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Guide to buying a ventriloquist doll

So, you’re looking to buy your own ventriloquist doll, but bewildered by the range of dolls – and costs – available?

Relax, we’re here to help! with this simple and handy 4 step guide about ventriloquist dolls for sale online.

If you don’t know where to buy high quality ventriloquist dummies, check out this post > Where to buy a Ventriloquist Dummy <

Consider how serious you are about learning ventriloquism, and if it just a hobby or you are looking to (hopefully) earn money and maybe even make a career of it?

If you are just starting out, look to spend on a basic or entry level doll that won’t ‘break the bank’, rather than spending several hundred dollars on a doll that looks cool only to find you lose interest in becoming a ventriloquist.

If you are an experienced ventriloquist, or looking to perform regularly, consider your purchase as an investment in yourself and your career. Spending a little money on a professional level doll will reap dividends when your audience is wowed by the quality of your ventriloquist puppet.

1. Decide what features you need your doll to have

There are several key features a good ventriloquist doll should have, so consider these to help narrow your choices when shopping around for your puppet.

The more you spend on your doll, the better range of features it will have in these key areas.

Mouth

Perhaps the most important part of the puppet, as the more articulated this is, the more realistic the doll’s ‘speaking’ will appear.

Eyes

These are what catch your audience’s attention, so the more features they have, the more compelling they will be, which in turn builds an affinity with your audience.

Head

When your doll has a fully moveable head, it’s another aspect to catch your audience’s focus, which in turn will add to the effect of you ‘throwing your voice’. The more you can move your doll’s head – up and down, side to side, round and round etc. – the more you have a captive and engaged audience.

Material

Although not necessarily a major consideration, what your doll is made of may affect your choice – you may prefer wood, latex, cloth or another alternative. Remember that you need to feel comfortable on stage, and weight may be a factor – as indeed possible allergies also could be – so choose carefully.

Uniform/outfit

How your puppet is dressed is important, as again it’s another step to building a rapport with your audience. If your puppet has a snazzy outfit, or is visually attractive or cute, your crowd will believe in your act more.

Controls

When looking to buy a ventriloquist puppet for your act, you need to balance simple controls against range of features. The last thing you need is fiddly controls that will distract you from your act.

Look for a puppet that has easy-to-use controls with multiple features, that your hand can easily operate and so you can engage the features (e.g. move his eyes) at key times in your act for maximum effect.

Accessories

Although less important than the visual appearance and features of the doll, the accessories supplied may provide extra value for your fledgling career.

A bag or case will be useful for transporting your dummy, and perhaps can even be incorporated into your act as you practice your showmanship (Click and start your ventriloquism transformation!)

As doll suppliers realise you may just be starting out as a ventriloquist, they may even provide learning materials such as booklets, videos or online learning classes that will help you learn ventriloquism (The smart way to professional ventriloquism!)

2. Do you want a ready-made or custom-made ventriloquist doll?

Although there is a wide range of ready-made dolls on the market, including replicas of some famous puppets such as Jeff Dunham’s Achmed – The Dead Terrorist – you may wish to go it alone and have your own custom-made doll.

There are several specialist suppliers of custom-made ventriloquist dolls to suit most budgets, such as Alan Semok (The Dummy Doctor) who has supplied puppets to many now-famous ventriloquists.

3. Consider second-hand or used ventriloquist dolls

If cost is a factor, do not exclude purchasing a used ventriloquist doll. No doubt there have been other keen potential ventriloquists that for one reason or another, purchased a puppet and now longer use it.

Look on online such as Amazon or eBay and you will find a large range of used ventriloquist puppets, often hardly used and in great condition.

4. Attend a convention or look in a specialist marketplace

Be in no doubt, ventriloquist dolls is a thriving business – so much so there are conventions and specialist marketplaces just so you can look, research and buy your ideal puppet.

The VentHaven Ventriloquist ConVENTion showcases many dealers, with a range of puppets from cloth, latex, wooden along with learning aids. It’s an ideal opportunity to research the market, meet other ventriloquists and attend presentations to help you in your career.

If you can’t attend a convention, take a look at Ventriloquist Central’s Ventriloquist Marketplace although be aware this is aimed at professional ventriloquists so whilst the puppets available are very high quality and fully featured, the costs are also high.

Conclusion: How to choose your ideal ventriloquist doll

As we’ve seen, although the choice of dolls may seem bewildering, by defining what you actually need, want and can afford, then you can make the process much simpler and enjoyable.

Whilst considering your ideal ventriloquist doll, if you are still uncertain, consider visiting a convention or a specialist marketplace so you can get a ‘feel’ for your proposed partner in your act.

Another option may be to purchase a doll or puppet that has a return policy if you feel it doesn’t suit you once purchased. Amazon is an ideal choice here, but ensure you check with each individual seller what the returns policy is.

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