Imagination: That place that we can escape to in order to hide from the nastiness of reality; a better place. A land that does not really exist, but should.
These are three possible definitions of the word Imagination. I did not even look the word up, because I know what it means to me. It really is the world that you must be attempting to create for your audience every time you go on stage. Everybody knows what reality is. For a lot of people it is a place that really stinks. It is a place to get away from. The usual. The humdrum. The everyday.
Looking at the Calendar it is the beginning of the annual countdown to Vent Haven ConVENTion this year. Less than 3-1/2 months to go before we all load up and travel to our annual vacation from sanity.
We at The Dummy Shoppe are already deep in planning of the types of new characters we want to have at ConVENTion. However, we want to get some feedback from you.
We want to hear from you about the types of new characters you would like to see this year. Is there a type of a puppet that you have in the back of your mind that you have never seen before but would like to see? Something that you have always said “If I ever see a ____________ puppet, I would buy it in a heartbeat”?
Well, here is your opportunity.
Within the last week, I became aware of a good friend of ours from Australia who had made a purchase on the big “E” auction site. There was a puppet for sale from one of the most reputable makers for I believe $1,200.00. Our friend emailed the Seller and arranged a buy/trade situation. He was sending the Seller an Axtell puppet in lieu of $200.00 and then sending him $1,000.00 in cash for the balance.
Our friend did due diligence as far as you can on the big site. The seller had a long history of selling with apparent good ratings. Our friend shipped the trade-in puppet, emailed the tracking information and then as he had agreed, he sent the balance of $1,000.00 via PayPal. So far so good.
The Seller had promised to ship the puppet as soon as he received payment and the tracking information. However, when our friend had completely honored his word and sent both the trade-in puppet and payment, no tracking information was forthcoming from the Seller. It should be noted that the Seller was in the USA and our friend was in Australia. After a reasonable amount of time went by, our friend began sending inquiring emails to the Seller wanting some tracking information. As you can imagine, the more time that went by, the more concerned our friend became and the more emails he sent the Seller.
Every now and then we will see something that reminds us of the importance of keeping your material current. Have you ever seen a stand up comedian that falls flat when he gets up and talks about things that are happening . . . and everything he brings up are news articles that are several years old?
The same thing holds true with Ventriloquists. We, as a group, are basically stand up comedians – with puppets, figures or dummies.
One of the really useful tools for getting bookings for your act are promotional pictures. When you talk to someone about your act, if they appear to be a remotely serious contact, you need to leave both a business card and an 8-1/2″ x 11″ promotional picture. They are not free to be sure, but they are well worth the expense with the price of just one good booking.
Our great friend Sylvia Fletcher (Sylvia’s Magic Trunk) recently had some new promotional pictures made of just “Portia”, a puppet we made for her a couple of years ago. Sylvia, exhibits her sense of humor in some of these shots. Portia apparently tips the bottle from time to time and it is reflected in one of her promotional shots.
This is a good example of getting some shots done, and a great reminder of the need to do it.