Question: I have a problem and it is confidence. I practice every day and am doing really good. I don't have a problem in front of my family but tha'ts were it ends. I have books and dvds that teaches ventriloquism. Maybe you can give me the right advice. WS
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From Mr. D: I can appreciate your desire to increase confidence in your vent skills. From experience I know the feeling.
I found that confidence can be gained through practice and preparation, but the real lasting confidence comes from your audience. Their laughter, applause, post show comments, and requests for more - all of this assures you that your are effective in what you are doing, and they are impressed with your performance. Thus your confidence is built.
That is why the first shows are the most difficult. But as you do a few, your confidence increases.
Here are some things Col. Bill Boley once wrote to help make those early shows easier:
1) Be sure you know your routine well. Practice repeatedly. Test it on a family member or members before going before your "real" audience.
2) Use a routine or portion of a routine you have used for a previous audience if possible.
3) Start your act with jokes that you know have been getting laughs.
4) Pick a friend or relative in the audience and perform for them. If you have no friends or relatives in the audience, pick a friendly face and perform for that person.
5) Be friendly and smile at your audience and let them know that you are enjoying what you are doing.
6) Sometimes it helps to "ham it up". Over act a little bit - just don't overdo it.
These tips come from a booklet we published at Maher Studios called Conquering Stage Fright. Do you have that book? If not, I'll send you (and anyone reading this post) a free copy - just provide me with your mailing address. Contact Mr. D
And remember, to one degree or another, every ventriloquist has gone through the same emotions you are feeling. It's just one of the steps to become a skilled talent. You CAN proceed with increasing confidence...just prepare for the next show. That's all you ever need to do.