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This is a blogger for Cybervent. We post things of interest to the vent community. For more information on ventriloquism you can check out newsyvents.blogspot.com.



Updated: 2017-10-28T05:51:28.158-04:00

 



Maher Studios Webinar 9:00pm EST TONIGHT!

2014-11-19T12:13:19.390-05:00

Don't forget to register for the Maher Studios Webinar that's happening at 9:00pm EST tonight.  Information on the 2015 VentHaven ConVENTion as well as a short script writing seminar.  Register here http://webinarjam.net/webinar/go/3654/359e9c2acb



Add Your Internet Blog to be Posted on Cybervent

2014-11-18T23:58:10.844-05:00

(image) We just updated the blog page on Cybervent and instead of just listing who has a blog and a link on how to get there we will now post your latest blog!  Just give us your information and we will start posting your latest blogs on Cybervent's blog page http://www.ventriloquist.org/wp/whos-blogging/ .  We also have it set to AutoPost on our homepage so any of the latest posts will automatically post on our homepage.  Here is a list of the bloggers we already have set up:





  • Cybervent
  • Ventriloquist Central
  • Silvia Fletcher
  • Maher Studios
  • Tom Crowl - The Corporate Comedian
  • Mike Palma
  • Al Stevens
  • Kenny Croes - Vent Into the Mic
  • Chip Martin
  • Steve Barry
  • Lee Cornell
  • Matt Kimbro
  • Jay Johnson
If you would like to be added please email us a link to your blog page and, if you know what it is, your rss feed at admin@ventriloquist.org .



Can I Be Honest With You?

2014-03-11T09:52:35.463-04:00

"Can I be honest with you?"  Don't you love when people say this?  What do they mean?  I want to say,"Were you lying to me this whole time up to now?"  The question is, was what they were saying the whole time before this a lie or just parts of it?  What kind of person has to say, "Let me be honest with you."  I would hope that you've been being honest this whole time.  At this point I don't know what to believe when this person talks to me.  Should I only believe them when they ask my permission to tell me the truth?  At this point I have to assume they are lying unless they ask me again if they can be honest.  Well, there are variables of this question such as the statement, "Let me be honest." or the in your face, "Honestly".

And what in the world has this society turned in to when you need permission to be honest?  Are we nothing but a bunch of liers in this country?  And here's another great question, what if you're in court under oath?  If you ask that question the judge should be able to throw you in jail for purgary automatically.  Of course people use this all the time not realizing what they are really saying.  That being said, 98% of the people in the world are liers (probabally more than that but I'm excluding my mother and people like her).  One studied showed that 91% of people said they lied on a regular basis, the other 9% probabally lied on the study!

Want a sure sign that a person is lying to you?   Here's one.  "You calling me a lyer?"  If someone ever says that to you just say, "No, but you just admitted it."  I have never heard anyone say this that wasn't lying.  Another way to tell if a person is lying is in their tone and how they say words like didn't, couldn't and wouldn't.  If they put heavy emphasis on these words chances are they are lying.  If they say the full words like DID NOT, COULD NOT or WOULD NOT you can guarantee they are lying.  As the famous Bill Clinton has proven, "I DID NOT have sexually relations with that woman!"  If you really want to get more tips on how to catch people lying watch reruns of the TV series Lie To Me or there are a lot of great books out there.

Anyway, from now on, before the words ever come out of your mouth, "Can I be honest", catch yourself and just skip it!  We got enough to deal with besides worrying about whether you've been telling us the whole truth up till now.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Niles Cortland Rd SE,Warren,United States




Who am I, why am I here?

2013-04-22T19:46:09.971-04:00

That is the question we all ask ourselves. God put us here for a reason and put people in our lives to mold us and make us who we are but we always as, "Who am I, Why am I here?!"

Personally, I love the majority of people God has put in my life. Great friends and a fantastic family. But still. What is my purpose in this life? Is it like George Bailey in ,"It's a Wonderful Life." To just have an influence on others or is it to leave a legacy?

What can I do today to leave the world just a little better than it was yesterday? Hold the door for a person? Stop and help someone who needs it? Call someone I haven't talked to in a while?

