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Bristol 48 hour Puppet Movie Problem: Ideas and recommendation from our Judges

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With registration about to shut and the Bristol 48 hour Puppet Movie Problem weekend quick approaching (27-Twenty ninth August, 2021), we caught up with three of this yr’s Judges to get their ideas and recommendation on puppetry, fabricating, and movie making.

What are you searching for in a Puppet movie? What's it that excites you about puppetry in movie?

Colleen Smith (CS): I favor efficiency over fancy puppetry. I imply, I’m at all times impressed by lovely puppet work. But it surely wants nice performing to again it up. I like puppets over particular results. I like how one can overlook it’s a puppet and suppose that it’s a dwelling respiratory creature. However I additionally get excited when individuals embrace the truth that you've gotten a doll on the top of your arm that you simply make speak along with your hand. I suppose, I imply, I prefer it when individuals don’t take it too critically and have enjoyable.

Dik Downey (DD): Personally, I’ll be excited to see something the place they’ve made an effort. Clearly bizarre, darkish worlds are one thing I’m drawn to, however I wouldn’t rule out the other both. Ardour and a focus to element are issues that can stand out for me.

Olivia Racionzer (OR): Probably the most thrilling factor for me is making a world in your Puppets to reside in, utilizing on a regular basis supplies within the course of. Puppets are non-prescriptive and will be no matter you need, the world comes with them and is an thrilling a part of it for me. Filming offers you the prospect to curate what the viewers will see. Each shot is a thought out body, which suggests you'll be able to actually deal with the elements of the puppet that will likely be seen, for instance a single transferring tentacle relatively than a full physique with ten transferring tentacles.

THE BARBARIAN AND THE TROLL – Colleen Smith (Photograph: Colleen Smith)

What are the important thing variations and challenges in doing Puppetry for movie in contrast with reside performances, resembling theatre?

CS: It’s the identical for any form of efficiency. In movie you'll be able to construct elaborate units, journey far and wide, and do smaller extra nuanced work. In addition to insanely difficult work. Particularly with greenscreen. Stage has the good thing about the power from the viewers and the thrill that comes from not getting a number of takes. I’ve seen an viewers gasp after they noticed Large Fowl stroll out on stage. To see a large puppet like that in individual is unbelievable. However then once more Kermit and the remainder of the muppets using bikes in The Nice Muppet Caper is unbelievable too.

Dwynwen puppet for LLYFR GLAS NEBO – Olivia Racionzer (Photograph: Olivia Racionzer)

For these new to puppetry, taking over this problem for the primary time, what can be your recommendation on fabricating and puppeteering?

OR: Taking part in and having enjoyable is the important thing to all of it. Puppetry offers you the chance to create life from any object. If the making scares you, simply begin easy and add onto present objects, for instance a potato masher, a teapot, or a pillow. When you’ve found the character you'll be able to develop it from there and see whether or not you wish to translate it right into a full puppet construct or whether or not the discovered object does the job.

Puppeteering was, and is, the toughest half for me. What made it much less daunting was the concept that I don’t want to make use of my voice to speak a narrative. The aesthetic and motion of a Puppet will be extraordinarily efficient and discovering that out has relieved the strain for me. I often begin by recreating particular gestures and actions, then put the characters persona into them.

COULROPHOBIA – Adam Blake & Dik Downey (Photograph: Stephan Poller)

Any further recommendation or suggestions for the people taking over the Bristol 48 hour Puppet Movie Problem?

CS: Make one thing you're keen on. And make it for you. That method no matter occurs on the finish of this you've gotten one thing you want and you'll take with you. Have a standpoint. It doesn’t should be revolutionary, however present us the way you see the world. Even severe stuff ought to have humour in it. Life does. Hold your head out of the shot and watch your eye focus!

OR: I might say don’t get caught up with difficult storylines, begin with a easy concept and develop it from there. Play with gentle, ranges, rhythm, and sound. Most significantly have enjoyable, improvise and settle for that issues may change when you begin filming. 

DD: Don’t stress and doc the method as you go alongside, as this will likely inform different work you do in the event you proceed working with puppets… and attempt to take pleasure in yourselves!


There’s nonetheless time to register for the Bristol 48 hour Puppet Movie Problem, which is happening on the 27-Twenty ninth August, and is being run by Puppet Place in affiliation with the Home of Humorous Noises.

A world problem to make a brief puppet movie, the occasion is free to enter, however donations are warmly welcomed, and it's open to all-ages and ranges of means – first-timers and professionals – in puppetry, fabricating, and filmmaking.

Extra particulars, together with learn how to register, will be discovered by way of: bristol48hpuppetfilmchallenge.co.uk

Bristol 48 hour Puppet Movie Problem 2021 Trailer by Home of Humorous Noises

Colleen Smith is an actress, comic, and puppeteer who has labored on a number of Jim Henson Firm tasks and most lately The Barbarian and The Troll for Nickelodeon.

Web site: colleensmi.com / Twitter: @ColleenSmi

Dik Downey is a Puppet maker, puppeteer, performer, director, sculptor, artist, and clown! And is a part of Opposable Thumb with Adam Blake.

Web site: opposablethumbtheatre.com / Twitter: @dikdowney / Instagram: @dik_downey

Olivia Racionzer is a designer, maker, and puppeteer, freelancing in theatre and movie & tv, most lately engaged on His Darkish Supplies for the BBC within the Creature Results Division.

Web site: oliviaracionzer.com / Twitter: @oliviaracionzer


Interviewed by Matt Gibbs


The Bristol 48 hour Puppet Movie Problem will run this August financial institution vacation weekend, twenty seventh – Twenty ninth, and is open to individuals of all ages and backgrounds, from absolute newcomers to seasoned professionals. You have to register upfront to affix in with the enjoyable and registration closes at 12:00pm (BST) on Friday twenty seventh August. The Problem is free to enter, however donations are warmly welcomed.

All movies submitted will likely be screened on-line from eleventh – twelfth September, 2021, and the successful entries, chosen by a crew of prime judges, will likely be screened on the Finale on Sunday twelfth September, 2021, at 7:00pm (BST), each on-line and on the Large Display in Bristol’s well-known Millennium Sq..

Don’t miss this unbelievable alternative to flex your puppetry prowess on the silver display screen – there will likely be prizes! Discover out extra at bristol48hpuppetfilmchallenge.co.uk and maintain updated with all the most recent information concerning the Problem on Fb and Instagram.



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