I go through these "forums" occasionally to see what these "professional ventrioloquists" are talking about. Some of them are great, they share information, help each other out.
One in particular likes to berate people. When people just starting out ask what they should buy, they are met with "don't buy a converted toy" you'll develope bad habits"
They just don't get it. Alot of people don't have 500 dollars to shell out to buy a "professional figure" (a term I get a kick out of) They want something they can practice with and even suggest themselves about getting a conversion figure. They are met with "don't waste your money" buy from this guy. No thought at all to the newbies who then, in cases I have seen right on the blog, disappear off the radar.
These "professionals" do a disservice to their community. Conversion figures are the best to start with. If you are entertaining friends and family, they go over great. I have used them for years in my act and the kids love them. Little kids are afraid of the larger figures. I own 20 stage figures(the larger ones) six of which I made myself. When you entertain on a stage, you need a stage figure. (the proper terminology for the larger figures)
It's not everyone on that forum, just several "know it alls" who have put it upon themselves to be judge and jury of what is right and what isn't.
Do yourself a favor, don't listen to anyone. Get what you like and what you can afford. They are all good figure makers. The conversion figure makers and the "professional" figure makers.
Ventriloquism is a great form of personal as well as audience entertainment. It brings happiness to the lives of the sick or lonely, it is a great teaching aid and it is a great accomplishment when you master it.
Enjoy the art, and don't get caught up in this holier than thou stuff on these blogs. As I have said before, a community that diminishes it's own, diminishes period!
Anyone needing help in this art, figure making or repairs, feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org I am here to help. Not to criticize. I am also easy to talk to and will not intimidate like the forum I am talking about. Thank you for the questions and comments . Keep them coming!