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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Vent mask ripped off ? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Howie Diddot
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Steve;

I think you posted in the wrong thread; I looked back on this thread, I don’t see any posts about websites that are being analyzed; I do know they are posting about vents doing blue material in the Americas Got Talent thread, but I know they are not analyzing website in that thread either.
Steve at The Dummy Shoppe
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Buzz,

I posted in the correct thread. I was talking about the site that Tom commented on with his remark about "My Lips don't move" and Blueshawk1 immediately followed with his comment about having known her when he was in her part of the country. I added the part about her act being clean, but it was the correct thread.

Steve
Howie Diddot
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Steve;

Then I got lost in the conversion. Tom was telling me that I was not the first one to use a not using lips slogan.

I was explaining to Tom that I knew I didn’t invent the Lips anything, but another vent in the San Francisco area has copied my slogan "My lips are not moving and there is nothing up my sleeves" almost exactly on his website.

After the thread here, I was thinking of using a mask; I’m on the fence about using a mask; I think this other vent also has a mask since he has posted on the café asking if anyone had a mask routine he could use.

We are both in San Francisco, he has already copied my slogan; he wants to use someone else’s routine; I don’t want to advertise with the same prop he is going to advertise since he may copy everything I’m doing; I’d rather get something else and let him do a mask; anyhow blueshawk has posted that everyone already has a mask and it may be overused, I didn’t think about that.
Dickens & Dave
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Don't go by me, that's just my opinion and why I personally don't and won't have a mask any more. I considered it a novelty bit, and once something's been done to death, it's not a novelty any more, but again, that's just me.
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Howie Diddot
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Dave,

I respect your opinion along with Philips and Tom’s, all three of you have been very supportive with every post; because of the three of you guys, I am a better Ventriloquist.

You did bring up an important issue of how many people are now using a mask.

I had an issue during a show I did where I was performing a trick and a few of the kids in the audience had seen it before and knew what was going to happen next; it was an popular and over used trick.

So when you mentioned the mask being over used, it struck a chord.

Tom, Dave and Philip, everything you post is important and I do go by what you say.
Servante
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Send me a cashier's check for everything in your bank account.

-Philip
Howie Diddot
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Quote:
On 2011-07-24 12:18, Servante wrote:
Send me a cashier's check for everything in your bank account.

-Philip


Too late, I can’t, you made me spend all my money on the stuff that you said I needed to be the best Vent in San Francisco; cameras books and the bridge you sold me

Dave went to Florida and sold me some land for a big development in the Everglades

No money left
Servante
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Sell the bridge.
THEN send me a cashier's check for everything in your bank account.

-Philip
Servante
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As for the vent mask...I'm beginning to think that, if I want one (So far I don't, but I can be wildly capricious) I should just make one myself. It'd be WORLDS easier than building (or even seriously rebuilding) a figure. A person could do it with a styrofoam ball on a stick in a vise as a base and build it up with non-drying clay...then make a negative mold and put in several layers of papier mache' or cloth mache' (I'd prolly use acrylic medium instead of wheat paste, myself). You could even skip the negative mold step and apply the mache' directly to the clay, providing you'd slightly over-emphasized the original sculpt. You could sculpt such a thing on a mannequin head as a base, too, if you wanted some indication of where the mouth should be in relationship to a nose, etc. The mechanics of the jaw would be pretty easy...and you could work it all with a string or even a bicycle brake cable and handgrip. Hmmmm.

-Philip
Servante
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Now, the Axtell mic mouth, on the other hand, that really IS a new twist. I could almost see Steve watching one of those old Dairy Queen TV spots where the logo turns into lips and suddenly saying, "Eureka!"

It has the advantage of being lightweight, no set up time...no concern about germs...etc. Disadvantage, of course, is that you couldn't make your volunteer say, "Watch me dance," or some such, because the minute s/he moved, you wouldn't be able to keep up the mouth/face illusion...but there are possibilities all over the place. Consider, for instance, TWO or even THREE volunteers...a single mic...three different voices...and rapid fire conversations. THAT seems like a winner right there.

-Philip
Dickens & Dave
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That's one of the things I was thinking about with the mic mouth, keeping it where it needs to be in front of the person so it's positioned right, even if you don't have them dancing or anything. People don't always just stand still, and just having to hold it there in front of their face, I'm sure it's light, but....I'd want it to be a very short routine.

Quote:
On 2011-07-24 13:52, Servante wrote:
As for the vent mask...I'm beginning to think that, if I want one I should just make one myself. It'd be WORLDS easier than building (or even seriously rebuilding) a figure.

It's even easier than that, and cheaper too, I posted about it once. They have ventriloquist's costumes out there that comes with a vent mask. I picked one up for 54. shipped. I got it for the costume, but if anyone wanted to use the mask from it for a mask routine, it's the same thing.

Quote:
On 2011-07-24 11:08, Howie Diddot wrote:
You did bring up an important issue of how many people are now using a mask.
I had an issue during a show I did where I was performing a trick and a few of the kids in the audience had seen it before and knew what was going to happen next; it was an popular and over used trick.