Will we ever have the answers to these questions? Today I just thank God that I still have a state of mind to ask this question and truly be concerned about the answer, whatever it may be.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Daniel Robison



Lip Control Part 2

2011-11-26T03:23:14.228-05:00

We talk about ventriloquism and the basics and I can't help but wonder what people are thinking that call themselves ventriloquists and you can tell they haven't even tried to learn to talk without moving their lips. It amazes me when I go to a convention, whether it be venthaven or one of the other conventions where ventriloquists gather you find the same amount of people walking around with puppets doing a horrible job with lip control. They don't just slip up once in a while, they haven't even practiced. If you've ever been to a convention you know the people I'm talking about. The sad thing is if you ask someone off the street what a ventriloquist is they would say, "Someone who talks without moving their lips." But these people think it's ok to call themselves ventriloquists and not even practice the basic fundamentals of ventriloquism.

I am sure this is a pet peeve of anyone that has put in the hours of practice trying to perfect the skill of talking without moving their lips. The ultimate frustration is the person who's puppet sounds the same as them, they have jerky movements and deadsticking and they move their lips. I mean honestly, what are you doing at a ventriloquist convention with a puppet? If your a collector for the love of Pete just quit trying to talk your puppet and say your a collector. Shame on you if your booking shows calling yourself a ventriloquist and ruining it for the rest of us.

There comes a time, after many practices and performances that you might be able to get away with some lip movement and be forgiven. Once you make the characters look real and believable people will be watching the puppets when they talk, not you. But until that point you should be as good as possible. I know there are always going to be quivering lips, clenching and words that are hard to pronounce. I can forgive all of that. But until you've at least practiced and done the best that you can to talk without moving your lips do us all a favor. Put the business cards on the shelf, take down your webpage, take yourself off of gig masters or gig salad and go buy yourself the Maher course or one of the other great programs out there that teaches ventriloquism and learn to do it correctly.

Up next, where do you get your promotional material?


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad



Lip Control in the Ventriloquist's Performance

2011-11-24T17:02:43.069-05:00

I know, I know I'm beating a dead horse here but I was just thinking, exactly how much weight should we put on lip control? The thing that brought this to my attention was that my wife and I were watching the BIO special on Jeff Dunham, "Birth of a Dummy" and, at one point in the show my wife said, "You could see his lips moving quite a bit there" To which I replied, "So?!!"

Here's my question, at what point do we give a ventriloquist a free pass on their lip control when it's less than perfect? My answer, when all other aspects of their performance outweighs the quality of lip control. Jeff's lip control is great in most parts of his performance so it doesn't bother me if every once in a while it's not perfect. Besides, his comedy, manipulation, character development and voices far outweigh a minor lip movement every once in a while.

On the other hand, if your show stinks and you use the excuse, "Jeff's lips move once in a while so I don't need to practice it all that much." Shame on you! The first part of becoming a ventriloquist is learning how to talk without moving your lips. Let me repeat that, THE FIRST PART OF BECOMING A VENTRILOQUIST IS LEARNING HOW TO TALK WITHOUT MOVING YOUR LIPS! Not manipulation, not comedy, not character development, not different voices. First and foremost you have to be able to talk without moving your lips. Listen folks, if you haven't got this down yet, you're a puppeteer not a ventriloquist. Shot, I learned that when I was seven off of Jimmy Nelson's Instant Ventriloquism.

As a matter of fact, once I got my first booking at the age of 12 I thought to myself, "Gee, If people are going to be paying me for this I'm going to have to get better at not moving my lips." Now there are many people out there that call themselves ventriloquists that move their lips horribly. I remember going to VentHaven one year and meeting a fellow that I had met online that was very active on the Yahoo Ventlist and he was walking around with his puppet and talking to people with it and he might as well of been talking himself without the puppet. Lip control? It's like he never heard of it. This gentleman thought that if he carried a puppet and changed his voice slightly that made him a ventriloquist. I'm here to tell you folks that you are not a ventriloquist until you at least get the basics down.

