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Topic: Arm Rods
Message: Posted by: KeithS (Aug 2, 2013 12:44AM)
I'm considering using an arm rod for my new puppet. Does anyone have experience with arm rods? If so, what do you think of them? I see they come in various sizes. Any thoughts about a particular size? Thanks.
Message: Posted by: Joseph_Then (Aug 2, 2013 02:50AM)
There are a few type of arm rods and some are made specifically for specific puppets. I have a set of arm rods that needs you to clip on the soft arms. I also have one set where it's wraps the wrist with Velcro.

I usually use arm rods for puppet shows with staging, rarely for ventriloquism shows.
Message: Posted by: KeithS (Aug 2, 2013 08:43AM)
Thanks, Joseph. I've seen two types that I'm considering: one with rubber bands and one sort of bent into a clip.

May I ask why you don't use them for your vent shows? Thanks!
Message: Posted by: Joseph_Then (Aug 2, 2013 11:46AM)
Hi Keith,

That's because the puppet is right beside me and I can move their arms with my hands. :)

For puppets in a puppet stage settings, arm rods are a must.
Message: Posted by: KeithS (Aug 2, 2013 11:55AM)
Thanks, Joseph. That makes sense, of course. Besides Dan Horn, who is a master at both arm rods, I've been watching vids of other vents like Terry, Jeff, and others who use different types of rods to move one arm of the puppet. I'm still considering it.
Message: Posted by: KeithS (Aug 2, 2013 12:35PM)
I must have puppet arms on the brain today. I've sent this question to the puppet maker, but I'm also interested in the collective wisdom from the crew here!

As I'm practicing with my new puppet, I'm considering how to best position his arms. I'm planning on performing with him on a stand. If I do not choose to use an arm rod, I'd like his arms to look natural without flopping around.

Any ideas about the best way to keep his arms in a natural position, such as as they are in my avatar pic? I don't want to alter him in any irreversible way, but would something like small magnets or velcro work? I'm open to any suggestion you all may have. Thanks!
Message: Posted by: Servante (Aug 2, 2013 02:33PM)
I've seen magnets work...but also consider the "Big Bird" method, with lines tied to both wrists and some sort of "eye" at chest level through which they are threaded. That way, moving one down moves another up, and that could easily be done quickly, or left to chance.

-Philip
Message: Posted by: Fonsy (Aug 2, 2013 02:50PM)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8At9V4ynUpE

When I think about arm rods,
my mind jumps right to Dan Horn.
He's great at manipulating his puppet Orson.
Learn from a master!

.
Message: Posted by: KeithS (Aug 2, 2013 03:18PM)
Thanks Philip. I've had puppets with those types of strings and seen plenty others. I'm not a fan. I ended up cutting them off the two Verna puppets I had years ago. I don't know, they just look too puppety to me.

Fonsy, Dan is one of my two favorite ventriloquists of all time, and my favorite living vent. He is the master at manipulation, no doubt. But, personally, I don't want to go with the double arm rods.
Message: Posted by: Fonsy (Aug 2, 2013 04:12PM)
Generally, I am not a big fan of arm rods
because often the actions seem distracting.

But Dan Horn makes every movement count for humor or characterization,
so he is also among my favorite performers.

A puppeteer (not a vent actually) that also comes to mind for using arm rods effectively
is Wayland Flowers (and his puppet Madame).
No one cared that Flowers deliberately moved his lips because the audience was so focused on the puppet.
The illusion was complete despite that, and the peformance was also outstanding.

.
Message: Posted by: KeithS (Aug 2, 2013 10:50PM)
Wayland Flowers was a great puppeteer. He played up the fact that he wasn't a vent. Madame: "He's not a ventriloquist because I am no fxxxxxx dummy!"
Message: Posted by: Joseph_Then (Aug 3, 2013 12:23AM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-02 13:35, KeithS wrote:
Any ideas about the best way to keep his arms in a natural position, such as as they are in my avatar pic? I don't want to alter him in any irreversible way, but would something like small magnets or velcro work? I'm open to any suggestion you all may have. Thanks!
[/quote]
I watched Dave Pendleton's video and he had a thin fishing line that runs from the puppet's ear to the hand on both sides. In doing so, the puppet's hands are naturally moved to the front, bended slightly. When the puppet talks, the hands move on it's own and makes it looks very realistic.

Check out this video and you'll know what I mean (Just watch the dog):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV8xcVp2ifU
Message: Posted by: KeithS (Aug 3, 2013 01:57AM)
Thanks Joseph, but as I mentioned to Philip above, I'm not a fan of that particular device.
Message: Posted by: Joseph_Then (Aug 3, 2013 06:57AM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-03 02:57, KeithS wrote:
Thanks Joseph, but as I mentioned to Philip above, I'm not a fan of that particular device.
[/quote]
Oops... I missed reading that post. :)
Message: Posted by: damien666 (Aug 3, 2013 01:20PM)
It looks to me like he has his thumbs in his pockets... You could just put a stitch or two in to keep them there.. It wouldnt be too destructive or irreversible.. If you want the Hands free, just pick the stitch out.
For one of my old puppets, I had arm rods to start.. The puppet would make a comment about it and demand that I take off the rods.. At which time his arms would still move... They were actually programmed servos and I could hit a small button to make both arms move as I had pre set in the programmer.. But I found I get better response by just using the jokes about the rods throughout my show.. So nowadays I just keep the rods attached. I agree that Dan Horn is the
Best at manip!! I would love to see him live someday!
Sometimes we over think things like rods.. People are used to seeing them on puppets - so they are willing to overlook them I think.
Message: Posted by: KeithS (Aug 3, 2013 02:50PM)
Damien, Yes, in the pic, it looks like his thumbs are in his pockets, but he doesn't have pockets. The thumbs are just under some folds. Thank you for the stitching idea. I wish I were more confident in my sewing and other skills like that! But I may just give it a shot.

The moving arms on your puppet sound great. I agree that people don't think too much about rod arms. They know it's a puppet. As long as the puppeteer is GOOD at using them, the audience is willing to forget about them (same with the whole vent thing!).