Turn a Funzle into a Star

August 18, 2010

Here’s a short video we made about how to turn a funzle puppet into a star. Several of this year’s new Christmas musicals feature star characters, so this is a great way to make an easy star puppet. The same technique can be used for other shapes as well. By the way, this video was featured in one of our recent e-newsletters. Visit One Way Street’s website and sign up for the free e-mail updates.

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Zappos Puppet Commercials

August 11, 2010

Zappos is a favorite online store of mine since it is one of the few places I can get red Converse high tops in my size.  They’ve recently released a new series of commercials that use puppets.  I think these commercials are worth the puppet ministry community taking a look at.  There’s nothing flashy with them when it comes to the puppetry.  To be honest, the performances wouldn’t score real high in the “lip-synch” category at a puppet festival.  But the concept is so simple and the puppets really help draw the audience in.

Of course, I love this one since it has a little puppet humor in it.

Who is Jesus Puppet Video

August 9, 2010

A discussion that I’ve gotten into often in children’s ministry circles has to do with the use of video in children’s church. There are folks who say that things like puppets, magic tricks, storytelling and such are outdated…it’s got to be on video to get the kids to pay attention. I love using video in children’s church, but it’s not the only way to go. In fact, I think methods like puppetry lend themselves perfectly to video. All it takes is one puppeteer with some creativity to bring a whole cast of characters to life on a video. Case in point, this video produced by my friend Karl Bastian…the Kidologist. He set up a camera on his back porch, got out some of his puppets, and here’s the results…

Christmas Musical Spotlight: The Christmas Puzzle

August 4, 2010

It used to be that all Christmas kids musicals were about 40 minutes long and required a fairly large number of kids to perform.  That’s not the case anymore.  More and more publishers have begun producing programs that can work well for ministries that have a smaller group of kids to work with.  These programs also work well for smaller puppet ministries.  “The Christmas Puzzle” is one of those programs.  It’s shorter in format (about 22 minutes) and has just five speaking parts.

In “The Christmas Puzzle,” four cousins are snowed in at Grandma’s house and all they can find to entertain themselves is an old puzzle.  But the pieces of this puzzle each represent a different piece of the Christmas story.

The program features six songs: “Picture Perfect Plan,” “Come, Thou Long-expected Jesus,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “The Manger Throne,” “Here We Are, Been Following a Star,” and “The Whole Story Medley.”

The creators of this program designed it to be a “simple musical.”  The number of characters is limited, the set is a simple living room, the costumes are seasonal clothing.  However, the music also allows opportunities to be creative and expand the production value in whatever way God takes you.

You can listen to samples from “The Christmas Puzzle” by following the link below.

The Christmas Puzzle

Christmas Musical Spotlight: Star of Wonder

August 3, 2010

Now here’s a new program for 2010 that was produced with a children’s choir in mind, but it’s got “puppets” written all over it!  All the characters in this program are stars!  I can imagine it’s pretty cute to see a bunch of kids in the choir dressed as stars, but what better way to depict these characters than puppets!

In “Star of Wonder,” a group of stars point the audience to Jesus’ birth, just like how a star lead the wise men.  The stars all have different unique personalities.  Superstar is kind of a diva, Falling Star is a bit accident prone, Lucky Star has a 4-leaf clover, Rock Star carries a guitar, Shooting Star is an Annie Oakley type cowgirl, and North Star is a bit grumpy.

The program is 27 minutes long, so it’s a bit shorter than many programs.  The eight songs are: “Look Up with This Little Light of Mine,” “Hangin’ Around the Heavens,” “God Chooses who He Uses,” “Big Band of Shepherds,” “Wee Three Kings,” “Shine On Us,” “Constellation Celebration,” and “Look Up with This Little Light of Mine.”  The song “Big Band of Shepherds” has a fun big band swing feel to it and would also be great with puppets.

Click on the link below to listen to samples from this program:

Star of Wonder

Now you may be wondering where you will find some star puppets.  This isn’t a character that One Way Street usually sells, however, the Sun Puppet pattern that is included in the book “Let There Be Blacklight” can very easily be adapted to make a star puppet instead.

Christmas Musical Spotlight: The Present is the Future

August 2, 2010

The new musical “The Present is the Future” gets it’s inspiration from the mystery board game Clue.  In this program, a group of kids are visiting the Mystery Mansion where a strange butler has given them each a clue that points them to part of the Christmas story.  The clues explain how Christ can give us identity, joy, serenity, forgiveness, knowledge, and hope for our future. The message that the “present” of Christ is the gift of a hopeful future is one that goes beyond the Christmas season.  It’s also a very appropriate message in these times when so many people feel so uncertain.

