1. Determine the biblical emphasis, theme, Scripture reference, or central point you wish to deliver.
2. Be on the lookout for idea starters. Arch books are an excellent source of story ideas. Sunday School papers often have short stories which can spark an idea, as are object lessons. Having a character come upon a prop or wanting to understand the meaning of a word is also a great way to introduce your central theme.
3. Consider your limitations before you begin writing a script: number of puppeteers available and their skill level; puppets you have; stage size and time constraints. Check to see if any of these obstacles have a creative solution, such as developing a tiered effect for the stage to provide more performance space or adapting existing puppets into new roles by adding wigs, beards, or changing costumes.
4. Limit the script to one main point or idea in conjunction with your determined central theme. Consider how the central idea can be made memorable to the audience. Would a prop(s) make the script more memorable? Remember that repetition is the key to remembrance.
5. One to three characters is usually ample. Too many characters makes it difficult to stage the positioning and movement and it also becomes a challenge to keep all puppets involved in the conversation.
6. Decide on what style you will use:
c. Fairy tale with biblical twist
d. Parable parallel
e. Different time frame
g. Interactive – puppet dialogues with the teacher standing in front of the puppet area and/or with the children
7. Develop each character before you begin writing: physical description; likes; dislikes; age; mannerisms; idiosyncrasies. Dialogue is easier to write once you have established solid, multi-dimensional characters with specific personalities.
Examples of puppets with specific personalities are:
a. El Biblio – whose sole purpose is to read and digest Scripture so he can explain and teach it to children
b. Pumperdilly – a purple puppet from the land of Pumperdorf who eats nothing but purple plums and hibernates all year. During VBS, the children call, “1-2-3 Hey Pumperdilly” to awaken him to present a special feature. Unique to his character is that he always starts snoring and falls asleep just before the last few words of his speech.
c. Rob the Rob – a hand-made robot puppet who talks like a robot
d. Zippy – a hand puppet with a zipper on his mouth who never speaks, but is used to give out surprises
8. Note specific movements for any puppet characters in your scripting.
9. Define relationships between characters before you begin writing dialogue. A relationship is the glue that holds a scene together. Are the puppets friends, siblings, strangers, etc.? All action should have a reason for happening and ring true to the characters.
10. The length of your puppet script depends upon the age of your audience. One rule of thumb is to never go beyond one minute in length for each year of age.
11. Consider the age and cultural experience of your audience and also their spiritual maturity.
12. Vocabulary should be appropriate to the age level of your audience.
13. Use humor in good taste. Scripts will be deadly dull without some humor, but choose it carefully. Clever jokes are appropriate if they challenge children’s thinking and maintain Christian principles. Puppets are to be used for the glory of God and to teach spiritual concepts.
14. Develop messages with positive attitudes. Boys and girls are quick to repeat what they hear, so don’t revert to ridiculing or criticizing – even in a funny way.
15. Will the script incorporate lighting changes, background music, or special effects? If so, provide detailed instructions. For special effects, consider the skill-level of your puppeteers. Pyrotechnics, sparklers, etc. should be left to the professionals, and a fire extinguisher needs always to be nearby.
|Betty Robertson has authored 9 books and is the Founder/Executive Director of Creative Christian Ministries. Betty has blessed CMT readers for many years. Please be sure to visit her websites today! Email – firstname.lastname@example.org