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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Trend towards soft puppets (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
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Have others found there is a trend towards soft puppets and away from hard figures?

There seems to be more people working with soft puppets (myself included).
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
Canada's Favourite Family Ventriloquist
www.baconandfriends.com
Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
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I like soft puppets as well...much easier to use and maintain Smile

However, in my part of the world where the likes of Jeff Dunham and Ronn Lucas and other great vents are basically unknown to the ordinary audience/crowd, if a vent wants to work an adult crowd, he must use a hard figure or else he wont get the attention he might want.

It will need more vent exposure on TV to make the people here realize that its the material/script that is funny not the figure Smile or at least not entirely the figure Smile

In my case...being new in the vent world, I like using my soft puppets for my kidshows and my hard figures for my adult shows... Smile

Hopefully Terry Fator and Winston...Jeff Dunham and Peanut...Dan Horn and Orson...etc etc etc can change this perception soon Smile
"The Old Path"
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Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
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I don't think the audience cares what type of figure as long it is well manipulated and funny.

I have never had anyone make the comment after my show that it would have been funnier with a traditional figure.

I think Dan Horn, Terry Fator and people like Brad Cummings are changing the perception that hard figures are the only way. Even Ronn Lucas uses soft figures.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
Canada's Favourite Family Ventriloquist
www.baconandfriends.com
olivertwist
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Nashua, NH
578 Posts

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I enjoy working with both hard and soft but the most frequently requested repeat performance is for Vern. Everybody loves Vern.
Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
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Quote:
On 2007-11-12 14:24, Neale Bacon wrote:
I don't think the audience cares what type of figure as long it is well manipulated and funny.

I have never had anyone make the comment after my show that it would have been funnier with a traditional figure.

I think Dan Horn, Terry Fator and people like Brad Cummings are changing the perception that hard figures are the only way. Even Ronn Lucas uses soft figures.


Hi Neale,

This is exactly how I feel... Smile

What Im saying is that IN MY COUNTRY (Philippines) adult show ventriloquism involves hard figures...but hopefully more TV exposure for Terry Fator, Ronn Lucas and Dan Horn and other fantastic vents with soft puppets will change that perception soon...HERE IN MY COUNTRY Smile
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Ony Carcamo
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Manila, PHILIPPINES
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With due respect, here I have to disagree with you, my friend Wanlu. I have been also using here (in the Philippines) soft puppets in my adults shows and I haven't had problems (well, actually I HAD sometimes when I was testing new materials--I bombed!). I agree with you, Neale... I believe it's really the materials that count, and how you make the puppets life-like with proper manipulation.

In fact, in early 2000 when I started doing adult shows in comedy bars seriously, I started with my Axtell Louie figure and my Axtell possum and chimp--all soft puppets. And they did fairly well.

Until now, well, just last night, I used my Lovik puppet-in-can (soft puppet) in an adult party gig and it went very well.

But although I still use soft puppets (from time to time) in my adult shows, I prefer to use my wooden figures more now.
Ony Carcamo
PHILIPPINES

www.onycarcamo.com
Lou Hilario
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Yup, I can vouch for that. I've seen Ony use his soft puppets in Adult Comedy Bars and he did drive the audience in stitches. I also don't agree that hard figures are for adults and soft for kids. This is a beginner's point of view.
Magic, Illusions, Juggling, Puppet & Parrot Show ^0^
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axtell
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Steve Axtell
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I hope that Axtell puppets (and other soft puppets) do not replace hard figures in Ventriloquism. There is room for BOTH styles in Ventriloquism. I think ours look great in a show along with hard figures!

I agree there is no difference in the use of them for Adult, or Kidshows, Paul Zerdin, Jeff Dunham, Ron Lucas, Terry Fator, Jay Johnson and most all top ventriloquists tend to use both in their shows. It makes your cast of characters look different and broad range.

Sometimes the hard figures might be an issue with the very young children, or those in the audience (even adult) who have phobias, but that's usually younger kids.

Soft puppets are used for both for Children and Adults every day all over the world.
Axtell Expressions, Inc.
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Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
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Steve,
I agree that soft puppets can be used for either audience and I don't think they will ever replace hard figures. It comes down to preference and then once you have made the preference, make that puppet or figure work for you through material, manipulation etc.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
Canada's Favourite Family Ventriloquist
www.baconandfriends.com
Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
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I will again state my point in case it was not taken well..

I agree that its the material that is important as well as manipulation etc... BUT IN MY COUNTRY (Philippines)...I have yet to see a succesful vent with soft puppets in adult shows Smile

Yes Ony, you may have used soft puppets before in adult gigs and they make have worked well..but I have been with you several times and I have NEVER seen you use a soft puppet in an adult show. Smile

I have nothing against soft puppets...in fact, Id be very happy if the trend here in Manila will change SOON Smile Soft puppets are much easier to manipulate and the maintainance is very minimal...compared to hard figures that are so delicate and not to forget very expensive!!!