No one can argue the fact that Jeff has the basics down. As a matter of fact, all of the popular ventriloquists of today have the basics down. Terry Fator, Ronn Lucas, Dan Horn and Mark Wade all have the basics down. OK I hear you old timers out there, "What about Edgar Bergen?" Well, first of all where did Bergen and McCarthy get famous? Oh that's right, on the radio. Second, from what I've heard, during vaudeville Bergen had awesome lip control but when he starting doing radio he thought it was more important that all the people at home listening understood what Charlie was saying than it was that the people in the studio didn't see his lips moving. He kept that attitude throughout the rest of his career.

End of Part One.....

God Bless,

Daniel Jay

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad



Variance of Voice

2011-04-11T21:37:15.086-04:00

Does it really matter if the voice of your puppet is that much different than your voice. I say it all depends on your presentation. If you really break it down, nobody's puppet really sounds that much different than themselves. Let's just compare some of our favorites, Paul Winchell for example. Now did Jerry or Knucklehead sound that much different than Winch? I mean, there was a difference but not that much.

And getting one puppets voice different from another is also a challenge. Many people don't realize this but did you know that on Sesame Street Ernie was never on the same time that Kermit was on. Why was that? Because Jim Henson used the same voice for both of them.

So how do you make your puppet sound different than you or each other? I'll never forget back at the ventriloquist conVENTion in 1980 I entered the Senior Ventriloquist Competition and, after my show I asked Alan Semok what he thought about my performance and he said, "Have you tried an accent with Ziff?" That was a nice way to say, "He sounds too much like you." So accents are one way to make them sound different. Other ways are speech impediments.

Most of all, record yourself, listen to how you sound, and adjust accordingly. Make the most of practicing to make your puppets voice unique from your own. Have fun with it and get constructive criticism.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad



New Axtell Canadian Goose

2013-04-22T19:46:41.990-04:00

(image)
If I wouldn't get shot for buying one more puppet this would be the one for me. Living in Ohio I think this puppet would be perfect. The funny thing is, we have Canadian Geese all over Ohio all year round! I think the Ohio geese fly south and the Canadian geese think that Ohio is south. Anyway, love the new puppet Steve, keep up the good work! You can view all new Axtell puppets at http://www.axtell.com/new/





The I'ds of March

2011-03-15T22:09:19.029-04:00

I love the krokus' (I think that right, plural of the flower krokus is krokus' right? Or is it krokus and a single flower is a kroki?) and the daffodils of spring. I love the fact that it's getting warmer outside and the robins are visible once again. I even am reminded of summer by the smell of a dead skunk in March! Yes, there are many reasons to love March but there are a few "I'ds" that I put together that I think you all may agree with.I'd rather not have all the rain/snow/rain. I have four dogs and my back yard looks like a big mud pie. Every time I let the dogs out we have to wipe of their feet because they are traipsing around in a bunch of mud. Now there's nothing wrong with mud, if you didn't have mud women couldn't get mud packs to make themselves feel better. Still don't understand how that works. Do they look at the mirror with all that mud on their face and then, when the mud's all cleaned off do they say, "WOW, I'm really am a lot more beautiful without all the mud on my face!" Another good thing about mud is female mud wrestling. Now I've never been to one of these events but I've heard that they're a lot of fun. No, there's nothing wrong with mud, I would just rather not be wiping it off of my dogs feet every couple hours.I'd like to keep the clocks on one time all throughout the year. We all love the "fall back" thing. We get an extra hours sleep! But boy do we regret that "fall back" when we have to "spring ahead". We loose a hours sleep, ahhh!! By the way, contrary to common understandings, Ben Franklin did not start daylight savings time, although, when he was in France he suggested that people get up early and go to bed early to save on candles. The daylight savings was started by George Vernon Hudson to reduce the amount of electric lighting used at night. Oh yeah, and many people thought it was for the farmers but actually, some reports say that this hinders farmers more than helps them. I say let's keep the clocks on one time and use up that electricity! We need more global warming anyway, at least here in Ohio! I'd prefer to start a diet and exercise program once in the new year and not get to March and hear these words on radio and TV, "Now at McDonalds, for a limited time, Shamrock Shakes". And it's not bad enough that they come out with the Shamrock Shake in March but now they put whipped topping and a cherry on top as well. Great way to break a diet. But we can't blame it all on McDonalds because guess what opens in March after being closed for a long winter. THE DAIRY QUEEN! Now every blizzard known to man can be purchased and don't forget the banana split! But McDonalds and Dairy Queen both take a back seat to the most evil thing to ever come about to ruin a diet. You seen them every year in March but the order start way before that. They are evil, they are relentless and they hate everything about diets. They are, THE GIRL SCOUTS. With their thin mints and peanut butter sandwiches they will ruin all that you've worked for. I swear, they want to keep the nation nice and plump. Because then they will be the only thin ones. The young girls with all the metabolism to burn the calories from those girl scout cookies.Well so much for the "I'ds" of March and I know you all feel the same way I do. At least all of you that have a few pounds to loose like me![...]



