Hello and welcome! Today’s post is a bit of an odd one. I’m actually requesting monetary help from people that I know, and complete strangers! No, I’ve not become a telemarketer, Girl Scout, or animal rescuer. I simply believe that there are still generous people out there in the world who are willing to help someone out a bit if they are asked. My family and I want a short bus to do our clowning around together as a family. At this time we have a mini-van, but when everyone is loaded up, there simply is not room for all the clowning gear as well. A short bus would allow us to continue this venture together, without having to amputate limbs to allow for more cargo room.
I am trying to get the word out about our request for help to facilitate our clowning around as a family. The fundraising is through the Indiegogo site, which I’ve dealt with before. (So I know it’s not a scam!) I don’t want to make anyone feel pressured to contribute or guilty, but simply ask that you consider it and only act if you truly would like to.
If you prefer the wheedling approach, I could tell you a sob story about how hard my life is, how my kids run me ragged, how my van broke down, and how my dog bit my leg. Just let me know if you would prefer to hear a story like that.
Here is the link to the campaign which will be updated periodically. http://www.indiegogo.com/clownshortbus/x/1592372
You can also keep up to date with us on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Short-Bus-for-Clown-Family/396563707092307?ref=hl
Thanks for taking a look!
Check here for regular updates to the campaign: http://www.indiegogo.com/clownshortbus/x/1592372?c=activity
We’ve got a good one!
I suppose this post is primarily about the philosophy you follow in running your business (or pursuing clowning). I try to do my own thing, and not get too caught up in what my “competition” is doing. (Competition is in quotes, because that’s how some clowns view other entertainers in their immediate area. Not me, but some.) I try to look at other entertainers as potential friends, contacts, collaborators, and people who understand what I’m doing. Anyhow, not too long ago I got caught up in a sort of pity-party, poor-me attitude when a new face painter appeared on the scene. Oh gosh–another person to compete with! It’s a silly attitude to have, but I’m sure we all get sucked into it at times. After a little while of grumbling, I decided to knock it off and begin to focus again on my own business–not theirs!
I believe that the key to really succeeding in entertainment of any kind, is to focus on yourself (no, not like you’re the center of the universe.) There is always going to be someone out there who is better than you are at what you do. So what? You are not them, and you can only improve upon what you have right here and right now. Work with what you’ve got. Maybe you’ll never be as good as they are, but you can strive to be the best that YOU can be. If you’re always looking over your shoulder at what the other guy is doing, studying his show, or copying his designs–you are going to lead a very paranoid and unenjoyable life.
When you begin to focus on your own business, instead of everyone else’s, you can pursue the things that really interest you. Maybe Puffy the Clown can make a killer Spongebob balloon and you feel badly because you can’t. If you are more interested in Transformers than Spongebob, then focus on that. Do what you want, not what you feel you have to do to keep up with the Joneses of the clowning world. This also applies to the services that you offer. Don’t feel as though you have to do everything. If magic isn’t your thing, don’t push it. You’ll just end up being a nervous, frustrated, and grumpy magician who really does not enjoy what he’s doing. People will have no trouble recognizing your discomfort and angst!
All this rambling is simply to encourage you to be true to yourself and your own interests and ideas. Pursue clowning the way that you want to, not according to how someone else is doing it. The learning curve for clowning is endless, and there is no correct sequence for learning the material. Enjoy yourself, have fun, explore, get creative, and listen to your inner clown voice that says, “That!! I want to do that! I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the harmonica while break-dancing to calliope music!” Well, maybe that thought isn’t the best, but you get the idea.
I’ve wanted to see this video ever since it came out, around 4 years ago. I’m glad that I was finally able to view it. Twisted is a documentary that follows several people through their journey with balloon twisting. You may find out what got them started, who helped them along the way, what their purpose is for doing it, where they want to go with it, etc. It is a diverse group of people that they chose to follow, and quite interesting to see the different reasons for twisting and what people hope to achieve with it. The twisters eventually converge at Twist & Shout, a balloon twisting convention. Viewers are given an idea of what the convention is like (which of course makes you want to go)! Because of a discussion of a couple of the late-night classes offered, the video is not really suitable for younger folks. Think Gospel balloons vs. phallic balloons. The deleted scenes are also quite interesting, so you will want to watch those as well.
I was a bit surprised that they had this DVD in our library system. It’s definitely more advanced than the other stuff they have. In this approximately 1/2 hour video, Joe Leffler (Tricky the Clown) teaches intermediate balloon designs. He does go quickly, but if you have a basic grasp of the types of twists and are used to line-work, it shouldn’t be too difficult to follow along. The creations he includes are: bee on a flower, fishing pole, T-Rex, basket of flowers with teddy bear, 2 teddy bears in a heart, basic cartoon duck, stork with basket, little bird, rainbow, motorcycle with rider, and Christmas wreath. Once you get the designs down, they could be used in line- or festival-work. There are several designs from this video that I’ll be adding to my own offerings. My only complaint is that Joe uses jewel tone balloons in the video, so at times it can be a little difficult to see exactly what he’s doing.
