Do you have a love for acting and performing but feel held back due to shyness or fear of being in front of an audience? Fear no more; become a puppet master.
The Bucket List movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, inspired many people to make a personal wish list. If acting is on your wish list but you hesitate because of shyness, stage fright, or working with others, puppetry is an excellent outlet.
Operating puppets is done behind, above, or below the stage. The puppets face the audience, not the puppeteer.
The characters may be people, animals, plants, and other inanimate objects. The job of a professional puppeteer is to bring these lifeless objects to life.
- What is required of a puppeteer?
- Story writer
- Set designer and stage construction
- Making puppets
- Mold making
- Know how to make dolls and other inanimate objects
- Assorted arts and crafts techniques
- Business knowledge
As a solo performing artist many talents and skills in a variety of arts and crafts are essential. You control everything in, on, and around the stage. You control all physical movements and character voices of hand puppets to marionettes. Sound effects and music are prerecorded. There is responsibility for making puppets, props, stage settings, and the stage.
The audience becomes involved with the characters in the story as though they were human actors.
The puppeteer need not worry about meeting with the audience. After the characters end their performance with a curtain call, the audience leaves.
For example, I recall a comedy ventriloquist act performing for three weekends at a local nightclub. At the end of the performance, the puppet master would sit down with patrons and have a conversation involving “Henry” (his dummy). The audience enjoyed this segment of the entertainment and each weekend members of the audience looked forward to participating in Henry’s visit.
The contract with this entertainer had been completed and the act moved on to other scheduled performances. For approximately two months audience members kept asking, “When will Henry return? We miss him.” No one asked for the entertainer.
Employment opportunities are available in schools, television, movies, theaters, video, film, and other related media. Income ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the business establishment.
- Self-taught with books, videos, and experiences as a hobbyist.
- Internship with a puppet master. This education will be for a year or more.
- Specialty schools and colleges for career oriented.
There are many talents and skills required in this performing art. The two most important are story telling and acting. Hobby or professional career choice determines the need for informal or formal education.