Could your rates be to low?

2011-01-21T00:28:04.770-05:00

Is it possible to not charge enough for your service and not get as many bookings? What is your show worth? What are others charging in your area? All good questions, let me just tell you my story. Last year I didn't get to many bookings. Now, to put everything into perspective, I wasn't promoting that much last year but, all in all, I really haven't done that much promoting this year either. I will tell you this much, I had listened to friend of mine who is a magician and he owns a magic shop. His rate is really low, when I mentioned that I thought his rate was low he said, "Well, nobody pays much more than that for entertainment in this area." Then I talked to another acquaintance of mine who is also a magician working in the same area that is getting triple and even four times (is that quadruple?) of what the other guy is getting. He is also getting booked more. So what I decided to do towards the end of last year was to raise my prices considerably from what I had been charging. Guess what. I'm getting more bookings now! How about that. So here's what I say to you, sit down and figure what is a good price for the type of entertainment you provide. Make it a price that is not the lowest and stick to it. You might be surprised at what happens next.



New Articles Coming in the Near Future!

2010-09-03T00:17:13.596-04:00

New articles will be coming in the near future to Cybervent, website for ventriloquists. Articles about performing, practicing and collecting. Would like some input from some of the pros out there so if you are a practicing ventriloquist and have some suggestions and would like to give me a topic that you believe you are an expert on, drop me a line.



1 Hour a Day

2010-06-27T22:42:27.186-04:00

Interesting, that's 365 days a year or 365 hours a year. Let's break that down into even more reasonable numbers 365 - 104 (skipping Saturdays and Sundays) is still 261 hours a year. If you subtract another 10 hours for vacations and 5 more hours for whatever reason you still have 246 hours a year. Now if you dedicate 246 hours a year to anything it's going to improve but only if you 1) Have a plan and 2) Work that plan. So I figured, how about dedicating 1 hour a day to ventriloquism, 1 hour a day to magic and mentalism and 1 hour a day to AutoTrader.com. That only 3 hours a day. I can find 3 hours a day by 1) Getting up 1 hour earlier 2) Watching 1 hour less TV a day and 3) Well, watching another hour less TV. Good advice from my son that I'm going to pursue starting today! Enjoy the video below!

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Stick to your Guns!

2010-03-24T00:41:29.089-04:00

I had a state college email me the other day about my fee for an hour show. I sent them a quote and they said that I was out of their price range. That's OK. Obviously they don't know how much good entertainment costs. There was a time when I would have negotiated my price to a lower fee but, anymore, I'm not budging. Here's what will happen if you do enough shows. People will talk and one day someone will be talking to another person about your show (you do have people talking about your show don't you?) and one person will say what they paid and the other person will say, "Man, that was a lot less than what I paid!" then where will you be?

I say find a fair price and stick to it. Don't lower your price to just get another gig. If they can't afford it either A) Show them a way to afford you or B) Decline and move on. You will never be successful if your prices are all over the place.



What's bogging you down from being your best?

