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Topic: You can see his lips move
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Jan 3, 2007 06:30AM)
I've worked with and known a lot of vents, here in the UK and in Europe.

Some are wonderful. I do not know how they manage to speak without lip movement.

But what I can tell you is that from a live performance point of view, the most popular with audiences and the ones who consistantly worked were the ones who moved their lips.

Funny, isn't it? It goes to prove that as with so many things technical abilty is always second to entertainment ability. They were so good the audience never noticed their lips moving and even if they did, it didn't matter. the audience were enjoying themselves so much.
Message: Posted by: harris (Jan 3, 2007 01:55PM)
In an article that came out last week in the Lee's Summit Journal(Missouri paper) the reporter wrote, "in using ventriloquism, Deutsch barely moved his lips."
In singing take me out to the ball game, Nigel used his own lines....if they don't win their the Royals drawing laughter from the crowd."

The photos of the kids had a caption McKenzie ___, and Attison ___ crack up at Harris Deutsch's antics. Usually they put one of the puppets photos in the paper. This time it was of me in my windshield wiper sunglasses.(a great prop by the way.)

"Bergen tried to insure his lips"
What happened?
They wouldn't insure a moving target."


This topic is a great one which comes up here from time to time, and always leads me to practice more.

During my programs I purposely do a non vent puppet segment where my lips are moving freely. This sets up the puppet to talk about and introduce Nigel.
Two lips worth from...

Harris
Message: Posted by: Daveandrews (Jan 3, 2007 06:08PM)
Almost all my shows are within 4 feet of my audience.
In my last show (today) it was the same situation, except that the brother and four of his friends sat themselves within 'touching distance'. The birthday girl was 6, the brother and his friends were 12 years old.
I went through my vent routine - the brother and his friends were confused.
As I was packing up they (the brother and friends) came up to me and said that my puppet's beak had a sound mechanism in it - didn't it!
I told them exactly how ventriloquism works and that it was me speaking for the puppet. They didn't believe me because they didn't see my lips move; they said!

For me, in the situations I perform, my lips must not move - if I can 'fool' 12 year olds from a distance of a few feet .. job done.

horses for courses, I guess.

Best of,

Dave
Message: Posted by: cardone (Jan 4, 2007 10:18AM)
Don't move em.. Most vents move there lips .. so
if you don't ...you should hear what people say ....they freak out ... it becomes magic...
Message: Posted by: harris (Jan 4, 2007 03:43PM)
Great post...

I have been asked about where the batteries are for the puppet..another sign of a program with good lip control. Lately people have been coming up with interest on learning two things. One is vent the other is harmonica. I have been playing with both for about 30 years now.

Still learning and having a blast with the ta da's and the statements that humble this nearly normal vent.

Harris
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Jan 6, 2007 06:02PM)
Dave....


Your "Horses of courses", brought to mind the old tv series "Mr. Ed".

Just curious, was Wibur a vent?

Just kidding!!!!!! lol

Best regards.

Jonathan

Posted: Jan 6, 2007 10:31pm
What I meant to ask was/was "Wilbur" a vent?"

My apologies for my ypo. It kind of ruind the tempo of the joke.

Oh well, back to the serious discussion at hand.... the importance (or unimportance) of the vent's lips moving during performance...

More input from working pros would be greatly appreciated.

Jonathan
Message: Posted by: cardone (Jan 6, 2007 10:08PM)
Why would you want your lips to move ? Practice....and they won't .... Its like a magician flashing..if they move the magic is gone... the act might still be funny but the real magic is gone ... Are you a puppeter or a ventriloquist ... some vents use puppets .. Half of my vent routines are puppetless ..If my mouth moved even a little bit the illusion would be ruined and the act pointless...
Message: Posted by: Daveandrews (Jan 6, 2007 10:43PM)
Jlevey - darn, I used to love Mr Ed!

Cardone - as far as I'm concerned and the places I work, you are totally spot on.

Best of,

Dave
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Jan 7, 2007 09:22AM)
At our Recent Royal Variety Show in in the presence of Prince Charles we had to endure the worst multi vent act I've ever seen. Avenue Q I think it was. Students learning presumably but they went to pieces and everyone of them abandoned all attemps to vent. Mouths moved throughout.

And I'm sorry to tell you they appeared to be from North America. What is the business coming to?
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Jan 7, 2007 02:18PM)
I take your point Tony, but funnily enough several people (including my sister-in-law Tessa) said the exact same thing to me about Avenue Q and they were being totally serious! I can appreciate it when Bonnie Langford plays tinkerbell and whizzes up and down on very visible wires, but it doesn't compare to David Copperfield's 'Flying'. Lip control is certainly not all-important, but it does contribute towards the 'illusion of life' that we are going for.

Tony - I was wondering if seeing Avenue Q had made you want to try Punch and Judy without the fit-up? Do you think that might work?

Posted: Jan 7, 2007 3:43pm
Hi Tony and Kimmo, Please correct me if I'm wrong--but I think Avenue Q doesn't in any way say something about its actors as ventriloquists. The play doesn't feature ventriloquists but puppeteers. They've never advertise/market the players/actors as ventriloquists. They've used puppetry in a different way--to stage an adult play.

