Frazzamatazz in Townsville, Airlie Beach and Springbrook

Brett and Elissa recently took two weeks off for a “reef to rainforest” holiday.

They visited family up in Townsville before exploring the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef (including snorkelling at Hook Island, swimming at Whitehaven Beach and cocktails on Hamilton Island).

Then they went down south to the Gold Coast hinterland, into the mountains of Springbrook for a relaxing week at “The Mouses House” rainforest retreat.

This was supposed to be a break from puppetry. But that didn’t stop Frazzamatazz from stowing away in Brett and Elissa’s luggage and tagging along.

Here he is at The Strand in Townsville:

And then he came up to the lookout on Castle Hill to see Townsville from above:

Frazzamatazz had a great time at Sunday lunch with Elissa’s extended Townsville family.

Just when Brett and Elissa thought they had a moment to themselves for the drive from Townsville to Airlie Beach, Frazzamatazz made another appearance at Home Hill, where he gave a special shout out to Elissa’s mother:

Not many people know this, but Frazzamatazz is very fond of watermelons. So you can imagine how delighted he was to find a gigantic slice of watermelon at a roadside fruit stand in Bowen. Of course he climbed inside:

In Airlie Beach, Frazzamatazz made friends with some of the cruise ship passengers who were stopping by for the day:

In Springbrook, Frazz made friends with a scrub turkey in the rainforest…

… who then ran away.

All up it was a lovely holiday for Brett and Elissa. And you know what? Why take a break from puppets? Turns out Frazzamatazz was actually great company during the break.

Upon their return, they performed a puppet show at the Kawana Waters Hotel in Buddina on the Sunshine Coast.

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

New York and Los Angeles Puppet Adventures

Fuzzy Beard01At the end of our fourth week in New York City, Brett (and Troggg) spent a day with Musa Moses Bradley, who is the puppeteer for a character called Fuzzy Beard. We went out on the Staten Island ferry and filmed an episode of “The Fuzzy Beard Show”, with special guest Troggg!

Fuzzy Beard2

Troggg HollywoodThe next day, we flew six hours to Los Angeles where we stayed just off Hollywood Boulevard for a week. Troggg found Kermit the Frog’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

We also went to see The Jim Henson Company, where the famous Kermit the Frog statue stands at the front gate. He’s dressed like Charlie Chaplin. Why? Troggg explains why in the video below:

Jim Henson Company 3

Jim Henson Company 2

Jim Henson Company 1

Then we got to meet up with two Henson puppeteers, Grant Baciocco and Russ Walko in Burbank, California. Troggg met some puppet friends – Uncle Interloper (performed by Grant Baciocco), Toiley T. Paper (also performed by Grant Baciocco), and the stars of web series “The Ultimate Nerd-ament”, Stanley (Grant Baciocco) and JAX (Russ Walko). We had the honour and pleasure of visiting Grant’s office and Russ’ workshop (known as ‘The Puppet Garage’). Russ Walko built a bunch of Muppets for the recent TV series “The Muppets”, and also built puppet characters for an episode of “Community” and an episode of “The Simpsons” that featured puppets. One of the puppet monsters in Russ’ workshop looks like Troggg’s long lost brother! Have a look:

Grant 1Grant 2Troggg with Toiley T. Paper

Grant and Russ 1

Grant and Russ 2

Troggg got to chat with Toiley T. Paper after a successful run of comedy puppet shows at the Orlando Fringe Festival. He’s also about to perform at the Hollywood Fringe Festival:

And then Troggg had a casual discussion with Stanley and JAX about air travel:

So it’s been another fun and busy week of puppet adventures with Troggg!

We’re now in Denton, North Texas – about to start lessons at the big “Beyond the Sock” film & TV puppetry workshop at the University of North Texas. The teachers are a couple more Henson puppeteers – Marty Robinson (Telly Monster and Mr. Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street), Noel MacNeil (Bear, from Bear in the Big Blue House), and Pasha Romanowski (builder of puppet characters from New Zealand’s “The Moe Show”) .

We’ll leave you with Troggg’s guest starring episode of “The Fuzzy Beard Show” filmed in New York City:

 

3 Days of Fun with NYC Puppets

NYC PuppetsFor three days in a row, Troggg, Brett and Elissa immersed themselves in New York’s puppet culture. In NYC puppets are all the rage! From professional film and TV puppeteers to small businesses to hobbyists – everybody loves puppets!

NYC PuppetsOn Friday night, (20 May, 2016) we went to see “Team Lopez” – a puppet improv troupe – at Broadway Comedy Club in the theater district. They were part of a big night of improv comedy called “Pre Game Happy Hour Improv Comedy”. After the show, Troggg got a photo with the puppets, then we all went out for drinks.