2009-10-01T02:20:17.155-04:00

Here's a loaded question. What's bogging you down from being the best entertainer that you can be? Think hard. It's interesting when I ask myself this question I come up with multiple answers. I'm going to list 3 things in my life that are a problem and also identify the top 10 that could stop you from being the best entertainer, ventriloquist, magician, singer, whatever...... My top 3 are TV, motivation and organization. Those are not in any specific order but they are all 3 major problems in my life. If I can get control of all 3 of these I could guarantee that my performance and my booking could drastically improve. Let's look at each one at a time.TVHere's a little assignment I want you to try. Grab a piece of paper and mark it at the top, "My TV Time Sheet" and then as you sit down to watch Heroes, House or any reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond mark the time you start and the time you finish. Not just with those 3 shows, anytime you watch TV whether it be watching sports, the news or just some form of entertainment. After a week add up your total time in front of the boob tube. If that's not an eye opener I don't know what is. We waste more time in front of the TV then anything else (with maybe the exception of Facebook!) Try to limit your TV input to 2 hours a day to start off with. Then drop it 1/2 hour as you see fit. You will be surprised at how much more time you will have on your hands.MotivationThis may sound silly to many of you out there but I just don't have the motivation to practice and work on new routines. I work full time for AutoTrader.com and make pretty good money doing that. I love ventriloquism and magic but it is more of a hobby for me than a career. I doesn't pay the bills. That being said, I would love to, one day, be able to perform full time and have entertainment be my number one source of income. But, do I desire it enough to make the time to practice and market myself? Obviously not. And that is the shame of it. I just don't have the motivation to do it and this is one of my major downfalls. I pray that I find the motivation because I really do enjoy performing. Interesting that I know a few people who have entertained their whole life and that's was their motivation. To be in front of people constantly. One example of this is Johnny "Ace" Palmer. I remember the first time I saw John perform, I think he was 14 and I was 13. We were performing together at the same church. While I performed ventriloquism and a little magic, his total emphasis was on magic. Nothing spectacular at the time. I remember he was performing with some adult at the time and used a lot of self working tricks like the lotta bowl. A few years later I saw John at our church. They hired him to perform and I got together with him after the show and we talked and realized that we had performed together when we were younger. I think John was 16 at the time. Interesting thing was that John was then performing at the Ground Round, a restaurant in our area, as Bingo the Clown doing close-up magic. He performed every weekend and I think in the middle of the week sometimes. Talk about getting lots of practice. John eventually won many awards performing close-up and is even a headliner 2 times a year at The Magic Castle! I told this story to say this. John had the motivation to do this. It was his income and, I think, he even helped his family out when he was younger with the money he got for performing. John is a great example of someone who could set goals and reach them. He's also a great example of what motivation can do for a person. I hope to have better motivation in the future.OrganizationThis is no surprise to my wife, Sue. S[...]



Comedy writing.

2009-08-19T22:53:11.268-04:00

I would say next to finding time to practice, comedy writing is probably the hardest part of being a ventriloquist. Would anyone back me on this? How many of you have actually come up with your own routine? Let me just give you an example. I have a routine that I do with Fuzzball, my cat. Here's how it starts out. I introduce Fuzzball and, while I am introducing him, he is licking himself. I ask the audience how many have cats at home and mention that cats like to clean themselves and that's what he's doing now. I also say that we may be waiting a long time for Fuzzball to finish cleaning himself to which I then ask Fuzzball if he's done yet and he says "Not Yet". He then licks some more and then bites his arm to which I ask, "What's that?" and he replies, "Fleas". Up to this point this is all my routine. From then on it is jokes from various joke books and visuals such as him sneezing and then wiping his nose on a tissue and, while I am not looking, rubbing his nose up my sleeve, complements of Mark Wade. Some other visual routines I do with him is an eye test where he starts out fine but then starts looking opposite of where my finger is. This routine is probably one of the best that I have. I've been doing this routine with Fuzzball for years and everyone loves it and loves Fuzzball because of it.
I've tried to write new routines since then but it is very difficult. I'm just wondering how everyone else comes up with their routines. What techniques do they use. And I'm interested in people who know their routines are funny. I've seen many poor ventriloquists in my day. Ones that may think they're funny but aren't. I'm reaching out to the true professionals. How do you make your routine funny? Where do you come up with new material? How do you keep it fresh? Let's have some input. Email me at danieljay@danieljayrobison.com and let me know so I can post it! Thanks all and God Bless!



VentHaven Convention a BLAST!