I recently went on a quest through our local library system to locate all the ballooning resources that they carry. This DVD by Norm Barnhart was one of the items. The video is meant for beginners (so I didn’t personally get anything out of it), but someone who is just learning may enjoy it. It’s a bit dated, but the designs that are presented are timeless. Norm teaches how to make the following one-balloon creations: dog, dachshund, giraffe, rabbit, cat, squirrel, elephant, poodle, and reindeer. The instructions are very clear and not too quick. I also liked that there was an element of humor added to the presentation, with jokes and silly antics that you could use while twisting your own creations.
Have you ever encountered a Youtube video that gave you a great idea for a clown gag, skit, or character? I love to check out funny videos to come up with inspiration. One of my favorites, which had an influence on my grandma character, is this one.
I’ve also found some great dancing videos. You can find some real gems of people dancing like complete fools. Yeah, that’s my kind of dancing. Here’s one of my favorites. I love how the young guys are trying to keep up with the old guy dancing. Here’s another good one. This video is awesome because it shows what men really do when they go out in the woods with a 12-pack of beer and a box of cigs.
Anyhow, if you’re short on ideas or just want to get some creative juices flowing, look up some funny videos on Youtube. You’re bound to come up with some new ideas for your clowning.
If you’re a female clown in your child-bearing years, you may want to give some thought to whether or not you will continue clowning while pregnant. I have clowned through three pregnancies, though it’s always been part-time. It is not always the easiest–the ups and downs of those wild hormones, morning sickness, fatigue, sore back, and a giant belly to contend with. Your own choice about whether or not to clown through pregnancy should be well thought out ahead of time. You don’t want to have to decide when there’s someone on the phone waiting for a split-second decision about their child’s birthday party. Here are some things for you to ask yourself, and decide what sort of sacrifices you’re willing to make:
- Do I suffer from morning sickness while pregnant? How severe is it? How long does it last?
- Do I get tired very easily while pregnant, especially in the first trimester?
- Am I dealing with any conditions that are exacerbated by pregnancy–diabetes, etc?
- Do I think that a pregnant clown looks grotesque? Yes, there are people who think this.
- How much physical activity will I be capable of? Will I have to temporarily change the services that I offer?
- Will I need help loading and unloading my equipment? Is there someone who could help me?
- Do I have a clown costume that would be suitable for me to wear throughout the entire time I decide to clown?
- At what point do I want to take a break from clowning (perhaps a month before the due date)? How much time after the baby is born do I want to take off? Think about how much sleep you will be getting for the first couple of months.
After thinking through these questions, you’ll probably have a pretty good idea about what you’d like to do. If you really struggle in the first trimester, then just plan to take that time off. If you feel like you’re related to a beached whale in the third trimester, then consider taking that time off. It’s totally up to you, and no one is going to ream out a pregnant lady for taking some time off. If you decide to continue clowning while pregnant, keep the following things in mind:
- Only do what your body can handle. Don’t agree to a three-day festival if you feel your body saying no. If someone offers to carry or lift something for you, thank them. (Whether or not you let them, is up to you. I’ve heard this can be a bad idea because of liability issues.)
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Take potty breaks as needed. Nobody in their right mind would deny you a trip to the loo.
- Eat small snacks frequently so that you don’t feel nauseous.
- Wear good, supportive shoes.
- Make it mandatory that you have a shaded spot.
- Sit if you need to. Again, you’re supporting extra weight. Don’t feel bad for giving your feet and back a rest.
- Figure out ahead of time what you will tell the kids who point out your big tummy. Did you eat a watermelon? Do you like donuts and ice cream a little too much? Is there a baby clown in there?
- Let clients know ahead of time that you are pregnant. They will go out of their way to make things easier for you, and be more cognizant of your physical needs.
I realize that there are not a ton of pregnant clowns out there, but I hope that this has been helpful to some of the younger lady clowns out there. It can be tough to know what to do when you find yourself in the position of pregnant clown. Jeepers–who knew it could happen to cartoon characters, too!
You may be asking yourself, “Why on earth does she have a discipline book on her clowning blog?” I can understand that. Here is the reason: You work with kids, so you should know how to deal with their not-always-stellar behavior. Without Spanking or Spoiling: A Practical Approach to Toddler and Preschool Guidance is full of methods for dealing with children’s behavior. The approach of the authors is a bit on the soft side, but even if you don’t necessarily agree with their views, the book is still a useful resource. You can learn about ways to prepare the environment to optimize good behavior, foreshadowing, making your expectations clear, and how to deal with icky behavior once it starts. You’ll have to use your imagination in applying the principles to clowning, as the book is aimed at parents and childcare providers. Your local library system probably has a copy that you can check out.
Really, this is the last time I am repotting my paints for a looong time. Ugh, I’m sick of this. My last set-up change was not as wonderful as I thought it would be. The cases didn’t fit in my Fatmax, and the little pots sort of slid around while being transported. After reading about somebody else’s latest set-up idea, I decided to copy them. These are jewelry displaycasesand traysthat I ordered from Amazon. We shall see how this works, but whether or not it’s super-dee-duper, it’s staying put. As you can see, I have room to expand my split cakes. Yay!