Jeff Dunham, Terry Fator and Darci Lynne are recent examples of famous ventriloquists. They earn huge amounts of money for their talent.
A lot of people see them and think ventriloquism could be their ticket to stardom too.
Let’s face it, ventriloquism is fun. It can be a wonderful hobby and an incredible career.
But let me be brutally honest with you, most people just aren’t good enough. Most never will be.
And there is nothing wrong with that. Being a part time ventriloquist or hobbyist is fine. It is rewarding to work on a skill that can make people smile or laugh. You can make others feel good by entertaining them.
But when you want to be famous, it is less about the audience, and more about you.
There is nothing wrong with having goals. But fame seldom comes to entertainers looking for it. It comes from hard work.
So let’s go back to being “not good enough.”
Ventriloquism is a multi-disciplinary skill set.
It is more than:
- knowing how to talk without moving your lips,
- proper diction of the labial letters,
- tonal ranges,
- not emoting your character’s reactions,
- vocal syncing,
- puppet manipulation,
- acting for the puppet,
- acting for yourself,
- comedy writing,
- stage presence,
- and the list goes on …
It is hard to be good at all these. And to become famous, you need to be great at them.
Some people are born with a special talent that allows them to excel in certain areas. That “born talent” is rare. Most have to work hard to achieve proficiency.
Like I mentioned earlier, some people will never be good enough. Does that mean they should forget ventriloquism?
Not if they want to have fun.
But if they are only looking at it as a path to fame, there are easier paths to travel. None will be simple, but ventriloquism, done correctly, is hard.
Then there are those who just haven’t worked hard enough.
The ventriloquism skillsets above can are learnable. But none of them happen overnight.
People saw Darci Lynne win AGT at a young age and thought – if that little girl can do it, so can I.
It doesn’t help others when AGT made it sound like she was self taught.
Darci didn’t just pick up a puppet, clench her teeth and win AGT. She had coaches. Her family made an investment in her education AND training.
Plus no one saw the hours, days, weeks, months and years of practice she put in. All while being supported to achieve this goal.
Arts used to have apprenticeships.
Woodcarvers would spend years just learning to hone their master’s tools to the sharpest edge. They would study shapes, wood, grain patterns … It was more than grabbing a chisel and removing everything that didn’t look like what they wanted to carve.
A common thought in the artist community is: you have to give it ten years. It takes a decade to dedicate yourself to a goal.
One of Jeff Dunham’s goals was to be on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He set a 10 year time limit and it took him the entire time. Had he set a five year goal, he may never have reached his current level of success.
A goal is not a wish, you must actively work toward it.
Learning from every source you can. Practicing long hours, every day whether you feel like it or not. Studying your technique in each discipline involved. Honestly critiquing yourself and finding room for improvement. Then implementing that modification and repeating the process.
Search out people who have achieved the degree of success you want, or wish to exceed.
Don’t expect this to be free. The apprentices of old traded hard labor for the smallest of insights from the masters. If you find a coach who has achieved success at any level, they are worth every cent for their wisdom.
Just beware the person who gives or sells information and hasn’t done anything on a professional level. There are plenty out there …
Then there is time in front of audiences.
All types of people, all walks of life under all sorts of circumstances. Not every show will be ideal. In fact, the bad shows are the ones that teach you the most.
It takes patience. An open mind. Hard work. Failing, learning and growing. And lots of time.
Still want to become a famous ventriloquist?
If so, get started. You’ve got a long road to travel.