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Regular user
Speedway, Indiana
121 Posts

Profile of SloMo150
Have wondered about combing vent with magic. Seems like a child could really like it. Any sites, books, videos, routines, etc.... Any and all information will be looked at. Thanks ahead of time for your thoughts.
Hey wanna see me pull a rabbit from my hat, (lion appears). I gotta get a new Hat.
Dennis Michael
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Inner circle
Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

Profile of Dennis Michael
This idea is not new at all. As a matter of fact many professionals do it now. You asked a very broad question. Below will get you started on this trail. I have read and view the below books and video and find them all great. I don't do ventriloquism, however, I want to learn.

I have a firefighter, a firedog, a magician, rabbit in hat, Vern the Bird, and a variety of various hand puppets. I like Axtell Cassettes and routines.

From here you could make a living on the information provided by the below links. Good Surfing and hope you reach your dream.

Any Sites:
Check out Ventriloquism Haven From here you'll spend forever absorbing information related to your question.
Check out Steve Taylor Site where he combines Vent and Magic
Check out Axtell Expressions - Incredible Latex Puppets and More. There is a package magic routine with Vern the Bird Puppet. Good routine and funny.
Check out Samuel Patrick Smith which deal a lot with day care children and has a lot of good magic. He does a vent act with a fake rabbit from the hat on one of these videos.
Check out David Ginn Magic, Video, and Books. Tons of great stuff for Kid Shows.

Any Books:
Check out KidShow Ventriloquism - by Mark Wade

Any Videos:
Check out: Steve Taylor Videos MANIPULATING YOUR DUMMY: The Basics of working with your dummy. I have this tape and it is great.
Check out: Steve Taylor Videos KOMEDY KIDSHOW KLINIC LIVE!: Steve Taylor, Samuel Smith, and David Ginn tell all in this three VHS tape series.
There are more items and things to learn from on Steve Taylors web site.

Any Routines:
Steve Taylor may be one of your first stops to get routines for kids. I have three of his lecture notes and they are all great.
  • 1. Creating and Writing Educational Magic Programs
  • 2.Character Building Magic Routines and
  • 3. Making your Birthday Biz go Ballistic!

Any Conventions:
The KIDabra Convention Aug. 21-24, 2002 in PIGEON FORGE, TENNESSEE will be loaded with a combination of great entertainer in ventriloquism, clowning and Magic. A one stop place to get all your questions in this area answered and learn quickly from the best.
Dennis Michael
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Inner circle
Los Angeles
3400 Posts

Profile of JamesinLA
Okay, I would love to include a puppet in my show. However, how to deal with the puppet. I am not a ventriloquist. (How hard is it to do?) I've thought of two ways around this. 1) the puppet whispers to me and I repeat what it said to the audience. 2) the puppet's voice is prerecorded and I use a foot peddle to acitivate its lines. Any other ideas? Thanks.
Jim in Los Angeles
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
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Inner circle
1009 Posts

Profile of Quentin
Using the puppet to whisper to you is a good option.

Please to not use prerecorded tapes. It merely reminds you of how little talent you have. It reminds you at every performance that you are too lazy to learn to do it right.

It is not difficult to do vent. Certainly no more difficult than learning to do a good double lift.

There are two important things. One is the correct voice. It must contrast with your own. When you normally talk the voice comes out your mouth. The vent voice goes up into your head. The voice should suit the character of the puppet.

The other is the manipulation of the puppet. You need to believe you are interacting with another being. A being with a life and mind of its own.

Generally the puppet has the stronger personality and it will really appeal to the children if it is naughty and gets away with doing dreadful things to the performer.

It helps if your lips moved as little as possible but creating a believable partner should be your main consideration.
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Harris Deutsch
8695 Posts

Profile of harris
If any one would like a sheet on developing your vents character email me and I will send you one I got of World/Vents a yahoogroups digest.

Character is much more important than lip movement. Just look at a great modern showman Tim Hanning or in the past Wayne Flowers and Madame.

I do practice Vent and have fairly good lip control, but bits of business are much more important.

