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Author Topic: Opinion about this years pawpet show  (Read 25935 times)

ANTIcarrot

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #45 on: 25.08.2011, 12:30:22 »

In spite of their denials, I would say the creators behind LSD & DOPE are consummate professionals. They just don't get paid. :)

I've been to professional puppet shows, including all the shows since EF ni... EF ten. In the non-EF shows you see hands and heads a lot. That's simply what happens when the operators are using something more complex than a sock-puppet. It's a sign of professionalism in my opinion that they even try, not a flaw.

The special effects were amazing this year, and got pretty damn close to the Dreamcatcher level. EF14 wasn't the first time you went all out on the special effects, but it was the irst time you really went off the deap end. It's hard to do a first time a second time, but you've given me renewed confidence that you will one day top it. I also like the way they were spread throughout the show, rather than concentrated at the end. (And not being heavily signposted, sorry, as they kinda were last year.) Especially 'casual' things like the elevator sequence. Not quite that the best effects are the ones you don't notice, but rather the best are the ones that make perfect sense in the context of the story, and enforce suspension of disbelief, rather than damage it.

I also really like the wobbly sets, as they somewhat reminded  me of the old days of Doctor Who. :)

The new characters introduced welcome diversity. (Though I do wonder what a 'macro' Mika puppet would look like...?) I was wondering through then opening act how exactly you were going to shoehorn them into this plot, and while i'm rather glad they didn't play a larger part, you found the absolutely perfect way.

The only thing I would find questionable (not bad, just questionable) this year was a couple of small aspects of the plot. I believe there was a couple of lines about killing people via their ID implants, and hacking everything down to light switches. Unless I misheard that, even with null being more than a little crazy - erm, seriously? And while I appreciate the content of the epiloge (we're currently having some related troubles in the UK) in practice I strongly suspect that the NSA, GCHQ, BND/MAD, Lolsec, several other large sections of the chinese government, and many others would quickly and effectively, but quietly, break the system before or just after it went live. And the only reason it stood out was because you got so much else of the hacking/security business correct. Simplified, but largely correct.

Oh yes, and the other bad thing about this year: There probably won't be a DVD of it. Again. :(
However...
Given that Eurofurence eV was involved in some way with Bitter Lake, could you possibly borrow their DVD making expereience for next year's show? Even if you can't do a whole show, you could do a making of, or a blooper real of some kind. Or an interview with the 'actors'? (Hi! My name is [SECRET], and I play Tani, who is the puppet operator for the actress Felicity Uncia, who plays Mica in this year's show [Fill In Blank]. Hang on, this is a real show isn't it? I am getting paid for this...?) You built LSD and DOPE one piece at a time. You can do the DVD the same way.

So, great show, great characters, great effects, great story, and professional presentation. Speaking of which, you currently run a press conference. Even think of inviting along a theater critic, just for fun? Might be interesting to see what they thought...
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Cheetah

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #46 on: 25.08.2011, 13:39:10 »

Hi!

First of all thanks for this very positive review! Also thanks about the ideas doing some extra scenes with the characters for a possible DVD release ... funny thing is, Kyron suggested very similar thing just yesterday in the internal staff forum :) I think a lot what you've written goes without comment ... I'm glad to hear you liked our show, and of course getting that kind of positive feedback is what really makes it worth all the pain it took to make it happen. So thanks again!

Still, as one of the writers of this show, I'd like to comment a bit on the points of the plot you've raised. Not so much as to contradict what you're saying, but maybe to give a little insight into where we were coming from when writing this.

The only thing I would find questionable (not bad, just questionable) this year was a couple of small aspects of the plot. I believe there was a couple of lines about killing people via their ID implants, and hacking everything down to light switches. Unless I misheard that, even with null being more than a little crazy - erm, seriously? And while I appreciate the content of the epiloge (we're currently having some related troubles in the UK) in practice I strongly suspect that the NSA, GCHQ, BND/MAD, Lolsec, several other large sections of the chinese government, and many others would quickly and effectively, but quietly, break the system before or just after it went live. And the only reason it stood out was because you got so much else of the hacking/security business correct. Simplified, but largely correct.

