Before You Hire Live Entertainment

Before You Hire Live Entertainment

Hiring live entertainment for your event takes a lot of thought. You need appropriate entertainment that will appeal to your guests. The entertainment must fit within the limitations of your venue. It must also contribute to your plans and goals to create a successful outcome.

There are all styles of corporate events:

  • live-entertainment-wordsSeminars
  • Conferences
  • Meetings
  • Awards Dinners
  • Breakfasts
  • Luncheons
  • Picnics
  • Trade Shows
  • Incentive Programs
  • Retreats
  • Golfing
  • Product Launches
  • Client Appreciation
  • etc.

And all styles of live entertainers:

  • Ventriloquists
  • Magicians
  • Jugglers
  • Aerialists
  • Speed Painters
  • Caricaturists
  • Musicians
  • Bands
  • Disc Jockeys
  • Stand Up Comedians
  • Impressionists
  • Cirque Acts
  • Speakers
  • etc.

These categories are by no means complete. To further complicate things, each branches off in personalities, styles and levels of professionalism.

Before you hire live entertainment, here are some tips you should consider.

1. What is your entertainment budget?
Skimping on your entertainment budget is never a good idea. Live entertainment is one of the most memorable things about any event. For new event planners, entertainment can be an after-thought. Don’t let that happen to you.

Your budget will help you narrow a lot of options before you begin your search. Can you afford quality professional corporate entertainment? Or will the budget force you to hire a weekend warrior? If it is too low, you may want to look for non-entertainment options. The entertainment will reflect on your job as event planner and on your company.

2. What do you hope to achieve from the event?

All planning decisions should stem from this goal. If something doesn’t contribute to the desired outcome, it may be expendable. Will the entertainment you select help you achieve to goal? Should it contain a message? Reinforce an idea? Or is it simply there to relax guests and make sure they have a wonderful time.

3. What will your guests like?

Know your attendees and understand their likes and dislikes. You wouldn’t want to hire a techno-DJ for a senior crowd. Bands usually lack the ability to appeal to a diverse audience too.

One example is the company who hired a touring production of “The Jersey Boys”. The company was to entertain their field crew with some songs from the musical. As awesome as the act was, the 20-somethings headed for the door. A case of the wrong type of music and entertainment for the event audience.

4. Will the entertainment fit your venue?

In a limited space, a band may not be able to fit their instruments. An illusionist may not be able to fit his or her boxes and trunks. When you have a limited space, a standup comedian or a ventriloquist comedian may be a better solution. Either of these comedian types would make excellent live entertainment for parties. Just make sure they understand how to work clean. Any language may reflect poorly on your company’s image.

5. Can the entertainment customize their program?

One sure fire way to get your guests involved is to make the program about them. Will your entertainment incorporate your audience? Can they work in your message, company and product?

Live entertainment offers your people a chance to relax and have fun. Celebrate your success with something special that provides memories for years to come. Contact our office for a free live entertainment consultation. We look forward to helping your event achieve the ovations you deserve.

What Your Favorite Ventriloquist Reveals About You …

What Your Favorite Ventriloquist Reveals About You …

We all know that choices are personal preferences. From the food we eat, to the car you buy, it tells others something about you. Marketers target people based on their previous purchases. And now, we dig even deeper into your psyche, as we explain what your favorite ventriloquist reveals about you.

If your favorite ventriloquist is:

The Great Lester
You desire to be the best at everything you do. Fame and accolades are not your focus. You realize by staying true to yourself, others will discover and appreciate your accomplishments.

Edgar Bergen
You long for the traditional ways of the past. Personality is key to everything you do, bringing more life to those around you. You are a smart business person who intends to make a lasting impression for future generations.

Paul Winchell
You are extremely creative and enjoy variety in your life. While you have your ups and downs, your talents always shine through. Happiness comes when you are active and involved in following your passions.

Jimmy Nelson
Nostalgia is important to you. You value the gentle ways of the past and are happiest when life moves at a slower pace. Kindness and generosity are among your best traits and you try to treat others with the utmost respect at all times.

Senor Wences
You are a person of many talents and blend them together seamlessly. A hard worker, when life throws you a curve, you are able to think outside of the box, even if it means using the box in a unique way.

Shari Lewis
You are a multi-talented person who is capable of being successful in many areas of your life. An original thinker, you are the type of person who would rather wear socks on your hands instead of your feet.

