    I've been having problems with my web hosting company - they upgraded my hosting package but upgraded me to the wrong hosting package so the server my site is on doesn't support CGI scripts, which I need for some other things. So now I am waiting for them to move the site (again) to a new server. Once that happens, I'll republish my site and configure the new FTP server and maybe we can get started?
  17. pdbooch

    pdbooch Active Member

    I don't know what we all think of this, but it might be another option.
    I don't think they're all up to speed yet, but it could be worth looking
    in to.

    I'm cool with quicktime and all, I'm just worried about how large my
    final file might be. I've been doing a non-video freelance graphics layout
    project recently and my attempts at uploading to the printer were
    very unsuccesful. Hopefully once in comes down to it, that won't be
    a problem.

    I forget who it was that suggested "Friendship" as the theme for the first
    but I'd be down with that. I was already thinking of possibilities with it...

    Just my 2 cents.
  18. mkelley

    mkelley Active Member


    There are lots of different possibilities out there, but I really like Buck taking the ball and running with it (and it helps that he's, like, the #1 puppet answer guy around here -- hope I don't offend others). I think we should get started and as other possibilities develop don't hesitate to use those resources as well.

    You raise a good point I hadn't mentioned before (doh!): not only should we limit the length, but also the resolution of the video. We don't want (nor need) to send Buck full D1 files that are both too big as well as too much for him to deal with. Given the nature of the web I would suggest 320 x 240 -- exactly this size, no larger or smaller. This is a good tradeoff between being able to see some details and not hogging the bandwidth, and I think it's one everyone can live with. At 30 seconds it shouldn't be that big a file.

    And that's two votes for friendship -- it would be nice if we could finalize the theme ASAP so people can start working on this, Buck. Even if it takes you a few weeks to get your FTP worked out that will give people time to start gearing up (I know it will take me at least a couple of weeks to prepare something) and then the uploading can begin!

    (If I hear a third vote for friendship I think we should roll with it...)
  19. Puppetplanet

    Puppetplanet Well-Known Member

    wish I could participate but I have no idea how to make my own video. =(
  20. mkelley

    mkelley Active Member


    It's *easy* -- almost anyone can do it nowadays.

    First of all, you *must* either have a video camera or know someone with one. You probably know ten people with one. Get your show all ready and get someone to come over and videotape it. Here's some hints about doing just that:

    http://home.earthlink.net/~lbrodie/extra/camramnp.html (and on page two it talks about setting up a video monitor).

    Now you have it on video -- how to get it into the computer? Lots of ways to defur this feline, from very expensive to less than $50. What you want to do is digitize the video using a video capture device. Pinnacle ne' Dazzle offers such a device for less than $50 (quality not as good but acceptable) and you can buy things all the way up to $1K+. However, even for quite good video you can get away with spending less than $100, particularly if you have firewire already in your computer (if not, another $30 or so for a firewire card).

    I can provide details, but if you just want to contribute once to get your feet wet send me a videotape and I'll digitize it and upload it for you (we were going to swap some tapes somewhere along the line anyway, right?). But just to give everyone an idea, here's a cheap and effective way to get started:


    (Note: this is a USB solution. I'm not the biggest fan in the world of going USB for video, but for this purpose it should be just fine).

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