Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Professional Figure

Let's carry this discussion a little further and try to define a so-called "pro figure." Let's consider only hard figures, and, to keep from getting too far afield, let's consider only people puppets, leaving out animals, plants, aliens, and other anthropomorphic inanimate objects.

Things not to consider:

  1. Who made it (established figuremaker, hobbyist, newbie, oldtimer, master, etc.).
  2. What it's made of (wood, resin, composite, paper mache, fiberglass, etc.)
  3. How it started out (doll, kit, from scratch, etc.).
  4. What its component parts comprise (ping pong balls, paper hangers, etc.).
  5. The origin of the sculpture itself (copy, replica or original).
  6. How it's used. It matters not whether its owner is a ventriloquist, puppeteer, figure maker, collector, curator, dealer, amateur or professional performer, dilettante, and so on.

So, having said what not to consider, what may we consider? Okay, I have this vent figure I want to sell on ebay. May I or may I not call it a "pro figure?" Inquiring minds, and all that. We strive to identify what item, by its physical description, qualifies to be called a "pro figure," without being challenged by self-proclaimed authorities (such as yours truly) who purport to know about such things.

When we started tinkering with "artificial intelligence" in the old days, a guideline was that if an onlooker cannot tell whether he is dealing with a human being or a machine, the implementation of artificial intellince is effective. To employ a similar guideline, the rule is, if you cannot tell how it was made and what it is made from by looking at it, a "pro figure" stands on its own merit.

Okay, given all the above, define for me a "pro figure." Or tell me that my guideline is too constraining. Or otherwise tell me what you think about all this.

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I will publish later the results of this unscientific poll, assuming there are any.

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