Willie Tyler
A humble person, you appreciate all that life presents you. Each day is considered a gift and you treat it like one. When all is said and done, you will look back over an amazing life and be proud to have experienced every moment of it.

Ronn Lucas
Although admired by those around you, you don’t always feel appreciated. Others sometimes fear your wrath because you are overly protective of all you do. Always striving to be the best, you can easily become frustrated. You should try to relax and enjoy the benefits of your accomplishments.

Jay Johnson
The best word to describe you is WOW! Not only are you highly talented, you always exceed expectations. Extremely creative, you never cease to amaze those around you. You are also a kind, giving person who feels lucky to enjoy life on your own terms.

Jeff Dunham
You enjoy living life on the edge, laughing and going for the gusto. A do-er, you are able to focus on a goal and pursue it with passion. Even when others tell you you can’t succeed, you know differently. No matter what, you intend to be happy and surround yourself with those you love.

Terry Fator
Passion and generosity drive you. Your concern for others is legendary. A gifted individual, you realize that things may not always work out. By keeping a focus on what is truly important, you believe your life will be abundant and it will be. You inspire others who look up to both your talent and your kindness.

David Strassman
Clever, creative and forward thinking, you are at the forefront of innovation. Respected by colleagues and sought after by people, you highly value your privacy. When you do step into the spotlight, your brilliance shines.

Nina Conti
Quiet and reserved, you become larger than life when called upon. Your gentle nature relaxes those around you, creating memorable moments. You realize education and experience combine with your natural talents and work ethic to make you successful.

Dan Horn
You are motivated to take everything you do to the next level. Unafraid to wear your heart on your sleeve, you are highly respected as a true artist.

If your favorite ventriloquist isn’t listed here
You are unique, original and not afraid to forge your own path. Unconcerned with more traditional choices, you look for inspiration outside of the mainstream. These qualities will take you where you want to go, even if the trip takes longer than expected.

We invite you to share this post on FaceBook, Twitter and other social media, so you can learn more about your friends!

Looking to hire a ventriloquist? Contact our office to discuss your event needs. We can help you find a ventriloquist who will make your event a success!

A Ventriloquist … ?

A Ventriloquist … ?

A ventriloquist may not be your first thought when planning entertainment, but maybe it should be!

a ventriloquistVentriloquists have touched the lives of more people than you might imagine. A ventriloquist by the name of Edgar Bergen was one of the most famous personalities in the world during the early days of radio. With his figure, Charlie McCarthy, Bergen was a star of radio, movies and television.

Another popular ventriloquist was Paul Winchell. Winchell had his own television show and guest starred with all-time greats like Lucille Ball. His voice is famous for his voice-overs for Disney’s Tigger and other iconic cartoon characters.

Have you ever heard the Nestles Quik jingle? “N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestles makes the very best – Chocolate!” The was a ventriloquist by the name of Jimmy Nelson.

A ventriloquist named Shari Lewis entertained and educated millions of children with her character Lamb Chop. A ventriloquist named Senor Wences was so famous they named a street in New York City after him.

Today, a ventriloquist named Jeff Dunham is one of the top grossing comedians in the world. Jeff revived the art, keeping it fresh for the current generation.

So why hire a ventriloquist for your event?

If you want your guests to have fun, laughter reduces stress, relaxes people and creates a shared experience. Unlike a stand up comedian, a ventriloquist comedian adds an extra level of show to your program. A skilled ventriloquist is like hiring a comedy team.

Ventriloquism is also a great tool for meetings and training seminars. If you need to inform, educate or present a message, a ventriloquist can help. The characters aren’t real, so they can comfortably address the “elephant in the room.”

When you are in charge of planning an event, contact our office to discuss your entertainment needs. We’d be happy to develop a proposal based on your specific requirements. If Tom isn’t right for your function, he is happy to help connect you with someone that can help make your event a success.

Let’s talk now …

How To Do Ventriloquism (With Pictures And Video)

How To Do Ventriloquism (With Pictures And Video)

How To Be A Ventriloquist for Beginners.

Secrets Of Ventriloquism

Learn How To Do Ventriloquism The Right Way!

If you want to be a good ventriloquist, we can help. Just follow these tips and how to instructions provided by professional ventriloquist Tom Crowl.

What Is Ventriloquism?

People are often confused about ventriloquism. Some people think ventriloquism is knowing how to throw your voice. Others think ventriloquists just talk without moving the lips.

