Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lip Control Part 2

We talk about ventriloquism and the basics and I can't help but wonder what people are thinking that call themselves ventriloquists and you can tell they haven't even tried to learn to talk without moving their lips. It amazes me when I go to a convention, whether it be venthaven or one of the other conventions where ventriloquists gather you find the same amount of people walking around with puppets doing a horrible job with lip control. They don't just slip up once in a while, they haven't even practiced. If you've ever been to a convention you know the people I'm talking about. The sad thing is if you ask someone off the street what a ventriloquist is they would say, "Someone who talks without moving their lips." But these people think it's ok to call themselves ventriloquists and not even practice the basic fundamentals of ventriloquism.

I am sure this is a pet peeve of anyone that has put in the hours of practice trying to perfect the skill of talking without moving their lips. The ultimate frustration is the person who's puppet sounds the same as them, they have jerky movements and deadsticking and they move their lips. I mean honestly, what are you doing at a ventriloquist convention with a puppet? If your a collector for the love of Pete just quit trying to talk your puppet and say your a collector. Shame on you if your booking shows calling yourself a ventriloquist and ruining it for the rest of us.

There comes a time, after many practices and performances that you might be able to get away with some lip movement and be forgiven. Once you make the characters look real and believable people will be watching the puppets when they talk, not you. But until that point you should be as good as possible. I know there are always going to be quivering lips, clenching and words that are hard to pronounce. I can forgive all of that. But until you've at least practiced and done the best that you can to talk without moving your lips do us all a favor. Put the business cards on the shelf, take down your webpage, take yourself off of gig masters or gig salad and go buy yourself the Maher course or one of the other great programs out there that teaches ventriloquism and learn to do it correctly.

Up next, where do you get your promotional material?

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Bob Baker said...

It is my firm belief that the only people who argue that lip is not important are those that don't have it, or are not constantly striving to get/maintain it. It would be OK for them to invoke Bergen if they were as good as he in all other aspects of vent. But they're not.

Ron said...

You forgot to mention some of the so called pros at the conventions have the same problem. The are great puppeteers and have great characters but the lips flap like crazy.

Dave Boiano said...

Both posts are right on the money.
But you could have a Part 3 about puppeteers/ventriloquists who will actually insist it is not important and will actually get mad about anyone mentioning it.

Puppet guy said...

Great post, I totally agree with that. A question, how would you react to the throat movement?