NYC PuppetsOn Saturday morning (21 May, 2016) we attended “Morning with The Muppets” as part of the Vulture Festival at Milk Studios in Chelsea. We got to see a panel discussion starring Muppet performers Steve Whitmire (Kermit, Ernie, Wembley Fraggle, Rizzo, etc), Eric Jacobson (Fozzie, Piggy, Bert, Grover) and Peter Linz (Walter from the recent Muppets films), and of course the superstars themselves Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear and Animal.

NYC PuppetsBrett asked a question of Steve Whitmire during the Q&A session about the difference in atmosphere between working with the original team of puppeteers (Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, etc) and the team of the last 25 years (incl. Matt Vogel, David Rudman, Peter Linz, Eric Jacobson, etc). He gave an amazing, heartfelt answer reflecting on the magic of being surrounded by those amazing people in the early days. NYC Puppets

Afterwards, Steve had a quick little examination of Troggg, and mentioned that they will be visiting Australia in a few months! He was whisked away before we could find out where and why. Maybe a Supanova or Oz Comic Con?

NYC PuppetsBrett and Troggg also got to meet a few fellow puppeteers and Muppet enthusiasts, including Zach Woliner (with Wally Wackiman) and Sam (with Mo Monster from web series The Mo Show). NYC Puppets

NYC PuppetsOn Sunday (22 May, 2016) we went to Kaufman Astoria Studios, where Sesame Street is filmed! Yes – Troggg found his way to Sesame Street! Sadly the Sesame Street Muppets are all on Summer vacation. But the studio lot was open for a street fair. So Troggg spent time entertaining the families and posing for photos.

NYC Puppets

NYC PuppetsNext door to the Kaufman Astoria Studio is the Museum of the Moving Image, where Craig Shemin (President of the Jim Henson Legacy) and Karen Falk (the Head Archivist of the Jim Henson Company) hosted a special compilation screening of some old and rare films by Jim Henson from the 1950s and 60s that had been restored. The event was called, “Henson in High Definition: The Early Years”. Troggg of course attended and met some new friends. While we waited for the presentation to start, a small crew from a New York marketing company asked if Troggg could appear in a quick video for them. NYC Puppets

After the screening, Brett and Troggg met up with John Papovitch and Milo J. Monster-Smith in the foyer. Many people posed for photos with the two monsters. Brett also spoke briefly with another Henson puppeteer, Noel MacNeal, who will be one of his teachers at the upcoming ‘Beyond the Sock’ puppetry workshop in Texas. Noel is most famous for performing Bear in “Bear in the Big Blue House”.

Squad Photo

NYC Puppets

A great weekend of puppets and Muppet fun in New York City!

NYC Puppets

 

Troggg in New York

New YorkOnly 24 hours after landing in New York, it was time for Brett, Elissa, Troggg and Frazzamatazz to visit ‘The Puppet Kitchen‘ in Manhattan! They’re a puppet construction workshop, as well as a training facility in the art of Henson-style TV puppetry using cameras and monitors. New York It was ‘Monitor Night’ on Tuesday. So Troggg and Frazzamatazz got to jam alongside various other visiting and in-house puppet characters. The instructor was Michael Shupbach (Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop, Johnny and The Sprites, Little Shop of Horrors, Avenue Q puppet construction) who was very informative and fun! He’s one of the co-founders of The Puppet Kitchen.

New York

New York New YorkLots of other New York-based puppeteers and puppetry enthusiasts were part of the session too, including Erin Finnegan, Arlee Chadwick, Gillian “Gus” Andrews, Ivy Cohen, Bobby Dagger and his son Jude. All an absolute delight to practice and perform with! We felt very warm and welcome in the company of these amazing like-minded people.

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

New York

The New York adventures don’t stop there either. Lots more networking, some puppet shows at the Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn, a trip to Hollywood and a week in North Texas for the ‘Beyond the Sock’ Puppetry Workshop with Muppeteers Peter Linz and Noel MacNeal. There’s even been some talk of me performing some puppetry in an upcoming film project here in New York too, so hopefully we have some more developments on that in the near future.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Brett Hansen

New York

Larrikin Puppets Birthday Party Puppet Show Video!

This week, we released a new three minute video showing a sample of the kind of colourful and energetic fun you’re likely to see when you book a Larrikin Puppets birthday party puppet show! The video can be seen in a few different places online.

YouTube: 

Vimeo: 

Facebook: 

Facebook Video

Please watch and share with as many people as you can so we can make sure everybody in Brisbane is aware that Troggg, Frizzby, Moss, Frazzamatazz, Flossy, the Cheesecake and all the animals are ready to perform at any and all birthday parties!

Would YOU like a Larrikin Puppets birthday party puppet show?

Sesame Street Muppets and Jimmy Fallon Celebrity Photobomb

Here’s a great article from toughpigs.com about the recent “Celebrity Photobomb” segment from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. It stars the Muppets of Sesame Street. Watch for the look of wonder in the eyes of the kids later on in the video. Priceless. The magic of puppets!

Watch Sesame Street Muppets and Jimmy Fallon Photobomb Kids

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.