The art of ventriloquism is about creating the illusion of life. So what does it take to be a good ventriloquist?

To Do Ventriloquism:

  • You must be able to talk without moving your lips.
  • Have a different voice for your puppet.
  • Keep your puppet or ventriloquist figure “alive” through manipulation.
  • And hold a believable conversation with your character.

How To Throw Your Voice:

You can’t really throw your voice. The human ear can not tell where sound is coming from. It must coordinate with your eyes to determine the direction of sound.

When you watch television, it appears as if the actors on screen are talking. The sound is actually coming from the speakers. Because your eyes see the actor’s mouth moving, your brain tells you that is where the sound comes from.

Ventriloquism used this technique long before television. If the eye sees the puppet’s mouth moving, the brain buys into the illusion the sound comes from the puppet. This is a big part of what makes ventriloquism work.

How To Talk Without Moving Your Lips:

Most free ventriloquist instructions overlook a fundamental building block of ventriloquism. Ventriloquists use a resonant voice. A resonant voice is louder and carries further. That makes it easier to understand when the puppet is talking.

How To Do Ventriloquism For BeginnersWhen air passes over the vocal chords, it creates sound. Based on the way you manipulate the air flow, you create the human voice. Most people allow the sound to emerge from their mouth in a regular speaking voice. As a ventriloquist, you will manipulate the airflow in a different manner.

Hum for a moment. That is right, hum. Do you feel the vibration in your head? Try it until you do. That is a resonance. Now hum and hold the note. As you continue, open your mouth a bit. Did the sound get louder? It should.

How To Do Ventriloquism

How Air Escapes To Create A Resonant Voice

The moment you opened your mouth, the air had two paths to escape. It was still flowing through your nasal cavities, but now it could also emerge between your lips. That is one of the secrets of ventriloquism.

In my online ventriloquism course, the first free lesson covers breathing. Many beginners wonder why breathing is so important. When air escapes through two paths, your lungs empty much faster. Without enough air, your ventriloquist voice won’t be strong. Deep breathing is another secret of ventriloquism.

Once you understand the resonant voice, it is time to move forward. Now you will be:

Learning To Speak Without Moving Your Lips:

Before you can start, you must understand how to position your mouth. The proper ventriloquist mouth position provides a slight gap between your teeth. Your jaw should be open approximately 1/4″. Your lips should be slightly parted. This will allow the airflow to escape.

It is important not to lock your jaw in this position. That can cause pain and problems over time. There is no short cut for learning not to move your lips when you talk. It takes time and practice.

How To Keep Your Lips From Moving:

  • Hold a pencil between your lips when you practice.
  • Hold your index finger across your lips as if telling someone to be quiet.
  • Place three fingers horizontally across your mouth.

These techniques will help you feel when your lips move. If they do, practice what you are saying over and over until your lips do not move.

Saying The Alphabet Without Moving Your Lips:

With your mouth in the proper position, try to say the alphabet. You will notice you have a problem with a few letters. The letters most ventriloquists have problems with are “B”, “F”, “M”, “P” and “V”. These are the labial letters. Chances are the letters “Q” and “W” gave you some problems too.

As a ventriloquist, you will need to pay attention to how sounds are made. Here is an example. Say the word “Quick.” How did the “Q” sound? It made a “K” sound didn’t it? Say the word again. When followed by the “u”, the sound of the word starts with “Koo-ick”. You can say “Quick” without moving your lips.

Saying the letter “W” is difficult because it contains a “B” when sounded out. “B” is a labial letter. Now say the word “Why.” The “W” sounds more like “ooo-uh”, “Ooo-uh-i”.

Here is another of the secrets of ventriloquism. Any time you have trouble saying a word without moving your lips, break it down into syllables. Practice how each syllable sounds and then put them together again to say the word.

How To Say The Labials Without Moving Your Lips:

Most how to ventriloquist lessons offer poor solutions for the labials. For generations, ventriloquists were taught to use substitutions. You will read ventriloquism instructions that tell you to substitute “D” or “geh” for the letter “B”.

Do you have a voice recorder? Try saying “The Doy Dought A Dlue Dicycle.” Now play the recording back. Does it sound anything like “The Boy Bought A Blue Bicycle”? No.

Try saying “The Gehoy Gehought A Gehlue Gehcycle”. Not any better is it?

Other instructions suggest the substitution of “N” for the letter “M” and the letter “T” in place of “P”. It is no wonder people who have never had correct instruction in ventriloquism are so confused. These substitutions don’t make sense and do not sound right.

