>>> Insulting UCONN
Someone sent me a link to an article called Can Puppetry Pay? It's a little pessimistic and written with aspiring Christian puppeteers in mind, but it does addresses some of the realities of being a professional puppeteer. The part that really jumped out for me was this:
"There is nothing of any value related to puppets and puppetry being sold at any university that you could not get at very little cost through instruction at workshops and festivals or free through your own study and experience. At this writing only the University of Connecticut is even offering a degree in puppetry and that degree is worthless in terms of improving your chances of being employed as a puppeteer."
It's very un-Christian of me, but I call bulls--t on that.
I do agree with the author that you don't need to have a degree in puppetry to be a puppeteer (I don't have one and most of the puppeteers I know don't either). I also agree that there are lots of great skills and information that can learned at festivals and workshops, but UCONN's Puppetry Program is almost universally recognized throughout the puppetry community as being exceptional. It may not be right for everyone, but calling its degree "worthless" is insulting to the school and reveals a real ignorance about not only it's program, but also the puppetry accomplishments of its alumni.
There's a long list of extremely talented UCONN alumni working as professional puppeteers today, including folks like Pam Arciero, Frankie Cordero, Tim Lagasse, Jim Napolitano and Jennifer Barnhart to name a few. In fact, possibly other than past employment with the Muppets, the biggest common denominator amongst the top tier of professional puppeteers in the United States is an association with UCONN.
Posted by Andrew at 1:58 PM
Thank you Andrew for correcting this guy. I am also a graduate of the UConn Puppet Arts Program, class of 1996, and I can say that it truly helped me shape and focus my ability and drive to be a puppeteer.
Bart. P. Roccoberton Jr., the Professor of Puppet Arts at UConn is a dear friend, teacher and mentor and the students who receive an education from him and from UConn come away not just with Puppet skills, but also skills in lighting, scenic and costume design, and real hand's on experience in Theatre. Oh, and a COLLEGE DEGREE...
Yes, you absolutely can learn to be a puppeteer from a million different avenues...but this article by whoever that guy was just proves he needs a better education.
Ultimately, it's up to the indivdual to push themselves to bigger and better things...but you can be a working puppeteer if you want it bad enough.
This guy makes my blood boil because instead of pushing younger inexperienced puppeteers by saying "Hey...it's hard but you can do it..." he basically says it's impossible.
I hate people like that...oh, and another thing....why have I never heard of this guy?! I mean NEVER....not through Unima or PofA or any other puppet links...makes me ask questions...especially of someone who claims thirty-two years of experience...
Anyway, rant is over...thanks Andrew for all your work on PuppetVisionBlog...your site rocks.