Monday, October 27, 2008

On Pumpkins and stuff

This last weekend, Mandy and I hosted a pumpkin carving party. I invited puppeteers, she invited teachers and the two crowds seemed to get on well. Actually I think it sparked a bit of an interest in puppets in some of the teachers present. Among the puppeteers, we ended up with two moving pumpkins:

(I took both of the above with my camera phone.)

We also had one pumpkin that could be used as a puppet:
Cheryl's Puppet Pumpkin

Also, one that made great use of shadows:
Mylinda's Alien

Fun, huh?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Some Onsite Lessons Learned


I've been meaning to post this for a while now...

Aki Matsuri Lessons learned:

  • Start dress rehearsal on Friday sooner…the room gets locked at 8pm
  • Submit names for badges only…I felt bad when I learned the Aki Matsuri people made badges for puppet builders who weren’t in the show
  • Do the shows at 11am and 4pm both days
  • Use between scene music
  • Having everyone wear the shirts and look the same was a really good idea.
  • Drilling lines right before the show was a really good idea
  • Having a green room was also a really good idea
  • Put a microphone on everyone and control the volume at the board.
  • We had problems with the knee pads…even the really good ones. I think we should’ve gone with the foam puzzle pad idea instead.
  • Record the show using a digital video camera not an old VHS camera from the 90’s
  • Use metal rods, not wood—wood breaks
  • Having a puppet first aid kit was a good idea
  • Put nothing tall on the playboard
  • Order the poster sooner
  • Windows magnify noise of conversation, and the audience was big enough that next time we should claim seating space all the way to the window and perhaps face the window squarely.
  • We needed a large “Next Show at…” sign
  • Marking the foot location of the stage was a good idea
  • Having a violin player was a good idea

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I have been invited...and I'm rather join the PofA web advisory committee. It actually went something like this:
Steve asks, "Would you be willing to serve as member of the PofA web advisory committee?"
Elly replies, "
I would love to. Thank you for thinking of me. Can you send me some more details?" Yes...that's the order I used. Why? Because I pretty much knew that no matter what the details he'd send me were...websites and web programs is my contribution to the puppetry guild. You see, I've got a very useful disconnect in my head. I get excited when a computer challenges me. What I mean is...say I wanted to create a database that did X, Y and Z. First, I'd read the help...and if the help is helpful, I would do it and not think about it further. But if instead the help is not helpful, I would begin to experiment ways to make the data base do X, Y, and Z. If I found out the way easily, I would do it, curse the writer of the help section and not think about it further. But if it was difficult to figure out...then, at that moment when a normal person become frustrated, I become excited, happy and a tad obsessive. Time looses all meaning to me. At work, this is the number one reason I stay past 5pm. Of course there are other reasons like deadlines that are more likely to cause me to stay, but the difference is...a deadline would still leave me conscious of time. A glitch can magically erase whole hours from my life.
This love of glitches serves me well in the physical world as well. Some people give up marionettes because of the frustration of the tangle. Not me...and I strangely consider untying to be failure. A master untangler never unties the strings! If it got that way without untying, it can be undone without untying! Just...give me a few seconds, wouldja? Wait...wait...I've almost got it...let's see...there! Here you go.
Speaking of being honored. I was so honored that my puppets made it into the last Puppetry Journal. It's a major first for me. Check it out: