Finding the right vent figure or puppet can be challenging. It takes tons of thinking to develop a good character that represents you and your act well. Hopefully I can give you some guidelines as to what I feel is important when picking or creating your “guy” or “gal”.

First, I think you have to make the choice of either going “hard” ventriloquist figure or “soft” ventriloquist puppet. That is a huge difference. Are you more traditional in your act, or do you want to depart from the norm and go off in a whimsical direction? I’m not saying you can’t go the whimsical route with a vent figure, I personally think you can. However too many vents are stuck in the “cute boy figure” mold and after a while it seems to the general public we all have the same puppet. I know that’s not true, there are differences, but to the paying public vent figures look alike. If you desire a figure make it different. Try to find one or have one created that looks totally different from what the public conception is of a “vent dummy”.

The soft puppets have finally come into their own and with the great characters being created today you can have just about have anything made. Sit down and sketch out what you think would be your ideal partner. Boy or girl? Tall or short? What about the attitudes, likes and dislikes, things like that can go into a sketch as well. When you’ve done this over and over and keep coming up with virtually the same idea, then you can approach a figure maker or puppet maker and go from there.

Designing your ideal character isn’t easy, although it can be. Maybe you’ve visited a puppet maker and saw a puppet they had on display, and then it hits you…you found exactly what you’re looking for! It’s great to have those “A Ha!” moments.Unknown

To contact Mark Wade-