That said, the actors simply don't attempt to be ventriloquists because they are not, in the first place.
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Jan 7, 2007 03:09PM)
Hi Ony - I wouldn't want to speak for Tony but I think that was his point - he is well aware of what Avenue Q is about and his tongue was planted firmly in his cheek! I was just pointing out that I've had several people make the same point to me but SERIOUSLY!! I totally 'get' Avenue Q and love it!!
Message: Posted by: harris (Jan 7, 2007 03:59PM)
Lou Derman the writer for Mr. Ed and others of that era was a magician.

He also wrote a great column in the Linking Ring...(60's as I recall) with some good stuff especially about use of comedy and not doing standard patter but making it you.

I still like to go back to older sources such as his column. Great food for thought.

Harris
Message: Posted by: jlevey (Jan 7, 2007 04:48PM)
I seem to recall that Charlie Bergen moved his lips... but he had a great persona,and knew how to keep his audience/viewers entertained.

I'm not saying that lip control should not be one of the main goals, but I do believe that a good vent act can capture the minds and hearts of the old and young without perfect lip control, as long as the interactive dialogue engages and entertains.

IMHO

..."who said that?!"

Jonathan
Message: Posted by: ChrisJ (Jan 7, 2007 08:27PM)
[quote]
On 2007-01-07 17:48, jlevey wrote:
I seem to recall that Charlie Bergen moved his lips... but he had a great persona,and knew how to keep his audience/viewers entertained.


[/quote]

Edgar Bergen? :) Charlie McCarthy was his famous companion. Edgar had Excellent lip control in his younger days. For proof take a look at the early vitaphone short films he made. Funny stuff and great lip control and figure manipulation.

:)

Chris
Message: Posted by: Ony Carcamo (Jan 8, 2007 02:25AM)
And Bergen, in his later years, compensated his "moving lips" with great character development for his figures--probably the best in vent history!

And, oh boy, how he handled/manipulated his figures, considering that his figures had the littlest animations--ONLY MOVING MOUTH!

He was truly THE master figure manipulator!
Message: Posted by: Clownboy (Jan 8, 2007 11:24AM)
Speaking as a non-vent person. I watched Kimmo on You Tube and frankly speaking Charlie was so Alive to me I never got bored enough to pay attention to Kimmo's Lips!

Point being - If you put together a solid routine and leave no room for dead time; Who is really going to look! If you create a image that the Vent is alive few to none will ever question where the voice comes from.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Jan 8, 2007 01:12PM)
Anyone seen Henry Astor? Works a lot in Paris. Often the Paradis Latin.

Do his lips move?

Answer. Who knows?

Everyone is so busy watching the dog - he uses a big real live basset hound (and later two people from the audience) and it's so funny nobody notices.

But they do with Avenue Q and the feed back is very very poor. Doesn't matter what anyone says, people's perception is that they are lousy vents. Result? Disappointment.

In other words, it doesn't work.

Henry Astor does!
Message: Posted by: Budihaha (Jan 9, 2007 05:18AM)
If a ventriloquist move his lips when his/her figure talk, he/she will not hear any single comment from the audience about his/her moving lips.

But a ventriloquist who don't move his/her lips when the figure talk, he/she will hear comment from the audience about other ventriloquists who move their lips.

These are the point to know, if my still lips good enough or not in my performances.

Regards,

Budi Ha Ha
Message: Posted by: cardone (Jan 9, 2007 09:08AM)
What about vent with out puppets ... vent isn't only with puppets .... can his lips move when performing with out a puppet ..... I don't think so
Message: Posted by: olivertwist (Jan 9, 2007 07:31PM)
Right. You certainly couldn't catch a voice in a glass or do distant voice with lips moving.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Jan 9, 2007 07:54PM)
You can do a distant voice Oliver and Albert Saveen did. He worked his figures, had boy and girl figures in the smae case and just stood there whilst they had a distance conversation. And did the old closing and opening of the lid. Classic act.

His finish was two dogs, one a puppet and one alive. Brought the house down.

It was a theatre act and if you watched carefully you could see his lips move. Not easy part way back in a theatre. Closer to the stage you could see.

When he was old it became more noticable. But by then he was on television.

But - and this is the whole point- Albert was so good an entertainer it didn't matter because nobody noticed. They were all far too busy either laughing or listening in total silence at the tearjerker points.

As a vent Albert Saveen was very good when he was younger and good when he was an old man.

As an entertainer he was brilliant to the end.
Message: Posted by: harris (Jan 10, 2007 10:19AM)
Entertainment and theatre are important elements in any vent routine.

Below are from my list of feedback from consumers.

"You're better than Edgar Bergen who moved his lips - you don't."(What a lot of people remember from his later work..I love his example of a memorable character(s). Some programs my lip work is better than others


"I have done the straight jacket escape myself a number of times, but I swear
you made me sweat with your realistic presentation."

"Your connecting with various individuals and names was impressive."(The later is something I picked up from magician Doc Eason who does a large number pick a card and finds the cards while remembering 20 + names.)


