This week we start our new series called “Ask The Pro” that Bob Abdou has so graciously offered to help us out. Each Friday, Bob will answer question(s) that were submitted to him or to us here at Ventriloquist Central.
Here’s this week question:
I am a younger vent, and though I try to advertise by posting business cards around my area, I’m afraid that people just don’t take me seriously or don’t notice. I have had experience performing in front of an audience, and have been working at ventriloquism for quite some time now. Any suggestions on how to take my act to the next level? Rob – Virginia
Good question to start the new blog, because of your youth and energy, you seem to be on the right path on becoming a successful ventriloquist entertainer. The great vents all started out very young, Edgar Bergen, Sheri Lewis and Jeff Dunham. Starting out as a youth in show business is a plus and helps mold and create a persona quicker and easier, plus you have time on your side
Clients tend to look at an entertainer that has experience, proper training, a resume and credentials. The old saying goes how can I get experience without work? Here is my suggestion, you will have to pay your dues NOW at your age. I would forgo charging a high price vs. exposure. The more stage time you accumulate the more experience you will receive. You can’t put a price tag on experience. Yes, doing free shows might be what you don’t want now but consider the more you perform in front of a real audience (not your living room with relatives) the better you will get. The better you get, the more folks will want to hire you, the more folks want to hire you the more you can charge. The more you charge the more money you will make, the more money you make will allow you to upgrade your business. The more you upgrade your business and look more professional, the more folks will want to hire you and the more folks want to hire you the more money you make. It will turn into a win win situation for everybody. However it all starts NOW and don’t rush being the best, just be the best you can be now and good things will start to happen.
Your age can also work against you, so be aware of this. Clients could feel uncomfortable dealing with a teenager. We live in a world now where we all have to be careful on who we deal with especially if you are younger than eighteen years old. Realize it is not you but the environment we live in. If you have your folks involved, it might help put the client at ease and make it easier for them to work with you. Not knowing your age, if you are over 18 years of age, this might not attain to you. If you are under the age of eighteen, clients might worry on how will you arrive to the gig? What about if you have school assignments that will conflict with a gig?
Another suggestion is to associate, with your parents go meet other performers in your state. The true professionals will welcome you and help in any way. We all need mentors, now is the time to find one. Just remember that those who you seek out have years of experience and you can not compare yourself to them. Look at their success as your future and see that all the hard work you do now will pay off in the long run. It takes years to polish and fine tune a routine so listen what they have to say, listen more and talk less. When you get older, the next generation will seek you out and you can help those that will follow in your foot steps. We all set an example for our art of ventriloquism, whether good or bad. You will want to be known as one that has taken the right steps in becoming the professional you want to be, don’t take any short cuts. I wish you all the best – now get out of the house and perform!!
*Associate – this will be the foundation for your future
*Read your local paper and contact venues that will allow you to do your act
*keep performing at least 2x a month in front of a real audience
*keep a record on who, what, when, why and how you perform for
*it is better to have a GREAT 7 minute act than a boring 10 minute act
*Find a mentor with your parents permission
*Listen and Learn, a student is not greater than the teacher
*Join other internet groups that pertain to ventriloquism or entertainment
*Go to a convention, the Ventriloquist convention in July or the Birthday Bash in October (www.ventriloquistcentral.com/birthdaybash)
Thanks Bob. If you want to submit a question for Bob, send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2011 by Dan Willinger
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