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Exit Techniques

By Amy Harder

This article is 8th in a series on learning to use video monitors for puppetry. So if you’ve just linked in here, you might want to check out the Video Monitors lesson index to get the whole picture.

Before we get into the the next game, we need to spend a few minutes with a little puppet movement theory. But don’t go grab a cup o’ joe just yet. First, do this: stand up, turn to the left and take a few steps, then come back. Are you back? Wait. Did you actually do it? Come on. We need full participation here. Try it. Stand up, turn to the left, take a few steps and then come back.

Now, think about what you did. In order to turn to the left, you had to shift your weight onto your right foot first… right? (If you don’t believe me, try it again in slow motion.) This is the basis for an important movement principle that I first learned from Andy Holmes, “Go left to go right, go right to go left.”

Think about classic cartoons like the Flintstones. When Fred needed to leave a scene, he didn’t just turn and walk out. No. It was much more comical and exaggerated. His arms would curl upward, he’d lean the opposite way he was headed, and his little legs would start runnin’ in place before he’d ever take off. It was so much more effective than just a boring turn-and-go exit.

Puppeteers should implement similar exit techniques, especially when working in film or video because it helps the audience to follow the action. If a puppet just swivel-turns and disappears, it can be easily missed by the viewer. But if that puppet takes just an extra second to set up his exit by leaning or even stepping the opposite way first, not only will it look more believable, but that simple move can also help clarify actions, provide comic relief, and can even help define the character.

Watch this little vid to see some examples of what I mean…

Watch Now:
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icon for podpress  [Exit Technique Examples] [0:49m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download



One response to “Exit Techniques”

27 06 2011
Brunokids (18:12:40) :

Very good!!! Amazing video Amy.

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