"Its just a puppet"

Question: It seems like every time I perform I get a kid who always says "That's just a puppet -it's not real." I really need help on this one. Please help me overcome this. Can you offer several tips, experience's that will help? It's similar when I do magic - there's always a kid that says, "It's behind your back. I know how it's done." It can be really frustrating. How can I turn this around?
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Answer: What you have experienced is a very common response. There seems to be one child in every audience that will "challenge" you with what he/she thinks is their great discovery. Unlike magic, there is no "secret" involved with ventriloquism so my personal response was something along the line of, "You're right - and my job is to help the puppet speak (or, act real/alive) - how'd he do?" The child initially believes they've discovered the big secret of the fact that the character is not alive...it's just a puppet (which is actually a compliment to the performer). And the child expects a defensive response. By affirming their response you retake control. I've even gone further by telling the child, "you're very observant - I'll bet you would make a good ventriloquist. Have you ever thought about learning?"

Encouraging compliments and response - now that's where the real "magic" is found!

1 comment:

  1. I have found that most comments such as,"You're really talking" and "That's really a puppet" is an expression of doubt. When SKIP my figure looks at me and says," Why does he think that I can't talk?" and when I answer him with,"I don't know why he thinks that you can't talk" I usually get the "look" maybe I was wrong. It IS a compliment as a ventriloquist, but I try my best NOT to spoil the illusion and seldom do I find myself challenged more than once. Never do I solicit another opinion or open a dialogue with the child, it just becomes a conversation between me and SKIP about him. A magician doesn't tell the secret of his magic illusion, should we as ventriloquists? There my be no secret in ventriloquism but there is illusion. In his own mind, the child could always think,"See, I was right!" but never says it.