There will come a day when we can’t do shows anymore. For some, sooner than others. So what will you do next?
My friend Al Good had a stroke. One side effect was he could no longer remember his show. He is no longer able to perform. Al still keeps his connection to ventriloquism by attending the conVENTion and selling his world famous vent stands. I visited Al last year when I was performing in his area. He showed me his work shop and an amazing organ he built. I was blown away by his talent for creating. While he misses performing, you can tell he loves what he is doing and that he is still a part of the vent community.
My friend Sammy King was in a coma. He had a breathing tube stuck down his throat for months. It damaged his vocal chords. Sammy was told he would never do ventriloquism again. He struggled back, but is limited in the number of performances he can accept. Sammy stays in touch with the vent community by lecturing and coaching others. He also published a book that details his experiences as a professional ventriloquist. These opportunities give him a modest income and help him stay busy in the art he loves.
For professional entertainers, not performing means a loss of income. Unfortunately not all pros are equipped for that to happen. The business has ups and downs. It never seems steady. You have to budget for slow times. Plus you need to put away money for retirement. I know a lot of acts that haven’t. (I’m not financially ready for retirement either!)
I’m not sure when I will be on-stage for the last time. Hopefully it will be awhile. In the meantime, I created the Learn Ventriloquism Course and now run Maher Studios. Both of these let me stay active while earning a small income. I’ll never be able to retire based on them, but one day I’m sure they will help.
What can you give back to the community you love? Think about how you can contribute to your vent family. Even if not a profitable VENTure – staying connected makes all the difference in the world.