This is a fairly important question for Puppet Masters to address. At one point the Puppet Masters were the greatest puppets in the world and if you have a puppeteer who works for you, they might be your biggest customer, but do you actually control their puppets? You’re not controlling their puppets but they really depend on them.
The puppeteers are like the business people and the artists. They know when things are coming together and when them and their audience are going to get fed up with each other. To the puppet master you, on the other hand, are their puppet puppet.
Are you allowed to use props and makeup that you know will not work?
Of course you’re allowed to use them but they are to be used in exactly the same way as on stage. Even if you have a very expensive prop and if it’s a complicated, tricky move and if we are having trouble with the lighting, if the puppet master does not want to do it then you are not allowed to use it. It has to be exactly the same way as on a full stage run.
Puppeteers are also always trying to push boundaries and sometimes go for it and sometimes not, but generally it is OK to use props that you know are probably no good but have to do something because you know the puppet master will look at them and give you permission to use them.
If there are any issues about being able to see the costumes from behind, do you ever say, “No please no” to them?
We don’t have a problem with people showing us footage of themselves which we can use but you never say, “No!” It is usually not the puppeteers decision to shoot behind us and never have we had anything to do with it unless the puppet master was very upset because of it.
But they will see us if they like, so it’s just a case of showing them a clip of us and explaining the setup before filming takes place. This is a very good practice because usually the puppet masters won’t see this from the point of view of showing them a video, they’ll see it from the point of view of them trying to stop someone else from recording them, so it’s just a case of telling them you don’t like it and saying what you will put in the footage. There was one time in the early 2000s where a very good puppeteer was showing us bits and pieces of his show on a camera so we
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