I AM ALWAYS LOOKING FOR WRITERS TO THE BLOG TONY BORDERS HAS AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO A WONDERFUL JOB, THANK YOU FOR YOUR WORDS OF ADVICE FOR NOVICE VENTS AS WELL AS THOSE SEASONED PROS. IF YOU ARE A CLOWN, MAGICIAN PUPPETEER OR AN ARTIST WITH US IN MIND WE WOULD APPRECIATE ANY ENTRYS AND INFORMATION TO SHARE FOR OUR READERS, NOTHING IS TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE EVERYTHING IS APPRECITED AND HELPFUL FOR OUR READERS TO READ. SEND IT ALONG BY E MAILING ME AT firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are some basic rules of thumb and tips from other professionals...
Senor Wences said that he tried different numbers of characters and found that 5 was a maximum for a show. Keep in mind that he did at least an hour and did not do other things, such as magic or clowning. If you pull out too many vent figures it looks more like a show and tell than a show.
Mark Thompson suggests putting your strongest routine last and your second strongest first. I might add that I have found that my strongest character can go first AND last, as people are always hoping to see him one more time! (Mine is the Axtell Bear.)
For educational shows Steve Taylor recommends that you pick 4 or 5 main points, do a trick or skit for each point, then provide a challenge (what will you do now?) at the end. It could be in the form of a review.
I would add that if you can think of an acrostic for those 4 or 5 points, the audience will remember it even more. Examples: T-E-A-M. R-E-A-D. C-A-R-E. etc.
Another rule of thumb is to keep each section no longer than one minute per year in the age of your average audience member. (Adjustments made for senior citizen homes please!) So a group of pre-schoolers might want to see a 4 minute puppet routine at best. It varies, because they really get into repetition.
List everything you are able to do, even if you don't do it now. Art, guitar, balloons, storytelling, ventriloquism, etc. Put this on one column.
List every point you want to teach in another column.
Try to match up what you want to teach with the BEST way to teach it! (I have found that it is hard to teach about the crucifixion with a vent puppet, so I use Doc Haley's "He is Risen" magic trick. Although, Gladly the Bear does go into the cave as Lazarus!)