Well, you are of course right. The whole government setup thing is terribly simplified on purpose. We wanted to give it a little bit of realism, as a nod to the army of IT geeks we have in the audience out there, and because it ties in neatly with the current political situation in the world. But on the other hand, we really had to keep the situation simple. So we chose a situation you might find in a superhero comic book rather than a 100% realistic setup - that allows for a lot more freedom in the story, and is much easier to understand. And I have also to admit: There's only so much I know about china and it's government. So we'd rather make something up - and conveniently ignore anything that's outside our little story universe. If this had been a real occurence, it would have played on the stage of world politics. And the government surely wouldn't have been so stupid to bet everything on Jiao Chan - for 12 years. But that's the thing in fantastic stories: Heros are lucky, and villains are idiots. And animals can talk.

About hacking the homes and light switches ... that is really only slightly extrapolated. Look back 20 years ago: Computers had 512 kilobytes of RAM, ran at 7 Mhz, and ISDN was considered "broadband", and mobile computing was in the realm of "Star Trek". If you look at it that way, you could even say the world of "the year of the rat" is not nearly fantastic enough! :)

Hacking lightswitches? You can do that even today. In the building I work at every day, all light switches and doors ARE in fact connected to one central server. And I'm pretty darn sure you could hook it up to the internet to do remote maintenance on it. For heaven's sake, when we moved in here, we had issues with our doorbell needing to be rebooted every few days. There's an remote management module available for our goddamn coffee maker ... which, notably, has made the news because it was instantly hacked. The toilet flushers in this building are also electric - and everyone is talking about "smart metering" of water and electricity that involves a direct network connection between your plumbing and the utilities ... really, it's not that far off.

The lethal ID chips are probably unrealistic ... they are a leftover from an older version of the story that we scrapped rather early in the progress, but for some reason we forgot to take it out of that piece of dialogue between Yun and Cornelius :) The idea was inspired a bit by "escape from new york" and a bit by "the fortress" I guess ... interesting that it caught your attention.

And of course, there's no way to predict how hacker culture will look like 20 years from now. Null is certainly absolutely anachronistic, I'm sure :)
« Last Edit: 25.08.2011, 17:31:27 by Cheetah »
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Cheetah

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #47 on: 25.08.2011, 15:49:14 »

It's something we realized when it was already to late ... we will probably not use four-legged puppets in any future shows. It was an experiment, and we learned from it.

Very sorry to hear this, I really loved the quadrupeds. Only ever noticed the actor's heads one or two times in the beginning, the show was so engrossing. And seeing in the making-of clips how ingeniously they were built, makes me love them even more.

Yes. And I was a bit surprised that people laughed! It was totally not meant to be funny. It was supposed to be tragic! The man's a hero, and he probably knew a lot more about what was going on than he admitted. He was a very close friend of Null.

Well up till that point the henchmen did seem endearingly incompetent, and people started laughing before they heard the shot, is my guess (and those who did not stop did not hear the shot). I think the gunshot after a fade to black would have worked very well if this had been a TV or even film production, but with a live audience, who are eager to applaud anyway, I think it is always likely you lose the impact you had intended.

To the people who miss the original characters: I can understand how you feel, but there is also a big advantage: It makes the PPS much more accessible to new(er) congoers, who haven't been to every con since the start, and have no clue about all the in-jokes.
(Or: time for a DVD, hint, hint.) ;)

Overall, there is barely anything negative to say about the show. Sure, I noticed people dropping a line maybe 2 times, but with only 4 rehearsals in all, that is miraculously low. The long wait in between scene changes was the only real downside for me, as I was already pretty exhausted by Saturday evening, and sitting in silence, in the dark, it's a real battle not to nod off during those intervals.  Is this something that can be solved by having more volunteers as stagehands?

Overall, an awesome production, keep up the great work (with quadrupeds!)  :)
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Runo

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #48 on: 25.08.2011, 16:16:47 »

Is this something that can be solved by having more volunteers as stagehands?

