Since 2013 the Beyond The Sock Workshop has provided attendees from across the world the chance to learn the art and craft of designing, building and performing with hand-and-rod puppets using the very same techniques used in well known and beloved television and film productions. The Beyond The Sock workshop is like no other puppetry workshop you may have attended before. Attendees receive hands on instruction in everything from initial design and detailing to puppetry basics and acting with puppets. All of this is provided along with a fully staffed design lab, mirrored practice room, build shop and professional multi-camera production studio.
Beyond The Sock brings some of the best instructors in the business. Design and construction sessions are conducted by master puppet builder Pasha Romanowski, the owner of Project Puppet.com, Puppetsmith.com, and the creator of multiple puppets for New Zealand TV's The Moe Show, Imagine with Rufus and New Zealand based films. Puppetry manipulation and performance sessions are conducted by two Henson trained veterans; Peter Linz of Sesame Street, Between The Lions, It's a Big, Big World, Bear in the Big Blue House; and Noel MacNeal of Bear in the Big Blue House, Eureka's Castle, Between the Lions, Sesame Street, The Puzzle Place, and HBO's Last Week Tonight.
Since the beginning Beyond The Sock Workshop has brought together puppet designers, builders, performers and fans with students, educators and actors from across the United States and seven different countries. With a dedicated staff that loves puppetry as much as the attendees, it is a truly unique event you will never forget. So if you have a passion for puppetry and don't mind working as hard as you play, join us!
FAQs & VITAL INFORMATION FOR ATTEDNEES:
PLEASE READ BEFORE REGISTERING.
Do I need prior puppeteering or puppet building experience?
Not exactly. In order to get the most out of the you should be aware of a few things. For designing and building Basic craft skills such as sketching, cutting, glueing fabric, use of a hobby knife and basic stitching are extremely useful. For performance you should have a basic understanding of hand-and-rod puppetry and have no issues following multi-step instructions. A basic grasp of stage or on-camera performance is a plus. However all of our session leads are not only among the best in the industry but also excellent instructors.
Also important to understand is that our build sessions require handling items such as needles, hobby knives, contact cement, hot glue guns and scissors.
The Beyond The Sock Workshop adheres to the policies of our host venue, The University of North Texas, with regard to conduct, decency, inclusion and harrassment.
In other words, we have a lot of fun. Like a huge amount. Seriously. But since we are guests of the University we follow their rules. If the workshop staff deems an individual to be disruptive or engaged in harrassment, discrimination or indecency (otherwise known as being a jerk) you will be removed from the workshop by campus security without a refund and banned from campus.
Why does your workshop cost so much?
Not everyone likes to discuss money but let's dive in. Simply put: we strive to give our attendees a workshop experience that cannot be matched (to our knowledge) anywhere else in the world. All of our instructors are experts in their fields. Our coordinators are television, film and theatre professionals and university level educators. Our workshop staff are equally all highly skilled in their repsective areas. Rather than a craft table, online videos, a consumer camera and an old tv monitor, Beyond The Sock provides a full design lab, build shop, sewing team, practice room and televison studio. If you realistically compare everything Beyond The Sock attendees are able to access we're certain you will find our costs are quite reasoanble.
What will I actually learn? Is this workshop really worth it?
Attendees are trained in the same methods and techniques (manipulation, movement, acting through the puppet) used by the top performers in the industry as taught by two of the top performers in the industry. Ordinarily the level of performance training and instruction we provide is only available by auditioning with and being chosen for a major television or film production.
While our design and build sessions far exceed those of weeknight or exteded weekend workshops. We provide attendees with step-by-step instructions in how to design and build a unique, professional quality, camera-ready character with more detail and flexibility than any pre-made puppet you might find in retail or online stores. For reference, commissioning a custom-built puppet of similar size and quality would cost many times more than the workshop fee.
Our past attendees have included stage performers, educators, students, professional voice actors, professional puppet performers and puppet designers originating from as far away as the Arctic Circle. They all seemed to think the workshop was worthwhile. But we do understand everyone has different goals and priorities.
Are there any physical considerations for potential Beyond The Sock attendees?
Puppetry performance is an art form which is both physically and mentally demanding. Attendees must stand for extended periods with their arms raised above their heads; frequently watching monitors placed at less than ideal angles. And as obvious as it may sound; working this way requires a fair amount of discipline, stamina and a willingness to be in very close proximity to other performers. So it is not for everyone.
Is there an ID requirement or an age limit for the workshop?
Yes. Because of liability risks, workshop attendees must be 18 years of age by the first day (June, 5th 2018). We recognize there may be exceptional young performers with a passion and talent for puppetry. However we are unable to make exceptions at this time.
Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?
Feel free to contact us via email on our contact page.
Do I need to bring my printed ticket to the event?
Please bring either your printed ticket to the first day of the workshop so we can make your check in process as quick and efficient as possible. Help us help you!
Can I just wait to register on the first day of the workshop?
Unfortunately no. Because of the need to order the correct amount of puppet building supplies and secure adequate classroom space all attendees must pre-register.
What are my parking options during the event?
Guest who drive their own vehicles will require a guest parking pass for each day on campus. Parking passes are $5.00 per day and must be purchased in person at the UNT Parking office or purchased through an online guest account. Please visit: https://unt.t2hosted.com/cmn/newuser.aspx. Some local hotels also provide shuttle service to and from our workshop site.
What housing options are available near the event site?
Beyond The Sock attendees typically choose the Best Western Premeiere in Denton,Texas located at 2450 Brinker Rd, Denton, TX 76208 (Ph: 940-387-1000) or the Courtyard by Marriott, located at 2800 Colorado Blvd, Denton, TX 76210 (940-382-4600). Other lodging options include the Hilton Garden Inn located at 3110 Colorado Blvd, Denton, TX 76210 (940-891-4700) and Springhill Suites by Marriott located at 1434 Centre Place Drive, Denton, TX 76205 (940-383-4100).
Attendees are also eligible for limited on-campus housing at our host venue; the University of North Texas. Details for this housing option will be made available after April 20th, 2018. Please contact us for details.
What can / can't I bring to the workshop?
We love visitors and pets! But they are not able to attend the workshop with you. Only fully registered attendees, workshop instructors, coordinators and staff may participate in workshop sessions and performances. We also ask that no video recording of the actual design / build and performance training sessions be done due to copyright and guild agreements we have in place with our instructors. Video recording outside of instructional sessions is allowed on a limited basis. Attendees may take still photos. Please keep in mind any recording or still photos must not disrupt other attendees. Each previous year class has had a lot of fun bringing their existing puppets, puppet designs and photos to share with their fellow attendees.
I'm an alumni of UNT or the spouse / child / other relative or friend of a UNT alumn, faculty or staff member. Will I receive a discount on registration?
All registration fees go directly to the cost of hosting the workshop. As such no discounts outside of student registration will be made.
My child is a high school student and is very interested in a career in puppet performance. Can he / she attend at the student rate?
Student attendee registrations are very limited. But high school students who are 18 years by the first day of the workshop (June 5th, 2018) are elibible for the workshop. These students must meet requirements similar to those of college students: inlcuding a letter of recommendation and unofficial transcripts. The status of University of North Texas students will be verified by the workshop staff via the UNT Registrar's office. College or university students outside of the UNT system who wish to attend must submit enrollment verification and a letter of recommendation. For more information please contact the Beyond The Sock Coordinating Staff.
Will there be DVDs, Video On-Demand or Live Streaming of the workshop sessions?
The agreements we have with our instructors prevent us from any utilizing any of these methods. To get the most out of the hands-on instruction provided at our workshop it is really best to attend in person.