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Puppeteer The perfect career choice for anyone who is hell bent on not growing up, puppeteers create and work with puppets to put together performances that bring joy, laughter (and sometimes terror) to the lives of children and adults all over the world. From Elmo to Kermit the Frog; Lamb Chop; Sooty, Sweep and Soo; and Chucky from Child’s Play, puppets have entertained us on stage and screen for centuries. Digital animation may have changed the entertainment industry forever, but puppets still have an important place in comedy, TV, films and theatre. These days the art of puppeteering has moved on from the lo-fi street stylings of the Punch and Judy show held in the town square of a village. Increasingly, puppeteers are working in the animatronics field. Anima-what? Animatronics is basically the science of making puppets that have been wired up to move and sometimes even talk on their own, not unlike robotics. Instead of using their hands to animate the puppet, technology is used to create movement. Not all puppeteers work in this field, but it’s important to note that a career in puppeteering will, in all likelihood, include animatronics in the future. Working on a wide range of productions including musicals, children’s television shows, pantomimes and films, puppeteers must have a specific combination of skills and talents in order to thrive in the puppeteering world. Sure, the ability to build cool puppets is up there, but performance is a huge element of this job, so being able to read and write scripts is essential, as is having a broad understanding of the performing arts world. As a form of acting, puppeteering requires showmanship, great communication skills and a knack for comedy. Being able to connect with audiences

(without them actually ever seeing you) isn’t easy and is the kind of rare, weird skill that is cultivated over years of practice. If you’re unsure of how successful puppeteering can be, look to the career of Jim Henson for some inspiration. The creator of The Muppets led a wildly successful life, managing to turn his love of puppets into a multifaceted and highly profitable career. Although not everyone can reach the dizzying heights of Jim Henson, puppeteers can be found working at children’s birthday parties, on theatre stages, film sets and television studios. Still, puppeteering roles are few and far between, so you’d want to really, really, really love puppets to pursue this career. Job security is rare in this business; therefore being able to market yourself and connect with the key players in the entertainment industry is essential. Some puppeteers supplement their income by building puppets for others, so there are various ways to secure several income streams if you’re clever and industrious enough to both build and perform. Hitting the big time may be rare, but when you’re a puppeteer you get to give birth to new characters, make people smile and laugh, have fun with your work and bring huge amounts of joy to the world. Now how many investment bankers can say that about their jobs?

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: No official education requirements, although a degree in performing arts would be helpful. Experience required: Experience building and working with puppets, as well as acting and performing is generally required. Training: Most puppeteers learn the art in performing arts or specialised puppetry schools. Restrictions: Working with children and criminal record checks are required to work with children.

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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