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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Stretching The Adlib Muscle (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

tacrowl
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I recently spent time with Ken Groves while trying to write some new material. Ken is a master of what he calls "Working The Room". This means just sitting down with your character and talking about where you are, what you see and what you are doing. You don't have to be funny. The goal is to practice the art of conversation with yourself. The practice results in a much stronger, more believable character/ventriloquist relationship. It can also become the catalyst for new material.

I've practiced this technique before, but watching Ken made me realize how much work I still need to put in. Ken recommends an hour of "Working The Room" each day. Since I've returned home, my goal has been to do just that. I'm stretching the adlib muscle with the plan to work in a new adlib routine in the very near future.
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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ColinDymond
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Does that mean getting it out in public.
I mean do you just do this in the privacy of your own home.
I've heard some people watch tv with their partners and talk about what they are watching. I might give it a go. There are so many chanels on tv you could find one on just about any subject you want to work into a routine .
I'll keep you posted with progress.
tacrowl
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I made a mistake above - it is called "TALKING the Room", not "working". Two different things. My hands typed faster than my brain works - meaning both are pretty darn slow.

It is done in the privacy of your home Colin. It is a practice technique.

When watching TV - you have an additional input. Talking the room means your mind has to work faster and harder. Its just you and the puppet. What are you going to talk about and how are you going to keep that conversation from stagnating for an hour?

The puppet sees a mess in the corner and starts questioning it. What is that? What's in that stack of papers? Why is it there? Then responding further to your answers. It is really a practice in the art of self conversation.

When you become so comfortable with the character that you can just carry on a simple conversation about anything and nothing - your level goes up. Ever forget a line, screw up a joke or worse yet, froze, even for a second? Talking the room gives you the confidence to get yourself back on track and it creates an ease.

The goal of my ventriloquism is to create the illusion of life. I want people to forget it is just me. They need to believe in the character completely. Talking the room gives the skill set to do just that.

My goal is to work on the skill because I hope to incorporate a "Who's Line Is It Anyway?" or "Puppet Up" style routine with one of my characters. I want to be so comfortable with the character that my mind will be free to think funny. Ken told me Talking the Room will definitely help with that.
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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Ony Carcamo
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Manila, PHILIPPINES
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Another fantastic book on this subject is Judy Buch's SHOW-OFF SCRIPTS. It teaches ways on how to improvise, while building your figure's characters. I bought this from Maher years ago and it remains to be one of my favorite vent books.

I regularly use improv games in my shows. They are fun, fresh, and challenging.
Ony Carcamo
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Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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Good ideas Ony and Tom. I've read stories that Edgar Bergen did this very thing with Charlie over many lonely years on the road with the Chatauqua and Vaudeville circuits. I believe that this is why Charlie was such a fully realized character. I think an improv game could be a lot of fun for a venttriloquist who truly knows his characters from the inside out.
David Pitts
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Neale Bacon
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I have found that it also a good way to "find" your puppets character.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
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kidshowvent
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I agree, Tom, Ken really know what he's doing when it comes to adlibs! Some of this technique can also hold true in doing vent for kids. Some differences, of course, due to the life experiences of kids, but it still works. Ken is a master at this very important part of routining.

Did I mention that Ken Groves and myself will be doing a comedy writing workshop together sometime in 2011? We're still working on the details but I think it will be a big bonus for vents who want and need to create material.

Stay tuned to this channel for more news on that! Film at 11PM! Smile

Mark Wade
ColinDymond
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I think if I started 'talking the room' at the moment I think my character might turn into my ex wife "what's that pile of junk on the floor?" "do you have to filll the house up with Magic?" "How much did that cost?"
Maybe I'll tidy up first!
tacrowl
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Maryland
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Should be a great class Mark. I heard a lot of good comments about your lecture at VentHaven. Unfortunately I was helping in another room and missed it.

Writing comedy is something every vent should study. Please keep us informed about the class!

Colin - don't just let the puppet ask you questions - talk to it. Explain that stack of papers, maybe they are instructions to tricks that you purchased for your business or hobby. The puppet may have a hobby or be in a business too. Use the practice to converse with the puppet as you would with friends. Again, not trying to be funny - but if funny comes, let it!
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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harris
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Harris Deutsch
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This can really help us. Thanks for the home suggestion.

I use a similar technique, without the puppets, while driving the 30 minutes to work.

A digital tape recorder is much better than my memory as I loose a lot of good bits.


Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
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