Enhance your performance

From Doug Nearpass

Thanks for the thoughts from Mark Wade. (See post for 4/12/10) I always enjoy reading Mark's contributions. I think his book on Kidshow Ventriloquism was one of the first "text books" I ever read regarding vent as a business.

But Mark's recent contribution was not so much about a business, as it was "honing your art". Kind of like Picasso giving a few pointers to Bob Ross!

We've all performed a variety of arts in our programs, if for nothing else than to provide some interest to our audience. However, Mark really hit a good point: DON'T LOSE YOUR FOCUS!
I recall a time when I was a new, young, fresh vent, trying to make an interesting program, and I found myself loaded up with magic tricks. I had an attic full of them! One day I took a look at my program, and thought to myself, "I'm a vent with more magic than ventriloquism in my show!" Then, in equally as immature a move, I took every trick I had, put it in a box and sold it back to the magic shop! I took a horrendous beating on the price, but I wanted that stuff out of my house. THAT is when I focused on being a vent.

If your act isn't interesting enough to keep an audience's interest, do something with the act. Is it not funny enough? Is it repetitious? Is it monotonous? What's wrong with the act? Nothing wrong with a little variety, but like Mark said, it needs to ENHANCE your performance. If it's simply another trick to "wow" the audience, then it's probably about as effective as eating a candy bar to stay awake... it'll work for a short time, but will drop your energy level worse than it was before.

I think one of the things Mark teaches in his book is to PLAN your show! Give it thought! Plan it out! Steve Petruzella is one of my favorite examples of this. His shows are thought through, planned out, pre-tested and well prepared! He knows what he's doing, where he's going with his material, and how the kids are following along. It's not just about the laughs.

Thanks for your comments, Mark, and for reminding me of the importance of planning and focus. GREAT entry!


  1. Hello Clinton and Doug,
    my posting about "practice makes permanent" was a saying that Doug told me last year at an I-Fest puppet festival here in texas, that saying really stuck with me so I have to give credit where credit is due, it was all DOUG. I respect vents like Doug and others that are really focused on doing a GREAT job. With all my years of experience and shows under my belt, I still learn from them, but it is more a learning of the heart not lip control.

  2. I checked out The Latest on Lee and Doug Nearpass and their "... very active kids' ministry in the New Jersey/New York City metro area..." blogspot. The trip through several states videos set to music are so very good. LeeDean