Minutes from May Meeting

By Michael Burroughs, Vice President
In May, the Guild met at Fort Mason; next to the San Francisco Bay. 22 members attended; including one member who drove down from Eureka. The meeting focussed on “Birthday Parties and the Business Side of Puppetry.” Elisheva Hard, Lettie Schubert, Nick Barone, and Kevin Menegus participated on the lively panel discussion which lasted until 10:15pm – well past the 10 o’clock curfew!! There was a breif business meeting which discussed the following:
– Mike Burroughs encouraged all to attend a Puppet Festival this summer. Our guild’s region – The Pacific Southwest – will sponsor a festival in Phoenix Arizon in late Fune. Go to azpuppetfest.com for more information. You are invited to attend other Regional Fesivals. Visit puppeteers.org for festival information.
– Nick Barone discussed a workshop-intensive fesival in Missouri from July 13-18. Visit midwestpuppetfest.com for more information. This festival is run by puppeteers. Spend four days with one of the following artists:
—- Luman Coal of Coad Canada Puppets
—- Philip Huber & The Huber Marionettes
—- Lynne Jennings of Jennings’ Puppeteers
—- Paul Mesner of Paul Mesner Puppets
—- (just a short list: Visit the fesival’s website for more presenters.)
– If you would like your name listed on the guild’s website, email a short bio to Matt Baume (See )
– The guild provides PofA with an annual report. The annual report requested the guild to provide the PofA with a roster of our members. Mary brough this sisue to the table. The members voted that the guild would NOT provide PofA with this information. Many guild members are part of the PofA; therefore the PofA already has their contact information. If you are not a member of the PofA and would like them to have your name, please contact the PofA via
– The annual report also requests the amount in our Treasury. The members voted to NOT provide this information to PofA.
Now to the fun stuff – The panel discussion on “Birth Day Parties.” The panel provided insights on all aspects of performing for Birth Day kids including: How to handle contracts? Do you require deposits? How are cancellations handled? How di I handle difficult kids? Difficult Parents? Performing outside. Portable Power. Lighting. Give a gift to the Birthday Child only? Or give something to each child? Should you include your name on the gifts? Should you single out a particular child? (Of course, the Birthday Child!) Curtain? Wind? Grass? Do you have a ‘Magic Phrase’ that gets the kids to quiet down? How do you advertise? Yellow Pages? Parent Magazine?
Nick Barone focussed on the importance of being able to roll-in and roll-out quickly. He rolled his equipment in and set up his stage during the panel discussion. We checked in with Nick during different stages of the setup and Nick provided his advice. The other panelists pitched in on how their setup was different. In the middle of the discussion, Nick performed his new show “T-Rex Thunderlizard’s Wild West Review.” Elisheva Hart discussed how she advertised in the yellow pages and the importance of lighting. She provided a smaple of several mechanisms that help a puppeteer dim lights with a Food Dimmer, Hand-Dial Dimmer, and small clip lights. Kevin Menegus recommended using a mini-disk player for music and investing in a “Hot Spot Monitor” which you can buy at Guitar Center. The monitor speaking is a small speaking with a lot of sound power. Lettie Schubert delighted the audience with her stories of working in television and for family events. A “Portrait Light” from a Hallers works well to light puppets. (She never had to advertise. Word-of-mouth kept he working!) There was so much more to this Panel Discussion. Several people have requested that this topic be brough back next year; because their is so much more ground to cover. So, look forward to this topic again next year. Thanks to all the panelists!