I'm cleaning some files on my computer and thought you might like these seminar outlines.
SEMINAR: I Bought This Puppet, Now What?-
By Tony Borders www.tonyborders.com
I. List the first impression you get when you look at the puppet. What type of personality does it have? (Ask other people what their first impressions are.)
Gender_____________ Type of intelligence ____________________
Temperament__________________________ Good traits _____________________
Bad trait ________________________ Type of voice ________________________
II. Brainstorm for a name with friends or children.
III. Bring him out to talk to 2 or 3 kids. Have the puppet answer any questions they would like to ask.
IV. What famous stories could this puppet star in?
V. Any songs that fit this puppet?
VI. Develop a history for the puppet.
VII. Make a list of favorites! Food___________________ color,____________
subject in school,___________________ Bible character,___________________ historical or storybook character,______________________________________
VIII. Do you have any current skits that this puppet could do BETTER than the puppet you are using now? ________________________________________________
Example from my newest puppet: Wart Hog Puppet:
Reason for purchase: Hope to use in a Bullying program for schools.
Name: Snortin Horton: I kept the name given by the company who sold it.
Tried out for a part in the Lion King, but came down with a runny nose on filming day.
Could star in Charlottes Web as One Terrific Pig.
Could easily win the eating contest in Fear Factor.
Loves the stories of the Three Little Pigs and Beauty and the Beast.
Song: Ive Grown Accustomed to Your Face. All I want for Christmas are my two side teeth.
History: Was bullied by his older brother. Sometimes acts like a bully himself. Favorite holiday is Halloween because everyone thinks he has on a great mask! Everyone picked on him until he tried out for the school talent contest. He won with his tap dancing routine. Now he gets respect and he tries to give it in return.
Current skit he MIGHT do better: Stealing a candy bar skit.
Voice: Husky squeal.
SEMINAR: SCRIPTWRITING PART 1
By Tony Borders www.tonyborders.com
A. Story (Flow is more important than individual lines).
1. Create an outline.
2. Memorize key words rather than a script.
B. Lesson (growth involved)
C. Personality Provider (sit-coms)
II. Audience: Age, religion or non-religion
III. Length: Leave them wanting more!
IV. Beginning, Middle, and End Choose the end FIRST, then the beginning and
youll stay on target.
V. Rollercoaster example: Different ways to get there!
A. Anticipation = Foreshadowing = Setting up the story in your intro
1. Puppet is shaking. Why are you shaking? Are you cold? I am scared silly! (He does something silly.) What has scared you?
2. Puppet tries to hide his eyes. Dont let them see me!
3. Puppet is unable to speak. Just laughs when he tries to say anything.
B. Picks up speed. The story takes off!
C. Unexpected turn.
D. Upside down roller-coaster. Teaching against smoking? Have the puppet say that they started smoking. I stood too close to the campfire and my shoes started smoking!
E. Bring them to a level ending. The ending should be obvious.
VI. Classic examples
A. Whos on First?
B. Oh, Thats Good! No, Thats Bad!
C. Im Sorry Youre So Ugly!
D. Mistaken Memory (His only forgotten Son.)
Assignment. Please try to find the time before session 2 to do the following.
Story: Choose any Bible story. Read it through 3 times. The more familiar you think it is to the audience, the deeper you should dig. Mark anything NEW to you. Look at the footnotes, particularly in the study Bible. Any nuggets there?
1. Write down 2 items YOU learned from your study. They could go into your skit! Education is as entertaining as humor.
2. IF your puppet role-played which character would they be in this Bible story?
3. What is your target lesson for this story?
Session II: Scriptwriting by Tony Borders www.tonyborders.com
I. Sharing time: We will share some of the results for the Session I assignment. Write down ideas you think you could use yourself on the back of this page.
II. The more you know, the more words will flow! If you have an orangutan puppet then look up information on the orangutan. Are you asked to teach about Moses? Study Moses. Is your puppet a diva? Study up on divas.
III. Do a search for _________ jokes on the internet.
IV. Speaking to adults? Look up things that happened on the day you will be speaking.
Birthdays of famous people? Origin of a holiday? Historical events? This is seasoning for your regular program.
V. For adults: Find quotes on the subject from quotation books.
VI. Finally were ready to write the best skit we can for the event!
1. Write down the facts you want to portray. (They dont all have to be presented in one skit.)
2. Write down jokes you liked.
3. Think of which puppet youll use.
4. Lets write!
Split into groups of 2 or 3. Use a shorthand style to create your skit. Brainstorm. Accept ALL lines. They can be deleted later.
First Impressions: How to Achieve What You Want
by Tony Borders www.tonyborders.com
I. Do you want to be perceived as a childrens performer? what age child?
As a ventriloquist? A storyteller? A comedian? A preacher?
II. First impressions given while booking programs.
A. Written material is viewed only 7 seconds before a first impression is made! Remember, you are NOT selling yourself; you are selling your service!
