Talking 4 – 2: Ventriloquism for Kids Entertainers Part 3

Tom Crowl is a Kids Entertainment Hub contributor. In the photo, he is smiling while holding a duck puppet with a large, orange bill right next to his face

Hi! Once again, it’s Tom Crowl at your service.

Last time we talked about what you can do to help kids not to get scared of puppets. This time, we’ll discuss something else, but first you have to guess what’s wrong in the video below.

Can you tell what it is?

No, it isn’t the background. No, it isn’t my clothing—although I’m not exactly a fashion expert. It’s not me—although in a way it is. It is the puppet.

Can you tell by looking at it? What is wrong with the puppet? Yeah, it is kind of ugly. I wouldn’t suggest it for a kids show. In fact, this one scared a child at a family show one time. It happens. That was because the distance rule wasn’t followed and he freaked out, a 12-year-old. Yeah, 12. Puppet phobias come at all ages. If you don’t remember the distance rule, go back to my previous article.

But the puppet, other than being ugly, looks okay. It’s not torn or damaged. In fact, that gives me two ideas! This month’s article has just changed.

Don’t work with torn or damaged props. Every time you step in front of an audience—any audience—you are not just representing yourself. You are representing entertainment, and people judge us by the way we look and act. Especially when you are on a stage.

So if you work with a puppet, keep it clean. Make sure it isn’t ripped or damaged, unless that is the character’s look. Always take care of your props. Treat them with respect. The quality will reflect on you and give people a better opinion of your performance.

So, that was a side step but a pretty important one. Now let’s get back to this puppet. Something is wrong with it. Can you guess what it is? It’s the same thing that is wrong with hundreds of puppets used in shows.

Vocal Versatility for Puppets with Tom CrowlOh wow, look at the time. I’ve got to go. So here is what we can do. First, remember what we did talk about today and take care of your props. Second, I’ll get Julian and Ken to put a comments field below the article. The first person to correctly guess what is wrong with this puppet will get a prize. I’ll give them a free membership to Vocal Versatility. Vocal Versatility is an online course that teaches people how to create unique puppet voices.

So start guessing and I’ll finish this article next month!



  • Andrew Ready

    I think the problem is the puppet looks dead. It’s staring off into space and not moving at all. It needs to be looking at Tom like it’s listening, or responding to what he’s saying.

    • Dwayne Morris

      The puppet should always be moving unless there is some motivation for it not too. But it should still look like it’s alive.

  • the puppet not moving on live in the puppet

  • Chris

    Immobile puppet is not a puppet. It is a doll.

  • steve wick

    Non interactive puppet is not a puppet

  • Michelle Uulf

    it is not alive! it is not moving 🙁

  • Dwayne Morris

    The puppet should always be moving unless there is some motivation for it not too. But it should still look like it’s alive and interactive.

  • Jasmine Royce

    He’s not doing anything, just staring in space. A puppet needs to look and act like it’s ‘alive’. Also I’ve noticed that above it’s left eye it looks a little out of place, like the stitching is coming away. That needs to be stuck back on.

    • Tom Crowl

      Actually Jasmine, the side eyes blink so the lids move. Not as obvious when the puppet is animated, but definitely needs the attention of my puppet maker to clean that up. Thanks!

  • Toby Williams

    it has 3 eyes

  • James Sullivan

    Well, everyone else already answered the question before I even saw the video. The puppet is stagnant and has no personality. Even just looking at the performer and shaking it’s head would be an improvement. Grunts of agreement with the suggestions would be even better.

    • Yes, it seems like some people got this email 12 or more hours before others. I got it about an hour ago. Or maybe they just noticed this up on the site? Just a guess, but possibly it was posted before the email was sent.

      • Andrew Ready

        I saw it on Facebook

  • Tanya Vititoe

    It’s dead!! Lol

  • george unbehauen

    Didn’t talk.

  • montd

    the puppet is not speaking nor moving. Looks dead, like an ordinary doll

  • MagicMarcus

    It’s inanimate.
    It’s not looking at the camera.
    Its head is too big for a kid show, probably too. I’d pick something with a head smaller than the kids’ heads.

  • William Crowe

    The figure is not moving. It is lifeless. The figure should always be moving, even if it is just a little.

  • Mike Dobias

    The puppet needs to be looking at Tom periodically when he’s talking, just like another person would, and acknowledging what he’s saying, with nods.

  • Ravin Lama

    The puppet has 3 eyes

  • Hi Tom! Just got back from D.C. I agree with everyone else. The puppet is not animated which would make it a lot more real and more importantly, friendlier. Mahalo!

  • Tom Crowl

    You guys and gals nailed it – Dead Puppet Syndrome! Thanks for watching and stay tuned for an update on the prize(s)!

  • Linde Weedman

    The puppet does not have a voice & there is no interaction to show the puppet’s personality … there is no way for the audience to relate or be put at ease!

  • There is no animation, or eye. The puppet needs to be alive, every living thing has motion

  • It’s not talking or playing a role.