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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Top Mistakes (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Tod Todson
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USA
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What are the top three (or so) mistakes beginners make in performing vent?

Thank you,
Tod
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tacrowl
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Maryland
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You want to limit us to three? Each person is different, so it would be extremely tough to list the top three as a generic list.

One thing that took me a while to master is the split - creating a unique voice that was strong enough to be understood clearly by the audience, then using that and manipulation to create a believable character. Giving "life" to a puppet can be extremely challenging to a beginner. This includes creating a personality and background for the figure. So lets see - breath control, vocals, manipulation, and writing combined into one for my first!
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Neale Bacon
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I would say the number 1 mistake beginners make is not practicing enough.
The second would be buying a puppet before you have the character and
third would be using old unoriginal material.

But as Tom said - it's hard to limit to three Smile
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Doug Higley
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Tom said Top 3 (or so)...so that 'or so' could be Top 1 or Top 5.`

Mine may not be the Top but they are in the mix...

1.Making the mistake that you have to be proficient in Lip Control or be able to do vocal 'Tricks' before you get 'out there' and get comfortable in front of people working the puppet alter ego. Actually having fun making mistakes...but set your sites on improving by using your ineptness. If you lack confidence, go out there and PLAY the part of a vent who really isn't any good yet...that should be easy! (and get some laffs)

2. As Tom Crowl say's eliminate the lack of a back story for the character. It is key in allowing that puppet to come alive and take control of it's own dialog and movement.

3. Not reaching far enough to create a unique voice rather than just a typical back throat puppet vocalization. This can be hampered by over concern for lip movement...for example if the Character really wants to be a Loud Mouth and boisterous and the Vent is a rather quiet type. Remember, Bergan was the quiet one.
Using a louder or completely different voice will be a challenge...but so what. Smile

4. If there was a top most skill to learn...far above most all others it would be TIMING. Learn it. You can help your timing by EDITING your script and INTERUPTING yourself when you practice delivery...but also, use the PAUSE like an artist uses his/her brush. Listen to Jack Benny...not every second has to be filled with SOUND.

And here's what I would think is The Top Mistake...Being an arrogant Dork or Show Off...watch Jeff Dunham...just a guy with a partner...the two of them just observers on the scene...Jeff almost a step back allowing the puppet character to upstage him. Just imagine that obnoxious 'Baby Huey' impersonator David Hasslehoff as a Vent. Do the opposite.
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Wanlu
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Mumbling the lines of the puppet...specially the punchline.

Making the figure move so basic...no illusion of life at all. No eye contact with the audiece, etc etc etc.

Impulse buying of figures and puppets...



:bigsmile:
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olivertwist
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Nashua, NH
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Saying the puppets lines in your own voice while moving your lips. (also falls under not enough practice).

If you do this you can salvage the situation by having the figure say something like, "That was my line. Who's the dummy now?"

or

"And you call me a dummy?"
Undone
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Having the figure seated on your hand with your thumb sticking out between his legs. This can be rather embarrassing for all involved.
tacrowl
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Quote:
On 2008-07-08 18:54, Doug Higley wrote:
1.Making the mistake that you have to be proficient in Lip Control or be able to do vocal 'Tricks' before you get 'out there' and get comfortable in front of people working the puppet alter ego.


I agree with Doug on this. Getting in front of an audience, even if only friends and family, will help you become comfortable and develop stage presence. The key here is not to overstep, do small performances and let people know you are starting out. Video tape each performance, then watch it to study where you can improve.

Lip control is important to strive for, but I can name a bunch of pros who don't have it. Practice helps you become comfortable with your script so you aren't fumbling for lines, and it definitely helps with control, but all that can go out the window when in front of an audience.

While it isn't really a mistake, most beginners have trouble entertaining an audience. That is something that can only be learned by doing.
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kimmo
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Probably the most common mistake I spot is the puppet 'dying' and hanging limp and lifeless while the vent delivers his own lines, then snapping back to life when the puppet's dialogue begins again.

Acting is an important skill - reacting to the puppet as it delivers it's lines. Another common mistake is the vent emoting for the puppet instead of reacting and keeping in character.

I also still see a lot of vents who close the puppets mouth as each syllable is uttered rather than open it - looks quite bizarre.

I will sacrifice lip control for volume and clarity every time. It's far more important that the audience can hear and understand what you are saying.
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Tod Todson
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Kimmo, Blackpool World Champion,

Can you elaborate a bit on your statement, "... the vent emoting for the puppet instead of reacting and keeping in character."

Thanks,
Tod
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kimmo
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Sorry - I probably didn't explain what I meant very well. I was referring to that odd situation where the puppet is 'talking' but the facial expressions of the performer reflect the emotions that the PUPPET should be feeling, rather than keeping in character and reacting to it.

For example, the puppet is 'interrupting' the performer by telling a joke. As the puppet speaks the vent has a goofy smile on his face, which only disappears and becomes the look of disapproval when it is time to deliver his own lines.

I'm still not explaining this very well - is there anyone with a better command of the English language who can help me out? I assure you that I know what I mean!!
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NEW LECTURE NOTES - SHOW US YOUR TRIX NOW AVAILABLE AS AN INSTANT DIGITAL DOWNLOAD!

Kimmo DVD available Now!
Watch the promo here!
Order your copy NOW! CLICK HERE!

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Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
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I know what you are saying. You should not display on your face the emotion your puppet is expressing in their lines. Sometimes you have to show the opposite (look annoyed while the puppet tells a funny joke)

It's almost (for me) like the fact I can't seem to do a Mortimer Snerd voice without making a Snerd face Smile
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
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Tod Todson
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Thank you, gents!
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