Image of choosing ventriloquist dummy

Choosing the Right Puppet

There are varying schools of thought on how to choose the right puppet.  Some ventriloquists think you should buy a puppet and then develop a character for it; however, the major consensus believes you should develop a character or voice in your head first,then find or create a puppet that is an expression of that idea.  I agree with the latter.

Notice I didn’t just recommend “buying” a puppet?  I also mentioned “creating” one?   That’s because I’ve often found that the vision I have for a comedy sidekick on stage doesn’t match anything on the ventriloquist or puppetry market.  I then go ahead and make one.

If you’re lacking on skills or time to create your own, I recommend contacting Axtell Expressions, Inc. to learn what a custom puppet will cost you.  I believe their minimum rate for a custom puppet is somewhere around $5,000, but you own the rights.  I do know of a missionary to China who wanted a Panda puppet, which Axtell Expressions didn’t carry.  Steve Axtell, the owner, agreed to have the Panda created at the cost of Axtell Expressions and sold at a standard per puppet rate of $300-500 for the puppet, on the condition that Axtell maintained ownership of the rights to mass produce and sell replicates throughout the world.  It turned out to be a win-win for both ventriloquist and puppet maker.

I’ve created four different characters for my stand up comedy ventriloquist show.  Luigi, who I created at age 15, is still an integral part of the comedy show, as is Tony the Monkey who has moving eyes, mouth (of course) and blinking eye lids.

Image source: Rcmoore21

Leave a Comment