Tom covers modifying the substitutions to pronounce the labials properly in his Learn-Ventriloquism Course. Here he provides the basics of creating these changes. With plenty of practice, you will be able to create these modifications. To shorten your learning curve, you can always sign up for Tom’s online virtual ventriloquism course.

How To Be A Ventriloquist

By changing the way your tongue contacts the roof of your mouth you can modify the sound created.

Each of these labials has similarities. When you say the substitution “D”, notice how your tongue hits the roof of your mouth. Now begin to change how the tongue comes into contact with the top of your mouth. Instead of where it did hit, move it forward so it contacts the ridge right behind your teeth. The sound changes. Keep playing with this. It takes time, but you will eventually get a “B” sound. Record it to be certain. Our voice sounds different when played back. Make sure you get the proper labial sound.

How To Say “F” and “V” Without Moving Your Lips:

The letters “F” and “V” are close cousins. Say these letters and you will notice your teeth connect with your bottom lip. So the same substitution is used to create the sound. For the letter “F” use “th” as in “Ethel”. For the letter “V” use the “th” sound as in “Then”. The sounds of the letters “F” and “V” may also be created by a push of air. Many ventriloquists find themselves using both methods. They alternate based on which method creates the best sound for the word they are saying.

The labials are the hardest part of learning to talk without moving your lips. The paragraph above gives you the technique to learn through practice. Lots of practice. But being a good ventriloquist like Jeff Dunham takes time.

We have covered a lot of material in this article on How To Do Ventriloquism. If you want to be a ventriloquist, now is the time to practice. For best results, practice for short periods several times a day. As a ventriloquist, your voice is your instrument. Don’t overwork it.How To Practice Ventriloquism

You can practice anywhere. In front of a mirror, when walking or exercising, driving a car, etc. It is important to practice daily. The best ventriloquists never stop practicing. It takes dedication to improve if you want to be a top ventriloquist.

Other Resources To Help You Learn Ventriloquism

Tom Crowl’s Learn-Ventriloquism OnLine Course:
Hundreds of ventriloquists have taken Tom’s virtual online course. Video and written how to instructions release daily. You can sign up for five free lessons to start.

Maher Studios:
Maher Studios is the gold standard when it comes to the art of ventriloquism instruction and education. If you are on a tight budget, check out the Detweiler Version of the Maher Course of Ventriloquism. The Kindle eBooks may are available for only $4.95 per lesson.

Maher Studios also offers advanced study materials. These include scripts and even a course on how to build a ventriloquist figure.

If you want ventriloquist comedy for a live entertainment event, contact Tom’s office.

If you enjoyed this article you may also want to check out the list of ventriloquists also available on this blog.

About Tom Crowl:
Tom is a full time professional American ventriloquist. His act performs at corporate, public and private events across the United States. Tom is the creator of the first virtual online ventriloquism course. Owner of Maher Ventriloquist Studios, Tom is also a co-founder and Executive Director of the International Ventriloquist Society.

Ventriloquists: Fun Facts About The Art of Ventriloquism

Ventriloquists: Fun Facts About The Art of Ventriloquism

The art of ventriloquism is not as weird as movies depict. In fact, it is rather fascinating. Ventriloquists are a rare and unique type of entertainment for events. While many have witnessed ventriloquism on television, it is seldom seen as live entertainment. With fewer than 400 professionals in the world, the rarity of the professionals is the cause.

Today we’d like to dig deeper to share some fun filled facts and interesting information behind the comedians with puppets.

Jeff Dunham – Highest Grossing Touring Comedian

Jeff Dunham reached new heights of popularity through a viral video featuring Achmed the Dead Terrorist. Jeff’s combined video view totals exceeded 350 million as of October 2009! (Sorry we don’t have a more recent figure but we can’t count that high.) Forbes magazine recognized him as the highest grossing touring comedian in the world. His comedy puppet skits on YouTube not only resulted in skyrocketing fame but generated worldwide tours that even included Muslim countries.

Ventriloquism Museum

Another interesting fact about ventriloquism is that there is only one museum in the world which is dedicated to this unique art form. The Vent Haven Museum is located in Fort Mitchell Kentucky, and houses around 800 ventriloquist figures. Open to the public by appointment, it provides guests with a deeper understanding of the history and scope of the art form.

