Birthday Party Tips For Vents

By Timothy Arends

Birthday parties offer an excellent opportunity for the ventriloquist who would like to turn the hobby of double-talk into a money-making venture. There are, however, a few pitfalls in this field, as with any other. I think I can give you suggestions on avoiding mistakes that are common to beginners so you can come off looking like a "pro" right from the very beginning.

1) Have plenty of variety in the act. Keep vent routines short and full of action. Add color, flash, and novelty. Hold a puppet show that uses some of the kids as puppeteers. Go to a magic shop and ask the clerk for suggestions for simple magic tricks.

2) When you put together your act, limit its length to half an hour. The kids will be eager the see the show and get on to cake, ice cream, and presents.

3) Work out a show that is easy to carry and quick to set up. You won't be collecting premium prices, so keep your set-up time to a minimum. Limit the show to something you can carry in two suitcases and set up in two minutes.

4) Involve the kids in the show. We mentioned puppetry earlier. Let the kids yell "Abracadabra" for tricks. Have your vent figure "ad-lib" with the kids. He can also play games like "Simon Says" and sing "Happy Birthday" with the group. Emphasize give-aways such as balloon animals.

5) Be well rehearsed. Don't be in such a hurry to start making money that you don't give yourself time to prefect your act. The more confident you are about your show, the less problem you will have with stage fright. Practice your show exactly as you will when performing the show.

Ed. note: Condensed from article by the same title, first published in Newsy Vents, Vol. 46, Issue 6, Nov/Dec 1988.

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