We had the good fortune of connecting with Puppett and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Puppett, how do you think about risk?
My casting choices and the stories I want to tell are often considered risky, particularly because I want to put underrepresented people on screen. Early on, when I was developing my short film Wedlocked, I knew the easier way to get funding and interest in the festival world would be to tell a story about gay men. Or if I went with women, to show feminine lesbians, because that’s what Hollywood does. But I wanted to show more sides of our community. It felt important to me to take this risk: showing soft femme, masculine-of-center, butch, androgynous, trans, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer – we’re a rainbow and I wanted to showcase our diversity. I had to trust that people would want to see themselves and their friends on screen, and not just the same types of representation we’ve been getting for years. I continue to make “risky” choices when casting my projects. I often think outside the box and cast trans people to play roles that may or may not be specifically transgender. Casting trans actors in roles that don’t specify a trans identity was totally unheard of when I started doing it, but now it’s starting to happen more. And our community is hungry for it. Hollywood will just have to catch up. AAs an outsider trying to get into Hollywood, casting differently from the norm isn’t the obvious road, but I believe it will eventually be to my benefit and to the benefit of our community as a whole. While my goal is to get into the studio world, I don’t want to do it at the expense of my community’s beautifully diverse representation.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
As a filmmaker, Puppett’s (they/she) directing work has been featured on USA Today, HuffPost, and Out.com, and screened in 55+ film festivals around the world. Puppett directed on the Emmy-Nominated series RAZOR TONGUE, from showrunner Rain Valdez (LOPEZ, TRANSPARENT). Puppett’s professional directorial debut, WEDLOCKED, penned by Guinevere Turner (AMERICAN PSYCHO, THE L WORD, CHARLIE SAYS), collected festival awards and secured SVOD & AVOD distribution (starring Beth Grant, Sally Kirkland, Whitney Mixter, Drew Droege, Shelli Boone). As an actor, Puppett appeared on stage in the LA Premiere of Taylor Mac’s HIR at Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, directed by Bart DeLorenzo.Puppett is developing several projects, ranging from a suburban goth drama to a large scale fantasy film, all of which put a female and/or queer protagonist at the front of the action. ACTOR Puppett appeared on stage in the LA Premiere of Taylor Mac’s HIR at Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, directed by Bart DeLorenzo. As a professional drag king, they were a core member of Philadelphia’s premier drag and burlesque troupe, Liberty City Kings, and have traveled and competed in multiple states. Puppett’s on-screen credits include Guest Star roles on MTV’s “Catfish: The Untold Stories,” “City Kitties,” as well as the series regular role of Sam in the sitcom web-series “Almost… Not Quite.”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’re in a pandemic; please don’t visit me. But if you come later, let’s hike in El Sereno and look out at the city. Grab tacos from Tacos Tu Madre, food and drinks at Sage Vegan Bistro, ice cream from Magpies Softserve, and donuts from Donut Friend. There’s something you should know about LA: there are donut shops EVERYWHERE. We’ll definitely need to find a concert, and follow it up with the best vegan mac n’ cheese from Mac n’ Cheese Rebel – a glorious food truck. I might be a little obsessed with food. Can you blame me? Late night ping-pong, morning hikes, a sunset on the beach, and a night of camping in Malibu. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Jillian Armenante, Scott Turner Schofield, Lise Angelica Johnson, Reena Dutt, Sally Essex-Lopresti, Bart DeLorenzo, Jane Clark, Rain Valdez, James Burkhammer