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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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Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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Hi..

I am just starting to get into vent stuff and have really good ideas to incorporate it into my shows. I splurged and bought myself an axtell laughing louie and cant wait to start practicing with him. I have been mentally picturing how the vent stuff will play to a crowd and I cant seem to get it right in my head.

At first for sure people will see my lips move from time to time, does it matter?? Does it ruin it for people??? Has ANYONE EVER come up to you after a show and said "i saw your lips move a couple times"

I know good routines and a good script will make it entertaining and funny..but the whole moving lips thing, is it crucial?? do you know what I mean?? Any tips to practice??? thanks much!!
Budihaha
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Bandung - Indonesia
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Well, this question will get 2 different side of pro and cons. And became a war in a couple ventriloquists internet society.
But both side aggree that to become a good ventriloquist someone should practise to mastering the lips control technique.

Is lips control the most important technique for good ventriloquist? The answer is no! Because good ventriloquist not only need good lips control, but also figure manipulation, timing, funny script and else.

How about a flapping ventriloquist is he/she ruin the art? Yes, because lips control IS the basic to create the illusion of a living figure. Is the audience complaining to the "ventriloquist"? Maybe yes, maybe not or maybe to other entertainer.

How about a beginner ventriloquist, is it OK to perform to an audience! It's OK, but please try as hard as you can, or bill your self as puppeteer.

Practising while you driving, in front of mirror, at the bathroom or else where when nobody there, or they might think that you are not OK! Smile

The golden rule is practise, practise, and practise!

Regards,

Budi Ha Ha
Budi H. Hadiwarsito
Bandung - Indonesia
www.budihaha.com
Eric Leclerc
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Ottawa Ontario
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Nice, thanks!!! I have no fear in practicing..after all.. I am a magician!! hehe thanks for your opinion..anyone else?
olivertwist
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Good advice, Buddi. Another thing that can help is to work your dialog so that the first few minutes require no labials so while they are really focusing on your lip movement, there won't be any. Once they see your lips don't move they'll start watching the figure and focus on the funny routine.

I had a long commute while I was learning and I got a lot of practice in while driving. I still practice while I drive.

Oliver
ventman
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I forget the name of the Broadway musical or play, but the puppeteers make no pretense to even be ventriloquists and move their lips wildly-and there are no stages to hide behind either, yet the production won a Tony! Edger Bergan moved his lips like crazy, but everyone was so transfixed on Charlie and Mortimer and the character development was awesome. Occasionally you will have little kids that might catch your lips moving or a quiver....keep the dialogue lively and the figure animated realistically and that should misdirect most of the attention.
Do head toward technical excellence in regard to lip movement - sometimes, however, there will be people that just want to "burst your bubble" and say you moved your lips whether it is true or not....

Avenue Q...that's the musical.
Eric Leclerc
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That's what I have been saying to myself.. If you got a tight script in the opening moments of your act, after everyone has gotten over the lips not moving, you're good to go. As a magician I have strong misdirection skills and if I make the puppet look lively and interesting it shouldnt be an issue afterwards..

Are there words EVERY vent tries to stay away from???
damien666
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Ventriloquists often bring up Edgar Bergren as an example to use as an excuse for being lazy about lip control... Edgar made it really big on the radio!! He was already famous when he started doing movies and people actually saw that his technique was crap... If you are going to learn ventriloquism - learn Ventriloquism!
and regardless of how well you manipulate your puppet and how funny your script is - people are going to notice your lips are moving and it WILL reflect badly on your performance because when it all comes down to it - lip control is how lay people judge a ventriloquist.
Eric Leclerc
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For sure... I defenitaly want to learn it well.. are there things or words to stay away from?
rden
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In defense of Mr. Bergen, I've never seen him perform (other than a brief bit in The Muppet Movie filmed shortly before he died), but I have heard many wonderful routines from his very entertaining radio show. To me, Charlie and Mortimer were so real that I can't imagine that seeing Edgar Bergen's lips move would detract much, if at all, from the whole experience. If a performance is viewed as an act of skill, then I agree that moving your lips, even a bit, would be considered a mistake. If a performance is judged more on one's ability to engage the audience, then I think Mr. Bergen, or someone like him, scores very high marks.

That being said, if you can do it all well, go for it!
Avrakdavra
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This question brings to mind Olympic figure skating. Everyone tunes in to see the skaters' full programs filled with dash, artistry, athleticism, and grace. What the cameras have seldom shown are the compulsory figure trials where the skaters have had to demonstrate their technical proficiency and mastery of basic figures and movements. That sort of mastery was not what people have wanted to see in a prime-time performance, but I think it is important for the skaters to do, both as the foundation for later skills and also as a demonstration that they had absorbed the history and skills basic to their sport/art. I think that many of the compulsory figures have been dropped now--a shame I think; a concession to a world that values the flashy, the shallow, and the novel over the substantive, the profound, and the traditional.
Not surprisingly, I personally prefer (i.e. appreciate and respect) a ventriloquist who has put in the time to master not moving his lips, even though I may stop paying attention to his face after the first ten seconds. Of course, these elements are a prerequisite, not a substitute for an entertaining and engaging performance.

