Puppets, dialogue and me

So for the last two days I was at work, shooting commercials and other small things for the show. It felt really, really good to do some puppetry again. Mostly it was my standard routine of fetching carts, and hats for the puppeteer. I did do some hand work for a couple of different shots. We were shooting some dancing and the puppet needed to clap. It’s just plain easier for the lead puppeteer to let someone else take over the rods and handle the clapping.

Besides the choreographed stuff, we also had a sort of free-dance. I was in live hands and following the lead puppeteer. It’s sort of like ballroom dancing, except not as graceful. The goal is to look like one being, even though there are two of us dancing. It’s fun. Sometimes it was successful and sometimes it was disjointed. I had some trouble because the elastic rode up on my right arm. I kept my arm out of the shot, but the puppet’s arm got really short. That probably doesn’t make sense, huh?

It’s like this. My arm enters the puppet at the elbow of the puppet, but my elbow and the puppet’s elbow are not lined up. These are supposed to be kids, so their arms are much shorter than mine. The puppet’s elbow lines up with the middle of my forearm. Make sense? So, the puppet has this stump that attaches to my arm with elastic. If the elastic slides toward my wrist, the puppet’s forearm gets shorter. I’m sure my sleeve flashed a couple of times, but they will only use short portions of this. We did it multiple times. Both of us were out of breath at the end. It’s amazing what six weeks off will do to a body.

Thank heavens I’ve been biking. I guess I should start lifting weights too.

After I finished the puppetry, I switched roles to dialogue coach. They had asked me to do this because they needed a native English speaker to make sure nothing was wonky. Just like the trouble I’m having with Icelandic, it’s the small words that trip people up. Most shots, I was there just to say, “Yep, the English is clean.” Very occasionally, I would say something like, “It’s ‘having a ball’ not ‘having ball.’” My personal favorite was supposed to be “Throw it up here,” except the line came out minus the “it.”

I thought I would speak nothing but Icelandic, since I was the only foreigner on set. But with the dialogue coaching, I never got out of the habit of speaking English. Someday.

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