1. Company name. Puppets and Magic by Tony Borders says it all. Doubletalk doesnt tell me anything.
2. Promo Material: Quality paper. No errors. Make an appointment at your local school and ask to see their file of assembly speakers brochures to get ideas. What are YOUR first impressions?
3. Photo: THIS IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT ITEM!
4. Reference quotes. Separate insert from your brochure so you can update it.
1. Get caller ID. Know if it is a business call or personal call.
2. Have pen and paper ready.
3. Answer with a smile.
4. Stand up.
5. Give service information first and then the price.
III. First impressions at the show.
1. How are you dressed?
i. For adults, dress one level higher than your audience.
ii. For kids, dress for the theme of the show.
iii. For little kids, wear a hat with your costume.
2. How can your set make them say Wow? 1 or 2 Patio beach umbrellas look good and add a place for you to hide a vent figure. Rope lights. American DJ sells an LED curtain that would be GREAT for puppet teams.
3. The goal is to have the audience member think, Im looking forward to this!
IV. How others do it:
A. First impressions of movies: Commercials and Posters Create a bulletin insert, poster, and clip-art for the church to use before you come. Make a 45 sec. DVD.
B. Restaurants: Uniqueness in color and design outside. Lighting, sound, and décor inside. In the heat of L.A. I saw an alpine restaurant with a snow covered roof.
C. Amusement parks: Fun characters. Primary colors. Plants. Happy music.
V. Set design
A. Chromatic design
1. For small kids: Primary colors work great!
2. For elementary: Purple and orange look great as a set. Lots of sparkle.
3. For even older: Consider chrome, Black and white, Silver, Gold.
B. Thematic design: Does your set tell a story when first seen?
1. Safari: Animals, adventure
2. Castle: Fairy tales, kings and queens
3. Playhouse (Pull vent figures out of a pop up house.)
4. Let the banner boldly tell the theme. Keep it positive. RESPECT RESPONSIBILTY RECYCLE Magic with a message! Scooters Playhouse
A. BE YOURSELF! Some of you will run in from the back yelling and spraying a water bottle. Some of you will stand up, straighten your tie, and clear your throat. Some do magic to music. Some start with a puppet and a song.
B. I like to say a few words BEFORE carrying out a prop. This is a good way for an extra sound check. If something went on before you (worship, announcements, etc.) perhaps you have something funny or nice to say about it.
C. Dont apologize in advance! Pray for me. I have a cold so Im not going to give you as nice a show as you want.
D. Make the intro positive: I am EXCITED to be at THIS school! I can see that you take care of your school! This cafeteria is so clean you could eat off the floor! In fact, I think I noticed a student doing that earlier! Wow! I am standing in front of a clever group! (Puppets say Thank you from somewhere.) Oh, those were my puppet friends. Well, they have some clever things to say today as well, about..
E. You can tape an intro with fanfare, explanation of the show and who you are.
VII. Other first impressions:
A. Background music- style and volume.
B. Looking at the audience. Try to look each person in the eye. Be careful to include ALL parts of the audience.
C. Energy level.
D. Lighting. The more lights on you, the better.
E. Are you bored or having fun?
SEMINAR: Critiquing Your Show and Not Yourself
by Tony Borders www.tonyborders.com
Critique your show in 3 areas: Content, Visuals, and Audio
I. Which of the following purposes defines your MAIN reason for putting on shows? A. Teach a lesson
C. Draw others closer to God
D. Make a living
E. Have fun myself
A. Teach a lesson: Choose 3 to 5 main points you want the audience to remember.
Teach each point thoroughly. Review the 3 to 5 points. Make an acronym, if possible.
Create a challenge to use what has been learned.
B. Entertain: If YOU were that age what would YOU most want to see in a live show?
___________________, ___________________, __________________, _____________
How can you incorporate the above into your current show?
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ C. Draw others close to God: Start with the END of your program. Do you want to offer a time at the altar? ______ Do you want to offer a time of prayer? _______ What is the target of your show?___________________________________________________
Start the show by telling them how you are ending the show! Tonight Im going to talk about Samson and David, who both made huge mistakes. But at the end I want to show that their hearts and attitudes were different. And I will be asking you whether you would rather be like David or like Samson when you talk to God.
Write your intro: ________________________________________________________
D. Make a living: Each show must replace MORE than one days salary plus benefits plus new expenses. Divide your weekly salary by 3, then by 5 to give yourself a minimum and a maximum range that people would probably accept. Example: If you need to replace $1,000 per week in salary and benefits you would need to ask between $200 and $350 dollars per show to realistically make a living. Birthday parties and daycares wont pay that, however, so plan on icing on the cake shows.
E. Have fun myself: What new skills would you enjoy? How can you learn them? Want a new stage? Then when you book a show tell them you dont have a set fee, but you are saving up for a new stage and anything they give will go toward that. Join a group of local magicians. (Check out International Brotherhood of Magicians, Society of American Magicians, and Fellowship of Christian Magicians to see about a local chapter.) Tell local daycares and Christian schools you would like to practice a new show on any classes that are willing to be an audience.
