Tuesday, 26 February 2013

How to be the best clown



Do you love to hear children laugh? Do you like to give away your smiles? Does your sense of humor sometimes bubble over so much, it's hard to contain? Do you sometimes wish you could still "dress-up" like you did as a child? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to consider becoming a professional clown.
A professional clown has all the excuses one need to dress-up, act silly, and laugh along with the children... sharing smiles with everyone he meets and leaving a bit of lingering joy behind to brighten up someone's day.
Whether one desires to enter the realm of clowning to minister to others or to perform for pay, one needs to be serious about this endeavor and consider the time and money to be invested. Too many people think clowning is easy and simple; throw on some Halloween make-up, go to a consignment shop and pick up some miss-matched clothing, tell a few jokes and you're all set. It's not that simple.
You need to study clown history and learn how to apply make-up. You need to understand the three main types of clowns and how different personalities fit into each type. You also need to know what kind of clown you want to be and what kind of clown business you want to run. And finally, you need to decide where you want to do your clowning and what kind of entertainment you want to present.
Materials:
You really don't need much, clowning is performance style that can be performed with or without props .
Makeup on:
 Face paint should be regarded as optional for the clown. Clowning is a style of comedy, its about far more than make up and costume.
Get a sidekick, if you want to:
 If you are new to performing working as a duo can be less intimidating. If you do, think about performance partner and what your relationships are to the audience. Thinking about status may be a good start.
Plan your show:
 Get an idea for major comedy points you want to include, and work out the lead-up and other parts of the comedy. Thinking about problems that need addressing can be a good start e.g. a hat that won't stay on your head, a music stand that keeps falling over. A twist at the end may help, as can thinking about the rule of three (e.g mistake, mistake, success in an unexpected way. It's almost like a play. If you're so minded, script your act before rehearsal!
Magic:
 If you want to include magic, get some magic tricks! You'll need some Magic Tricks to get the show on the road, you can get some magic tricks by clicking [here]. Work them into your act and have them on standby! Ensure you have the necessary tools (showy wand, top hat, handkerchiefs etc.)
Slapstick on some Slapstick:
 If you want to use slapstick - practice - there is almost nothing less funny than slapstick done badly. The best comedy will try and emulate some real life, such as talking about bosses, home life and other things people can connect with. Try and include jokes about things the likely audience will understand and appreciate!
Don't include General Clowning:
 There is nothing a clown has to do. Unless you have a twist on the obvious try to avoid;
-           Slipping on banana skins.
-           Falling over.
-           Chasing each other around (in a mockery of anger or frustration)
-           Getting soaked in buckets of water.
Rehearse:
Once you have your act together, you've scripted it and acquired the necessary tools, start practicing. An ability to time the jokes just right and the ability to make a smooth recovery if something goes wrong is essential. You might want to consider performance training. There are a few circus schools that may help.
Start on the ladder:
 Make sure your first performance is at an informal venue or family get-together, so if it goes wrong, nobody will mind. If you think you do well on your first time performing the act, move on to bigger venues. If you perform well, you may be able to start to rely on word-of-mouth reputation to get jobs!
Perform:
 Hopefully by now you have put together an act, started on the ladder to stardom, and (if you're really committed) have made some cash as well. With show business, the sky really is the limit!
Advertise:
 If you want to make this a business, try and get some advertisements up around your local area. Contact your local newspaper and local venues to see if you can pay to put up posters and adverts.

Keep Good Records

Record keeping is an important part of your business. You need to maintain client lists: client name, contact information, date party held, what you performed, and what you were paid. Listing what act you performed in your records is vital to the success of your clown business because it makes sure that you do not perform the same routine for an old audience.

Stay Positive

Handle cancellations properly. Always try to close a conversation with a client or potential client on a positive note. And don't be afraid to ask the client to re-book the event for another day.

Sign Contracts

Get a signed contract. A contract protects both you and your client and prevents misunderstandings. Your contract should include the names and addresses of all parties involved, who is obligated to pay you and when you are to be paid that is before or after the event, any cancellation terms (i.e. when the contract can be cancelled without payment to you, what your cancellation fee is, etc.), the date(s) of the event, what you are to perform, the time(s) you are to perform, the length of time you're expected to remain at the event, and the amount you are to be paid.
Don't forget to include what you expect the client to do for you, such as provide a table and chairs, provide a place for you to take a break, etc.
Attend workshops and conventions:
 If you don’t want to commit to going to school full-time to become a clown then you may want to get lessons from day-long or weekend-long workshops. These are put on by clowns all over the nation. Clown schools, magic shops and theatres are a good place to look for advertisements for these workshops.

Get a clown mentor.

You may be someone who likes to learn things one-on-one in which case it would be a good idea to learn clowning from someone already in the business. Start attending events that feature the type of clown that you want to be. Introduce yourself and explain what you’re hoping to find. Be willing to offer up some payment for the services of this mentor.

Read and research.

Ideally you’re going to want to get your training from someone else but if you don’t have that option right now then you can at least get started on your education by reading as much as you can about clowning. There are many books out there on costume makeup, acting and juggling that can help you get started on learning how to be a clown.

Create Your Clown Persona

As you’re learning about being a clown, you should be working on developing your own clown persona. Begin working on costumes and make-up that are in line with this persona.

Will I Ever Stop Learning?

You will never stop learning. Learning keeps your performances fresh and guarantees return clients. Therefore, you should always be on the lookout for new skits, illusions, balloon sculptures, jokes, and face painting designs.
And you should always make time to attend workshops and conventions, read books, network, and practice, practice, practice.
Becoming a clown is an investment in the lives of people. A clown's purpose is not just to earn a living from their craft. A clown's purpose is to improve, if only for a little while, the world around him. Clowning is a fun business, but as a business, it needs to be taken seriously. Run your business like a professional and you can't help but succeed.
And remember, if smiles, laughter and improving your world are your forte, then clowning, as a profession, may be for you.

How Will I Know What To Charge?

Check with other clowns in similar-sized towns or cities. A clown in New York City or Chicago will be able to command a heftier fee than someone in Bolivar, Missouri or Rogers, Arkansas. You can also figure different pricing based on your area of expertise.
A birthday party clown is in charge of the entire party: bringing games, treats, party souvenirs, setting up, and cleaning up. Therefore, birthday party clowns will get more per hour than the clown whose only job is to arrive at a specified time to paint faces.
Clowns who work fairs, carnivals, and restaurants usually work for tips only which means your hourly rate will depend on the generosity of your clients.
Clowns who work for corporate clients are usually hired for a specific purpose and given a flat fee per show.