(Close Window)
Topic: Learning Ventriloquism
Message: Posted by: Mystical Being (Mar 20, 2005 12:44AM)

I would like to start learning and practising ventriloquism but I am overwhelmed by the amount of resources available for the beginner ventriloquist to study. I would however prefer a visual teaching aid to learn from in the first place. I found two DVDs - one that have been recommended by fellow ventriloquists while another is a newly released DVD. They are Voicing Your Dummy DVD by Steve Taylor and Talk Like A Dummy: The ABCs of Ventriloquism DVD by Bob Rumba, with a special guest appearance by Jay Marshall.

The Bob Rumba DVD begins with the most basic concepts of ventriloquism talking without moving your lips and continues on to advanced technique and character development. The DVD is broken down into chapters, making step-by-step learning easy. Beginner ventriloquists would learn: talking without moving your lips, letter substitutions, history of ventriloquism, dialogue development, making your dummy come alive, working and selecting a puppet and much more. The DVD also features legendary ventriloquist Jay Marshall and a performance of his famous puppet Lefty. Jay discusses in detail how he got his start as a ventriloquist, how he developed Lefty and shares other valuable insights gained over his 60 plus years as a professional entertainer.

My purpose for the longer description for Bob Rumba's DVD was to hope to arouse interest for some reviews of the DVD to surface. Frankly I have yet to see an actual review of the DVD although I noticed that stocks of the DVD had at one time totally sold out at The Magic Bookshop. Charlie Randall watched the DVD and commented that Bob Rumba was a little too wacky for his taste but one cannot go wrong for the price of the DVD as the basics are thoroughly covered.

The Steve Taylor DVD runs for 90 minutes, and the beginner ventriloquist would get to learn about the Eight Building Blocks of Beginning Ventriloquism. I prefer Steve Taylor's DVD because it seems to be more clear and concise. However Steve's DVD also sells for about double the price for Bob Rumba's DVD. You probably realise I only mentioned Steve Taylor's Voicing your Dummy DVD only, despite the fact that he released four DVDs: Voicing/Humoring/Manipulating/Fooling Your Dummy. This is because I am interested only in learning how to speak without moving my lips and not exactly the manipulation of the puppets. I will see how it goes and if I like the art altogether, I may very well decide to learn everything. Meanwhile I would appreciate any suggestions on the materials I need to get started.

Message: Posted by: olivertwist (Mar 20, 2005 08:30PM)
I found "Voicing Your Dummy" to be the most useful resource when I was learning ventriloquism. I learned the basics by following his instructions and practicing every day. I also learned useful things from the other resources, Pete Michaels video, the Maher Course. But if you want a good starting point, get the Taylor video. You'll never regret it.

Message: Posted by: Mystical Being (Mar 20, 2005 10:25PM)
Thanks Oliver for your reply. I was wondering if ventriloquism can be performed in other languages other than the English language? Could anybody share their opinions on this? Thanks!
Message: Posted by: Eric Leclerc (Mar 21, 2005 02:00AM)
Good question!!!! I would say yes, why not? can anyone confirm?
Message: Posted by: damien666 (Mar 21, 2005 10:25AM)
Pretty much whatever you can say with your mouth can be done using ventriloquism techniques - regardless of the language. But its like the old joke about the guy who got his hand mended at the doctor and asked if he could play the piano with his hand after the surgery. The doctor says yes. Then the guy says 'Great, I couldn't before'! As long as you know the language, you can do a vent with it!
Message: Posted by: ChrisJ (Mar 21, 2005 02:07PM)
I agree with y'all that if you can say it normally you should be able to say it ventriloquially. Of course in time and with practice. I have read about a group of ventriloquists that meet in Japan as well as a group in Germany. Ventriloquism is not bound by nationality. =)

As for training videos, I have the Rumba dvd and it was fine, I must say I like the Paul Winchell video better. I do not have the Steve Taylor begining tape I do have his tape for manipulation and it is pretty complete. I used the Maher Course myself and it now has a video that you can get with it. I think it is a good idea to expose yourself to as many options as possible to help you find the mix that is right for you. When I analyze my own techniques I find I have melded a lot of various methods. So my answer is..get as much material as you can and digest it over time and you will find your technique.

