James Wojtal is a talented puppet designer and builder. During his career he has worked on projects like Avenue Q, Bear in the Big Blue House, Crank Yankers, Saturday Night Live, Sesame Street (the American and various internationl versions), Mop-a-Top's Shop, Kermit's Swamp Years, Animal Jam, and more. In this interview I asked him to share his thoughts about puppet building.
SJ: What is your favorite type of puppet to build, and what materials do you like working with best?
JW: Hard to say really. I love doing the hand and rod style puppets, since they are so expressive. Even a simple one like Kermit can emote so well - but I guess what I like most is an interesting design challenge. I'm working on a new show for Puppetworks Inc. in Brooklyn. We use Marionettes for our shows, and that's a real challenge. Making your sculpture come to life on strings, balancing your design, and the mechanics needed to operate the puppet from over head. It's tricky thing, and I really am enjoying that at the moment.