WHEN I POSTED THAT SOFT PUPPETS FOR KIDSHOWS AND HARD FIGURES FOR ADULT GIGS...I MEANT TO DISCRIBE MY OWN SHOW.... HERE IN the PHILIPPINES, A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY WHERE THE LIKES OF RONN LUCAS, TERRY FATOR, PAUL ZERDIN, ETC ETC ETC ARE BASICALLY UNKNOW OR AT THE VERY LEAST NOT THAT FAMOUS (YET)

With Terry Fator winning AGT and Jay Johnson winning a Tony...Jeff and Peanut winning the hearts of billions of people worldwide...obviously
the trend in America and perhaps in other contries is different...and Im happy for that Smile

Hopefully, the trend in Manila will soon change if vents like Ony and Lou will start using soft puppets REGULARLY in an adult gig Smile

As for me...I use my soft puppets in kidshows where adults are also present and the soft puppets work real well...

But in an adult gig...no kids around...I just don't find the character of my soft friends suitable Smile

MY TWO CENTS Smile
"The Old Path"
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Spellbinder
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The Holy City of East Orange, NJ
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In YOUR country, and in YOUR local area, YOU are the top ventriloquist and whatever YOU do is the standard. Don't worry about others. What trends towards soft puppets do YOU want to set?
Professor Spellbinder

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Ony Carcamo
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Manila, PHILIPPINES
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I agree that let's not worry about trends. It really doesn't matter. What matters is how well we entertain our audience, using either soft or hard figures--or just a plain sock puppet!

Our success is IN OUR HANDS (in this case, how we write great materials, manipulate our figures, and give great overall performance), not in what other vents are doing.

If you really think about it, GOING AGAINST THE TREND MAY BE A BETTER OPTION! If you do your thing right, you will definitely rise above the clutter.
Ony Carcamo
PHILIPPINES

www.onycarcamo.com
Steve Petra
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New York
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Going with a trend is not always the best road to take. It is often good business however to accomodate current trends in topics and content. It is equally important to involve originality and style in order to stand out from the pack.

The soft vs hard puppet discussion is an interesting one. Over the last 6 or 7 years I've been building and using a type of "hybrid puppet" in many shows. This is a puppet that is made mostly out of foam but with a headstick that controls a simple mouth mechanism.
Here are a few "hybrids". (see attachment)

** the lobster doesn't actually have a mechanism but his drop down mouth (also a muppet style) is not often used in puppets I've seen in stage perfromances.

If I'm not mistaken, Steve Axtell's Roasted Turkey is a latex puppet with a headstick controlled mouth.

Click here to view attached image.
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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My wife was just commenting this week that John (our size seven traditional vent) figure is more of a collector piece than a in use puppet. He is great with lots of added functions and movements. Extra packing and weight is most in consideration.

Does anyone consider the fear factor when using wood type figures?

2008 Summer Reading Slide Show

http://www.slide.com/r/CELc0ZDWuz-5odNoF......original

Puppet Workshop Slide Show..

http://www.slide.com/r/HmprKnQ65D8M5ecdC......original


Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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axtell
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Steve Axtell
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Clever Characters Steve.... you shine with originality.

Wanlu your videos with the puppet characters are very entertaining...You Rock!

Ax
Axtell Expressions, Inc.
Pro Puppets, Magic & Animatronics
olivertwist
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Nashua, NH
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Steve P,

I'll echo Ax on this. Your figures are very creative and very original. I also enjoyed your entries in the Axtell contest.

Oliver
Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
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Thanks Ax Smile Coming from you its simply an honor for me Smile and its not a big secret that I'm a great fan of your work Smile

BTW, Steve (Petra)...the puppets look great!!! I love the mummy Smile Lots of possible ideas from that figure Smile
"The Old Path"
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Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
3058 Posts

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Quote:
On 2007-11-14 13:57, Spellbinder wrote:
In YOUR country, and in YOUR local area, YOU are the top ventriloquist and whatever YOU do is the standard. Don't worry about others. What trends towards soft puppets do YOU want to set?


Hi spellbinder,

The trend Im hoping to set here in Manila is for an adult audience to appreciate a vent with a puppet (soft or hard) in an adult gig. The kind of appreciation vents in other countries get when they perform in a comedy club, a cruise ship or a corporate gig.

Ony Carcamo has been trying hard to make people here appreciate puppets and vents and ventriloquism in general...Im also trying to do my part Smile

Recently, we had an open mic in a bar and a good number of vents tried their acts...and all I can say is that with the exception of Ony, the rest of us still need a lot of work as far as our adult acts are concerned. This is basically because the performers in that open mic (including me) perform regularly in kidshows...

In a nutshell: I guess, we (Manila Vents) still need to differentiate a kidshow/family show act from an adult vent act Smile
"The Old Path"
www.angdatingdaan.org

Wanlu's Affordable Puppets
http://wanlu.net/ventpuppets.html

Wanlu and his Puppets
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zifferinolpm
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Quote:
On 2007-11-10 19:04, Neale Bacon wrote:
Have others found there is a trend towards soft puppets and away from hard figures?

There seems to be more people working with soft puppets (myself included).


I can tell you this much. When I perform with kids, I feel more comfortable with soft puppets. Hard puppets are more for the adults. With figure makers like Steve Axtell soft puppet that are quality are much easier accessable and affordable than a hard puppet.
Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
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And soft puppets are much easier to maintain and transport as compared to hard figures... Smile
"The Old Path"
www.angdatingdaan.org

Wanlu's Affordable Puppets
http://wanlu.net/ventpuppets.html

Wanlu and his Puppets
http://wanlu.net
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