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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Does it ruin it if they see your lips move??? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Sonny Vegas
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Chicago, Illinois - USA
199 Posts

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Where can you order Axtell puppets? I've seen a few, but do they have a website?
Believe in yourself and the magic will come.

www.SonnyVegas.com
www.TheVegasBrothers.com
Harry Murphy
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Inner circle
Maryland
5307 Posts

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The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
olivertwist
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Nashua, NH
580 Posts

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Eric,

Congratulations! You got a great response with your new figure. I know the feeling. The same thing happened when I started using Vern the bird. Once I started I was hooked.

Oliver
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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I think I will be too.. This may sound crazy, but I cant stop thinking about him!! haha... how he is, what he likes, what he wants to wear..hes undressed at the moment waiting to be pimped up..

I had an idea while practicing today and I would like to know if its been done... The puppet does impersonations, like of famous singers, I am OK at impressions and I am tryng to master them with no lip movement.. have you ever seen anything like that before in the vent world?
damien666
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canada
512 Posts

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I have seen several vents do impressions. It can be a funny bit and if your impressions are not dead on - it's no big deal. Several vents use visual impressions as well - like the bit of doing an impression of the movie 'Godzilla' and moving the mouth out of sinc (to copy the dubbed appearance). If you can do a lot of voices - it might be a good bit to have the audience get involved by yelling out celebrities for the puppet to immitate. That way - if your puppet can do some of the voices they yell out; good - if not; he can do some wise crack jokes about not being able to do those particular voices. I have worked with a few impressionists that do this and its funny how night after night, audience after audience - the audience usually yells out the same voice requests..
You are in Ontario - if you ever have the chance to see comic/impressionist 'Mark Walker' - check him out. He does one of the best bits I have seen where he reads a children's book - each page as a different audience requested celebrity - VERY funny!
Good Luck,
Damien
olivertwist
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Nashua, NH
580 Posts

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Pete Michaels does a funny routine using masks that look like Sonny and Cher. He puts them on two members of the audience (the guy plays Cher, the girl plays Sonny) and he sings a comedy version of "I Got You, Babe". He does their voices so well you'd think it was the original until you realize the words are all wrong. Very vunny routine.

I wish I could do impressions. I'd use them all the time.
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
1185 Posts

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Yes Oliver that's exactly what I meant.. I wasnt talking about godzilla or elmer fudd impressions..I meant like "micheal jackson" or "rod stewart" songs performed and sung as they would.. Get the dummy to do it.. Its something I have never seen and it looks really good!

Secondly, I am having a hard time finding what I want him to wear.. Do ventriloquists have a varied wardrobe for their dummies?
olivertwist
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Nashua, NH
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I've seen dummies in everything from tuxedos to swim suits. Perormers pick the outfits to go with the character the want to portray. David Turner has a figure named "Harley" who's a real tough biker. If you have a chance to go to Venthaven you'll see hundreds of ventriloquists of all skill levels. You'll see great acts and bad acts, but it's a lot of fun and you can learn a lot. It's in July, near Cinncinatti Ohio.

Oliver
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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So you DO have more than one outfit for your dummy? Or once you find one you like you stick with it?
olivertwist
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Nashua, NH
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The animals never have costumes. Dodger has worn a Cub Scout Uniform. But usually he has his Tuxedo. He usually doesn't wear a top hat. I got him a childs (2T) tux on ebay. It worked out fine. His look compliments my look.
Joseph_Then
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Once a while I'll let my puppets wear costume that will compliment mine, to give it 'freshness' to my show.

Very important when I have repeated customers who may have seen my show again and again. Instead of buying a new puppet, I'll dress up my current one to make it look different. Smile

Yes, I do let my animal puppets wear costume. It can look pretty cute.
-----



Joseph Then

Singapore Ventriloquist
BIlly James
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Hi Eric,

Congratulations on your purchase of Laughing Louie. He is a fantastic puppet and works a lot like a traditional vent figure. I bet you got a surprise when you opened the box, all the Axtell puppets look SO much better in the flesh (or in the latex) than they do in pictures or on the website.

