When you get to work on a new project, you often have to add an extra piece of equipment (a table, two stand-up legs, the voice and the dummy) before you can start to build the first figure you’ll need to present. A ventriloquist dummy is a great example of that extra equipment…
It’s estimated that a ventriloquist dummy costs about $100 and the costs can increase significantly as more time is allowed to work with the parts. The exact cost depends on what materials you go for and how you want the finished effect to look.
Ventriloquism is an art form that requires a lot of practice and patience. Once a skilled ventriloquist dummy is in front of you, your performance of the dummy will be smooth as a baby’s bottom and, on occasion, the performer can get up and actually walk from the mouth and back to the mouth.
How big is a ventriloquist dummy?
It varies depending on the performer and their technique, but the dimensions and complexity of the dummy generally range from 7 to 15 inches (18 to 26.7 cm) high, and 15.5 to 22.25 inches (39 to 66.4 cm) wide.
Is it possible to make a ventriloquist dummy that is two-dimensional?
Yes. The main trick is to have the mouth move the correct way, so the figure should look like the mouth is moving on its own as the dummy is being projected. For instance, you might put a piece of cardboard or something similar in front of the mouth. This is called “the cross-up”; it’ll move the mouth enough so that when the figure is standing at the lip, it’s looking to the back as the mouth moves.
In a couple of cases, this technique has been shown to work. One example is when a performer is using a mouth-movement method for two mouth figures. In that case, the figure should appear to be moving backwards – and, indeed, sometimes it does. One of the things that makes this trick so easy is that if a ventriloquist dummy is being used for its first time, it doesn’t need to be designed to be easily replicated again. This method isn’t particularly hard to learn!
Can I use more than one dummy?
No. There is an important reason for this: It really takes practice and repetition to work out which part of the mouth
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