How much will it cost to make my daughter a star?

That was the opening line of an email I received the other day.

Wow. A star. You can buy that?

Obviously the young lady saw Darci Lynne win America’s Got Talent. She saw a kid her age rocket to fame and fortune.

And how hard can this ventriloquism thing be if a 12 year old can do it?

So you get a course and you can be famous too. Just like Jeff Dunham, Terry Fator or Darci Lynne.

Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

Ventriloquism isn’t a simple art to master.

It isn’t self-working.

It doesn’t provide instant gratification.

Some people assume they can do ventriloquism …

Isn’t it just talking without moving your lips?


When I walk on-stage, here is a brief look at all the things I have to do …

1. Breathe deep.
That is key for a clear, crisp voice for your character.

2. Remember my script.
Not only must I know what I am going to say and what my character/puppet is going to say, I must present the conversation as if it is spontaneous. A huge key to ventriloquism is making the presentation feel as if it is happening for the very first time.

3. Control my lips and voice.
When the puppet talks, and when I talk.

4. Act for myself AND the puppet AT THE SAME TIME.
You can’t allow what the puppet is feeling, saying or doing to show on your face. You have a part to play in the act and have to remain you. Likewise you must not allow what is happening to you to affect the puppet.

5. Continuously manipulate the puppet so it remains “alive”.

6. Control Movement.
Knowing exactly where I and my character must look or be at every given moment of the program.

7. Smile.
Present myself in a positive manner to the audience.

8. Be Aware.
Know what is going on around me and if needed, address it during the presentation.

9. Engage.
Too many acts fail to actively engage the audience. You need to make connections with everyone in that room. This allows you to:

10. Know what is working.

11. Adjust as needed.
You need to be on! Your brain needs to be thinking ahead. You can’t do that when you have trouble remembering a script or any one of the other things we’ve discussed.

12. Keep everyone entertained.

These skills – and I’m sure I’ve skipped a few – (it has been a LONG day!) must be almost automatic. If you concentrate on one, the others suffer. They must become second nature.

Even with all the skills – you must possess talent.

Not every singer has what it takes to be a star.

How many people play sports? And how many are household names?

And to reach that level of stardom takes more than just a course or book.

It takes help.

Sports stars have coaches and trainers to help them reach their true potential.

Singers have vocal coaches.

Darci Lynne has a ventriloquist coach and vocal coach.

I’m not saying you can’t do it – but it isn’t something money buys. It is something you invest in.

Ventriloquism should be an art you love. Not a tool to make money.

Yes, you can make good money as a ventriloquist.

But if fame and fortune are your driving factor, you may be in for a long and lonely road with an unhappy outcome. I know plenty of variety artists who feel like their big break never happened. They imagined themselves as stars and are now discouraged by the reality. Some have even become bitter and angry because they feel like fame bypassed them.

There are more people who are in the trenches than in the limelight.


Enjoy what you do. Make people laugh and smile, and you will be rewarded. But understand rewards aren’t always fame and/or fortune.