Critiquing Your Show pg. 2
VISUALLY & AUDIBLY
I. Watch a video of your show with the sound turned off. What areas do you like best? What can you improve? Are you looking at ALL of the audience? Are your lips moving more on one puppet than another?
II. Now listen to the sound without seeing the picture. Can you understand everything? Is your voice different from the puppets? Are you rambling?
III. If the video camera was near the audience youll also hear the audience replies. Was there too much talking? Perhaps youre too loud.
IV. Take your mic into a music store. What do they think of that brand and quality? What would they recommend? If you have your own PA consider upgrading that as well. The mic is your most important prop! Why have a $1,000 puppet and a $50 microphone?
V. Ask the booking person out to lunch (if appropriate). This gives you a chance to ask a LOT of questions. Did you get any feedback about the show? What two things do you think went over best? Is there something that wouldnt be missed if I took it out? How was the length? Is there anything I could have done to make your job easier?
VI. Shake hands (or give high 5s) as people exit. Did you have a good time? What was your favorite part? Ask parents of preschoolers, Was it too long for them? Which part held their attention the best? How was the sound?
VII. If you do a school assembly, ask if there is one class you can go to afterward for feedback and to answer questions. The older the better.
VIII. At the end of the show take about 5 minutes to answer questions, then ask a couple of your own: My favorite parts are the bear, the rope trick, and the balloon twist. Raise your hand if you liked the rabbit best. Raise your hand if you liked the cat best. Raise your hand if you liked the bear best!
IX. When you run into someone who has seen your show in the past, ask them what they remember about the show.
X. Involving the audience more always improves the show. List a few ways you can involve the audience.
SEMINAR: Bible Vent Skits
by Tony Borders www.tonyborders.com
Role-play. Have your vent figure act out the character. Could be a minor character.
Correct the storyteller. Your vent figure attempts to tell the story, with obvious errors.
Theme from the Bible. Use a modern story to teach a Biblical lesson.
Oh, Thats Good, No, Thats Bad. The following stories seem to show an up and down pattern: Riding the donkey into Jerusalem. The birth of Christ. Josephs life. The book of Judges. Moses and Pharoah.
Repeat after me: Good for memory verses. Good for bird puppets.
Puppet does the opposite: Teach about stealing by having the puppet confess. Lying, going to church, reading the Bible, etc. can all be taught this way.
Song intro, then song: For younger children try the Donut Man classic CDs. They have background tracks for several Bible character songs.
Fractured Bible Story: As the puppet tells the story he keeps getting it mixed up with other Bible stories. Then Moses put a rock in a sling and the devil said, You can turn it into bread. Or David killed a lion because it was going to attack his friend, Daniel. Then you correct the puppet or have a child come up and talk to him.
Holiday skits: Explain how many modern holidays have a Christian heritage. Tell about St. Valentine, or St. Patrick, or the founding fathers of America.
Review skit: See how well the puppet was listening to the lesson that was just given.
Memory aid skit: Use a visual or an acronym to help the puppet remember the points that were taught.
Serious skits. The puppet cannot frown, so this becomes difficult. However, hiding the face. Turning and sobbing. Short intakes of breath, will each show great sorrow. Tough to do with small children in the audience.
That I know you You are such an asset to this website, and I probably do not speak for my self. But I must say that because of you I am learning things I thought I would never know...Thank you my friend. Thank you for this birthday present. N J
July 6 2009, 3:37 PM
I want to thank Tony for sharing this information. I've gotten a lot of helpful ideas from this already and each time I read it I pick up something else.
Especially as a new ventriloquist, kind of on my own, I am trying to learn as much as I can off of the internet.
I love adding ventriloquism to my magic show and hopefully after I get my Hands free Taco the Toucan routine down, I will get some bookings done almost totally as just a ventriloquist.
The most important thing I think we all need to do when we are paid for our services is to do a great job. I want to give people the impression that they got more then their money's worth. I had a friend of my wife tell me that she hired a magician one time and he did the snowstorm effect in her home. She had the after effects of it in her home for a year and she was also upset because one of her children has asthma. Did he help or hurt other magicians? I feel that after I do a show I want to walk away knowing the people would want to hire me again.
Re: At home seminar --LONG
July 6 2009, 8:17 PM
there you go, making me improve myself again....
Re: At home seminar --LONG
July 11 2009, 4:10 PM
what an asset.
July 20 2009, 4:50 AM
Donald it was a pleasure to meet you at the VH Convention.
(Please Enter Your Name Here)
Re: At home seminar --LONG
July 22 2009, 7:35 PM
Hope you had a GRAND time
Couldn't make the convention
July 19 2012, 8:31 PM
For those of you who could not make it to VentHaven (I have never been) I have reposted some past online seminar notes. Enjoy.