|Annie Forbes, director of the Puppetry Summit with Adam Elliot, Australian Master Puppeteer - Animator - Oscar winner and Steve Wyld, film maker & technical director of the 4th National Puppet Summit in Melbourne, Australia|
The 4th National Puppetry and Animatronics Summit is now over. So many events and so many stories to tell, but let's look at just a few of them.
The forum discussion with Adam Elliot yesterday was truly inspiring. Elliot is perhaps best know for his Oscar winning animated film 'Harvey Krumpet' and more recent 'Mary and Max'. He seems to prefer the term 'puppeteer' to 'animator' when referring to his work. Elliot discussed his days as an artist selling hand painted T-shirts on St Kilda promenade and his accidental enrollment into the VCA Animation course. This lead to way to his enormously successful career as an independent film producer today.
Elliot calls each of his works a Clayography – clay animated biography. Utilising a large team of animators and model makers, each film takes several years to complete. He does not use digital additions or computer generated imagery to enhance his visual aesthetic, but only to clean up the final picture removing rods or any controls that might be used.
You can watch a clip of 'Behind the scenes of Mary and Max' here and also Elliot discussing animation in Australia here!
I attended Mark Seton's lecture on Resilient Vulnerability, which was a thought provoking and enjoyable presentation. He talked about exploring the ways in which puppeteers and other performers can appropriately preserve their innate vulnerability and sensitivity to the sensory, imaginary and symbolic without such vulnerability becoming unsustainable or unhealthy. He emphasised 'the performer's recovery' or bouncing back after a disappointment or trauma and the importance of resilience, which may be both inherent, as well as a learnt behaviour. Seton coined the term 'Post-Dramatic Stress: Negotiating Vulnerability for Performance'. He has a paper on this very topic, which you can download here! Seton went on to present a workshop, which I heard was wonderful, but alas, I needed to attend a different session.
I also attended an interactive discussion on 'Writing in 3-D' by New Zealand based Gary Henderson. This took us on a creative journey in brainstorming ideas for staging a production using single words describing design, wardrobe, light, sound, action, smell, etc which gives the creator an entire range of theatre technology at their disposal very quickly, when creating a new work.
I missed out on many events on the Sunday morning, because after a wonderful 'PUPPET CABARET' on Saturday night, in which we performed our paper piece ' The Jewel', we had much to prepare for our Dan Hurlin Clinic on Sunday at 9am. We got to workshop another paper production with Dan Hurlin, looking at our work in a new and fresh light which was a treat for our performing team - puppeteers Janice Pezzoti, Theresa O'Connor and myself, together with our talented musicians Marcio Siqueira and David Wells.
After the Clinic, we had about thirty minutes to set up in the Grant Street Theatre. At 11am, together with Theresa O'Connor, I conducted our mini-workshop 'Puppetry for Television and Web', which went really well. In the afternoon we watched Roman Paska's documentary film, Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy, where American actor, John Turturro heads to his ancestral land looking for the essence of the Sicilian character, touching on the island's unique qualities, the doco and Turturro himself as it explores Sicilian puppetry traditions. You can catch a short clip of this film on Vimeo here!
This brought the four-day summit to a close. I must just thank Summit director, Annie Forbes for organising a great summit in Australia. You can also read Puppets in Melbourne's reviews of the Puppetry Summit on their blog here!