Performing Puppets on Film

While I am primarily an independent visual and performance artist who uses puppetry and performing objects, from time to time I work in puppetry for film, television and the web – on other people’s music videos, pitches, commercials, and films. On these projects, I  have experience animating robotic servo-controlled puppet faces for “Team America-style” marionettes, hand-mouth “Muppet-style” puppets, marionettes, toy theatre style puppets and other harder to categorize kinetic objects. Here are some examples:


2017 – Dave Made A Maze

In Dave Made A Maze, a frustrated artist must be rescued by his friends from a bloodthirsty Minotaur in a supernatural world of  the cardboard fort he built in his living room. For this film, giant oragami cranes in one of the rooms of the maze.


2016 – Gender is a Construct

For Gender is a Construct, Do-Si-Do, a Funny or Die video that received “immortal” status, I was an associate producer and puppeteer. As associate producer, I  advised the production on shooting for puppetry and helped assemble a team of puppeteers. In Gender is a Construct, the caller of a puppet square dance struggles with the modern politics of gender and sexual identity.


2014 –  Speed Police 

In TaylorMade’s “Stakeout” and “The Pull Over” commercials, I operated the faces of “Team America” style marionettes in the likeness of professional golfers with with radio controlled servos.


2013 – The Kickstarter Song

In The Kickstarter Song, a satyrical music video that poked fun at the underbelly of crowdfunding, I performed hand-mouth puppets for the camera.


2012 – Not Alone

In the official music video for Ben Taylor’s Not Alone,   I performed marionette-controlled sock puppets. Not Alone, directed by Trish Sie (Pitch Perfect 3), follows a lonely sock who searches everywhere for a soulmate.  Not Alone, was released online and twice screened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for their Puppets on Film series.


2010 – Calling Occupants

I was one of the puppeteers in Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft, a puppet film directed by Tim Lagasse and Martin P. Robinson. In Calling Occupants, a music assembly in which school children attempt to contact extra-terestrial life goes horribly wrong. Calling Occupants was created during the 2010 National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.  


2008 – Bottle Stopper Project

For Martin Robinson’s Bottle Stopper Project, I operated toy theatre style puppets (anthropomorphic hand carved Sicilian bottle stoppers) and assisted as a set decorator. In the Bottle Stopper Project, life is good in an Italian bar until there is a break in reality. We created The Bottle Stopper Project during the 2008 National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and the film was screened all over the world in the touring puppet film series, Handmade Puppet Dreams.


2008 – Stuck at Sea

In the official music video for Honorary Title’s Stuck at Sea, I operated hard to categorize puppets (walking letters of the alphabet where the puppeteers were hidden in high contrast much like a green screen).


2007 – The Circus

For The Circus, an eBaysodeTM (a pitch for eBay), I animated objects (bears on spinning balls, members of a monkey band, and other assorted toys).


2007 –  Winter Windows

 

For the official music video for Sea Wolf’s Winter Windows I animated the leaves of a forrest, and operated some hard to categorize puppets (including  flying books, a spinning globe that transforms into a feline, a table that transforms into some sort of mammal, and a suitcase that transforms into a turtle).


Education: 

Beyond my MFA degree at CalArts in puppetry and object theater, I have also trained for five years with the Jim Henson Company on hand-mouth style on-camera improv and puppetry and for 11 years at the National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center during which I gained experience with table-top puppetry.