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Topic: How many is too many
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Jun 18, 2008 02:51PM)
I have retired various charcters over the years for various reasons but at any given time, I try not to have too many characters.

I use Horton (my pig), Shamus (my dinosaur), Castor (my beaver) and Critter who lives in a box. At Christmas, I swap out one of them (usually Shamus) to put in Randy my reindeer.

I have to ask myself all the time "Do I have room for another character" and right now it's no.

With Venthaven coming up, I know I will see tons of great characters but have to resist the temptation to buy one "just because".

I see vents constantly buying and adding new characters to their show. My question is how many is too many? How do you other folks decide when it is time to add or swap a character?
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jun 18, 2008 03:20PM)
Great topic. I have way to many figures. I remember taking them to Ken Groves' when I started and he planned on helping me narrow things down. Turned out it wasn't that easy.

I usually only work with one to two in a 45 minute show. I keep the others strictly to have some variety at fairs and for repeats. My problem now is I am flying more often, and hard figures can be damaged. I want to get soft travel versions of some of them, which only adds to my collection, because I hate to get rid of the guys I started with.

Since I'll be at VentHaven too, lets make a shoot to kill pact. If one of us sees the other pulling out their wallet to make a purchase... :)
Message: Posted by: Ony Carcamo (Jun 18, 2008 06:52PM)
There was a time I had at least 30 puppets/figures in my room. But over the years I found I was not using them all in my shows and got rid of a lot of them. Some I sold, some I gave to friends/relatives.

About two years ago I decided to just stick to my core characters, and focused on writing more materials for them--instead of introducing new characters. These days in my typical 45-mins adult gig I just use one figure (2 max), in my kidshows about 2 puppets/1 figure.

I thought I had too many when I figured I only use a handful of puppets/figures and the 20+ others were just collecting dust.
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Jun 18, 2008 08:29PM)
I may also have too many :)

I sold a lot for two reasons. 1. I was not using them. 2. I needed some funds :)

Right now..Im happy with my Poyner and Axtells for Kidshows :) I have two sets of Axtells, the 1st set (Orangutan and Parrot) is my favorite tandem...the 2nd set (Turtle and Skunk) is for repeat clients. :) Plus the Cry and Big babies :) I also have a Sweet Granny and Grumpy Gramps set which I got from this new puppet maker named Wanlu :) also reserved for repeat clients :)

I plan to use my new Selberg Rupert in my adult gigs along with an old man figure. But the problem is I rarely do adult gigs so the chance of these two figures just collecting dust is really high :) and they might end up being sold in the near future unless I start doing more adult shows :)
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Jun 18, 2008 08:36PM)
Now how many is too many? I may never know :)
Message: Posted by: Steve Petra (Jun 21, 2008 09:19PM)
Okay, I'm turning myself in - but with an explanation.
I must have between 60 to 80 puppets! Please hear me out. I began performing as a puppeteer NOT a vent. Concepts can be quite different in the puppet world than in the vent universe. My wife and I would build a show with 7,8 or 9 characters and also create sets, music soundtracks, effects, lighting. (This is how the number got up to about 80. Numerous shows that are long retired. Puppets I've used in vent still pobably number over 40, though - quite a number of those retired... for now.)
Stepping in front of an audience with just a puppet was quite a departure.

I can't break the habit of forming mini repertory companies for new shows I develop. Until the last 5 or 6 years, the concept of a signature figure was foreign to me. That role is now filled by my Brain puppet in the school assembly programs. But the idea of not bringing Pierre the Lobster out to berate me during a round of "Pin the Punctuation on the Lobster" is unthinkable.

Theatrically sound visuals are very important to what I bring before an audience.
Kind of a hybrid of multiple performance realities: puppet theatre, vent, magic and comedy with significant educational objectives for the school shows.

Every year I HAVE TO create a new library program if I want to work all summer long... and I do. These shows typically involve four characters that are developed or selected to fit the library summer reading theme that year. Result: MORE PUPPETS!

That's my case.

unrepentantly yours

Steve P
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Jun 26, 2008 09:31PM)
Wow..that's a lot of puppets Steve :)

I now have a few Axtells and several hard figures.

I have my favorite set for kidshows...Axtell Orangutan and Parrot, Axtell Cry Baby plus my Poyner hard figure.

I also have another set for repeat kidshow clients...Axtell Turtle and Skunk :)

I have some reserved puppets for more repeat kidshow clients...Sweet Old Lady and Grumpy Old Man plus my Super Duck :)

My final set would be my adult show set (which I seldom do but I would rather be prepared)...two hard figures. A dumb dumb and a rich old man :)

That's basically my alibi :)
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Jun 26, 2008 09:44PM)
I recently got some comments from another forum regarding buying and selling puppets...

When we buy puppets and figures...we use our own hard earned money...we don't get money from other people to buy what we love getting in the mail, puppets :)

When we buy puppets then sell them or trade them...and it makes us happy doing so, I have to say with all due respect that other people don't have the right to question what we love doing.

I have bought...sold...traded a lot of puppets in the past :) Most of them I sold for lower rates than the rates I got them so I can buy more stuff......some I made a little profit... and I don't think that's a crime :)

One thing is for sure...those who got my Axtell/MAT/Carcamo/Barry/Croes/Pavlov/Braylu/Selberg/Payes/Schrum/Maher and our own line of puppets were all happy and got good deals :)

Topic: How many is too many?...I MAY NEVER KNOW :)

Thanks :)

Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Jun 27, 2008 08:04PM)
I'm trying my Selberg Rupert (Caloy) today as my kidshow soft opening :bigsmile:

Soft opening I figure would be ...after the host introduction, I walk on stage holding the figure and the figure does a quick routine, maybe 3-4 minutes and end his act by welcoming everyone to the show :)

I usually soft open with the Axtell Cry Baby, walking on stage after the intro...with a baby rocker :)

What do you think?
Message: Posted by: Daveandrews (Jun 27, 2008 08:31PM)
Love the smiley, Wanlu.

Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Jun 28, 2008 08:31AM)
Thanks Dave :bigsmile:
Message: Posted by: Joseph_Then (Jul 19, 2008 09:18AM)
I have about 15+ puppets. Yeah, the question is how many is too many.

Perhaps I'm too lonely... :D
Message: Posted by: Ony Carcamo (Sep 13, 2008 02:05AM)
Just think about this: Otto has only George, Willie Tyler has only Lester, Nina Conti has only Monk...

And they are three of the busiest working comics/vent around!

And let's not forget The Great Lester, who only had his Frank Byron for quite a time, and Arthur Worsley, who worked with only his figure Charlie Brown.

I remember the letter I received from the legendary Willie Tyler himself. I asked him how many figures he's worked with. He replied he has been working with ONLY ONE figure (Lester) all throughout his career (which easily spans about 40 years).

I guess it's really a matter of taste. Some vents like variety, some like to focus on just a single character.
Message: Posted by: marshalldoll (Sep 14, 2008 07:25PM)
I am a collector so for me there will never be enough!! Every figure has its own distinct personality and even though I don't do ventriloquism all of the figures speak volumes to me!!
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Sep 14, 2008 10:04PM)
And Dan has the best collection in the world...
Message: Posted by: marshalldoll (Sep 15, 2008 08:56AM)
Wanlu thanks but Vent Haven's is the best collection but I am right up there in the top. But I need more!! LOL