Maybe it would've been a little better with more stage hands, BUT it was already SO crowded behind the stage that it wouldn't have helped much. Quite possibly we would just have all stumbled and fallen over each other…
_______________

Btw, the reason why you saw our heads (tiger pawpeteers) was that crouching down became almost impossible, because we were 3 people in a row on less than 1m of space (and still had to walk and run), some scenes were just too long to be able to take that additional strain, and we already had to hold the 3-4kg puppets by an outstreched arm. Standing up meant you could at least rest your elbow on your chest sometimes ;) and only it made playing the hind legs possible sometimes (because of the angle).
These reasons – unfortunately – will mean that for the future, pawpets like this might maybe stay as an effect, if required, but not as main cast, just like Cheetah said. It's just too much of a hassle for too little a gain. Even tho it was still tremendous fun building and playing them ;)
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Zefiro

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #49 on: 25.08.2011, 16:19:40 »

Is this something that can be solved by having more volunteers as stagehands?
We already greatly increased our team size, so it's now as crowded behind the playrail as we were used to it :)

Adding more people at this point would not help, as delays are due to things which cannot be parallelized even more. We need to remove everything on the stage - everyone takes what he has and a bit more, then also the props and second playrail things. We need to change the backdrops, for which the stage needs to be clear to have enough room. That's already quite efficient, with the panels pre-sorted and dedicated runners here. The slanted panels did need quite some more time, though. Then all frontprops need to be placed while in parallel the puppeteers get ready with their puppets and props. In some scenes we switch microphones, which need to be double-checked. Every prop and special effect needed for the scene needs to be placed at the right place. Finally, we call the tech guys "Stage ready" - usually they're ready at this time as well, sometimes they need a bit more time for scene changes themselves.

We always try to improve our scene-change times and are working hard on this. And I also noticed that it took longer this time than in previous years. Though it was all busy and rushed backstage. I don't have a good (i.e. working) idea how to speed it up even more, even with more people, except for drastically reducing the actual stuff we move back there. Which would be a loss for the scenes.

*purrrr*
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lynard

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #50 on: 25.08.2011, 22:01:39 »


To the people who miss the original characters: I can understand how you feel, but there is also a big advantage: It makes the PPS much more accessible to new(er) congoers, who haven't been to every con since the start, and have no clue about all the in-jokes.
(Or: time for a DVD, hint, hint.) ;)


I think i should write a few words about our old characters as it seems their absence trigger a lot of different discussions and emotional feelings.

We started the PPS at EF6 as an experiment with the goal to entertain a handful of people - 20 to 50 is the amount of visitors the PPS at FC gets. We hoped to attract about that amount and ended up with a room overcrowded by nearly all attendees of that convention (around 170 or so during that time if i remember right). We decided to turn the show into a more storytelling version than rather just playing some jokes and skits. For that first three then (starting with EF9) four Maincharacters came to life (Lori, Mika, Poke and Lionel). Counting the numbers of shows we have done since the characters eveloped, have grown in their characteristics and social connections with others but also inbetween.

The Decision to drop the characters was not a leightweighted one but a very very emotional and long discussed thing. We noticed that the maincharacters where only used for starting a story and as some fillers - the ongoing process of the told story was done by other (non-main) characters. Lately we also noticed that there was no real developement going on with the maincharacters anymore pushing them more and more into a corner. Imagine playing the same character again and again for more than 10 years! For me as a puppet player it gets really boring doing the same role year by year (not that i don't enjoy playing Lionel, but still). So we decided to use this approach to bring some fresh life into the show (and we honored our old characters with the small cameo appearance) which will give us new opportunities by playing new characters, but also will open new doors to other (yet untold) stories.

Please keep this in mind, Lori, Mika, Poke and Lionel are and always will be our first heroes and without them the Pawpetshow wouldn't be where it is today.

Lynard (Lionel / Cornelius and many others)
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Ghostbear

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #51 on: 25.08.2011, 22:22:23 »

It was my first Pawpet show, I have no connection to the old characters, so maybe it was easier for me, than for somebody who loved the old characters.

Yes there were some rough spots and that you could see the puppeteers quite often bugged me a little bit in the beginning, but it didn't take me long to completly immerse into the setting and the story.
After only a few minutes Null, Void and all the others were so ... lifelike (and I liked the four legged ones, too). And I liked the setting (cyberpunk is one of my favorite) so that really helped as well. Opposite to some other people especially _because_ of the darker, gloomy setting.
Good work on those video clips too. They not only helped to shorten the time between the scenes and the necessary conversion of the set but it was cool to see the interaction between the characters on the stage and Null in his little booth.