2009-07-26T02:07:11.147-04:00

I'll be the first to admit that this was the best conVENTion I have been to in a while (since my last one was in 2000, that is a while!). I heard people saying it was even better than last years. Let's talk a little about what was discussed at the lectures:Comedy WritingMarketing Puns Getting Fair showsOrganizing your show Creativity Splitting All great stuff. Now I didn't make it to Wednesday and had to leave early afternoon on Saturday but, all in all, some great stuff. In the dealer rooms there was a lot of great figures and props as well. Pittsburgh Puppets (anyone have their website?) had a great puppet that you could change their eyes because they were held on with Velcro. Therefore, in the middle of a show you could change the expression of the puppet. One Way Street was there, it's always good to see Dale and Liz! Also, Gary Owens was representing Axtell. There was also Albert Alfaro with many of his unique creations, he and Mary Ann Taylor both donated figures for the auction (alas, I didn't win a thing!). Tim Selberg also had some of his figures there. Next year I think I'm going to stop at every booth and get their online contact information so I don't leave some out like I have this year. Oh, Tom Ladshaw also had a table that was full of collectibles! And Lee Cornell also had a table set up selling many DVDs. All in all, if you missed out this year, don't worry, there's always next year. I'm sure many that attended last year said, "How can you top that?" and this year people were saying that it was the best they had ever seen. I'm looking forward to next year and being a bigger part of Vent Haven and the conVENTion in the years to come.Nina Conti Axtell Figures and their Vents[...]



Finding time.

2009-03-18T08:51:45.465-04:00

When do you find the time to practice? This is one of my biggest problems. Is it in the morning, evening? Do you set aside some time each day, a specific time? Do you just wing it? What do the professionals do? Jim Barber, Jeff Dunham, Mark Wade, Ken Groves and the list goes on and on. I would love some comments on this blog, if for nothing else than to help us all know what is the best way to practice? Is it while performing throwing in some new stuff? Do you have a room set aside for practice? (My house is small so my only practice room is cramped). Do you practice in front of a mirror or do you use a video? Let us know. How do you, when do you and where do you PRACTICE?



Watching TV with your Figure?

2009-02-26T00:07:09.799-05:00

When was the last time you watched TV with one of your figures? Sound silly? It may, but let's face it, some good conversation can come from it. Your figure can comment on what your watching and you can comment on it or visa versa. Watch the evening new. A late night show. Comment on Jay Leno's dialogue. Comment on Conan O'Brian's hair (naw, that's to easy). Have fun, get a dialogue going with your figure. You never know what you might come up with. Always be thinking "How can I turn this into a routine or a joke." Do things with your figure you would usually do with a regular person and carry on both sides of the conversation. Pretty soon you'll have enough material for a whole act!

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Vent Videos now on Blog

2009-02-15T23:17:35.371-05:00

I just added ventriloquist videos on my blog page. Let me know what vents you would like featured and the videos will appear. Also will be posting blogs more often on this page. Let me know what topics you would like to see. Talk to you all soon!



A Day with Ronn Lucas.

2008-06-05T12:03:27.467-04:00

I spent the day today, June 4th 2008, with Ronn Lucas. After catching his show in Vegas at the Excalaber, I introduced myself and we spent the whole day together. I have to tell you I was highly impressed with Ronn and his hospitality. He was very cordial and treated me like a friend he had known for year.

It isn't very often that you talk to someone in the position that Ronn is in and get treated the way that Ronn treated me. I was very impressed with the way Ronn actually took time out of his day to give me a little time to discuss ventriloquism, business and more.

Ronn's show was very entertaining and I definately suggest if you are in Vegas, take time to catch Ronn's show. It is going on at 2:00pm Tuesday through Sunday as well as a Friday night show.

Thanks Ronn and God Bless you in all that you do!




Quotes online and the such!

2008-03-13T17:45:32.315-04:00

Here's an interesting situation. I got a email the other day from a Pastor that wanted to know what my charge was for a show. That's it, that's the only question I got. How much do I charge. Didn't have any information just "How much do I charge and if April was open". WHAT A QUESTION! To which my response was, "Where are you at? What kind of show do you want? How long do you want it?" Wouldn't you agree that those are legitimate questions? How can I give him a quote if I don't have these answers? You know what he emailed me back? Not one answer to the questions I asked! He emailed me "I guess what I'm asking is how much would you charge to do a Friday night show at our coffee house." Does that answer any of the above questions? Absolutely not! To which I asked him again the same questions. And he replied, "Never mind, just send me some material."

