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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Ventriloquism in restaurant (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

asgar
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I just got a job in a chain restaurant to do ventriloquism ,juggling and balloon animals.I am no expert vent but I am the only one in the city and I am improving.They already have a magician working on the weekends so I have to work 2 days in the mid of the week.This is great because most of the Bday shows are in the weekends.I will have a chance to hone my skill too.They want me to do it in all the brunches and magic in a different brunch in future.Restaurant magic is not new to me at all but this is totally new.Any tips?
Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.
KeithS
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Hi Asgar,

Sounds like a cool gig. It may be a good opportunity to drum up future shows. Is this a strolling gig, in which you'll be walking around the restaurant interacting with patrons, or will you actually be on a stage to do your act? Both present opportunities and challenges in a restaurant setting. If it's a strolling gig, I would suggest the following:

- Use a puppet that is acceptable to both adults and children. I'd suggest using a soft animal puppet, not a traditional hard figure (whether we like it or not, many folks, both young and old, just don't like those "weird/scary looking dummies"). Plus, if you're carrying your puppet around for an extended amount of time, a lighter puppet will be less taxing.

- Have a few quick and funny exchanges between you and your partner that you can use with a variety of the people at different tables throughout the place. They should clearly articulate your character and be amusing and squeaky clean (assuming it's a family restaurant).

- Do not, under any circumstance, bother anyone. If someone gives you an indication through facial expression or body language that they do not want you to come to them, don't! Don't assume they just need to be "loosened up" and they'll enjoy your stuff. Most likely you'll just annoy them. The last thing you want to do is offend or bother anyone.

- Finally, as is the case with any public performance, make sure you are as prepared as possible. Be sure your technique is as proficient as possible, and you are thoroughly rehearsed.

Those are my humble suggestions. I wish you all the best with this gig. Let us know how it goes!
Aussie
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Sorry, but I have to chime in on your first point. I understand there are people out there who have a genuine fear of vent figures, but there are many, many more who "think" they do because it's all part of going with the apparent flow.

I've had many people give me the "ooh those things freak me out" routine, but when they meet MJ and see him actually performing they enjoy it, laugh with him and many times will come up to speak to him. I believe shying away from it by resorting to soft puppets contributes to a certain degree to this phenomenon, but performing with a hard figure helps people to realise that what they see in the movies isn't actually real.

At the end of the day use whatever you're comfortable with and if you're good you'll win your audience over no matter whether it's a soft puppet or a hard figure.

There hasn't been a mass hysterical run out on any of Jeff Dunham shows as far as I know Smile
Australia's Most Original Ventriloquist

http://www.ladymaceentertainment.com
KeithS
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I generally agree with you, Aussie. And, yes, a performer ultimately needs to do what works for him/her, and be true to him/herself. BUT, Jeff's audiences pay to see him and pretty much know what to expect.

Asgar can certainly correct me if I'm wrong, but assuming it's a strolling gig, patrons have not necessarily come to see a vent - they've come to eat. All I'm suggesting is that he hedge his bets so-to-speak. The gig may not allow the time to establish the character, so why not go with something that he knows will be acceptable to the majority of folks (which I maintain is a soft puppet)?

That said, depending on what Asgar says, this all may be moot.
asgar
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I hope I had the choice but I only have 2 soft puppets.HAHHAHAHAH.Probably I have to do stage and strolling both.There is no proper stage but there is a kids room.My main concern is to not letting the kids pull the puppet.Thank you keiths and Aussie for your tips.I am trying to be as prepared as I can.It is good that I can get away with short routines.I am planning to come up with some marketing lines to promote the place(It is a pizza place).Any ideas?HAHAhehehh.
Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Along with set pieces, I would just have your puppet talk to your guest.
What a great time for improv. Of course the improvisation may turn into more set pieces.

Making up favorite things that your puppet likes on his pizza. ...yucky stuff-brococolli, liver, mud balls. and interesting things like hotdogs, mustard, a whole chicken...rootbeer.....

I would suggest creating a song about the pizza place to
a well known tune....

You might have the puppet get the name wrong..Where are we John...John answers...Wal-mart...That will give the kids a chance to repeat the real name of the place....

Finally watch out for hands with chocolate syrup and pizza sauce.


Harris
why am I thinking about ordering a pizza
deutsch
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
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asgar
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The first day was slow.I did not approach the adults.Some kids did not leave me and I had to talk for almost an hour.Does anyone know anything about ventriloquism in restaurants?I am still confused about my job?Should I approach the adults too?I am planning something different for the adults but not magic.Maybe puzzle or mad science stuff.Does solving puzzles requires incentives?
Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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When I do walk around, I do not limit my self to the younger ones.

You might get the restaurant to give you incentives / coupons to use.


Harris
still 2 old to know it all
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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Hey Asgar! I have done ventriloquism in restaurants. It can work great. Approach whoever looks approachable, kids or adults. Your job is mainly to entertain during times when people are waiting to get in or after they've ordered. When the meal comes, make an exit. Don't get in the way of the waitstaff. I wouldn't do a set routine, just well prepared 'ad lib' material, always interacting with the guests. Have the character talk to them, ask silly questions etc. It's easy, in theory, but you have to think on your feet and make it seem spontaneous. As far as types of puppets to use, well, use what you have of course, but smaller and lighter has advantages.

I do know of one ventriloquist, Brenda Stelzer, who has used her hard figure George Henry ( an Insull, actually) at a regular restaurant gig for years.

Here's some of her work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJrrFBsIHgI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRdViIv8aQE
David Pitts
The Astonishing Mr. Pitts
Comedy Magician and Ventriloquist
http://www.mrpitts.com
Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
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I think the biggest factor would be what kind of restaurant. It should be a fun place, possibly family oriented.

A vent figure interacting with those waiting for a table could "lighten it up" in what can be a time where restaurants sometimes lose people. If the puppet keep them there and talking, you are helping to build business.

I have wanted to try it too. Horton can keep telling them to order the chicken Smile

Have approached a couple of local places but either they didn't get it or I didn't sell it right.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
Canada's Favourite Family Ventriloquist
www.baconandfriends.com
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