Here is an article that ventriloquist Bob Abdou sent in to us back in 2007. It is so good, I thought I would share it with everyone again.
Front Page News
There are many opinions about getting more work, mine is “the more you work the more you get work”. However performing soooo cheap so that everybody hires you is NOT the answer. Having a good show, having a good appearance and having a competitive price is one way to go. Once you have established yourself as a “PRO”, the calls will come…eventually. Some months will be great one year and the next…not so great. Some performers say that the month of January is usually slow, my past January’s have always been good. So there is no real pattern when work will be slow or busy. Just remember the work will come….eventually.
One sure way to get more work is to alert the media. Some newspapers will pass on you and then some will eat you up like juicy fried chicken. I was performing in the deep south part of Texas last week when I made my annual coke and potato chip run before a show at a gas station. ( this is a bad habit but it is a ritual for me ). I am usually early to every show and that gives me time to read the local paper just to see what’s up with the rest of the world. To my surprise I saw a photo on the front section of the paper with my face on it!!
“Hey that’s Me!!” I told the attendant. She smiled and asked why my photo was there. I explained that I was performing for the local libraries in the area and this was a way to promote the show. She was interested and called her family about coming to the library and seeing the show. So promoting works.
Some insight about newspaper stories. When they interview you make sure that your name is spelled correctly. Why??? If anyone wants to “Google” you for future work they won’t be able to find you. If they can write your website in the article, that is just icing on the cake.
With the last name “Abdou” you can imagine how many times that has been misspelled. I go by the stage name “Mr.Puppet” and this just fine with me cause I am easily found by that stage name. Always make sure that they know the right time, day and date of your performance. Most small town newspapers are printed once a week, so get your story in early. Having these town papers promote your show also lets the school, library or whatever you are doing for them see that you really want to get folks to these places.
In today’s world where there are too many other activities to do besides a “puppet show”, we have to make our show “exciting, fun, colorful and different” so that you stir up interest.
Having a story in the paper is just one way to have a great show with a great audience.
Remember a show without an audience is…….a rehearsal!!
Mr. Puppet since 1996
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 2010 by Dan Willinger
NOTE: You may use this blog article provided you run it with the bio box intact. Please email a copy of your publication with the blog article in it to: email@example.com
Bob’s absolutely right! And free is always best!
Another thing I have found useful is those human interest columns that turn up sporadically in local papers (which almost always have corresponding Internet versions), usually with titles like, “Around Town” or “What’s Happening,” or some such.
They’re always looking for quirky fodder. One time I was shopping for a wig. The salesperson watched me for awhile, then came over to give me the scoop on a particular brand. As I turned it inside out, she went into detail about the construction, etc.
She asked me if there were any other questions.
“Yes,” I said, “do you think it will shed when I cut it up?”
She nearly fainted.
I went home, wrote it up and sent it to the editor of the human interest column.
Immediately got a call. She sent a photographer to snap a picture. Of course, the information about the show was part of the story.
Everything’s an opportunity for publicity…and if it’s free, how can you beat it?!
Sometimes you can work it out with TV, too…but that gets more complicated because it involves a crew and airtime…but it’s possible, particularly if it’s nicely visual. Every once in awhile you can talk a radio station into something…especially if you expand on the idea of vent on the radio…and Edgar Bergen…and take the figure WITH you for the radio show and remember to have him lean into the microphone.
Oh, and tell the TV and newspaper people what you’re up to…so there’s a chance they’ll send a photographer or crew to show the “dummy on the radio.”
And, yeah, newspapers sometimes print things wrong…but that leaves an opportunity for a correction story!