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Practice 07

By Amy Harder

This article is 10th 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.

Focus & More: Me…No, Me

This is the last exercise in our focus section. (And there was much rejoicing.) Grab a friend and try to remember what we’re working on here… focus! This is a good game for adding drama and characterizations so have fun and ham it up. Just don’t get too violent. We cannot be held responsible for your foolishness. (Puppeteers? Foolish? Come now.)

Set up. You’ll need to work in pairs for this game. Set the camera to a mid-shot wide enough for two characters. You want to be able to see all the action without being too wide.

Action. This game begins with one puppet, Puppet A, alone in center screen. “A” confidently focuses on the camera and announces, “Me!” Puppet B slides into the shot, bumping “A” out of frame and announcing, “No, Me!” Puppet A returns in like manner. It doesn’t matter which way the bumper puppet slides into the shot… try and surprise your partner.

Get creative with your slide-bumps. Maybe push him with your hands, or your head. Maybe you enter and stomp on his toes. I dunno. Play with it and see what happens! Just remember to deliver your line directly into the camera… you need to be able to snap right towards the camera even when things start getting crazy around you.

Wrap up. It’s really easy for this one to get out of hand. Tee hee. So be careful, but don’t be afraid to have fun! I think puppeteers learn the most when they’re having fun.

Alright. Do you feel a little better about your ability to focus on the camera? It’s an important skill to master so take the time to really get it before we move on to the next section of exercises where we’ll discuss boundaries and learn to know and utilize the screen frame.


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