I know this might sound silly to some ventriloquists who may say “what’s the difference?”, but it’s how you transport your characters that makes a huge impact on your audiences and your show. I’ve seen some vents just throw their partners in an old suitcase , with very little padding I might add, and go about their business. Others pack their characters like they’re fine pieces of china, and I really have no problem with that. How do you do?
I think the big difference stems from whether or not you are using a soft puppet or a vent figure, made of wood or other materials. With a soft puppet you can use a suitcase, trunk, or even a special case. You have more variety because the soft puppet will not break. There are no moving parts, so to speak. You put the puppets in a pillow case (no plastic as the plastic doesn’t “breathe”) and you get good ventilation so the rubber or foam rubber doesn’t harden or break down. The puppets may bump around a bit but with a good hair brush you are back in business in no time.
The vent figure is another matter. They have all the mechanics in the head and if it is not properly put away each time, you run the risk of breaking something. The vent figure is not as easily repaired so it may stop you from either doing a show or having to modify your performance. To put a vent figure in a regular trunk or suitcase is to run the risk of damage. I would suggest tricking out the trunk so that the head and body remain in place without moving. Foam rubber cut to fit the head and to cradle the body goes a long way in protecting your investment. The figure also doesn’t look roughed up when you arrive to perform.
I know this seems simple, but you’d be surprise at how many vents overlook these little things that help.
You can contact Mark at: firstname.lastname@example.org