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tuktukan
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Hi all! I am an aspiring ventriloquist! I started back in April this year and made a few performances posted on my youtube account. Any advice from the pros? Thanks!
Anyone other newbies here?
tuktukan
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Here's a video that I made a few days ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMpJBxiscUI
I need some critique please! Thanks!
Servante
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Diction and projection. You're clearly a singer with some training, and we can hear you projecting nicely when you sing and can understand every word, but Grandma's volume and diction make her dialogue and lyrics hard to understand. It seems that you may be sacrificing both in order to cover the problem consonants. Remember, Bergen's lip control was pretty horrible, but we didn't care because we believed in Charlie and Mortimer and Effie and wanted to watch them.
Make a little eye contact with the camera from time to time, too. Watching the figure is good ("The audience will be interested in what interests the performer"), but you need to look at us from time to time as well..."sharing" the moment. Also, keep your head up. I'm going to guess that you drop it in order to try to hide your lips...but it tends to call attention to them instead...we go hunting to watch for them.
As far as the song...there's a lot of YOU before we get to her. True, you need to set up the falling asleep bit (Good job on the singing and snoring!), but for a long time there it's all about your singing rather than your act as a whole; and let her sing more than she does...trade lyrics and quips back and forth during the song once you've done the falling asleep bit and moved on.
I assume you also have dialogue you've rehearsed with Grandma, right? Singing with the figure is fine, but you need some dialogue exchange in order to call it an act.
Hope that wasn't too harsh.

-Philip
CaptKirk
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Pretty darn impressive for a beginner, IMHO!! I particularly enjoyed the video of Sunny singing "Ben". If you have only been doing vent for a few months, WOW! I'd say your potenial is VERY, VERY GOOD and what you can already do is superb! All the points made by Philip are very good and valid. I was wondering WHY Grandma has her glasses above her eyes vice below like I'd expect them to be. You might want to try them in a more conventional position like that and see how the video looks. Still, what you've done so far is very, very good!! I only wish I could sing that well! Keep at it! You have good animation and movement with your puppets but they really need to look directly at you a little more ever so often and you need to relate to them with facial expressions (to the puppets and to your audience). I think your eye contact with the audience is OK but you may want to try being more expressive, IMO:o) That's all I can suggest since I am a rank beginner to!! ALSO: you appear to be quite relaxed and NOT nervous in front of the camera! GOOD FOR YOU!! Now be the same way in front of a live audience and you'll have one of the worst fears of performing live conquered!
Bob Baker
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Andy:
You're off to a great start! If I may, I'd like to add a suggestion or two. First, regarding mouth movement, remember that the puppet's mouth opens and closes for each syllable she speaks. This applies to singing as well.

I agree that as good a singer as you are, we have to wait too long to hear Grandma. I realize that's because you're following the lyrics of the song, which Aladdin sings most of. Feel free to change the lyrics to get Grandma singing sooner. Your audiences are much more interested in hearing the puppet sing than hearing you sing. (Watch some videos of Terry Fator. His puppets do all the singing.)

Finally, remember that this is a love song. You should be singing to each other, not just to the camera. This is where you can get some real comedy by changing the lyrics, especially those that Grandma sings. You can sing the lyrics straight, as written, and she can come back with her own funny lyrics. The more she changes the words, the more "upset" you get, and the funnier it is.

Again, you're off to a very impressive start. Work on your ventriloquial technique. Try to make it perfect. Be sure we can understand the figure. I think you have a long, fun-filled ventriloquial future ahead of you.

Best of luck!

Bob
tuktukan
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Quote:
On 2010-06-05 11:15, Servante wrote:
Diction and projection. You're clearly a singer with some training, and we can hear you projecting nicely when you sing and can understand every word, but Grandma's volume and diction make her dialogue and lyrics hard to understand. It seems that you may be sacrificing both in order to cover the problem consonants. Remember, Bergen's lip control was pretty horrible, but we didn't care because we believed in Charlie and Mortimer and Effie and wanted to watch them.
Make a little eye contact with the camera from time to time, too. Watching the figure is good ("The audience will be interested in what interests the performer"), but you need to look at us from time to time as well..."sharing" the moment. Also, keep your head up. I'm going to guess that you drop it in order to try to hide your lips...but it tends to call attention to them instead...we go hunting to watch for them.
As far as the song...there's a lot of YOU before we get to her. True, you need to set up the falling asleep bit (Good job on the singing and snoring!), but for a long time there it's all about your singing rather than your act as a whole; and let her sing more than she does...trade lyrics and quips back and forth during the song once you've done the falling asleep bit and moved on.
I assume you also have dialogue you've rehearsed with Grandma, right? Singing with the figure is fine, but you need some dialogue exchange in order to call it an act.
Hope that wasn't too harsh.

