One thing that everyone needs to be aware of is how good a performer they REALLY are. Not how good do you think you are. Not how good does your Mother and the rest of your family think you are.
Truth – unkind as it can be, is the yardstick you need to judge your performance by. It is after all the way your audience will see you and they came to be entertained by you, not to be kind to a friend or family member who needs a little encouragement.
“How can I find out how good I am” you ask?
For starters, you can practice in front of a mirror. That will tell you some things, but will not be the ultimate judge of good vs. not so good. Somewhere in your house you have a corner or a room in the basement where you can set a video camera on a table focused in your direction.
Then when you video your performance, you should video all aspects of it. How do you enter the performing area? Do you look a bit clumsy getting set up to perform? Even this is key to a good performance because this is the first thing your audience will see of you.
People are cruel in their first judgments. Even if you are a great performer, if the audience turns off to you as a bumbling boob before you ever open your mouth, it could take half of your allotted time to get the audience back on your side. Practice your entry until you appear to be a polished performer who is entering your domain.
When you work all the bugs out of your entry, maybe you can find some comedic things to do while getting set up – it does not all have to be serious, then keep the video turned on and analyze the rest of your performance. Are you dressed properly for the event? Remember, they are paying you to entertain them. Make sure you look the part.
Of course, you need to know about your actual performance. Do your lips move? Practice, practice, practice. Does your character move his mouth in time with the words you are speaking for him/her/it? This is important if you don’t want to appear to be the star of an old black and white King Kong movie.
Is your character alive? If you do not have your character in constant motion doing something, he/she/it appears to be just a hand puppet. Not good. Make sure that you are doing the little things to make the character look alive.
If the character sighs, make sure that you raise and lower the body to reflect the sigh. If you have arm rods, don’t be afraid to let the character use arm/hand motions to scratch, or cover his mouth when he yawns, sneezes, coughs etc. The more life that you give the character, the more your audience will be drawn in to living in your characters world.
Continue to practice and video your performance. When you get to the point where you can watch yourself and say, “Wow, I would pay to see that person”, you are ready to move on to live performances.
Give it a try. Remember, every time you get on stage, you represent the entire Vent community. If you do great – it makes all vents look good. If you don’t, the reverse is true.
That’s all for now.
Steve and JET