The time is now

Reader Comment and Question:  I am currently unemployed and I have considered doing vent shows full time as an alternative career.  I have performed vent in the past for churches, civic organizations, senior citizens and so on as opportunities came along.  I am 54.  Any advice as to my chances of beginning a full time vent career?  Is the idea feasible, and if so, how and where should I begin?
*  *  *  *  *
From Mr. D:  I'm going to invite readers to comment on your questions, but I'll begin by saying realistically, one does not, at any age, simply one day decide to "go full time" as a ventriloquist and do it.  Rather, you start with one show followed by another and then another.  One show performed well most likely will lead to one or more additional future opportunities.  As your calendar fills with advance bookings, a full time career may develop over time.  But initially, you will have to get the ball rolling by deciding to whom you would like to offer your services and then make yourself known to them.  People cannot request or accept your services as a ventriloquist until they know of them.

You have named three very logical venues/groups.  Your past experience in these venues is an obvious plus.  You may still have the names of some contact persons.  You may have to offer your services free to a couple select groups to help get your name out there (see Mark Wade's post 10/24/11).  It will take some time, effort, and legwork to get things off and rolling, but now is the time to do it.


  1. The most important part of building a full-time career is starting. Every enterprise has risk, but don't let fear of risk prevent you from starting. A successful career is like starting a train. At first it may chug, but as it moves forward, it picks up speed and momentum. Start at 54, and by the time you're 55, you'll likely be amazed as to how far you've traveled.

  2. I have begun doing variety 3-4 years ago, previously I was more of a song and dance man in musical comedies while working full time as a social director for a retirement complex. I decided about 4 years ago that i wanted to entertain children, so began by doing walk arounds in parks, carnivals, fairs...while handing out my business cards and picking up a party now and then. As time progressed I found out that I enjoyed working with the kids doinbg some games and fun ballon modeling, along with my puppets adding a story now and then, to give the kids a full 2 hour show. Oh by the way I am 64 years old and look forward to more exciting times with the kids...Good luck with your new venture, give it time, let it grow one party at a time, the best advertising is word of mouth, so no matter how small the party is give it your all, I mean no matter if your performing for i person or 100. The most important aspect of any performing is 'the show must go on, no matter, your situation, they are expecting you, don't let them down. Some times age plays havic on you, try to over look it, if you find that impossible, be sure you have someone who can replace you. There is just so one one must be aware of, there is not enough room here to include it. The best to you...

  3. Sorry NJ, I don't agree with you about "the show must go on" life goes on, not shows. The world will not stop spinning if I cancel a show because of legit reason and I have had many clients cancel on me even at the last minute.

    The person asking this question needs to realize the economic situation in America. As a full time entertainer in today's times, it is much harder to do this full time. You want the truth, you must handle the truth. My advice to the person asking the main question is to have a back up plan, waiting at home for the phone to ring is NOT the answer or just going out and performing FREE shows thinking they will get you more work. There is a reason a client will ask you to perform for free, it is because they have no money. Millions of Americans are out of work, all my entertainer friends are lowering their prices to get the job. Smiles and laughs don't pay the bills. If you are serious about doing this full time, get off the computer and go find paying gigs. They are out there, they are just harder to find and less of them. Worry about your lip control later, find work first.

    I do wish you all the best if you are serious.

  4. Just remember, the "Blue Print" to success is YOU! If you think you can...you can. Don't let others get in the way of your dreams.

    If you go to YouTube and type in Life=Risk or
    use the link below, you will see that many others have succeeded by not giving up.


  5. bob steininger10/27/2011

    i think you need to look at this realistically can you support yourself and family while trying to make a career out of this feild if so go for it if not you might want to start as a part time performer in which case you can make a nice little income off of it remember you are going to have over head car to travel meals on the road advertising (not cheap)insurance as a performer to protect you and your audience i am self employed 30 yrs and i had the oppertunity to go full time but i myself had to look at it realistically (nice side income) but whatever way you decide to go i wish you nothing but the best and who knows maybe we will see you on a stage in vegas god bless

  6. When the economy gets rough and people find themselves unemployed, many turn to their hobbies to earn money. This floods the marketplace with "professional entertainers" which lowers prices in the smaller markets. Eventually these new "pros" find they can't earn a living and drift back into the job market. Unfortunately it leaves a mess that full timers need to clean up.

    The fact you ask the most basic question "how and where should I begin?" tells me you aren't nearly ready. Performing professionally is a business. You need to start with the product. If your current show isn't producing steady work, you'll need to improve and hone the act. You'll need start up capital. You'll need a business plan. You'll need to devote the time into creating a business.

    I'm not saying it can't be done. It will be difficult. I'd recommend you take some business courses, read some marketing materials and get hold of Ken Grove's book "Breaking Down The Brick Walls of Show Business".

    I'd also recommend you attempt to get a part time job so you will have cash flow until the business begins to earn enough you can draw a salary. Good luck!!!