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Topic: Recording vs. Ventriloquism
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Sep 18, 2012 08:53PM)
What pleases a kids audience the most with puppets, track recordings or ventriloquism?
Message: Posted by: Steve Petra (Sep 18, 2012 09:52PM)
Kids aren't making that distinction. They are best entertained by what's funny, weird, unexpected etc. If you're not be able to do vent (for now)it won't stop you from using puppets but it is certainly a limitation. Recorded tracks lock you in to a dialog or performance that you cannot adjust for an individual audience. You can't hone the material as you discover what works best in front of kids. Anything that can be done with a track can be done better (in a way that is more entertaining to your kidshow audience) as a vent.

Tracks can be a good way to break into the idea of using puppets in your performance but they come with their own limitation however, a musical number on a recorded track can be quite functional because within that piece, the perfromance would mostly be unchanged in order to follow the music.

So many possibilities!
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Sep 18, 2012 10:12PM)
Wow, what a coincidence Steve. The thought came in my mind after watching your DVD, "Let's Get Visual". I received it today. Your entertainment helps encourage me to get deeper with puppets..

Posted: Sep 18, 2012 11:14pm
Oh yea, thanks for answering my question.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Sep 19, 2012 12:07PM)
My very first puppet show was on backing track - six puppets, plenty of action, lots of music during the chase sequences. It was grand. But the day I did it dry, using one voice for all six puppets (I haven't much variety in terms of accent) the show was ten times funnier and more entertaining.

I have listened to some backing tracks, including the Axtell ones. They are well produced, but I don't feel they can match a human performance.
Message: Posted by: Aussie (Sep 20, 2012 05:27AM)
IMO recorded material is great for behind the curtain puppetry or even marionette but if you can ventriloquism is a must for anything else. It can be frustrating when learning vent to tackle some of those difficult words, but perseverance will get you there.

Agreed Steve Petra's DVD's are a fantastic learning tool (highly recommended).
Message: Posted by: wizardpa (Sep 20, 2012 01:29PM)

Axtell Expressions has a free learn ventriloquism course on their web site.

Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Sep 20, 2012 02:00PM)
Thanks Chris. I do have several books/DVDs already. I must work on more comedy and routines leading to more kids reactions. I like how Steve uses different props with his puppets.

When I use the drawing board, everything is alright because of how the magic blends in. I added a puppet rabbit to my magic show. A few times I heard from someone in the audience, "Can we get back to the magic show?"
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Sep 20, 2012 06:08PM)
Dynamike - when I switched from magic to vent, the puppets were totally alien to me and it took time to develop confidence in my ability to entertain using them. It is a growing process. One day you may look back and realize that the puppets have taken over and are the best part of your act.

One thing I highly recommend is a solid script. The script is the backbone of a ventriloquist's act. So put time into developing material based on your characters. Without solid material that produces strong laughs, you'll hear more of "Can we get back to the magic show?"

Message: Posted by: wizardpa (Sep 20, 2012 09:41PM)
Performing for a wide range of ages in an audience, one might get an ignorant reaction from an audience member. I'm pretty sure there were other members that actually enjoyed the rabbit puppet.
Message: Posted by: MrG (Sep 21, 2012 10:43PM)
I'm going to give another point of view. First, I wouldn't use a track for reasons previously stated and for me it just isn't dynamic in presentation. It doesn't allow for interaction or spontaneous reaction. Where I might differ from others is to suggest no script at all - rather - develop a routine that requires little to no dialogue. Keep it visual and funny - develop the personality and your relationship with the character. Think about Bill Demar's great routine with his frog - no vent and it kills with a strong character, strong puppetry, and strong visuals.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 3, 2012 06:23PM)
I notice how the recording relates to "Nesting Wands". When I perform the nesting wands young kids are highly amazed by my humor and silly reactions. Usually older children are not amazed as much. Sometimes the older kids say something similar to "That wasn't magic". I bet the younger kids would love the recordings, especially because they do not know what they are missing. It would be important to have the comedy easy to understand for the kids. Of course funny reactions must be done to make the kids laugh too.

The older crowds rather see more skill.
Message: Posted by: bigcheese (Oct 29, 2012 08:24AM)
My kids really love anything to do with puppets, especially when there is ventriloquism involved. In the last few years I've seen performers of varying skills levels but the kids enjoyed them all regardless.
Message: Posted by: harris (Oct 29, 2012 11:29AM)
I have seen dynamic performers work wonders with an Ax trak.

I am a firm believer in using lots of resources.

Script "righting" and re-rewriting is crucial.

Of course my years with an improvisational troupe continues to add that spontaneous touch to my routines.

It's two mints (or is it 17) in one....

Over the years I have even done vent while in "Mime"

formerly mime over matter...