Diana Rockwell: Ventriloquist

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ROCKWELL'S BLOG

Five ways your vent act can bring you closer to your goals

Posted by thisisrockwelltv on September 18, 2015 at 12:15 AM

 

As a heavily passionate vent, I am always looking for new ways to bring out the best of my technique. I set my standards very high and have never met a vent challenge I wouldn’t take. What I wish to share with any potential ventriloquist are these tactics that have indeed made me stronger in my technique.

 

Shutting out: What I recommend all vents to do is own a video recording device of some kind. Apple MacBooks are a vent’s best friend as far as I’m concerned. Take advantage of the best possible technology when it comes to a tactic that I like to call shutting out. By this, I mean to zoom in on your lips while being recorded. Once you have your video ready to go, be sure to place an index card over the side the screen your vent figure is on and just watch your every move. This is how you can track any lip slip ups as well as any moments of bad posture on your part. By the shutting the dummy completely out, you can track every little mistake you make.

Muting: Alongside shutting out, re-watch your video, but this time turn the volume completely down. With this you can capture the movements of both you and your dummy. Ask yourself “am I convinced that there are two people on stage or does it look like a guy with a doll.” By not being able to hear what is said, you can put your focus entirely on how well polished the overall movement is.

Blindfolding: This is especially a good task for manipulation practice. Whenever I am wanting to better my movement skills, I simply place a night time eye mask over my face right after I hit the record button. What I really like about this trick is the fact that you don’t get as distracted by the puppet on stage. You have to make keen eye contact with your audience from time to time. I can’t stand it when vents are eyeing their puppets throughout the entire performance. If that is a bad habit for you, this will help.

Scoring: In case you haven’t done anything like this, keep a daily score log with you at all times. Rate yourselves on a scale of 1 to 10 on these categories:

Lip Control:

Manipulation:

Timing:

Enunciation:

Posture:

Splitting:

Score: /60

By keeping a score log, you can pinpoint the areas in which improvement is most needed. Use this for every video you record. Base it on a score out of 60 points total. Then each month, I would suggest creating your monthly review and base it on a percentage value.

 Art History: Right now you’re probably thinking, wait-what? But hear me out- art history is a subject in which all performers and visual artists should obtain a working knowledge of. You’ll notice that the key to keeping fine art alive for many years is to avoid the obvious. Art history teaches us to break the ice and be innovative. How else would we have gone from Michaelangelo to Jackson Pollock over the many years? Don’t ever let anyone trap you in a box with closed minded ideas. If you have other skills and traits that you can incorporate into your vent act, then by all means do it! Take for instance Senor Wences; he was a juggler, a plate spinner, a caricature artist and brought all of those traits into his act. Many widely recognize him as a Surrealist.

 

I hope that these five steps can inspire you, motivate you, and challenge you. I love this art form and I’d do anything for it. Later catz!

-Rockwell

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