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Top Ten Reasons to Learn Ventriloquism

There are many reasons to learn the art of ventriloquism. But here are ten of the best.

  1. You can get started quickly with only a puppet (aka dummy) and a mirror. There’s no expensive equipment to buy, no high tech components to hook-up, and no three day waiting period for a license.
  2. It’s the only way you can talk to yourself in front of a group of people and they won’t try and lock you up. It’s definitely the only way you can get paid for talking to yourself! Ventriloquism can be a consistent way to make extra money working evenings and weekends. You don’t have to quit your day job and the start-up costs are low.
  3. You and your kids might even want to learn vent together. Rent some of the Goosebumps Slappy videos and they’ll get on board. Or even better, read the books together.
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The Three Things You Must Do To Be a Ventriloquism

Becoming a ventriloquist isn’t hard, but there a few things you’ll need to learn. To create the illusion of life with your figure you have to be good at three things. Technique, material, and finding an interesting personality for your side-kick. If you master these three things you can entertain any audience.

The first thing you need to do is find a figure. Any figure that has a moving mouth will work for ventriloquism

You can choose a soft, foam puppet. These are available as people or as animals. If you’re working with preschool children, an animal is sometimes better. Shari Lewis started out with hard figures but switched to a simple sock puppet that we learned to love as Lambchop.

Another choice is the classic hard figure. This is what you think of when you remember Charlie McCarthy. Jeff Dunham uses a classic figure named Walter.

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Seven Ways to Market your Ventriloquist Act

Mastering the art of ventriloquism is not hard. It takes practice, but learning is fun. Trying out voices and personalities for your figure gives your creative side a chance to flourish. Writing an act isn’t difficult either, but a good sense of humor will help!

Once you’re practiced your act enough to be proficient, you’re going to want to find an audience. Here are some ideas to start marketing your show.

  1. A website or blog. This is the perfect way to post pictures of you and your ventriloquist figures. You can tell about the different shows you have available. You can also have a page for testimonials.
  2. Business cards. Have a picture of you and your vent figure on your business card. Always have your webpage address listed on all printed promotional materials, too. Give these out to all your friend and relatives and request they hand them out to everyone they know. Be generous with these and give them away at every opportunity. It sometimes helps to put a special offer on the back such as, “Twenty dollars off the next show you book.”
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The Changing Face of Ventriloquism

There was a time, not so long ago, that when people thought of ventriloquism they thought of Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergen. If not them, it was Sheri Lewis and Lambchop. In other words, they thought ventriloquism was only in the past or for children only. Times have changed. If you’ve ever had an interest in ventriloquism now is the time to get in on the act.

Terry Fator recently won America’s Got Talent doing a unique ventriloquism act. His figure did imitations of performers such as Cher and Garth Brooks. There’s nothing like a turtle puppet named Winston singing “What a Wonderful World” in a dead on Kermit the Frog voice. Fator now has a million dollar contract for his Las Vegas show at the Mirage. Not bad for a “puppet act”. Terry’s act is family oriented and suitable for all ages.

You may have also heard of guy named Jeff Dunham. Dunham is known more as a comedian than a ventriloquist. He proves that you can do a comedy club act geared for adult audiences using ventriloquism. His most well-known side-kick, Walter, is a grouchy old man who’s liable to say anything.

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Who is Slappy and Why Do People Call Him a Dummy?

Slappy is a fictional character created by R.L. Stine for the Goosebumps children’s series. He’s a ventriloquist dummy but he’s not your normal dummy. When the words, “Karru marri odonna loma molonu karrano”, are spoken he comes to life and wreaks havoc on all those around him. The words are written on a piece of paper that’s found in his jacket pocket. R.L. Stine, the author, has said, “I love writing Slappy because he is so rude.”

One thing is for sure, Slappy may be a ventriloquist figure, but he’s no dummy. He loves playing mean pranks and making it look like the child who owns him did it instead. Since no one else knows he’s alive everyone thinks it’s his owner making the rude comments. (This is usually the case with normal ventriloquist figures).

Slappy’s one of the most popular villains in the Goosebumps series. According to the books, he was carved from coffin wood by a sorcerer. In “Night of the Living Dummy” it’s revealed that the wood was cursed. Slappy also had a brother, Mr. Wood, who was carved from the same wood. When Mr. Wood was destroyed it made Slappy twice as evil and ruder than ever before. In another book, he had a brother named Wally, but this turned out to only be a dream.
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