Monday, December 30, 2013

How I plan a puppet song

I'm currently in planning mode and thought I would share a bit of the process I use to choose, plan and produce a number.

It begins with a lot of prayer actually. I am in constant prayer and asking God for direction, inspiration and a message/reason for the show or song.

Sometimes a song comes on the radio and I just see it "puppetized" in my mind.  Sometimes I have to work a little harder.  I almost always have to work a little harder. :)  I think God doesn't want me to ever take this ministry for granted .

Right now I have several projects and performance ideas in my head but I'll focus on just one song I'm working on right now.

1. Purpose/Venue

  • Annual Valentine Fund Raiser Banquet at church. We need entertainment for the banquet and our puppet team, PIT Crew, is always a big hit. 

2. Message & Style

  • Naturally, I look for a song about "love" since it's Valentine's Day.  I have several Righteous Pop Music albums and decide to look there first because they are familiar tunes to the audience and they keep it a little light for using puppetry to music. I chose "Put the Love of God in Your Heart" from RPM Vol. 4

3. Theme or "look" of the song:

  • I decide after getting some inspiration from another puppet team to go with flowers, shrubs, animals etc. as the setting for the song.

4. Props & Puppets:
  • The lead singer is a female, and I am going to use this puppet for the singer. She'll need a new dress (she's currently wearing a peasant dress from VBS ;)) and maybe some ribbons for her hair. 
  • I am going to use the bunny puppet I'm working on, and a flower puppet we have (I may make another one) as well as any other animal or nature type puppets I have.  It's time to do a little digging in the Rubbermaid tubs and a lot of painting and foam core cutting!
5. Choreographing the number:
  • I use an excel file to add the lyrics, prop list and make a column to add the entrance/exits, choreography instructions etc.  This is very helpful from practice to practice so we don't forget what we did!  I print the sheet out and make any changes with pen.  Sometimes, when I remember, I  go back and add the changes to the file so that if we use the song again we will remember it with the changes and additions and we can print out a clean copy.
Here's what the file might look like, this one's still in the works:

When it's done, all entrances and dancing moves will have been named and written down in the file.

6. Practice
  • Next comes actually working with the team to make sure what I want to do can actually be done!  This often results in change. :) You have to be willing to make adjustments or even ditch something entirely. I always go for simple and excellent rather than complicated and a mess.  Know what I mean?

7. Perform
  • After all the planning, prop making, and practice then we are ready to perform the number. There are several smaller steps in between all of this but this is the basic formula. And once a year we do a complete show with scripts and songs all strung together.  This one is just one song.  I'm still pondering adding a skit. But I'm not sure yet. 
These are the basic steps I go through in planning a puppet performance. I hope this helps you plan a performance for your team! 

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