PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!

But how you practice is important too. Practice in front of a mirror, to see what your audience will see. This style is a little different than a people puppet, but the concept still works in preparation with any puppet.

Focus on where your puppet is looking

Don’t talk to the ceiling, you have an audience in front of you!

If you hold your hand straight out and drop your thumb for the jaw to open, your animal will be looking straight up at the sky, not at the audience. Experiment until you see how much to drop your hand down for them to see the face of the character.

Making your Puppet life-like

Think about how anything opens its mouth, a common mistake is to flap the top of the head like crazy when the animal is talking. That is not how it happens in real life! Learn to open the mouth by dropping the lower jaw, not a floppy top of head performance! And try to think of how that animal really does look and act. Side views are good, especially of the donkey, but the cow or ox has a lot of possibilities too. They can lower their head and twist and turn as if going to use their horns.

USE the mirror!  Practice, Practice!

It will help you a lot!