I was a U.S. Toys Magic after a show today.
I was playing with the Axtell Chimp.
It looks so real, it may become part of my show, without uttering a word.(in english that is, it does speak "chimp")

Harris Smile
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
music, magic and marvelous toys
Dennis Michael
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Inner circle
Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

Profile of Dennis Michael
If you don't call yourself a ventriloquist, it is OK to move your lips, but bring the puppet alive with movement and a differnt voice. Try to get a few videos on this subject. I am just learning to do this and this is what most of the experts say.
Dennis Michael
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Inner circle
Los Angeles
3400 Posts

Profile of JamesinLA
Okay, I'm going to try it! Thanks for the push!
Jim in LA
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
David Freeman
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New user
Raleigh, NC
20 Posts

Profile of David Freeman
Hi everyone!

I have been looking at the Axtell "Bird Arm Illusion" for a few weeks now and I LOVE it! I'm thinking of purchasing it, but I'm not sure how I could use it in my show. It's just so cool!

I am not a ventriloquist and don't want to use a pre-recorded script. How do you use non-talking puppets in your show? How would you use this bird? It does NOT have to help or perform magic.


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80 Posts

Profile of AlmostAmazingJames
I dislike the whispering in the ear. It makes you seem unskilled. The axtrax tapes are a way better way to go!
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Loyal user
210 Posts

Profile of magic-markus
The Best tip I can give you is to order the Maher Course for 99,95$ It is so cool and everybody can learn ventriloquism with this course.

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Inner circle
6439 Posts

Profile of NJJ
I've tried to Axtell tapes and, whilst I LOVE their puppets I really HATE the tapes (sorry steve) My reasons are

a) they don't allow for children to interject and be part of the show. Children always try and talk to the puppet in my shows and, when I tried tapes, the puppet ignored the kids!

b) I'm Australian and I don't want to subject kids to a cheesy american accent! (sorry Yanks!)

c) I'm Australian and I don't want to subject to cheesy American puns! (sorry again!)

d) The tapes don't allow ME to add to the act.

e) They require tech set up that, if not done in a clever way, looks like your a just playing a tape. (I do like the axtell drawing lesson idea which explains the tape)

f) As others have said, it shows you up as UNTALENTED!

I'm a semi vent in that I have the basic skills but I would never sell myself as a vent because, frankly, I don't think I'm good enough. I use the drawing board and the face talks etc. but not as much as a vent might make him talk. But I add new jokes all the time.

Phew....I need a gottle of geer.
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Inner circle
Plymouth UK
1954 Posts

Profile of Emazdad
<<<<I dislike the whispering in the ear. It makes you seem unskilled. The axtrax tapes are a way better way to go!>>>>

I've been doing it that way for 10 years, and have had no problems. As with everything else it's all in the presentation. As far as the kids are concerned marmite is really alive. I don't like the tapes because it doesn't give you any room for adlib. Venting is the best way without a doubt. But it takes time and practice to learn. I'm trying to learn to vent, but don't have the time to put the time in at the moment.

The hardest thing with using a puppet is the getting used to having a conversation with it, and treating it as real. It takes a while, I've now got to the point where if I'm discussing Marmite's routine with someone it's as if he is real, even my hand comes up and moves when I act out parts of his routine.

If you don't treat it as a real person, it's not as believable. No matter what you are doing the hand in the puppet has to keep active, even if it's only slight movements. It's important to continue the illusion of life, a still puppet is a dead inanimate object, a moving pupppet is alive. Remember 90% of the time the kids will be watching the puppet not you. It becomes the focal point, and the kids will believe he's real. The one who shout's it's a puppet, will often be the first one to shout "HE'S GOING FOR THE HANKY" or whatever funny thing it gets up to behind you back. This is good because you get to use the line, "But you said he was a puppet!!* My favourite reply is, "yes but he's a real puppet not a pretend puppet". Which can lead to a funny argument with the kid who insists it's not real it's a pretend puppet because your hands in him.

Finding magic that you can do one handed isn't easy, you may have to adapt a trick. Marmites routine is basically 'who's who at the zoo', but as I could'nt use the folder cage and do the monkey popping up bits one handed, I've had to build two frames one which wolds the cards so I can show them one handed and do the double lift, and another which is the cage, which is show empty and then the monkey appears in. I also had to make some food cards to act as bait for the monkey. The banana card is placed in the frame, which raises the felt which is hiding the monkey.

One of the best tools for a pupet trick is the good old reliable one handed change bag.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Rupert Bair
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Inner circle
2112 Posts

Profile of Rupert Bair
I did a lot of vent with dippy duck I had a really good vent routine and dippy had a really squeky voice. I found it really easy to do but since my voice has broken no chance, dippys in the cuboard for a while!
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