2017 Queensland Small Business Week

Support Larrikin Puppets entry into 2017 Queensland Small Business Week social media competition by liking our video

Puppets at Work_smallerLarrikin Puppets wants to bring play to workforces with Puppets At Work, our new corporate arm. To help make this happen, please support our entry into the 2017 Queensland Small Business Week social media competition by LIKING our video entry on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The more likes and shares the post gets, the more chance we have to win a $10,000 grant to help us fund and launch the project! Competition ends on May 15, 2017.

The direct link to the video on Facebook (where you can “like” and “share” it) is: https://www.facebook.com/LarrikinPuppets/videos/901302536675069/

If you’re on Twitter, the direct link to “like” and “retweet” is: https://twitter.com/LarrikinPuppets/status/862653090897448960

If you’re on Instagram, the direct link to “like” it there is: https://www.instagram.com/p/BT88ssIhDuC/

Thank you for your support!

Brett and Elissa

Big thanks to Business Queensland!

#QLDsmallbiz #Time2thriveQLD

What’s On 4 Kids 2017 Awards Finalist – Larrikin Puppets

Bribie Weekly close up cover pagePreviously we wrote a blog post about how Larrikin Puppets was nominated in the national What’s On 4 Kids Awards in the ‘Best Party Entertainment’ category.

Well, thanks to all of your votes, we are now a finalist in that category! Thank you very much, everybody!

What's On 4 Kids Finalist

We’ve answered some interview questions and are looking forward to attending the big What’s On 4 Kids Conference and the Awards Dinner, both being held on Saturday, 10 June at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane.

Larrikin Puppets Deja Voodoo WoodfordTroggg and Fossy (with Brett and Elissa) will be attending too, and meeting several other great entertainers and educators from around Australia.

 

 

The Best Children’s Party Entertainer category (Party Planners and Entertainers, Clowns etc) sponsored by Lah Lah’s Big Live Band has been narrowed down to seven finalists. They are:

 

  • Happily Ever Laughter Children’s Entertainment
  • Kids Disco Parties
  • Larrikin Puppets
  • Strawberry Fundae Kids Parties
  • Superstar Parties
  • SuperSteph’s Super Party Heroes
  • Unreal Kids Parties

Childcare Centre1A lot of competition here from some truly amazing and hard working entertainers. So please keep your fingers and toes crossed for little old us! 🙂

Whatever the outcome, we’re looking forward to spending a full day and night listening to guest speakers who are industry leaders in the children’s entertainment biz, and cheering on our fellow finalists who all share our passion for bringing smiles and laughter to their little faces, and making life fun and full of wonder and joy.

 

 

Short Australian documentary: The Puppeteer

The Puppeteer posterCaboolture film maker Gabor Kukucska set himself a challenge to make 52 short documentaries in 2017. That’s one per week! These documentaries are about inspirational people. And one of these people is Queensland puppeteer Brett Hansen – founder of Larrikin Puppets.

From childhood bullying and awful workplaces to personal difficulties like unemployment and the end of his first marriage, this 13 minute film tells the whole story. Strong encouragement from his loving family helped shape Brett’s life, and eventually he met the love of his life Elissa Jenkins, whose support has meant the world to Brett in the continuing growth of Larrikin Puppets.

The film also talks about the types of bookings Larrikin Puppets receive, including puppet shows and puppetry workshops. We learn about the Small Business Development Conference in Melbourne, and Brett’s advanced training in the USA with puppeteers from The Muppets and Sesame Street.

This is the teaser trailer that was shown in the lead up to the film’s official release:

The full 13 minute film is available to see now for free at https://inspireflix.com/docos/the-puppeteer/ by creating a free (and quick) login or signing in with Facebook. The login gate is because film festivals don’t accept films with full public access on YouTube or other such video sharing sites. We would love to see this film accepted and screened at festivals around the world. But we would also love you to login and see the film here and now at the InspireFlix website (formerly My Doco Club). 

Here’s the preliminary video from Facebook starring Troggg the blue monster: https://www.facebook.com/InspireFlix/videos/1795284477458119

NOW LIVE at https://inspireflix.com/docos/the-puppeteer/ – “The Puppeteer” – Brett’s dream to become a working puppeteer, and the struggles and triumphs along the way.

The Puppeteer poster

FILM CREDITS

Brett Hansen, Elissa Jenkins, Ross Hansen, Sandra Gartner, Troggg, Freerange the Chicken, Frazzamatazz.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Production – Buyah Media
Cinematography – Gabor Kukucska

The Puppeteer

 

 

 

Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn

Puppetry Arts Festival of BrooklynOn Saturday, June 25 2016, Troggg and friends performed for the people of New York at the Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn. A full festival dedicated to all styles of puppetry.

As you can see from the photo, we had a nice big crowd of families enjoying the show, and interacting with the puppets during the jokes, games and songs.

