Comments for Beginner Vents

From Joe Radle

When you are working with your figure, engage it as you would a real person. Look at it, have it look at you when it speaks, and look away when appropriate toward the audience. Use your own facial expressions and his, where possible, to show various emotions. Practice in front of a mirror and then video yourself.

If you make a mistake that is obvious, have your figure chide you for it. You will not only get laughs but you will get some sympathy.

A great way to practice ad lib's is to have a conversation with your figure when you are driving, [ sans the figure of course ] or any time or place you can. You can even audio tape these conversations and they will help you come up with ideas, timing. Comments about road conditions, things you see, or anything that pops into your minds, will aid you in practicing a natural flow to your conversations with him.

Don't be afraid to use a cheat strip or progress card kept in your sight only, like lying flat on the puppet stand, or just hung behind it, or pinned to the back of the puppet out of audience sight. Simple one word progressions will help to keep you on track at a glance; Example: Trip here, elevator, lost way, bathroom, nurse station, patient remarked, lost shoe, water bottle, buy me lunch, Say good bye, etc. If the list runs vertical it will be easier to keep track of. I often use this aid to keep me on point, especially where jumping ahead by accident might negate a section of the bit I think is important.

If you do miss something, just continue as if that section won't make or break the bit. Just roll with the flow. You can even have your puppet remind you that you forgot something. Theres many ways around lost ways.

Folks really like to be entertained, so they will be on your side. Good luck and welcome to the club. Joe Radle aka "Capt. Joe "


  1. Banter, patter, bits of business. Jokes are not necessary to bring puppet to life.

  2. Anonymous3/13/2010

    Thanks for the tips!!