Generally when you start your routine people will glance across at your lips (regardless of your animation skills in a lot of cases) during the first couple of minutes of your act. Once they see that your lips are not moving they will not bother to watch your lips but will settle into enjoying your puppet partner.

So, it's best to keep labials out of your first few exchanges with your puppet, then gradually introduce them more and more as the routine progresses.

As far as stuff that's overdone for vents I must agree with...I think it was Joseph (it was over the page), the vast majority of people haven't had the opportunity of seeing a vent in person and so most of the classic vent stuff still flies really well.

I identify with your excitement about entering into this fantastic new world of vent, the good thing is that you're never alone, your partner (Louie in your case) shoulders at least half of the act and there is just something intrinsically very funny a bout a vent act, don't ask me what it is because I don't think you can quantify it, I'm just grateful that it exists, and with puppets the standard of the Axtells you can't lose.

Cheers
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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Great advice, thanks!! I like the fact the puppet can say things and you can have a look on your face like "as if he just said that". I love that he takes all the blame!! As for not saying labials in the first few minutes, that's a great idea.

I find my hand really stinks after playing with Louie (that sounded bad) cause of the Latex. Also, I am having problems finding something for him to wear.

To come up with a name for him I find difficult as well. Obviously his name would be mentioned in the first part of the act so it would have to be easy to pronounce, right?

I cant stop thinking about it!!! I am addicted
damien666
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canada
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Hey Eric,
It's so true about the puppet being able to say things that you can't. Back about 7 years ago, I used to do a lot of road work in the one nighter comedy curcuit. I remember playing a pretty rough biker bar (you gotta love agents who will send a performer ANYWHERE just so that they can get there commish!) where the week prior - the comic got beat up very badly due to insulting the wrong guy (who had just been released from prison THAT day). Well, my puppet let the bikers have it - NO holds barred! They loved it!
If a person would have said some of those things - well, lets just say that they would probably still be missing...
In regards to your hand smelling - latex is adversely affected by sweat and the oils in your hands.. Axtel puppets will degrade over time because of this. you might want to try performing with a glove. I know that Ronn Lucas works with a glove with Scorch (who is made out of Foam Latex - the same stuff used for a lot of Special Effects prosthetics in movies) and one of his foam latex scorches lasted for over 12 years (which is unheard of for foam latex - I make my own foam latex skins for my puppets and I usually have to replace them at least every 5 months or so).
As for a name - how about... um... Pippin McMuppinpip?? Just an idea...
kidding - good luck!
Damien

Oh yeah - I forgot to mention... in regards to clothes; If you know someone who sews, they can custom make something to fit your puppet specificly. Otherwise - check out value Village. You can get cheap kids clothes there and alter them to fit as needed.
Damien

Oh yeah - I forgot to mention... in regards to clothes; If you know someone who sews, they can custom make something to fit your puppet specificly. Otherwise - check out value Village. You can get cheap kids clothes there and alter them to fit as needed.
Damien