Now what on earth are people thinking? I'm not going to waste money on sending him material just so he can throw it away. People amaze me. Has anyone else ever experienced such an episode? I'd love to hear from you! Email me at danieljay@thefamilyvent.com .

God Bless,

Daniel Jay Robison



Learn Ventriloquism, the good, the bad and the ugly

2007-12-28T14:49:03.017-05:00

There are many websites out in cyberspace that teach you ventriloquism. Some good, some bad and some just down right ugly. I am going to review a few of these websites and give you my opinion on which ones teach it correctly and which ones do not. Also, below will be some suggestions and tips on ventriloquism and learning it. Hopefully this information will help you inspiring ventriloquists out there.First the GoodAxtell's learning ventriloquism - Leave it to Steve Axtell to come up with such a nice tutorial on how to do ventriloquism. This teaches you the correct way on how to do the hard letters. The method that many successful professionals use.Burgher's Entertainment - Just the basics with a link at the end to Axtell's page but, again, has the correct substitute letters.Next, the BadBrownielocks and the 3 Bears - this website uses the old Edgar Bergen techniques that just don't work well. The "M" uses the "ngh" in the back of the throat just doesn't work. You might find some useful information in this website but letter substitution isn't one of them.BBC Ventriloquist Page - here is another fine example of how not to substitute letters. Luckily, Valentine Vox didn't use this method!There are many different training programs that you can purchase for ventriloquism as well. Some of my favorites are:Maher's Home Study Course - now available through Dummyworks.com and my buddy Tim Cowles. Probably the best course still available.Pete Michaels Video Ventriloquism - even though I have not personally seen Pete's video. I know Pete and know his talent and I am sure this is a great video to learn ventriloquism.Lee Cornell's Ventriloquism 101 - guaranteed product! Can't beat that!Steve Taylor Video Ventriloquism - I know Steve and he is a great trainer as well as ventriloquist and magician. I'm sure you won't be disappointed!The key thing to ventriloquism is practice, practice, practice. Then, when you feel you have it perfected, practice some more. There's nothing that gives ventriloquism a black eye more than a bad ventriloquist. Unfortunately, there are a lot more bad ventriloquists than good ones. So make sure that you practice long and hard and, video tape your performances. This will help you see what you need to do to improve.Finally, here is a list of products available through Amazon that teaches ventriloquism. style="WIDTH: 120px; HEIGHT: 240px" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" src="http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=cybervewebsit-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=094159906X&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"> style="WIDTH: 120px; HEIGHT: 240px" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" src="http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=cybervewebsit-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B000UV5YQO&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"> style="WIDTH: 120px; HEIGHT: 240px" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" src="http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=cybervewebsit-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0679210253&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"> style="WIDTH: 120px; HEIGHT: 240px" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" src="http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=cybervewebsit-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0486296830&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr" framebor[...]



How unique does an act have to be?

2007-09-10T18:58:23.035-04:00

When talking about ventriloquism, how unique does an act have to be. I mean, do we really have to be that unique to make sure that we get bookings? Do we have to do something that no other ventriloquist is doing? Let me give you a few examples: Terry Fator does impressions, Jim Barber does the Barber and Seville where "He" is the dummy. If we are not this creative, should we hang up our figures and go buy some Tenyo products and convert to magic (I didn't just say that did I?).
I know that we have to be creative, heaven knows if you are a good ventriloquist you already are, somewhat, creative. I am not knocking any of the unique ventriloquists out there. I think their acts are great. What I am saying though is that if you have a good routine, and it is just a dialogue between you and your figure, that's O.K.. In all reality, what is Jeff Dunham's show. A dialogue with Peanut, Jose, Walter and whatever other figures he uses for that show. Mind you, it is some very creative dialogue, but it is dialogue none the less. So this takes us to a whole different idea of unique.
A jalapeno on a stick. Unique? You betcha. How about a woozle? Again, an astounding YES! And can anybody say that Walter is not unique? Absolutely not. This is just one of the things that has made Jeff so popular. His characters are unique. So, being unique does not necessarily mean that your whole vent routine is unique. Maybe it's just your characters that are unique. And, to be quite honest with you, I have seen people take Axtell puppets and make them unique. Mind you, this may be a little more difficult to do, being that there are so many ventriloquist that have the same puppet. But with a little creativity, you can make it unique.
I'll tell you one thing I like about Jeff's characters. Sweet Daddy Dee, he started out with a Selberg figure, then designed his own around that character. The same with Melvin, the superhero. He started out with an Oddballs and Orphens figure, came up with the routine, then designed his own figure. As creative and talented as Jeff is, he has that luxury. Unfortunately, many of us aren't as talented. So, can we still make the characters unique? Let me just close with this question. If Jeff was still using the Selberg and Kristin Peterson character, would they be unique? And the answer is ..................................................................... YES! So get working on making your characters unique. More later.



