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

Matt_24
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208 Posts

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At what point should you kick the stock figure to the curb and start using something custom. Something that will separate you as a performer from the 200 other ventriloquists who all use the same puppet or hard figure?

What effect/character in your act is original and sets you apart from the rest of the ventriloquial pact?

My absolutely favorite ventriloquist Edgar Bergen was made famous from a slightly customized stock MACK head but with his talent he would have been famous with a sock puppet because he was an entertainer through and through and incredible comedic writer and actor. He had the foresight to look at that stock head and think of changes that would give him a one-of-a-kind character that would set him apart. This way of thinking also helped push his act through the roof of fame and fortune. He never wanted to do what everyone else was doing.

How many of you think like that?

Do you want to step your proficiency up as a professional and use a one-of-a-kind character that no one else has?

Did you know that inexpensive stock figures can be customized into something great? Bill Nelson has been doing it for years. Bill does not do mold-making or mechanics. ALL of his custom figures (other than the NELSON-JACKSON line or the figure he made with Greg Claassen) started life as something else and were TOTALLY re-sculpted into something else. Have you seen Tom Crawl's POYNER figure which Bill "only" re-painted giving it a tremendous amount of character. That is a very simple exmaple of taking a stock figure and with just a touch-up of paint you have a beautiful customized character! Bill has made....at least 30 or 40 custom figures in this manner.

Inspired by Bill, I've fallen in love with customizing figures. I just re-did a SELBERG into an old man character. It lasted 6 days for sale and a professional in FL purchased him for his act. If you take a look at what a stock REGGIE looks like and what I transformed him to, you will see he is now a true 1 of 1 character and that was accomplished with very mild re-sculpting. The magic was accomplished more in the paint process and eyebrow application.

I'm working on two other projects right now. One I haven't even started and might soon be spoken for by the same person who bought my HENRY character who took interest after just hearing my plans for the character and the other I'm re-sculping/re-painting purely for my personal entertainment. It will be for sale to the general public upon completion (art supplies ain't cheap). I'm having a master craftsman install the mechanics so it should turn out pretty good if I do say so myself. As I tell others...at this point I have zero interest in mechanics or moldmaking. I just like the fun stuff...sculpting/painting/wigging.

If you haven't seen my blog please check it out (see my signature block). It is focused solely on the art of figuremaking (mostly my artistic endeavors) with some odds and ends thrown in. Check out the latest blog of Bob Isaacson's hand-carved Charlie and Mortimer. They are just gorgeous.

And hey (shameless plug time) if you have a crusty old ventriloquist figure that you haven't been getting much use out of, send me a photo and lets work together to turn him into something you'll love. The possibilities of what can be accomplished through some careful re-sculpting/painting/wigging/and costuming might just amaze you and still be a more economical option than buying a pre-made custom figure.

Thanks,
Matt Kimbro
Matt_24
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208 Posts

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Matt_24
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208 Posts

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http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com/arti......mbro.htm

Check out this great article on Ventriloquist Central. (OK, I may be a bit biased in my opinion on the "great" part.)
Tod Todson
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USA
1296 Posts

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Very cool transformation, with pictures, Matt!

Tod
Mystifier, Youth Speaker
<BR><BR>
ColinDymond
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Gloucestershire, England
675 Posts

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When I started useing Axtell figures there wearn't so many of them about. Now I keep seeing "my dragon" appearing on other peoples web sites, it's not so good.
I'd love an origional Axtell but the are quite pricey.
Maybe I should find a local builder in the UK so I can save on the tax and import duty plus it would be easier if things needed adjusting.
Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
3058 Posts

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Great work Matt...I might just send a figure for some transformation soon Smile
"The Old Path"
www.angdatingdaan.org

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

Wanlu and his Puppets
http://wanlu.net
Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
1775 Posts

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Colin,

Talk to Wanlu if you are looking for a custom soft figure. I am sure he could design a dragon that would be yours alone.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
Canada's Favourite Family Ventriloquist
www.baconandfriends.com
Wanlu
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Manila, Philippines
3058 Posts

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Thanks Neale Smile
"The Old Path"
www.angdatingdaan.org

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

Wanlu and his Puppets
http://wanlu.net
Wanlu
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Inner circle
Manila, Philippines
3058 Posts

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Hey Matt Smile

I think your work is fantastic...

Show us more...
"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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