Concerning the scene with the shopkeeper. It's was kinda funny when he acted all "innocent", so I think it's okay that people laughed. But yes, I heard the shot when the scene was fading to black and I was like "ouch". It was kinda tragic but due to the cheering and laughing of the audience a good deal of people might have missed it in the first place. Like somebody said before, it would have worked great on TV but with a live audience things like that can happen.

Overall it has been a phantastic show and I enjoyed it very much. Can't wait for next year's PPS. ^.^
« Last Edit: 25.08.2011, 22:24:14 by Ghostbear »
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CleanerWolf

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #52 on: 26.08.2011, 04:13:42 »

Some pictures I took after the show...

[attachment deleted by admin]
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MartinRJ

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #53 on: 26.08.2011, 08:58:40 »

I think it was really very good done. There are some things which were annoying, though: I have seen many many plays in theatre when I was a child and teen.. at those times not everything was electrified like it is today, and so the intermissions were usually much longer than they are today. When you visit the opera today, you will notice, that set changes will happen without closing the curtains - and that doesn't even take helpers who run across the stage. Today we are used to set changes 'on-the-fly'. So ... what I'd like to say is: there were many many short breaks at the pawpet show, and they lasted very very long. I understand that, and I remember how that was the same at the big stages like theatres, opera-houses - like twenty years ago.

It would be wonderful if you could avoid that by using scenes/sets that can be used for more than only one scene, like nice backround-paintings on big walls or something.

You don't do us a favor with 5-minute-breaks after every scene. It's clear that it has technical reasons, but there are ways to avoid that, like asking some of the great artists to make a real nice background which can be used for more than only one short scene.

Besides that, the story was brilliant, I was very surprised, and I loved the puppets.

The voice actors were great too - only the voice of the younger tiger was a little too silent and shy imho.


Hope to see you all again on stage.

:3
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Zefiro

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #54 on: 26.08.2011, 10:04:53 »

You don't do us a favor with 5-minute-breaks after every scene. It's clear that it has technical reasons, but there are ways to avoid that, like asking some of the great artists to make a real nice background which can be used for more than only one short scene.
So, basically your advice is to not change the background at all? And your assumption that the changing of the background is everything we do during the setup times?

If not, could you please elaborate a bit about the "ways to avoid that", going into details about the specific things we're actually doing during those breaks and how we can improve here? I'm surely always willing to listen and learn. Preferably in a way which will still result in everyone being impressed by the variety and details of the show instead of playing with four characters, no props before the same static background for 90min.

*purrrrr*
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Cheetah

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #55 on: 26.08.2011, 19:21:47 »

Moderator Intervention: I'm sorry, but I felt this thread was about to derail heavily and end up in a fight of accusations, justifications and general smart-assery. I don't think it's a good idea to engage in lengthy discussions about how to "fix" things. We'll do that during the next pawpetshow staff meeting - in person, and in a relaxed atmosphere :) The split-off part of this thread has been archived for future reference - so what has been said there is not lost.
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Cheetah

yagfox

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #56 on: 27.08.2011, 00:10:40 »

Could you move the house lights next year? It was hard to see the intermission videos in the back half of the room:-



Ta! :)
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ysegrim

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #57 on: 27.08.2011, 00:41:18 »

Personally, I also was a bit unhappy with the audience lights during PPS and also FSGS. Would it be possible to use the "official" lights, or at least something that blinds less?
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Jaryic

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #58 on: 27.08.2011, 02:55:25 »

Could you move the house lights next year? It was hard to see the intermission videos in the back half of the room:-
Ta! :)

Personally, I also was a bit unhappy with the audience lights during PPS and also FSGS. Would it be possible to use the "official" lights, or at least something that blinds less?

Realized it myself when it was too late.
Will change that for next year.

-Jar
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Keidran

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Re: Opinion about this years pawpet show
« Reply #59 on: 27.08.2011, 19:47:46 »

My mind gave me just an idea how to make even more work for the whole team ;D

What is your opinion on small feedback sheets to be handed out before the PPS and collected after wards like in Boxes or so.
I thought of really easy ones like
Story A-F
technique A-F
Waiting Time between the stage sets
etc pp.

I think that would make it a bit easier for feedback x3
*hides under a rock to not getting stoned for making "more-work-ideas"
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