Harris
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Jan 11, 2007 01:27PM)
I suppose there are worse things than your lips moving. There was a very good vent over here fifty years ago. Bobby Kimber with Augustus Peabody.

Miss Kimber was a rarety - a female vent, middle aged - she'd been in the business thirty years and always looked middle aged - but what an act. Her lips didn't move either not even when she finished on Popeye the Sailor Man. She was good on television too.

Unfortunately in close-up her Adam's Apple did move! The game was up. After that Ronald Victor Robert Kimberley's act vanished without trace. Shame.
Message: Posted by: harris (Jan 12, 2007 07:52AM)
The other thing I have noticed is my tongue moving in close ups. I have been playing with a camera and IMAX DVD editing machine. Still don't know how to hook the DVD's up to the net. I don't have a computer at home and ones I have access to that are hooked up to the net don't play dvd movies.

I am making them for promotional work to give to potential consumers.

Harris
Message: Posted by: Steve Petra (Jan 16, 2007 03:48PM)
Many vents practice their lip control with great concentration in a quiet environment. On stage everything gets ramped up - as it should. The need to fill a room and the sound of an audience can render that "home lip control" ineffective because now you are speaking louder in your own voice and can't produce that same sound level ventriloquially without much deeper breathing and diaphram control. That's one way that lip control goes out the window during an actual performance.

I love the comments about doing vent without a puppet. That make a great point!

Here's a clip in front of a fairly large and animated audience.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=AE1YIihDxbM
Message: Posted by: Ony Carcamo (Jan 16, 2007 05:09PM)
Steve, I love your video!
Ony Carcamo, PHILIPPINES
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Jan 17, 2007 03:38PM)
Steve - thanks for the P.M. I absolutely love your video - what a fantastic show. I rated it 5 stars!
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Jan 17, 2007 05:16PM)
Oh yes I like that.

That is good.
Thanks.

What was it. School? 7 - 11 years? How big the audience? And was it just one school or a mix?

Kimmo - now that's how to use a stage!! Don't you agree?
Message: Posted by: Steve Petra (Jan 17, 2007 06:40PM)
Thanks guys!
[quote]
On 2007-01-17 18:16, Tony James wrote:

What was it. School? 7 - 11 years? How big the audience? And was it just one school or a mix?
[/quote]
Yes it was a school. Kids were 8 - 11 years. Audience was about 325 which was half of that school. I did a second performace for the other half that day.
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Jan 17, 2007 07:43PM)
That's not a big school - that's massive. For that age group, here I would expect the entire school not to exceed 120 -140 and that's tops.

We get bigger schools for 12-16 bracket. Even there, nowhere near those sort of numbers.

Do you know, I've had a thread running in the kid's section on stages and school sizes of audience. No one has proveded this kind of information. Thank you.

Now I know why stages figure so much in connection wuth children.
Message: Posted by: Ony Carcamo (Jan 17, 2007 10:34PM)
Here's a clip of a few of my school shows. One of the schools shown was really big! I guess about 500-600 kids.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRRWNfuna48

Thanks in advance for viewing!

Ony Carcamo, PHILIPPINES
Message: Posted by: Steve Petra (Jan 17, 2007 11:53PM)
Terrific job Ony!

I can see by their faces how well you manage to entertain such a large group.

One reason I stopped doing Birthday parties almost immediately after I began is that I found myself nearly disfunctional with very small groups.

How long is your typical school show and how many schools do you perform for in the course of a year?
Message: Posted by: Ony Carcamo (Jan 18, 2007 12:50AM)
My typical educational kidshow vent in schools is around 45 minutes. I talk about many different character-building concepts that are, of course, geared towards kids.

I do more or less 100 schools a year.

School shows are a great experience!!! But I also enjoy those intimate, private kiddie parties once in a while.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Sep 21, 2012 10:59PM)
[quote]
On 2007-01-16 16:48, Steve Petra wrote:
Many vents practice their lip control with great concentration in a quiet environment. On stage everything gets ramped up - as it should. The need to fill a room and the sound of an audience can render that "home lip control" ineffective because now you are speaking louder in your own voice and can't produce that same sound level ventriloquially without much deeper breathing and diaphram control. That's one way that lip control goes out the window during an actual performance.

I love the comments about doing vent without a puppet. That make a great point!

Here's a clip in front of a fairly large and animated audience.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=AE1YIihDxbM

[/quote]
Thanks for the video Steve. I really enjoy your creative ideas.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Sep 21, 2012 11:07PM)
[quote]
On 2007-01-06 23:08, cardone wrote:
Why would you want your lips to move ? Practice....and they won't .... Its like a magician flashing..if they move the magic is gone... the act might still be funny but the real magic is gone ... Are you a puppeter or a ventriloquist ... some vents use puppets .. Half of my vent routines are puppetless ..If my mouth moved even a little bit the illusion would be ruined and the act pointless...
[/quote]
I have seen professional vents move their lips. Jeff Dunham is one of them. But he is great with comedy. I think the comedy is where the secret really is.