How To Become Famous As A Ventriloquist
Or Become Famous At What You Do …
No doubt there are already those thinking – well YOU aren’t famous – so how would you know? Why should I listen to you? True, I’m not. And what is more – I don’t want to be. Sure, when I was younger I had that dream. Then I discovered this …
Show business is a tough career.
Don’t believe me?
Go on FaceBook and look at the number of “entertainers” crying they can’t get work.
You won’t hear that from entertainers who bust their a$$ everyday to find work. They don’t have time for a pity party.
This is a job folks.
Plus, there are a lot of talented people who are trying to make the big time.
Getting noticed in today’s world can happen overnight, take years, or never happen at all. And the truth is, for most, it won’t happen.
Yet it does. Today people who seem to have no talent can become famous.
And you have talent, right? So it should be easier for you.
But it’s not.
People see a 12 year old ventriloquist win America’s Got Talent. They think to themselves, it can’t be THAT hard.
Some acts become bitter.
They’ve been at this for years. They feel they are just as good, if not better. *
And they complain about how unfair things are.
Welcome to real life.
And people will “blow smoke up your skirt.”
They will tell you how great you are. How much they want you. How much exposure you will get. How many times they will hire you. How big a star you can become … if you just do this.
As P.T. Barnum supposedly said: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” I believed that for years. Then I heard Barnum never actually said that. So I guess that makes me a sucker!
In their quest to be famous, people will believe the lies.
They want it to be true. They desire the fame, fortune and everything that comes with it. That makes it is easy to fall into the trap.
And there is evidence that people have succeeded the “easy way.” I mean seriously, the Kardashians AND Justin Bieber?
Where is the justice when you can’t become famous?
Well, you can. After all, I did title this post:
How To Become Famous
and if I didn’t deliver, it wouldn’t be much of an article would it?
But if it were as easy as reading this article, why wouldn’t everyone do it?
Because this is the difficult path.
This is the path that takes work.
Not a little, a lot.
It also takes investment. Not just cash, but personal investment.
Not a little, a lot.
In the following case studies, I’m going to focus on two of the most famous ventriloquists performing today, Jeff & Terry.
That isn’t to slight any other famous ventriloquist out there. It is just their careers are the perfect examples for this article.
People see Jeff Dunham playing sold out arenas. They see his specials topping Comedy Central, then NBC and Netflix. He’s one lucky SOB, huh?
Some think Jeff got “discovered.” Or “lucky.”
No, Jeff put himself in a position to succeed.
First, Jeff had a laser focus.
A flashlight shining on a wall illuminates a large area. But science has learned how to narrow that beam, increasing the energy and using that light to cut through the wall.
Do you have laser focus? What exactly does that mean?
From the time Jeff was a kid, he wanted to be a famous ventriloquist. That was it. He didn’t want to be an astronaut. Or a professional ballplayer. Or a musician.
He wanted to be a ventriloquist.
So he focused on that.
He worked on it daily for extended periods of time.
When Jeff showed up at the Vent Haven ConVENTion, he started winning the youth competitions. Then, because he was so good, they let him into the senior competitions. And this kid from Texas won them all.
Was he that good?
Yes – because he focused on his craft. He focused on doing shows. He focused on getting better.
And he did it with a laser focus. He wasn’t all over the board. He saw what he wanted and went after it at the expense of other things.
When Jeff started working comedy clubs, he used the same focus. He focused on his career. He built his routines, he built his following and he built his connections in the industry.
All with the intent of success.
There was a time he almost quit. But he didn’t. He doubled down and tried even harder.
Jeff worked his butt off. He worked gigs that kept him on the road and away from his family. That isn’t easy. It affects relationships.
When Jeff wanted to create his first special, he had the faith in his own abilities and the network of people he had developed around him. For that reason, he put up his own money to professionally record that special.
Would you have the faith to go deep into debt to finance your next career move?
Possibly at the expense of your family’s well-being?
(And please, don’t spend your money and then cry and start a “GoFund Me” when things don’t work out. If you can’t finance a business move, you probably are not ready for it.)
Jeff worked hard to make things happen. He kept his goal in front of him. And as a result, he broke through to a level he never even envisioned.
People see Terry Fator playing his own theatre in Las Vegas. They know he sometimes tours to headline at other casinos. They saw him win $1,000,000 on America’s Got Talent.
Terry was lucky!
Yes, but he put himself in a position to take advantage of those opportunities.
Terry also wanted to become a famous ventriloquist as a child. He practiced and worked on it for hours every day. It was his focus.
His path was different than Jeff’s. Terry was the front man in “Texas The Band.” He used his amazing vocal skills to imitate major music stars. He did that with and without his vent figures.
Over the years, Terry played countless shows across the United States. He worked every type of venue and every type of audience.
Terry once told me he didn’t have a backup plan. He wanted to be a ventriloquist.
But there was more.
There was a point where Terry thought he would never become famous. To that point he had worked his butt off and still had little to show for it. And he was getting older.
He thought about quitting. But his art was his life.
Instead of becoming discouraged, Terry made a decision …
He wouldn’t be just a ventriloquist.
He wanted to be the best ventriloquist he could possibly be.
So he continued to work on his craft. He dedicated himself to a goal. And he did it with a laser like focus.
There is that word again:
When America’s Got Talent reached out to him, (as they do to almost every entertainer they can find) he didn’t go on with the idea of winning.
Terry went on to be the best ventriloquist they ever saw.
He figured he would be on a couple of episodes and that the exposure would help his career.
Boy did it!
Terry told me during an interview, that the other contestants on the show would go site-seeing. They would take advantage of the opportunities offered by going to Hollywood.
While they were doing that, Terry was in his room practicing. Perfecting his lip control, manipulation and vocals for each segment.
He believed if he did this, he would have a lifetime to take advantage of other opportunities.
And now he does.
So what does it take to become famous?
Focus and hard work.
They will allow you to take advantage of the opportunities that arise.
If you seriously want to become famous, you need to focus on that goal.
Ask yourself what skills you will need. Where will you need to improve?
This isn’t a question for the weak.
* – If you already believe you are good enough to succeed, good luck – stop reading and find a real job.
There is a book called, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. While it isn’t about becoming famous, that title applies to this subject. It is also a good read that will make you think.
Are you willing to accept outside opinions?
Not just your friends and family. They will sugar-coat things for you.
You need to seek out coaches who can help you advance.
And not just anyone who claims to be a coach.
You want to find someone who’s talent and success level is proven to be above your current level.
They may not even be in the same field you are. We can learn from a variety of sources.
And you will need to pay them.
And you will need to work with them.
And you will need to listen to them.
You may not like or agree with what you hear.
But a coach is there to help you. A good coach will help you overcome problem areas you don’t even realize you have.
(No – I’m not selling coaching – I don’t have time for that.)
And don’t settle for one coach.
Continue to work with one until you see the improvement and they agree you are ready to move forward. Then seek out another coach at an even higher level.
Continue to study.
Continue to practice.
Work hard at getting on stage in front of audiences.
Record every show.
Watch it over and over again until you are sick of it.
Then, figure out why you are sick of it, and improve that!
Make your stage time educational.
Don’t just do shows.
Figure out what makes your audience laugh and applaud, then work to make it even better.
I won’t lie.
The odds are against you.
If you try to take the easy path, odds are it will be discouraging.
Work your butt off – literally.
Focus on your act and your career.
Usually at the expense of other things.
Fame sounds great – but getting there isn’t for the weak.
You can read more about Jeff and Terry’s journeys to success by reading their autobiographies. Just click on the pictures below to get your copy on Amazon.com.