Frizzby and Flossy discussed the difference between Australian and American English:

And Troggg argued with the crowd about what kind of animal this is:

Troggg and I also hung out with puppeteer Tau Bennett (from the film, “Being Elmo”) and Moses, who performs a character called ‘Fuzzy Beard’:

In addition to the Larrikin Puppets show, Troggg also joined in as part of the Fuzzy Beard Show:

And I also performed my new chicken puppet (made at the ‘Beyond the Sock’ puppet workshop) during this awesome rap song from the Fuzzy Beard Show:

Good times had by all at the Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn!

New York is a great place for puppeteers to mingle, meet, train and perform with other likeminded people.

Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn

Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn

Brett

 

Formal Training at ‘Beyond the Sock’ Puppetry Workshop

BeyondTheSock_PerformanceBeyond the Sock Learning with MartyIn June 2016, I was a student of the intensive puppetry workshop called “Beyond the Sock” at the University of North Texas. There, we were taught many of the advanced monitor puppetry techniques used on professional film and TV productions such as Sesame Street, The Muppets and Fraggle Rock.

Beyond the Sock chickensWe also learned how to construct our own puppets using a professional pattern for a chicken puppet. Our teachers were high profile Henson puppeteers Marty Robinson (The Jim Henson Company, Sesame Street; performer of Telly Monster and Mr. Snuffleupagus) and Noel MacNeal (Sesame Street, Bear in the Big Blue House; performer of Bear) for the puppetry performance lessons, with puppet construction training from master puppet builder Pasha Romanowski (Project Puppet, The Moe Show). Marty Robinson has been a Henson puppeteer since 1981, and has trained most of the puppeteers of The Muppets and Sesame Street since the early 1990s. He also trains puppeteers for international co-productions of Sesame Street. Beyond the Sock Marty and NoelSo it was very special to be able to train under Marty, Noel and Pasha. Who better than the top masters of this craft to receive some very valuable, professional training?

Beyond the Sock Noel and Marty 2Here are a few photos from this inspiring week!

I took the Beyond the Sock course as part of my three months of professional development in the USA, which included some informal training and rehearsing at The Puppet Kitchen in New York, as well as meeting and performing with American puppeteers of all levels around New York, Los Angeles, and Denton, Texas.

Beyond the Sock Noel and Brett

Beyond the Sock Brett with Chicken1

Beyond the Sock Brett with Chicken2

Beyond the Sock Frazzamatazz on set

Beyond the Sock Noel and Marty with Pasha puppet

Noel with Frazzamatazz

Beyond the Sock Mike and Brett2

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 9.30.13 PM

Beyond the Sock Group song

Marty Robinson, Pasha Romanowski, Noel MacNeal

And now have a look at these lovely short videos showcasing the five days of Beyond the Sock 2016. It was a great adventure and well worth the trip if you’re interested in taking part. These videos will surely inspire anyone interested in pursuing professional puppetry to enrol in future Beyond the Sock workshops. It is the highlight of my puppetry career so far, and an experience I will never forget.

– Brett Hansen

 

2015 Adventures of the Puppets

Brett with Gary Foley puppet in Richard Bell film project

This year, Larrikin Puppets has continued to grow from strength to strength. In its third year of business, the puppets have appeared at several festivals, more child care centres and schools than ever before, two Supanova Pop Culture Expos, regular shows at South Bank Parklands, a series of family variety shows at Morningside’s Studio Theatre & Cafe, a film appearance in artist Richard Bell’s movie “5 for 35” (currently showing at APT8, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane), a cameo in “The Hobble & Snitch Show”, and even a hosting gig on “Juiced TV” – a TV show filmed at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. Troggg even got to meet Agro this year! Troggg with Hobble and Snitch

Troggg with Agro.

Troggg Murra MurraWe also took the puppets along to perform in Childers, Toowoomba, and at the 5th Kooma Green School – a cultural exchange program held in the remote Indigenous community of Murra Murra in South-West Queensland. And Troggg got to accept a trophy at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne when Larrikin Puppets WON the BizCover NEIS Change Award at the National Small Business Development Conference!  NEIS Awards Facebook Cover

 

 

I managed to arrange Brisbane’s only cinema screening of the award winning documentary film, “I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story” at Event Cinemas (hosted by Troggg of course). We raised $300 towards ovarian cancer research and awareness via Queensland Centre for Gynaecological Cancer in memory of my Mum.

On a personal note, I got married this year! To the beautiful Elissa, who has been the most amazing friend anybody could ever wish for.

Here’s to more puppet fun and adventures in 2016!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

From Brett Hansen 🙂

Juiced TV

2015 BizCover NEIS Change Award Winner

BizCover NEIS Change Award Logo 2

On Monday 12th of October 2015, Brett Hansen, Elissa Jenkins and Troggg flew down to Melbourne to attend the Small Business Development Conference 2015 Gala Dinner for presentation of the National NEIS Association Awards. The Awards Dinner was held in the Limelight Room at Etihad Stadium in Docklands, Melbourne.

BizCover NEIS Change Award 2015Brett had been nominated for the BizCover NEIS Change Award by his NEIS business mentor Sandra Gartner. Larrikin Puppets was set up under the NEIS programme in 2012. To explain what NEIS is, here’s a description from the National College of Business Management website:

“NEIS is an Australian Government initiative to assist eligible job seekers who are interested in starting and running a small business.  NEIS commenced in 1985 and is currently the longest running and most successful self employment program in the country.

