Clever Clown Uses Ventriloquism as Secret Tool – 7 Questions Answered by Ribbons the Clown
1. What is one thing every Ventriloquist must do?
“A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.” Proverbs 18:16. Practice! In the room where you spend the most time, place your puppet on a stand as well as a mirror. Pretend you’re talking to a friend every time you pass by your puppet. Move your puppet in silly ways. New ideas develop every day as you grow to know your puppet. Their personality emerges. Even if you don’t have talent and want to be a good ventriloquist, just pick up a puppet and play with it OFTEN. Practice your lip control when you are in the car.
This is my new thing I do – Sing and talk as you walk down the street without moving your lips and ACT NORMAL. This is great practice to act normal as well as a great use of your time. Sometimes get rid of the mirror. Instead, practice in front of a video camera. Acting normal will be impossible if you always use a mirror; you become co-dependent on it.
2. What is one thing every Ventriloquist must avoid?
Avoid staying in your comfort zone. Think outside the box. Instead of doing what everyone else does, take a common thing and go one step farther. Just DO IT.
1) Step out of your comfort zone by using new material often. Perform for free; perform for neighbors and nursing homes; and take your puppet with you when you go shopping. Although, don’t expect to get any shopping done. I take my puppet with me to local stores. This forces me to be in new situations, teaches me how to move my puppet, as well as what to say in new ways. This has greatly improved my puppet manipulation.
2) Avoid the lecture look and sound. Watch people; move your puppet the same way people move. Move your body like you would if your puppet was a person. Dan Horn is excellent on this technique. He has his tongue sticking out the side of his mouth, brushes his hair off his face, gets a drink, and offers it to his puppet. BE NATURAL. Get comfortable. If you enjoy it, the audience will too.
3. Is this Ventriloquist stuff something that is here to stay?
I think so. It’s like watching a cartoon come alive before your eyes. That never gets old.
4. Can a Ventriloquist be successful if they are in a crowded niche?
Yes! Just be yourself, find your unique style of dress, puppet and presentation. PRACTICE!
5. What has Ventriloquism done for you?
It has opened the door for me to share everywhere God is a good God and a loving Father. I can share this creatively and not in the conventional way of other ventriloquists. I want people to hear the message and not even be aware they heard it because they are engaged in the show. I’d rather demonstrate than preach.
I am a professional clown/ventriloquist and adding the ventriloquist part has opened the door to “clown” for adults. I never perform ventriloquism without being dressed as a clown. I am Ribbons the Clown/ventriloquist which is my unique way of using ventriloquism.
6. What trends to you currently see in Ventriloquism?
I see too many hard figures. Personally I think they are limiting. They have eyes, ears, nose, and hair that wiggle. How often can you use that in one show? Soft puppets move, bend and twist to portray different reactions which can be funny or realistic.
7. What was your first job?
I have been clowning for 15 years and have always used some type of Niki monkey. About four months ago I bought my first professional puppet, an Axtell orangutan. It was love at first sight. She looked so good I decided to get serious about ventriloquism, so I signed up for ConVENTion 2007 and decided to perform on stage for my first major show. I used her for performances at three other nursing homes and at my home church. I did okay but felt I did not practice enough because the audience consisted of seasoned ventriloquists and I forgot part of my show. So, PRACTICE!
I am my worst critic. The worst thing for me is the battle in my head, knowing I am much better than what I just performed.
A. H. Scott
© July 31, 2007