I think any well-respected vent has a certain amount of “shelf clutter”, but is it really clutter or just stored equipment that will be called into play for a show in the near future? That, my friends, is the question, and the subject of this discussion this week.

It’s happened to all of us. We go to a convention and see a puppet, or other vent-related item and we say to ourselves, “Boy, I could use that!”. But try as we might this item never makes its way into our shows. Why is that? In a word it is the “impulse buy”. We imagine one thousand uses for that item, but none of them very practical when you get right down to it.

It is important to think your purchases through and make sure that this is something that you actually can use in your show. I try to look at it from a practical point of view, examining the prop to see if it is well made, if it’s the right color, to see if has a good application to what the rest of the show is about. If I can’t answer with certainty I try to pass it up.

I do the same thing with puppets. I look at a new puppet to see if it will have many applications, if I can reuse it by new costuming or having slight modifications made. If I can justify it this way, I may buy the puppet, but I usually work all of this out on paper and just custom order what I want and need. That’s also not to say my use for this puppet or prop may change and it DOES become shelf clutter. In the event that this happens I try to sell the item on eBay or by advertising. To do less is to cheat myself out of very much needed room on the shelf. How does your shelf look?

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