By the by, it has been mentioned in other threads that Bergen apparently was quite proficient technically prior to making it big in radio, after which his skills atrophied.
Eric Leclerc
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Do you guys hear "i saw his lips move" from the crowd sometimes?? I am not saying someone shouting it out.. Just quietly.... does it happen??

I'll ask a 3rd time.. and words or phrases every vents tend to stay away from??
olivertwist
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Luckily, I usually get comments on my lips not moving. But I have had people comment on seeing my neck muscles moving.

With practice you can learn to say any phrase you need. Sometimes you need to reword a sentence so you don't get a really bad string of labials together. If you can say the same thing more easily, without sounding unnatural, then it's probably a good idea.

The hardest consonant combination for me is "Barbara" and others like that.

Oliver
ChrisJ
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I agree Oliver. If possible stay away from those words you have trouble with. I think each person might find different words harder. I have troubles with words beginning with FR like the word friend. The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to write your routine and then as you read through it with your figure,you will see which words might trouble you. then maybe put your thesaurus to use and find a different word for the time being. Does that answer in a round about way?

Chris
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2005-03-30 13:38, rden wrote:
In defense of Mr. Bergen, I've never seen him perform (other than a brief bit in The Muppet Movie filmed shortly before he died), but I have heard many wonderful routines from his very entertaining radio show. To me, Charlie and Mortimer were so real that I can't imagine that seeing Edgar Bergen's lips move would detract much, if at all, from the whole experience. If a performance is viewed as an act of skill, then I agree that moving your lips, even a bit, would be considered a mistake. If a performance is judged more on one's ability to engage the audience, then I think Mr. Bergen, or someone like him, scores very high marks.

That being said, if you can do it all well, go for it!


You might want to find "Fun and Fancy Free." The second half has Edger Bergen thowing a party for the little girl who lives next door. (Apparently, Candice couldn't make it!) You really get an idea of Charlie's character with his come-backs.
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Eric Leclerc
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Quote:
On 2005-04-02 15:43, olivertwist wrote:
Luckily, I usually get comments on my lips not moving. But I have had people comment on seeing my neck muscles moving.

With practice you can learn to say any phrase you need. Sometimes you need to reword a sentence so you don't get a really bad string of labials together. If you can say the same thing more easily, without sounding unnatural, then it's probably a good idea.

The hardest consonant combination for me is "Barbara" and others like that.

Oliver


VERY good advice thank you.... I figured you could do your script to get a way with a few words, but I imagine its handy (and fun) to be able to improvise with the audience as well.. And having a good knowledge of the words you can use is key..

about the neck moving.. do you think that takes away from it?? I have seen a few guys who are excellent and yet you can sometimes see the neck muscles moving.. can a shirt and tie or turtle neck cover that?? is it REALLY that important? This thread is helping me a lot..thanks...
olivertwist
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Eric,

Other magicians who have watched me say that when I wear a turtleneck of formal shirt with a bow tie, they don't notice the neck movement. Ultimately, they know your doing the talking. Some kids think you're trying to fool them by making them think the puppet is alive. I think if the routine is funny and entertaining, the neck movement is not important. Steve Taylor's video "Humoring Your Dummy" has good advice on writing funny dialogues/

Oliver
damien666
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If you are not going to learn ventriloquism properly - one thing you can do is to bring attention to your short comings. That takes the power from the audience saying you suck and puts it back in your hands saying you suck by having YOU or your character saying it. For instance - make the puppet make fun of you or have it make a joke about your lips moving. That will disarm the audience and let them know that you know that your lips move. A far better alternative to ignoring it and making the audience think that you don't know that your technique isn't the best.. Good Luck
Eric Leclerc
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I defenitaly had though of that, having the puppet laugh at me for my ventriloquism skills.. Thanks for confirming the turtle neck and bowtie theory.

I have another question, are there things that are OVERDONE in the world of ventriloquism? Like jokes or situational things that about EVERY unoriginal guy uses? I have seen maybe only 3 guys perform well with it and I am wondering if theres OLD gags that are overdone. Or maybe work really really well... I just want to cover all my bases before I start...
ChrisJ
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Eric,
In my opinion most people haven't ever seen a Ventriloquist live and haven't been exposed to the "norm" or over used stuff. A lot of folks are thrilled to see the figure/puppet and enjoy that. The things that come to my mind are when folks do a Jeff Dunham type bit with the grumpy Old man (Walter in Jeffs case) as he has been pretty visible to the public as well as Ronn Lucas with his fire breathing (snot shooting) Dragon Scorch. If you have fun and enjoy doing it they will enjoy your performance. It goes the same as with your magic shows. The basic do's and don't like hitting the figure or treating the figure badly still hold true for the most part. The audience will always want the little guy to get the best of you. I think if the vent gets a jab in from time to time is good to but not in a demeaning or hurtful way. But over all..what I am seeing is the old routines from the vent books still hold water even though on a dry read they seem not to to me. There are a great number of joke books and routine books out there. You might want to get a few routine books and then customize a routine to you and your partner. Hope it helps.

Chris
Eric Leclerc
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Thanks!! I just got my laughing Louie and I love him!! Its instantly funny when I bring him out... My friends and family laughed so hard, and I was just messing around with him.. I think I fell in love with a new art form!!! I am so excited
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