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Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
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I know a lot of people have collections of vent performance videos. I find for myself, I have to be careful watching other vent videos because when you see a really funny bit, and know it would work for you, there is a temptation to liberate it.

I try to watch just get ideas or a springboard to something for my characters.

How do you folks avoid being too influenced - oh heck - how do you NOT copy/borrow/steal?
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
Canada's Favourite Family Ventriloquist
www.baconandfriends.com
Bob Baker
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Simple. If I see a bit I like, I request permission from the originator to use (more likely modify) it. If he/she says no, I honor that. I've only been refused once, and that performer gave me an excellent alternative.

Bob
Dickens & Dave
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In the op, are we talking about using a bit word for word? (or good as word for word)
If I see a bit I really like and know it would have worked for me, my only thing is wishing I had come up with it, then I forget about it.

I can remember hearing stories about someone doing a bit at Vent Haven open mic, and the next year seeing someone else do the exact same bit word for word - can you imagine that?
http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/index.html



"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
kidshowvent
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I had the difficult situation of watching someone steal my entire routine and then present it in front of me at another variety arts convention. It was really uncomfortable to see it being done by someone else. The only saving grace was that I was no longer doing that puppet or routine. The puppet rht copier used was a rabbit puppet that I had originally owned and had sold. I DIDN'T sell the rights to my routine, however.

Mark
markwade@kidshowvent.com
Bob Baker
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Quote:
On 2011-03-22 06:36, kidshowvent wrote:
It was really uncomfortable to see it being done by someone else.


"Uncomfortable?" Holy cow, Mark. I'm impressed that you weren't enraged. Did you confront the person?

Bob
wizardpa
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I wouldn't have a problem with someone copying something I do, as long as they are 100-3 thousand miles away from me. It would only be if they were in my same area doing what I do.
I feel the same way about the magic that I do.
kidshowvent
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Bob, I was at a magic / variety arts convention and didn't want to make a scene. I respected the organizers of the convention and didn't want to throw cold water on it for them. The only saving grace is that the copier's version of my act (it was almost identical) didn't play well. He didn't know how to "punch up" the lines the way I do. I wrote the material specifically for me and he didn't have the same 'feel" for it.

I travel nationally, wizardpa, so I just didn't want to run into to somebody saying "Hey Mark, did you know you are copying this guys act?" when it was mine originally. I tried to do the positive thing..I had already moved on and wrote new stuff for an entirely different character. This copier vent just faded away..nuf sed.

Mark
markwade@kidshowvent.com
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Writing dialogue that comes from my own experience, makes it more difficult for others to "borrow".

In the my younger days, I have been guilty. When it happens to your "baby"/dialogue it is indeed eye opening.

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
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Joseph_Then
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I think this is always a long-standing issue. Even in the magician's world, we have magicians complaining about other magicians copying their routine verbatim.

For me, I tend to look at successful vent acts and I:
1) Study the rationale behind the jokes made. ie. What makes the joke tick for the character & the performer
2) Model the principle of the jokes and routine into a script
3) Adapt the script to my puppet routine

To me, I feel I have not copied, but to study and made it mine.

Do you guys think that I'm copying?

If you want an example of what I did, I can give one to you in this forum.
-----



Joseph Then

Singapore Ventriloquist
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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Mark, you are so cool-headed. I would have been pretty upset.

But to the original question.. when I was beginning to put my new act together (I'm still working on it), I had decided that one of the basic premises for the act was that I would be trying to do something, play the concertina, and would be continually interrupted by my partner. Then it came to my attention that Sammy King had a long established act with a similar structure. So, I bought the video and watched to see if what I'm developing is too similar. I watched it and enjoyed it, and determined that what I was working on didn't feel like what Sammy did despite the similar premise, and that his parrot character and material were very different from anything I was writing, so I believe I'm ok going forward. If another vent were to see my act, somebody familiar with Sammy King, they might mention the similarity of premise, but I don't think anyone would feel I was lifting any part of the act. So I'm still comfortable with the premise. One thing I did learn from his video (which actually verified something I had been wondering about but hadn't decided upon yet) was that it was very helpful to introduce the character, establish the comedic relationship, and then put him away before getting out the instrument. This way the audience knows who's interrupting and the comedy works better.
David Pitts
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kidshowvent
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Thanks, David. I wish I coiuld say I'm cool headed all the time...but at least it gives me a target to shoot for. You did the right thing by looking at Sammy's video, if for no other reason than to make you feel better about what you were doing. Sammy, by the way, has officially retired this act with "Francisco the parrot" and now "Francisco" is in a prominent place in the Vent Haven Museum.

Mark
markwade@kidshowvent.com
Servante
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When I was very very young and first starting out, I liberated the "Ventriloquist, Ventrikalist" bit from a famous vent. Added some stuff to it, but still...
I was pleased to see Paul Zerdin had done the same thing in recent years. I'm in good company!

