One question that pops up again and again in emails, is how can I remember my script?
That is a great question!
It is a major concern for most ventriloquists. If you forget your script, how can you cover? What do you do?
Well, first, I advise you to learn the art of conversation.
Be able to talk about anything. You should practice just talking with your puppet about anything and everything. No planned script, just back and forth. It doesn’t even have to be funny. It just needs to continue and be natural.
When you can converse, if you lose your place you will avoid freezing. That is death to the illusion of ventriloquism.
Now, back to the question …
There are several great ways to remember a script.
The first is to write your own, edit out the weak parts and re-write. The writing process helps you cement the script in your mind. After all, it came from your imagination.
You can also create your act in very small chunks. A chunk is a few minutes of material. Think of it as eating the elephant. If you try to shove the whole thing in your mouth you will choke. Cut it up into small bits and digest it over time.
BTW – I’m pretty sure it is illegal to eat elephants. I don’t advise it, But I’m not judging you.
One technique I like to do is to record the script. I can then listen to it over and over. It becomes as comfortable as an old song. I’ll “sing” with it when I am driving. The repeated playing burns it into my memory.
I also find that I will get sick of the script as it is written. I will find things to cut or add. I hone it during this process so when I walk on stage, I know the material. I’ll know what the puppet is feeling, what I’m feeling and the vocal tones to create those emotions.
Try recording your scripts and listening to them as you walk or exercise. Or drive. Or before you go to sleep at night. It is a wonderful way to memorize.
The last thing you can try is a teleprompter. Do a Google search. You can find software you can download to your laptop or tablet. Some of it is free. Inexpensive remotes can be linked to the “prompter” to allow you to scroll. Place the computer or tablet on the stage and glance at it when you need some help.
The prompter is a backup. Don’t rely on it for your whole script or you will come off sounding mechanical. But it is an option that some use and I thought I would share.
How do you memorize your scripts? Share your techniques in the comments below!