Time for some new artwork for I Want A Pet Turkey. Our illustrator, J Zamora, is working hard to bring the story to life. In doing so, a range of emotions have to be created to make our main character jump off of the page. Part of J’s process is running through some character models to showcase the character with different emotions. This week’s is Happy!
Is it just me or is this little guy ready to be made into a puppet! Hmmm!
Today we are talking with someone who has an amazing job! I personally met David Manley at a puppet workshop a few years back called Beyond the Sock (http://www.beyondthesock.com). Each year, puppeteers (amateur and professional) come from all over the world to learn how to make and preform puppets and the workshop has connected so many people all with the same passion–puppets. I got to talk with David about his puppet work in New York.
Good morning, David! Let’s start off with you telling us about yourself and what do you do?
Good morning! I’m a puppeteer who travels to schools, theaters and libraries in New York and New Jersey mostly, but nationally as well. When I was young, I knew I wanted to be a puppeteer but peer pressure caused me to put it aside. I rediscovered it my adulthood and began my puppet company, Up In Arms, in 2012. I produce Broadway-style puppet musicals – the kind I wanted to see as a kid. Our shows include messages about learning, bullying (kindness and respect), health and wellness and our latest family musical “Pirate Song” about a young pirate princess searching the world for her song.
That is so cool that you get to teach children with puppets! What is your favorite part of being a puppeteer for school-age children?
I love the sense of wonder they have. We can hear them calling out from behind stage and their questions during our Q&A makes me feel like we’re imparting that same sense of magic I felt about puppetry when I was their age. As adults, it helps to remind us that magic still exists and to be producing it is amazing.
Out of all of your different programs you have done over the years, which one is your favorite?
Hands down, “Helping Drew”, our anti-bullying musical. As a kid who encountered some bullying, it was important for my own personal journey to experience being part of the solution instead of feeling like a victim. I’ve had so many comments from adults thanking me for the program having their own experiences being bullied.
What upcoming shows you do you have coming up? How can people come see the shows (say if they don’t go to one of the schools that your group preforms at)?
“Pirate Song” premiered October 13 in Newburgh, NY at a local library. One of our earlier shows, “Welcome Park” plays The Center for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, NY in November 2018. We perform for libraries mostly in the summer in Northern New Jersey and the Mid-Hudson Valley region of New York. Folks who are interested can follow us on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/upinarmspuppets) to find our public shows. We’ve played as far away as Las Vegas, NV and down the east coast to Maryland and Virginia as well so, you never know where we might be performing.
Alright, time for one last question! What Muppet / Sesame Street character best describes you and why?
I’m kind of a cheerful, organized Scooter type with a strong Cookie Monster sweet tooth and a Grover who just wants to share love.
Perfect answer! Thank you so much David for taking the time to talk to us today. It is so awesome to see someone following their dream and providing inspiration to children all over the country. If you want to keep up with Up In Arms please go to http://www.upinarms.biz or check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/upinarmspuppets. If you have seen an Up In Arms production, please leave a comment on how you liked it and if you are in the area check out Pirate Song David’s next big production!
I always feel like somebody’s watching me! Awesome new artwork for I Want A Pet Turkey.
We have a new feature debuting this week called Questions To Inspire. One of my favorite things is talking to others. I love stories and I love to hear the stories and inspirations behind other people’s lives. And one thing I want to do is inspire people.
I want to showcase some really amazing people and how / why they do what they do. Our first interview is this Thursday, so look out for it as we talk to New York Times bestselling children’s author – Pat Zietlow Miller!
Picking an illustrator is a difficult decision. You need someone who can bring your creation to life; who will take your dream and make it a reality. I had a tough time working through illustrators. I talked with illustrators from different countries, different backgrounds, and different ages. Each had their good points and each had exceptional artistic abilities. Hiring someone you don’t know can be a little scary, because you don’t know if they will be able to give you the quality and depth you are looking for. Crazy thing was though, I was surrounded by so many artistic people.
It took a bit of relentless asking, pestering, begging, but I finally convinced my friend J to come on board as the illustrator. Not only is an amazing artist, but he has also been a key part of Moose Egg Productions throughout the years. He has starred in puppet videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbjwKp4-_sg) and helped out during a few of the live events we have done.
J has created an amazing character design for the two characters in I Want A Pet Turkey – Matt and the Turkey. Why tell you about it when I can show you a behind the scene picture of the storyboard and the first page!