The “Mystery Mansion” setting and the visual nature of the clues the characters are given create some opportunities for creative scenery and props, especially in a puppet production.

This program has a unique premise and some good variety in musical styles.  The seven songs in this 43-minute musical are: “Big Night in a Small Town,” “Mysterious Mystery,” “Let’s Talk about Joy with Joy to the World,” “What a Friend is Supposed to be,” “The Light of Christmas,” “Hope of the Future,” “The Present is the Future with What Child is This?”  There are eight main speaking parts, including the adult butler, and several small supporting parts.

Click on the link below to listen to samples from this program…

The Present is the Future

Christmas Musical Spotlight: How Far is it to Bethlehem?

July 31, 2010

A few posts ago we looked at the musical “Follow the Star,” which focuses on the story of the wise men.  Here is another new musical that deals with that story, but from a somewhat different angle.  “How Far is it to Bethlehem?” imagines that Herod sent a few of his servants to join the caravan of the magi to serve as spies.  The spies try to cover up the real reason for joining the caravan, but in the end, they learn about Jesus, the Messiah.

The number of speaking parts is small in this 42-minute musical (two boys, two girls and some narrators).  There are also many opportunities for non-speaking roles, such as the characters of the biblical Christmas story.

The music has a more traditional sound and is easy to learn.  There are nine  songs: “Come Ye Lofty with O Come, All Ye Faithful,” ” Open the Gates, O Jerusalem,” “How far is it to Bethlehem? with O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “While Shepherds watched their Flocks,” “What will we Find,” “Star Song,” “One King with We Three Kings,” “Not that far from Bethlehem,” and “I Give it All with Offering.”

Click on the link below to listen to samples of this musical.

How Far is it to Bethlehem?

Christmas Musical Spotlight: Back to the Manger

July 28, 2010

The next new Christmas musical in the spotlight is “Back to the Manger.”  As you can imagine from the title of this 45-minute musical, time travel plays a part in the story.  In the program, a group of kids are attending a caroling outreach at church when they happen upon something the church janitor has been working on…a time machine.  Our heroes end up bouncing around in time, landing at Christmas Eve in various different eras.  The characters visit the 40’s, 50’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and the songs reflect the styles of music popular during those time periods.  They also visit the very first Christmas.

This musical, like most, was written with a children’s choir in mind, but it has a lot of great possibilities for puppets.  The variety of musical styles used creates a lot of chances for unique puppets, props and choreography.

There are nine songs: “Back to the Manger,” “Can You Hear the Bells with Angels we Have Heard on High,” “Let Us Love,” “Come Let Us Adore Him with O Come, All Ye Faithful and Away in a Manger,” Ring, Ring-a-ling,” “Song of the Sheep and the Goats,” “Peace on Earth with I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” “Ring the Bells,” and “Back to the Manger (Reprise)”

Click the link below to listen to clips from “Back to the Manger” at One Way Street’s website.

Improv Invitational – The Alphabet Game

July 27, 2010

Here’s a brief taste of the Improv Invitational at I-Fest 2010.  A bunch of talented puppeteers from our teaching staff took part in this event.  This particular game features Dave Privett and Branden Treu improvising a scene in which they tell the story of Gideon.  However, they must start each of their lines with a certain letter, slowly working their way through the alphabet.  The video was shot from quite a distance, so it’s hard to see the little rod puppets they used, but you’ll still enjoy the humor as well as the fact that they actually managed to tell part of the story.

I-Fest Photos 2

July 26, 2010

Here’s a few more photos from the 2010 International Festival of Christian Puppetry and Ventriloquism.

Once again, our daily devotional was brought to us by our favorite Brit, Paul Morley. CD’s and DVD’s of Paul’s messages for 2010 are available for purchase here: Paul Morley Messages 2010

An I-Fest tradition is for attendees to bring their hands-on workshop creations to chapel the next morning for a sort of show-and-tell.

Puppeteer David Hellyer instructs his class in some of the finer points of puppet manipulation.

Here’s some Puppetry Dream Team members taking a moment to pose during one of their daily rehearsals.

Ventriloquist Gene Cordova and his buddy Bongo were featured during the Tuesday night program.

The Bonilla Family showed how a family can minister together with puppets, choreography, and lots of fun!