Yes, that's why I sold the magic drawing board I had at one time. After doing a few shows, in front of kids I knew I had not performed in front of before, and as I was getting it out, hearing one say, "I seen this, the picture's going to talk" (or something to that effect), that was it for the mdb for me. It was just a novelty bit, it's biggest plus, to me, was the surprise value when they saw the eyes move and it started to talk, once that was gone, it was just another figure and I have enough of those already.
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Mr. Pitts
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I think what you say about the MDB and other novelty vent items is valid, a vent gets one of these out, and chances are, somebody in the audience has seen one. So if the main thrust of the routine is the surprise and novelty, then you're dead in the water with at least a couple of people in the audience. That's why it's important to develop good, original material and presentation with any vent figure, novelty or not.

When I first got back into vent, I already had an established family comedy act. I was excited about Henry though, I knew people would be impressed with him because he's a good looking puppet. But the truth is, if you get out something like a pro figure, a mask, or the MDB, everything you get after the initial surprise is up to your material. I think classic hard figures are intrinsically cool, and a lot of people do respond well upon my just getting him out of the case. At first my material with Henry was weak, and this created a real letdown in the middle of my act. I had got out something cool, and then the audience is even more let down because I've created an expectation and then dropped the ball. The material is better now, and Henry's personality is stronger. That's very important also, as I find a lot of the laughs don't come as much from the jokes so much as the personality.

I think the mask is intrinsically funny, and can get some laughs just by looking funny on your volunteer. And having a volunteer on stage is exciting to the audience also. I think the MDB initially still holds some surprise for most of the audience. But once you've gotten something like this started, you've set the bar for the routine. You have to follow up with funny material, hopefully funny ORIGINAL material. They'll forgive you for the same old prop, they might not forgive you for the same old jokes. And THAT is probably the biggest problem with the MDB... too many people use EXACTLY the same jokes. I have an MDB in need of repair or replacement. I used it for a while with the same jokes everybody uses and I just hated it (although it got some laughs). I set it aside while I figured out something new to do with it. I came up with an idea, but then I discovered that the trigger that operates the mouth had been damaged when I put it away last. (Anybody got one for sale?).

So, I guess that's my point. It's not the prop, it's what you do with it that matters.
David Pitts
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Dickens & Dave
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Yes, I know what you mean about people using the same old jokes with the mdb. I think it came with some ideas and routine, but when I get any "material" with something, it goes straight in the circular file and I come up with my own stuff. I know any material that comes with something like that is either old, weak, or being used by everyone else that has one (or all of the above). For me, I was mostly enjoying the surprise factor, and any laughs that came after that were just icing on the cake - the surprise factor was the cake, the easy part right at the start. I'm sure it can have use otherwise, but like I said, with that gone, it's just another puppet, figure, whatever, and I'd rather actually work with a regular figure or puppet, any other props or novelties have to have their own value separate from just being another figure.
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"Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest."
Howie Diddot
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In talking with blueshawk, another issue has surfaced; I understand that kids are sometime frightened of hard figures; I am concerned about the reaction of using a mask with children, I am curious to find out from everyone what the reaction from the kids is; is it possible to scare the kids by using the mask?.

What has the experience been by using a mask during a children’s performance; will they start crying?

My biggest worry is my show falling apart during the mask routine with every kid in the room hysterical and the parents are all upset with me
Bob Baker
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Many parents asked me to put a mask on myself so as not to frighten the kids. Now I do only adult shows.

B
Howie Diddot
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Thanks Bob, I think that would be hard to do
Servante
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I'm pretty sure Bob was pullin' your leg, Buzz. Pretty sure. Smile

Yes, some small children are frightened by hard figures. When I was deeply involved in doing shows, I always used soft figures for puppet shows, but hard figures for vent. There were some children who were afraid...but mostly, people know what they're getting when they hire a ventriloquist.
I've always felt that one shouldn't pull of the vent figure's head or put him together onstage...but I had very little trouble with the hard-figure fear. Just wondering if much of that isn't parents' fear based on watching "Magic." Smile

I have absolutely no experience with a vent mask. Seems to me, though, that if it's slowly and carefully set up, it wouldn't be a problem and, of course, the Axtell mic would be even less in that regard. I'm not sure it's a concern in any case...y'hire a vent, you're gonna get vent.

-Philip
Howie Diddot
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Thanks for the feedback Philip;

The concern about the mask in a the children’s show is not a determining factor in making the decision of buying or not buying the mask, this is the concern of ruining a show because I was not prepared for a disaster.

It is a definite plus to have the feedback from Café members who have the past experence

Wizardpa has related a story to me about the first time he used a rabbit wringer in his show, some of the kids started crying when the rabbit came out flat
Mr. Pitts
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You bring up a good point Buzz, and if I'd thought about it, I'd have mentioned this pages and pages ago. Probably the main reason I haven't bought a mask or two is that 90% of my shows are for kids. I'm not so much concerned about scaring them, I'm concerned about embarrassing them. If you do that, they are likely to walk off in the middle of the routine. I'm careful about not embarrassing my kid volunteers. Also, I think a kid might simply not like having a mask put on their face. I'd never try this routine on a kid younger than 9 or 10, and I'm not sure even with older kids. It works great for adult audiences. Adults are usually good sports. But kids don't care as much about being polite to the performer if they feel embarrassed or tricked (not happily fooled, like in a funny magic trick, but really tricked, made a fool of) . Little kids will leave you standing there alone with no way to finish the routine.
David Pitts
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Servante
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David's right.
Silly me, I wasn't thinking that you might use a mask on a kid. I figured this might be for one of the adults. THAT would be funny to a kid.

-Philip
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