“That Story Lady”

Angela Scott, Author – Storyteller – Ventriloquist

Webmaster and Ventriloquism Compute – Interview with Steve Hurst, a Ventriloquist and Webmaster

August 2, 2007

This is an interview with Steve Hurst, a ventriloquist and the webmaster for Ventriloquist Central (www.ventriloquistcentral.com).

1. What is one thing every Ventriloquist must do? Make sure you practice. Make sure you are good at your craft before you perform for money (if you do). Do as many shows as you can for free if necessary to “practice” and hone your ventriloquist skills before performing for money. Magicians and ventriloquists are a rare breed….if you see a bad magician or ventriloquist, for some reason it reflects badly on all.

2. What is one thing every Ventriloquist must avoid? Avoid discouragement. Some people will think you are strange and make fun of you, while others will be intrigued and yet they still try to “bring you down.” Never let this happen.

I recommend: 1) Practice, Practice, Practice…so that you know you are good; and 2) Never give up, no matter what anyone says. Believe in yourself. Seek out those who DO believe in you too.

3. Is this Ventriloquist stuff something that is here to stay? Absolutely!!!! I come from a different mindset. In the past few years, you hear too many ventriloquists (and non-ventriloquists) talk about ventriloquism being dead. Poppycock! It’s not dead….in fact even before this last year (with David Letterman’s Ventriloquism week and the popularity of Jeff Dunham), there are many ventriloquists out there.

The problem is that ventriloquism is not in “mainstream” media (TV, radio, newspaper). But it’s always been around and always growing. Probably the biggest boost in ventriloquism has been in the gospel and ministry area. Just because you do not see it every day on television (like you did in the 50’s & 60’s) does not mean it is not out there.

In fact, the Internet has helped in proving that ventriloquism is everywhere. I remember the early days of the Internet, in 1995, when you typed in “ventriloquist” into a search engine. The results of that search: the phrase “ventriloquist not found…are you sure you spelled it correctly?” Now type ventriloquist into Google and you get almost 1.5 MILLION searches. Does THAT sound like something that is dying? I do not think so.

4. Can someone work successfully as a Ventriloquist if they are in a crowded niche? Of course (and this really does not just apply to Ventriloquists…but to anyone in any business). It just takes the right kind of marketing… (I have over 25 years in sales and marketing, so this is a subject near and dear to me).

However, I do see many ventriloquists going about marketing themselves all wrong. First, they are “copying” other ventriloquists and doing the “same ole thing.” The easiest marketing advice I could give to anyone is….look at what everyone else is doing….then do NOT do it. You’ll have more success if you “stand out.”

5. What has Ventriloquism done for you? In recent years….it has allowed me to meet many wonderful people who are involved in ventriloquism. At this point in my life, it’s also allowing me to be involved with something I immensely enjoy doing.

6. What trends to you currently see in Ventriloquism? If current day ventriloquists “embrace” today’s technology….I can see ventriloquism growing more than anyone can imagine. With the Internet and the capabilities of video and audio ON the Internet, the opportunities and ways a person can promote themselves are endless (of course, this comes from me being a webmaster and marketer).

7. What was your first job? WOW…that’s a toughie. I started ventriloquism at the age of 14…did lots of “free” stuff during Junior High and High school. But, then I got married…life happens and was out of ventriloquism for years. I think I was about 35 when I got back into it…on a part-time basis. I refer to myself as an “on again, off again” ventriloquist (basically a part-timer).

The first time I recall performing was in one of my classes in Junior High…one of the students in the class worked for the school newspaper, so she took a picture of my dummy and me and wrote a little article. Wish I still had the article (although, now that I think about it…my Mom may still have it….I’ll have to ask her).

First paying job….would have probably been in 1995, when I was doing quite a few birthday parties. I just don’t recall which exact one was the first.

All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

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