-Philip


Philip,

I really appreciate your comment! Thank you! I don't find it harsh at all. I am really asking for advice and willing to accept any constructive criticism.
By the way I don't have training of any kind be it singing or ventriloquism. Pardon my ignorance, but who is Bergen? I really do have a lot to learn at this point. I am planning to do that "A Whole New World" duet in our upcoming event in July. So your pointers are very well taken. I really do need to practice and buy a more decent figure probably. Regarding the dialogue with Grandma I am still working on it. I started back in April so I don't have a whole lot.
Thanks again!

Andy
tuktukan
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CaptKirk...Thanks a lot for the advice! I've got the grandma figure for $40, so I guess I've got what I paid for. I've been trying to lower her glasses down to her nose but it just keeps moving up. Anyway, I decided to buy the Nana from Axtell which I think is more decent than what I have right now. It feels like I'm going to suffer carpal tunnel pretty soon. LOL. It's really hard to make her look at me without moving her entire body. But I'm guessing Nana would make it easy for me soon. Hopefully it will be done in 3 weeks.
tuktukan
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Bob! Thank you! You just gave me a really bright idea about changing Grandma's lyrics. That's awesome dude!
And about the song, you are right! I was following the karaoke version on youtube which is really long. But I actually have a shorter version of that in acapella where Aladdin's line is way shorter than the usual.
I will continue to practice and hopefully with my latest vent figure (Nana from Axtell) I should be able to pull a better act together. The one I have now is way too hard to control. I like the wrap-around one that I have right now, Sunny. When you get the chance, watch my puppet Sunny sings Ben and let me know how I did. Thanks again! Regards!

Andy
Mr. Pitts
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Good job Andy, it's hard to believe you started so recently, keep up the good work!
David Pitts
The Astonishing Mr. Pitts
Comedy Magician and Ventriloquist
http://www.mrpitts.com
tuktukan
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Thanks Mr. Pitts! Actually I've been singing for quite some time now. And I have developed singer impressions through the years. If you watch some of my videos, (the ones without the puppets) they were some of my impressions of different singers both male and female Smile. But most people find it strange that I could sing female songs. So I thought I would buy a female puppet for that. I was fortunate enough to find a puppet store while vacationing in Orlando in April. So that's when I started ventriloquism which I find to be really fascinating. In fact I'm a big fan of Jeff Dunham and Terry Fator.
Servante
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Hey, Tuk, it's actually not a bad puppet; don't worry about it! For someone who has no music training you sure are doing all the right things when you sing. Must be pure instinct! As for the vent work, have you checked out books at the library? There's also a pretty nice and succinct little tutorial on the Axtell site. Of course, there are several really good programs to learn vent and even an "Idiot's Guide to Ventriloquism" you can pick up at the bookstore. As for a script, you might think about buying a book called "10,000 Jokes, Toasts and Stories" that breaks down lots of classic jokes and bits by subject. You can use those as a starting point for scriptwriting.

--Philip
tuktukan
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I really need to do some reading Philip! I'm too lazy to read right now, or maybe because I've been working too much lately. Thanks for the tip! I think the tutorial on Axtell website is a good start. But need to find more materials for my upcoming performance. Thanks again!

Regards,
Andy
Servante
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My pleasure. Keep in touch with us and let us know how things are going.
tuktukan
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I will definitely be a regular on this forum! Thank you all for the great advice!
wally
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I would like to buy a wanlu human cable mask, but I don't do vent. whats the best source for learning, or I may use a Axtels cd, please pm me.
Servante
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The Axtell tutorial is free and online at the Axtell site, Wally. It gives the basics clearly, and it's a good start for someone just getting into the art. The other lessons available that are good include the Maher course, Paul Winchell's video, Jimmy Nelson's recordings, Vent 101...oh, just lots and lots. But Axtell's a good place to start.

-Philip
tuktukan
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Here's a performance dedicated to my friend Ines who was recently diagnosed with a large tumor in her body. Your prayer is requested! Thanks!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Rhre2kDRsg
tuktukan
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I hope this message conveys to all the people on this board. My friend really needs your prayer! Thanks!
tuktukan
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Sorry I have set the video in private mode but here it is again:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Rhre2kDRsg
BrodyRobarge
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Hey everyone! I'm a young ventriloquist!
I'd be awesome If you could all check out my youtube channel!
http://www.youtube.com/bropan83
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