Vent Haven International Ventriloquist Convention

The Vent Haven International Convention is an annual event, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this July, 2016, as a successful gathering of ventriloquists. This laugh filled, fascinating gathering of approximately 600 ventriloquists included show stopping performances and lectures from the top experts in the industry. Jimmy Nelson, TONY award winner Jay Johnson, Jeff Dunham and many other ventriloquist comedians have entertained at the yearly convention.

Each year there is a different topic and theme of discussion. It is a unique opportunity for amateurs to learn from and be inspired by professional ventriloquists from around the world.

Famous Actors And Comedians That Started Out As Ventriloquists

A number of comedians and actors, started their careers as ventriloquists. Because these stars achieved fame as actors and comedians this fact which is known by very few. Don Knotts, who gained popularity as Barney Fife on the famous Andy Griffith Show, started out as a ventriloquist. Ted Knight was a ventriloquist who gained fame with his appearance on the Mary Tyler Moore show. Another well-known ventriloquist is Johnny Carson. The king of comedy on The Late Show began as a ventriloquist and magician.

Artificial Heart Patented By A Ventriloquist

Most people assume Robert Jarvik invented the artificial heart. The truth is Paul Winchell the ventriloquist actually invented and patented the first artificial heart! Winchell was very famous. In addition to starring on his own television show he voiced famous cartoon characters. His vocal talents were behind Dick Dastardly on the Wacky Racers and Tigger for Walt Disney’s Winnie The Pooh.

Professional Ventriloquists’ Organizations

Throughout its history, ventriloquism has never had a lasting professional organization. Magicians have the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Jugglers have the International Juggling Association. Even clowns have a professional organization. For that reason, ventriloquists Tom Crowl, Ken Groves and Mark Wade created the International Ventriloquist Society in 2013. The International Ventriloquist Society is the only professional organization currently dedicated to this unique art form. The society has members from 20 countries and an active base of members who help contribute to the organization’s success.

If you want to learn ventriloquism, check out our free how to do ventriloquism lesson here!

If you want to hire a ventriloquist comedian for your next live entertainment event, contact Tom Crowl to ensure an interesting evening of fun!

Best Ventriloquist Ever?

Best Ventriloquist Ever?

Who is the best ventriloquist?

I hear that question all the time. As a professional ventriloquist and creator of the #1 online ventriloquism course, I should know these things. Right?

First, let’s look at the fundamentals of the art. The best ventriloquist should have the basics nailed.

Most people believe ventriloquists only talk without moving their lips. While that is an important skill, one many ventriloquists struggle with daily, it isn’t the only skill.

Ventriloquism is a multi-faceted art. The ventriloquist creates the illusion of life by performing many skills at the same time with apparently no effort on their part.

Acting, puppet manipulation, mouth synchronization, vocal changes, deep breathing, timing and lip control all come into play. In addition to these a strong comedy background is important. These skills require years of practice to perfect and constant effort to maintain.

One problem many wanna-be “ventriloquists” encounter is laziness. (Yes, I know I will get complaints about this!) People learn the skill and say “I am a ventriloquist!” But, just because you know how to do something doesn’t mean you can.

The best ventriloquists put in the time to practice. They isolate the skills and work on them one at a time. Then they combine the efforts to rehearse a routine. Routines are eventually coordinated to create a show. That is when they go on-stage.

To the audience, the routine appears effortless. The conversation flows as if the ventriloquist and puppet (or figure, or character) are speaking off the cuff. It looks easy. And that is why you have so many bad ventriloquists. The ones who don’t understand a ventriloquist act is a choreographed performance.

The ventriloquist community is rather small. It is easier to do magic, juggling, comedy, or almost any other form of variety entertainment. The number of professional ventriloquists is smaller than almost any other performing art. You would think that makes naming the best ventriloquist easier. It doesn’t.

Who is the best ventriloquist? Is it Jeff Dunham, who is without a doubt the most popular ventriloquist alive? Is it Terry Fator, who has the million dollar voice and won America’s Got Talent? Is it Nina Conti, who dazzles with her comedy brilliance? Is it Jay Johnson? Paul Zerdin? David Strassman? Someone else?

Do you really want to know?

In my opinion, the best ventriloquist is one who entertains the audience in front of them. The ventriloquist who keeps a crowd laughing, creating positive memories of a great show.

If you are looking to hire a ventriloquist, contact our office now to discuss your entertainment needs. We’ll make sure you have the best ventriloquist for your event and guests.