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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Fixing poor diction in vent voice (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Veteran user
Hobart, Indiana
371 Posts

Profile of MagicalArtist
I've been doing videos with vent and video is a very good way to analyze yourself and assess your performance.

Even tho I've been doing vent for years I've discovered a rather disheartening thing: sometimes the figure is hard to understand! This is distressing because I thought I had that aspect of vent mastered.

I have tried speaking more slowly with the vent voice and articulating more carefully, but since the vent character is the standard cheeky boy, this doesn't seem to fit in too well with his personality.

Have any of you guys had to work on your enunciation and how did you do it?

I know that when you do the vent voice you should not grit your teeth but have them slightly open as well as having your lips parted, as this allows the sound to get out and I do that, but still I seem to be having problems. In fact, someone just mentioned to me that some of the figure's lines were hard to understand.

Are there any other specific tips you can use to improve your vent diction or is it just a matter of trying harder?
Steve Petra
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Regular user
New York
195 Posts

Profile of Steve Petra
In my experience, diction problems are the result of poorly developed substitution sounds and an inadequate use of the tongue. The tongue needs to do MUCH more work in ventriloquial speech than in normal speech. Proper practice giving specific attention to the work of the tongue and discipline during performance will result in better diction. You are wise not to ignore what others are hearing in your performance.

Also, when we rehearse with our character, it is often at a comfortable level for rehearsal. However, when you walk on stage and the pressure is on with an audience present (also making a level of noise) it is natural to speak at a louder volume. Not having rehearsed at this elevated volume level often results in loss of lip control AND poor diction.

Breath is the engine that moves the air. Deep breaths taken often enough to deliver a crisp performance will help everything work better.
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Inner circle
1328 Posts

Profile of Servante
Think of your tongue as your lower lip and your palate as your upper. Picture them that way while you practice. That always helped me. Then use them together as the lips of your invisible vent voice. Steve's right; your tongue does a lot more work than most folks know. Does a lot more than those of us who are doing it actually realize! Also: I have found that, in performance, my mouth tends to get dry and I have a choice between sloppy diction or flappy lips. So having a glass of water nearby can be helpful as well.

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Inner circle
1633 Posts

Profile of tacrowl
Even with proper technique on the mouth position and use of your tongue, without proper airflow, clarity suffers.

As an example, using a labial substitute, say the letter 'V' without forcing any air behind it. Next, say it again with a force of air. Notice the difference? Not only is it clearer, it is louder. Try working on increasing your lung capacity and concentrate on airflow as you practice. It is one area too many people disregard.

Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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