-Philip
Neale Bacon
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Maybe it is time to invest in some more performance videos to watch and learn from. I like the idea of watching to make sure I am not inadvertently doing someone else's stuff.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
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tacrowl
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Maryland
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Quote:
On 2011-03-22 14:21, Servante wrote:
When I was very very young and first starting out, I liberated the "Ventriloquist, Ventrikalist" bit from a famous vent. Added some stuff to it, but still...
I was pleased to see Paul Zerdin had done the same thing in recent years. I'm in good company!

-Philip


I use that bit as well. Zerdin also has used other bits that have been done over the years. That's not a slam, just a fact. It seems whoever has the most youtube views with the material is the guy everyone else "stole" it from. Right now, Zerdin is leading the pack with his viral Human Puppet video. As a result, his other videos have jumped in views too. That's good for all of us though!

Tom
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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ColinDymond
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I think there are some good bits that are just obvious for a ventriloquist to do, comments that the puppet doesn't have his own mic, coments about where the ventriloquists hand is etc. I've seen some bits that I wanted to use but didn't because I thought they belonged to a certain vent but then when I delved into the history they almost look like they are in the public domain.
In the magic world there are several standard children's props so it can be even tougher to be original.

I have a great routine with my parrot and a change bag that I have put into my book for children's entertainers, Making Magical Memories (email me if you want a copy). I hope to do the routine at one of the open spots at venthaven. The routine has taken years to get where it is today, I don't mind others having access to it as my version will keep evolving. In fact I now have two versions of the routine, one for Kids and one for adults.
Which one should I do at venthaven?

Colin Dymond
http://www.aceofdiamonds.co.uk
Bob Baker
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I think that Paul Winchell put "ventrickelist" in "Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit." I know I was doing it in my kids' birthday party shows in the mid-late 60's. Somehow I bet it was around before Winchell's time.

It is certainly true that YouTube assigns virtual ownership to the vent with the most hits on a bit. Too bad. On the other hand, I think it stimulates, indeed forces, us to be more original when we consciously avoid jokes that we know many others are doing (hand up butt, etc). I don't do those bits, but I feel a slight twinge of regret since popular bits are generally popular because they are good laugh getters.

There is also the issue of independent creation. One of my best lines is:

Bob: You know, I'd think you'd have more respect for me and what I do.
Oscar: Why should I?
Bob: Because I give you the illusion of life.
Oscar: And I give you the illusion of talent.

That line came to me on stage one night. I remember creating it. But someone commenting on one of my YouTube videos said something like "classic line, still funny." Classic line??? What??? I made up that line! But then maybe so did a dozen vents before me. I don't know. But I never heard it anywhere else, so I feel free to use it. (So may you guys, if you like.)

Just send me a monthly royalty check.

Just kidding about the check.

Sorta. Smile

Bob
kidshowvent
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You know the old Vaudeville adage.."If someone takes your stuff (meaning routine), it's stealing...if you take it, it's RESEARCH". I agree some of the bits have been around so long that it's almost public domain. I know lines that Jeff, Ronn, and others have used that are very old, but it is in their presentation that makes it different. Also all the fuss years ago about the talking mask. It was found that the talking mask goes back to the early days of Vaudeville. It was only popularized again. Oh, by the way, Colin, for my kidshow library I'd like to buy a copy of your book.

Mark
markwade@kidshowvent.com
Servante
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It was Winchell I stole it from back in the 1950's...but he was using it on TV at the time. I just went through my copy of "Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit." It's copyright 1954...on accounta I'm old 'n' stuff. Ventrikalist isn't in there. Nope...I appreciate the attempt to make me a little more innocent by taking it from a book published with the idea of using the scripts therein, but...nope...I stole it outright, from watching Winch do it on TV.
Officer, take me away.

-Philip
Bob Baker
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Well, Jeez, then I don't know whom I stole it from. Maybe I saw Winch do it, too.

Bob

P.S. Philip, I'm so envious that you have that book. I should have stolen it from the public library. I was the only one who ever took it out.

Hold the Presses!

I just went to EBay and it seems that an Australian publisher called Pringle Press has re-issued "VfF&P" in paperback form.

They say:
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900's and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.

I wonder if Winch's family is aware of this.

Link:http://cgi.ebay.com/Ventriloquism-Fun-and-Profit-NEW-Paul-Winchell-/140470506142?pt=AU_Non_Fiction_Books_2&hash=item20b4b1d29e#ht_1721wt_1141

Bob

More news: available at Amazon.com for $26. They now have one less copy in stock.
Dickens & Dave
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That book comes up regularly on ebay - not the reprint that link goes to, but the original book - and usually for a lot less than 45 dollars.
http://dickensndave.bravehost.com/index.html



"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
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