NEIS can provide you with accredited small business training, business advice and mentoring, as well as ongoing income support for up to 39 weeks”.

Troggg accepting the BizCover NEIS Change Award 2015

Why Larrikin Puppets was nominated in the ‘Change’ award category, is best explained by Brett Hansen himself, in this story he wrote prior to winning the award on the night:

My Story: I have been a creative person since the first time I picked up a crayon. I have always drawn, played piano and performed puppetry. These have always been my greatest talents. I was pretty terrible at most other things at school.

Fast forward to my adult life – After years of studying animation, fine art and film, nobody would hire me in those industries. I was a hobby cartoonist and keyboard player in several bands, but the only paid jobs I could ever get were janitor, dish washer, retail worker, storeman, and call centre phone monkey. I eventually studied business and office admin so that I could get better jobs. But I still couldn’t get into anything better than the above list of occupations. I was never able to earn much money. These are minimum wage jobs.

My wife was very unhappy about both the money side of things, and the fact that I was depressed, miserable, and aching from all the heavy lifting. I’d sometimes work up to 15 hours a day and still not have enough money to pay the bills, let alone take my wife out for a nice dinner.

Performing puppetry was one of my talents, and eventually an opportunity to perform in a local production of Broadway puppet musical Avenue Q came up. I auditioned and was accepted into the company as the show’s ‘puppetry consultant’, as I was the only one with the skills to train the other actors in puppetry. I was also cast as a co-puppeteer for two of the characters. This was a volunteer activity. No payment. But it was a wonderful experience, which I balanced with my full time day job.

Six months later, Avenue Q ended. My full time day job ended. And my marriage ended. All at once. I was at rock bottom, with nothing to my name but whatever savings I had left, and a few puppets.

I had wanted to start up a puppeteer business on the side for a while. But time around long work hours was difficult. Now I finally had an opportunity! I had NOTHING to lose.

Someone suggested that when I go to Centrelink, I ask about the NEIS programme (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme), which is an entrepreneurial alternative to filling out job diaries. If you are unemployed and have a great idea for a new small business, NEIS is fantastic! They put you through a Certificate IV in Small Business Management, Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations. Then they team you up with a business mentor for one year. Your assignments throughout the course are literally the things you need to get your business started – All the necessary licences, insurances, marketing tools, etc.

Three years later, my business takes me all over Queensland performing regular puppet shows at parties, festivals, childcare centres, schools and ticketed theatre events. I’ve also been able to puppeteer in several film and TV projects. I met and married a wonderful woman who loves me for all of my quirks and creative madness. She shares my journey as we live and work happily from home together.

And tomorrow, we’re off to Melbourne to attend the National NEIS Association Awards Gala Dinner. My NEIS mentor nominated Larrikin Puppets in the ‘BizCover NEIS Change Award’ category, and now I’m a finalist in the top 3!

My life went through some huge changes at the time I started my business three years ago. That’s why I’m up for a “Change” award. But whether I win the award or not, my life is better than it ever was before three years ago because every day is now different, interesting, exciting and full of love and support.

And that’s what motivates me to get up everyday and run my own business.

Thanks for reading 🙂

BizCover NEIS Change Award Winner

Brett (and Troggg) won the BizCover NEIS Change Award on Monday, 12 October 2015 at the Small Business Development Conference in Melbourne.

National NEIS Association Awards 2015

A Different and Interesting Puppet Life – by Brett Hansen

Garden City Library Puppet ShowI like my life because every day is different and interesting. Last week I performed puppet shows at a library, a fish & chips restaurant and a school.

 

 

I attended four dinner/drinks gatherings, including one in a back alley American style bar and one on a union roof top.

Troggg with puppet characters Hobble and Snitch.This week I got to meet two goblins (Hobble & Snitch) and perform some puppetry on their show.

Brett with Gary Foley puppet in Richard Bell film project.

 

 

Then for a film, I puppeteered a psychiatrist in a session with acclaimed artist Richard Bell. For the same film, I also puppeteered two characters relaxing on a beach, a monster throwing darts, another monster painting on canvas, and lead a team of puppets on horses galloping into a nightclub.

Thank You For Being A Friend Puppet Show.I attended a theatre tribute show of 1980s sitcom, “The Golden Girls” (Thank You For Being a Friend) starring puppet versions of the cast.

I also performed music at the weekly improv comedy show I’ve been a part of for the last four years.

 

On Monday, my beautiful wife Elissa and I will be flying down to Melbourne (with Troggg) to attend the National NEIS Association Awards Gala Dinner. Larrikin Puppets is a finalist in the ‘BizCover NEIS Change Award’ category.

The reason why my business is a finalist in that particular category is because my life went through some huge changes at the time of its inception three years ago.

And whether I win the award or not, my life is better than it ever was before three years ago because every day is now different and interesting.

Brett Hansen – Owner and Principal Puppeteer at Larrikin Puppets.