The books I've been reading lay out several ideas on how to do this. And they make sense. In this world, it's never about finding information on "how to", it's about actually doing it.
I keep thinking of the learning process this way:
- Learn the voice trick - talk without moving your lips.
- Learn coordinating the movement of the dummy voice to the sounds. Make the lips move!
- Develop a character. Who is the person/creature you are performing with?
- Work the dummy's whole body movements to be a "being" on stage with you.
- It is Sheri Lewis's Lamb Chop or Edgar Bergen's Charlie McCarthy or even Dean Martin's Jerry Lewis. A separate, free spirit that is your partner. If it appears to be a puppet on your hand, you are not doing it right.
By extension, ventriloquism is a voice magic trick, the rest is theatrics and distraction. But what separates good ones from not-so-good ones is that the trick is learnable. The theatrics are what causes the "suspension of disbelief" that will determine whether it's a delight or disappointment.
I talk so smart. But, I am looking at this adventure not so much as a ventriloquism act, but as a way of doing stand-up comedy with an partner who I don't have any problem coordinating a rehearsal schedule with. Or having any problem getting him to gigs on time, or keeping him out of bars on show nights!