New - looking for help with Verna

New - looking for help with Verna

Ian Crawford
Ian Crawford

October 2nd, 2008, 1:52 am #1

I am new to this forum. I am a magician starting to add some vent to my show. I recently purchased a Verna and I want to develop a solid character for her. Is there a resource somewhere that can help me develop the character. Right now I am thinking she should actually be a male dressed as a female. Australian comedian Brian Humphrey's Dame Edna character comes to mind. Any resources to get my creative juices flowing would be appreciated.


Tony Borders
Tony Borders

October 2nd, 2008, 5:50 am #2

Here is a past post with character ideas for a country bumpkin. (N'Jay take note for your puppet) I believe that Ron may have some notes from a VentHaven lecture about developing a character. If not, we can send ideas.
Jim Adams suggests sitting with your puppet and watching tv or a movie with the volume down so you can make comments about what is going on in the show. This allows the puppets character to start to come out. You could do the same thing while driving down the road and discussing other drivers....

It is good to sit down and write as much as you can about your vent figure. Stories often develop from your character description. Think strongly about first impressions as well.

Here is some stuff I jotted down while waiting in the chat room. Sorry I missed you, Dennis. I fell asleep on the sofa. My sofa is getting to that age.

> Character portrayal:
> Country Bumpkin
> He's the apple that didn't fall far from the family tree, but when he fell he landed on his head.
> He carries his napkin on his sleeve.
> He thinks his cousin is cute enough to marry.
> When asked to separate the white clothes from the colors, he asks, "What white clothes?"
> He's thinking about getting a job so he can get a paid vacation.
> He remembers locations by the clouds floating overhead.
> He knows the most level part of the yard for taking a nap.
> His parents never got married "'cuz they couldn't afford no ring."
> I'm gonna stay a bachelor. What's good enuf fer my daddy is good enough fer me.
> He is a dentist's nightmare.
> He is a dentist's dream.
> Cain't never get 'nuf snuff!"
> Gets exercise chasing down a chicken for supper.
> Likes to take his dog hunting. He sits in the truck until the dog rustles something up onto the highway. Then he runs over it.
> Won't run over rabbits. Them little bones once punctured a tire.
> Make that cats.
> His favorit author is Dr. Seuss. That's how he learned how to spell.
> His favorite foods are green eggs and ham.
> He has a pet skunk. Better than a watch dog if'n a burglar comes by.
> He once tried rabbit ears on his TV, but the flies were a real bother.
> Likes the old country music so he listens to his dad's radio.
> Couldn't afford real estate so he became a professional squatter.
> Loves pot lucks. Takes a plate of food and some zip lock bags.
> Thinking of remodeling the outhouse.
> Can't figure out how to prime the kitchen sink.
> at his cousin's.
> Misunderstood the job application for a tractor trailor driver.


Ron Crowley
Ron Crowley

October 2nd, 2008, 9:33 am #3

A most educational and friendly evening yesterday. Went to a nearby city where magician Ian Crawford gave me a one-on-one on basic magic. He perused and discussed my junior school magic program. I got to ask some basic questions I've had for months. Ian also builds and his on-wheels, on-stage show storage table/cupboard is brilliant. He's also shown me how to use big ziploc bags to store sequences such as three in a row silks illusions. Folks, nothing beats a one on one sit down with someone who loves their craft and wants to share with a beginner. His best advice was to be wary of swivel servants.
As Tony mentioned, I attended Dale Brown's excellent workshop "Write Original Comedy Dialogs for Ventriloquist Characters." Dale also sells an inexpensive scheme for developing a new character. I'm sure Neale Bacon(another Cdn.) can elaborate more on this one. By the way gentle readers, Ian has just received the Axtell bird. I tried..really nice beak action(man,wouldn't that freak out a non vent?)..perfect for illusions and vent. Ian, I shall track down the Brown info for you and again thank you for your hospitality and advice.

Neale Bacon
Neale Bacon

October 2nd, 2008, 5:09 pm #4

Dale's lecture was more about writing original material once you know the character, although it could be done with a bit of reverse engineering.

His idea (briefly) was to find out about your character by asking yourself questions, looking for contrasts or contradictions and looking for the humour there.

By asking a lot of those types of questions, you can find a lot about your character. Ask things like - who are they, where are they from, what are their likes and dislikes etc.