A little over a week ago, Bob Abdou sent us a blog about Birthday Shows with a questionnaire. If you missed the blog, click here.
Here are the answers to those questions:
Here are the answers and my reasoning, others may have different opinions and answers
1) False, Although we love ventriloquism and puppetry, some in the real world do not share our passion. Trying to force a show on an audience that is not willing to enjoy it is like serving pork chops at a bar mitzvah, it is not the right place or the right audience.
2) False, when guests do not realize a show is about to start, it can be a turn off. Ventriloquism is an audio show, sound must be heard, when guests are not willing to be quiet and listen to a ventriloquist show, it only ruins it for the rest who do want to be entertained. Let the guests know in the invitation that a puppet show will be featured. You will gain respect and the audience will enjoy your show with much anticipation.
3) False, never, and I mean never perform near any active front or back door, never and I mean never perform near the kitchen and lastly, never and I mean never perform near the bathroom. Having anyone walk right in front of your show during a joke just ruins the show and will throw off your timing.
4) False, never match a competitors price, offer a discount but keep your price above the rest, you will only gain respect.
5) False, having toys in the room will only ruin your show, tell the birthday parents to either put you in another room or put a blanket over the toys and cover them. Exposing toys during a show will only create problems when one parent allows their child to play with a toy.
6) False, When this happens, this is basically a party for the adults to get together and use the birthday child as an excuse for their drinking. How do you stop Celine Dion music? You can’t, so focus on the birthday child as much as you can because the adult guests at this party are only there to mingle with the other adults.
7) False, it is always better to perform indoors than outdoors despite the beautiful weather. Explain to the birthday parents that having a show indoors will allow the children and guests to have a change of scenery, then once your show is over they can start playing again outside.
8) False, try to never have the family pet be in the same room, this animal will draw attention away from your show. As for the 2 year old sitting by themselves. I let the parent of this young toddler know that it will not work and I won’t start my show unless the parent sits with the child. This child with no parent supervision will touch, walk and wander all over your performing area.
9) False, this has happened to me and I tell the parents when they book me…NO SPORTS. When parents go to a birthday party and watch sports, it is just disrespectful to the birthday child. When I start setting up my show and I see the tv is on, I tell the birthday parents immediately, NO TV, shut it off.
10) False, if the parents don’t pay you for your show and you leave with no money, shame on you.
You must have a business plan to either get paid once you arrive, if you don’t, expect to waste your time after you have packed up and your are waiting on a check to wait even longer. Your time is also money, use it wisely.
All these examples have happened to me early in my career, I have learned to nip it in the bud when parents talk to me about booking my birthday party shows. If you decide to go in to the birthday party business, have fun, enjoy acting young again but remember NO TV,
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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Bob Abdou is an expert on birthday parties. He’s had many years of experience, not only with birthday parties, but with groups of all ages. He’s an energetic performer who keeps the show moving at a fast pace. Not only birthday parties, but Bob & some other Vents go to a local hospital near the Vent Haven Convention each year & entertain the patients. Bob is a very generous person & terrific entertainer.
My last one was outdoors, so much distraction all could do was adlib. Ended up taking out figure’s head, letting children tell knock-knock jokes, child standing behind figure’s body, leaning forward with head on collar, I would say, “Do you know a knock-knock joke”, child says “Yes, knock knock…”. me then, “Who’s there…” so forth and so on, had them all lined up, which they did themselves quite orderly and naturally, one after the other, each in turn–went over pretty good in all of the confusion.
Hey Bob I got them all right. False! Unfortunately I learned the hard way and experienced all those horror stories myself. Many people think that birthday parties are the bottom rung of the entertainment ladder, but they are also the hardest. It is much easier to entertain 300 kids in a school auditorium than 10 kids in their own living room.
good point Bob, seems you and I come from the same mold, I will never forget one old time vaudevillian once told me that the hardest thing a comedian can do is entertain in a home. He was right, you are a guest and basically tell the parents what to do, what not to do, move the furniture here or there, be quiet, laugh, etc etc etc…oh yeah my most important rule..shut off the TV, that is always the hardest thing to do is ask the birthday child’s dad to shut off golf or some sport, but when I see the tv on when I walk into a home makes me feel like when I am in the same room with my ex wife, I HATE IT