Hey Eric,
It's so true about the puppet being able to say things that you can't. Back about 7 years ago, I used to do a lot of road work in the one nighter comedy curcuit. I remember playing a pretty rough biker bar (you gotta love agents who will send a performer ANYWHERE just so that they can get there commish!) where the week prior - the comic got beat up very badly due to insulting the wrong guy (who had just been released from prison THAT day). Well, my puppet let the bikers have it - NO holds barred! They loved it!
If a person would have said some of those things - well, lets just say that they would probably still be missing...
In regards to your hand smelling - latex is adversely affected by sweat and the oils in your hands.. Axtel puppets will degrade over time because of this. you might want to try performing with a glove. I know that Ronn Lucas works with a glove with Scorch (who is made out of Foam Latex - the same stuff used for a lot of Special Effects prosthetics in movies) and one of his foam latex scorches lasted for over 12 years (which is unheard of for foam latex - I make my own foam latex skins for my puppets and I usually have to replace them at least every 5 months or so).
As for a name - how about... um... Pippin McMuppinpip?? Just an idea...
kidding - good luck!
Damien
Eric Leclerc
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Inner circle
Ottawa Ontario
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How long does an axtell puppet usually last? and what happenes when it starts to degrade? I mean physically?? I paid a lot of money for this puppet (came to 450 canadian) and I want it longer than 5 years!! what do you think.. can anyone answer this?
damien666
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canada
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I used an Axtel old man storyteller before I started making all of my own puppets and it lasted for probably about 2.5 years before starting to 'rot'- that was pretty much constant use... I should have replaced it even sooner, but I was lazy. (I was eventually forced to make a replacement 'old guy' when it was stolen at one of my shows... but that's another story)!
When latex degrades, it starts getting kind of 'gooey' and the surface starts to get sticky and rot and can pick up dirt and lint a lot which can cause discoloration.
With proper care - it could last you quite a while - but latex, unfortunately, is not the perfect material for constant usage puppets... environment such as sunlight, temperature and oils from the hands causes it to degrade even faster.
It has pros like being Extremely cheap for the puppet builder and is usually a light weight finished product to cast puppet skins and props in, but it has just as many downfalls going for it too...
THe puppets that I make for my own use have animatronic grade silicone skins which is heavier and more expensive than latex rubber, but it lasts forever and has a much more skin like appearance and movement to it.
Just be sure to keep your latex puppet stored carefully when not in use and avoid touching (and other people touching) the outside surface latex as much as possible... and you will get the maximum amount of life out of it!
Good luck
Damien
By the way - does naybody know what the heck is going on when I have double posts up there???
Damien
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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Wow, 2.5 years..... That really hurts me to read... The money I paid for it just dosent justify a 3 year lifespan. Constant usage is what, 3 times a week? Practice time included? I am so worried for my Louie!!! hehehe anyone else?
damien666
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canada
512 Posts

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Geez Eric - I didn't mean to deter you from using your new puppet - just be warned that Axtel puppets do not last forever - and you have to treat it with care in order to get the most out of it... Plus - Axtel's are cheap enough to buy that replacement every few years won't completely break you.
As a touring professional - my puppets are put through the gambit of road rigors - Flying and being treated roughly in the airports and cargo holds, out doors, inclimate weather, different humidities and temperatures, cigarette smoke filled bars (well not so much of that anymore - thankfully), etc etc...
In my past postings - I was trying to convey that the latex used to make puppets just needs extra care. I know that Steve Axtel usually sends out a 'How to Care for your Puppet Page' - just follow the suggestions on that for maximum life of Louie. By all means - Use your puppet, Practise with your puppet, entertain with your puppet, enjoy your puppet and when it needs replacing - replace your puppet. Its like a magic prop - sometimes you have to replace it when it gets too shabby.
Don't worry about your Louie - if you are good to him; he will be good to you.
Good Luck,
Damien
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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Thanks Damien..

I whipped him out at last night's magic meeting and got a really good response.. So the best way to store him is in a huge plastic bag? I love to display hiom for my guests to see in my home, but I will defenitaly store him if its better for him.. I feel like a dad.....lol
Lou Hilario
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2220 Posts

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I have several axtell puppets and they don't last that long. Yes it's about 3 to 4 years at the most unless you store it in a fridge just like storing latex balloons or if you live in a cold environment. That might add more years to it. Armor All doesn't help at all.
But Steve Axtell has been kind enough to just sell me the head and hands replacement at a lower price. I also do my own painting so I get the right skin tone for my Axtell puppets.
Magic, Illusions, Juggling, Puppet & Parrot Show ^0^
http://www.louhilario.net
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