Thou shalt not Steal!

2007-06-05T02:00:08.477-04:00

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I know that we all have our favorite ventriloquists. Someone that we admire and would like to be like. But when does being like someone turn in to stealing their routine? That is simple. The bottom line is to come up with your own routine. Learn how to write comedy. Anyone can steal a joke but it takes a real talent to write you own material.

Stealing a show even goes into more detail when we talk about stealing characters and effects. Now I'm not going to go as far as saying that you should never use your hand to do ventriloquism like Senior Wences. But you know what I'm talking about. The day someone comes out with a sock puppet that is a lamb is the day that I believe Mallory Lewis has a right to a court case.

Mind you not all ventriloquists are going to get upset but, from my experience, the ones that steal the most are the ones that aren't that good. So when you have someone copying your material and they aren't that good it really becomes a problem. No wonder Ronn got upset when someone said they had seen his show before and they hadn't. They had just seen a bad ventriloquist steal his whole Mask routine.

Bottom line, if your going to use a line from a vent routine, get permission. And just never take someone else's routine, make your own and make it fun! God luck and happy venting.




Ventriloquist Conventions.

2007-05-23T15:05:03.520-04:00

Conventions, Conventions, Conventions. Is it really that important to attend a convention and, if so, which convention do I attend? If this is the question that is going through your head let me give your first, my opinion on conventions from a little history about me.When I was about 12 years old I started performing ventriloquism. I never even knew about ventriloquism, let alone, knew how many ventriloquists there were in the whole country. As far as ventriloquism was concerned, the only ones I knew existed were the ones on TV and the others that came to my home town every once in a while. Soon I started making some money and my Dad bought me my first "professional" ventriloquist figure from Abbott's Magic Company. It was great but I wanted something that was unique. So I check my resources and found Alan Semok who made Ziff for me. Also, through Alan and Mark Wade I found out about VentHaven and at the age of 18, attended my first convention.What an eye opener! The first thing I did after I had attended the convention that evening was call my dad and tell him "I stink" . There were so many people there that were so much better than me. Here's the thing. They were not standoffish, they did not horde their secrets to themselves. They were willing to share and teach all the techniques that they learned with me. This was amazing, distant voice, telephone voice, muffled voice all were available to me if I would just sit down with someone and listen to them. That being said, my opinion is, you need to attend a convention! That's it. It's that simple.Now that we have decided that if you ever want to be successful in ventriloquism you should attend a convention. Second is, which convention to attend. By far the convention that has the most successful ventriloquists attending is VentHaven in Ft. Mitchell, Ky. You want to meet Jeff Dunham, Mark Wade, Ken Groves, Bob Ladshaw, Jimmy Nelson, Dan Horn or the numerous others that will be there? This is the place! Great training, great fellowship and rubbing shoulders with the best of the best. This is where I learned many of the great techniques I use today. VentHaven ventriloquist convention is July 18-21, 2007. Click Here for more information.Another convention that I have attended is One Way Street's I-Fest (International Festival of Puppetery and Ventriloquism). This convention may not have the more popular ventriloquists attending, but it is more relaxing and personal. Great friendships have been made through this convention. Mind you, this is a Christian convention. You won't have any adult routines here. What you will have is classes, lots of them. And a whole week of learning and fellowship. It is held at Olivett University in Bourbonnais, IL. The dates are July 9-14, 2007 (or SuperFest which is July 12-14, 2007). Good food, good fellowship and great worship! This convention is a great place to meet new people and get new ideas for your show. And if you want to learn manipulation, this is a puppetry convention as well! For more information on I-Fest Click Here.Any convention you attend, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. So what are you waiting for? Go register now!![...]