Good luck,

Message: Posted by: Mystical Being (Mar 21, 2005 07:25PM)
Thanks everybody for sharing your opinions.
Message: Posted by: Budihaha (Apr 7, 2005 05:26AM)

I use ventriloquism in Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language). Sometimes I use tribes language too, such as Sundanese and Javanese. FYI Indonesia is in South East Asia.

I know several ventriloquist who are not use English as their native languange, such as Japanese, Hindi (Asian Indian language), Mandarin, Germany, French, Dutch, and so on.
If you want to meet them, please joint a ventriloquist festival/convention.


Budi Ha Ha
Indonesian Ventriloquist
Message: Posted by: BIlly James (Apr 13, 2005 07:16AM)
I don't have the Bob Rumba video so I can't comment on it.

However, I do have just about every other video on ventriloquism that's ever been put out.

The Steve Taylor video is not bad but to be perfectly honest I'm not a fan of his technique, mind you there is still some great stuff to be learnt from all of his videos.

The Paul Winchell video is excellent and features clips of him performing throughout his career.

Another video that I think is well worth your consideration is Ventriloquism 101 by Lee Cornell. Lee's lip control is very, very good. I don't know the site address off-hand but if you do a google search for 'Lee Cornell ventriloquism' you should turn it up.

The Maher course is just fantastic and has all you could ask for and more, however it is a written course and if your preference is for visual learning then I don't think the accompanying video will really be a great help, it really just gives a very brief and cursory glance at the different techniques in ventriloquism.

http://www.axtell.com sells 2 videos by Mark Thomson??? (not sure of the last name) one is a beginners course and one is advanced. I don't own these but I mention them in case you want to check them out as well. Perhaps someone here can give a review of them for you.

Good luck
Message: Posted by: fr3ky magick (May 1, 2005 02:33PM)
Hiya all, Belinda here aka Bd,
I am a girl!!!,I am a stage magician, children's entertainer and also do balloon modelling.
Just noticed the topic, I personally do not do vent. I guess I feel someone will say 'her hand is up his bum' or something, but then very young children would not know unless someone has told them!. Though it would be nice to do vent.
I do have puppet's but I don't put my hand up it, I have a rabbit in a hat, and I place my scarves in it, rarely put in my routine about the rabbit saying something, if the rabbit later on magically has a spectator's card or something..
I have a Leon the lion puppet but have not really used him much also I bought a bugs bunny toy, it isn't a puppet as such but it's aimed more at children.
I belong to a magic club, and regularly receive magazines. Seeing the topic made me think about the articles they had in it about Vent. There is a article by David Blyth.
In his article it shows pictures of vents and their puppets (v) is the vent, (p) is the puppet; Bergen(v) and Mortimer(p), Bergen(v) and McCarthy(p),Peter Brough(v) and Archie Andrews(p),Edgare(v) and Charlie(p) and Paul Zerdin(v) with some of his puppet's.
Towards the end of the article Blyth reveals how lots of people ask him how to become a vent and when did it first start?. Then he explains and also describes in detail how to master the breathing in order to achieve the best vent voice.
Overall it is a very interesting article.
If you would like a copy, feel free to ask ,and we're fix up a way, I'll have to scan it to the comp and send it as a email.

Best wishes,
Belinda - keeping magic secret and alive
Message: Posted by: MrFye (Jul 18, 2007 04:02PM)
I know nothing about venting, but I bought the Rumba video featuring The Legend Jay Marshall. It is worth the $14.95 that I paid just to see Jay Marshall talk and perform. I also am learning to vent from what Rumba told me.