One of the best pieces of advice I have heard from my wife, my Mom and Dad, and my good friends is “always be yourself!” Nothing can any more true than that … on a personal and professional level.
I have seen many amateur vents emulate vent heroes to the point of copying word for word their material and their puppets. How many people have you seen lately online that had a “grumpy old man” puppet (ala Jeff Dunham’s “Walter”)? I rest my case.
Find WHAT’S YOU! Look for good pointers from your vent heroes but develop your own style and personality onstage. Discover puppets that are different, unique, and that are YOU. Please don’t copy … originate!
For years all vents had wooden “Charlie McCarthy” knock offs. It was the standard for ventriloquism and I feel that is partly to blame for ventriloquism being pigeonholed as being old fashion, something from a bygone era. Let’s all work at bringing vent into the 21st century with new approaches and , especially new puppets. If you use a standard boy figure dress it up to give it a new approach. Maybe make him or her an astronaut, a cowboy, something other than a wisecracking school boy. We don’t want ventriloquism remembered as “the same old thing”. Let’s all strive to make it new and exciting. Our audiences are counting on us … let’s do our parts!