We had an email sent to us last week asking this question: “Is there a method that can help ventriloquists create and develop genuine personalities for their figures?”
Many times in the past I have talked about the purchase of a ventriloquist figure and then trying to make such figure work for you.
Well one of the best in the ventriloquist world Ray Guyll said it best (I’m paraphrasing)…”You first have to find a character inside yourself and once you have developed that character then you start the search to find that character in a ventriloquist figure.”
Finding the right ventriloquist figure may take some time. You have to know that the personality fits the face correctly so that the voice comes across in the correct manner.
The you have to decide if you are going to do added functions with this character. Functions can certainly ad to the expressions your figure can make while you breath life into him or her but always remember the illusion the ventriloquist makes is that the figure is talking and looks alive.
I think manipulation over effects comes first. Case in point is Edgar Bergen. Charlie, Mortimer and Effie were all mouth movement only but boy they were all alive in his hands because of his perfect manipulation.
What are your thoughts?
Have you seen the Frank Marshall Tribute DVD, click here
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 2012 by Dan Willinger
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Here’s another way to do it. Look at YOUR personality, then create a vent character that’s OPPOSITE than yours. Then find a figure that fits that opposite personality of yours. If you talk slow, make him talk fast. If you are shy, make him the other way, etc. You’ll have contrast and conflict on stage, and that can create interest and comedy…
When having a Marshall made I remember his asking me to leave a picture. I had only a picture of a sibling. He looked at it, then at me, and said it would do just fine. If you look real close a Marshall figure looks a lot like the one for whom he made it. Finding the right face became like looking in a mirror and the right voice almost your own.