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Am I overcomplicating things?

Discussion in 'Newbies to clowning' started by Peppar, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. Peppar

    Peppar New Member

    So my daughter and I decided to spend our summer busking, which have been our dream for a couple of years, and now I finally feel that she is ready for it.
    We decided to explore the clown universe, and are working on some ideas for both costumes and sketches. Our idea is for her clown persona to be this overexaterated stereotype of a teenager, while mine is the overly protective and embarrasing mother-clown. As an example we are planning a sketch where I try to wrap her in bubbleplast, but she outsmarts me all the time.
    Basically I am hoping for the relatable story to amuse the older crowd, while the sillyness wins over the small ones.
    I know that silly clowns often have a story, but its mostly something very small children can understand, which I’m not sure this is.

    What worries me is that I have never seen a clown show that was not either very adult or very juvenile (not meant as a bad thing), which makes me think that maybe clowns avoid broadening their target group, as a result of bad viewer response? Maybe trying to appeal to both those who are into crazy silly “pie in the face”-humor AND those who find that boring, but like seeing a story, will just result in not appealling to either?

    Or maybe I just need to watch more clowns!

    If it was just me, I would just go test it out, but my kid will be spending months working on body language, magic tricks and practicing rutines. It would absolutely break my heart if it fails completely, because I didn’t spend a little time getting advise from the pros.
  2. V

    V Well-Known Member

    I'm an advocate of the sidewalk stage and glad to see someone planning to put out their hat there.

    On your perception of clown shows being overly adult or overly juvenile, that may be correct. 9 out of 10 clowns I stumble across fall into the more juvenile crowd in that they pull out the parachute game, or pretend to be a child themselves, blow bubbles, so on and so forth.. It's been a long time since I've seen a quality adult oriented clown act, but I'm not sure that the adolescent crowd is missing in clowning only, but that it's only more obvious in clown. By that, I mean that the teen to twenty-something crowd can easily be entertained by a proficient magician with even the most basic patter, so I'm not sure there needs to be an entire script flip for them. Realistically, and this may sound bad, but I don't know that that particular demographic is worth the effort. They're still not going to book you without the permission of mom or dad. They likely don't have a kid old enough to book you if you're a party entertainer. They'll tip horribly (if at all) - guarantee, and ultimately - as often as not, they'll have a personality that makes your performance more difficult than it needs to be. I think 'clowns avoid broadening their target group' in this instance because there is very little upside in incorporating it..

    On busking...

    I've got bad news for you if you're dreading a bad reaction (failure) doing the sidewalk shuffle... That's what makes street performing great - in that it demands continual growth and development. I don't know where you're busking, but in a city that is used to the sight of street performers - the crowd will surely let you know what they think of your act, one way or the other. If you're doing this in a smaller market that doesn't have the expectations of a busker-busy venue - it should be more forgiving.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    If you want to go out busking, do your research to see what other people are doing. Assuming that busking is popular in your area, spend some time watching the other performers to see what they are doing, how the crowds respond, and the age mix of the people there. Also good to find out what locations are available. It might not be a first come, first served, if there is an established busking community. If there are no buskers, that might mean you need to check the laws in the area to see if busking is even allowed.

    I can't say I have seen too many busking performances. From time to time, I pass a musician playing songs. Music is something where people can walk up to and listen for a few minutes without feeling like they missed something. A skit/performance has a beginning and might be harder to get into if you show up in the middle. When I took a group of Exchange Students to Central Park in NY, they liked the person with buckets of bubble solution because that was interactive and they could try making bubbles. That was also something that didn't have a fixed beginning or end.
  4. Peppar

    Peppar New Member

    You guys are making some great points, thank you so much!

    Well, by failure I mean by a childs standarts - she will be exited if ANYONE laughs Her mom is just terrified that no one will The monetary success is not that important - my thought were to tell her that what we make, is what we eat for (on the trip that is), so if we do well, we can go out and if we do horrible, we will buy cheap super market food or smth.

    There are rarely any buskers where we live (Horsens, Denmark). Maybe some eastern european guy, playing the Titanic theme over and over without even singing. We will be going to bigger cities to practise on weekends and then, in the summer, flying to Berlin and Amsterdam, where there is a strong busking community

    Luckely we dont need to consider the wish to be hired for birthdays and such for now, as we will be so far away from home anyway, plus the main goal for me is to see my child grow stronger, learn of alternative cultures and make memories that will last a her lifetime. Also in a few years she will be old enough to get a job and maybe she will prefer performing at birthday parties and such over the typical newspaper delivery job youngsters get in Denmark.

    As for me, I am starting up as a face painter, just to earn a little more than the SU I get for studying in Denmark, but it would be a huge plus if I could also offer clowning. So I am seeing it as some what of an educational trip, where I will learn to settle into a clown persona. Also I think I simply need it, after the last few years of stress and anxiety...
  5. The NORMAL One

    The NORMAL One Active Member

    I agree make sure you know the laws and grounds rules where you are going to clown at. The next best thing I would tell you and your daughter is for you to have fun enjoy it your selfs. If you do it will come out and your audience will pick up on it and it will be enjoyable for them . They want to laugh ,smile and have a good time and you are there to help them do that. Also practice, practice but not to point you become just going through it have little improv also. Think about your audience and change your act just a little to peak their interest but be true to you and you will do well.
    Good luck and go do it.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    I like your concept as something satirical on human experience. Often, that sort of over the top honestly is what is truly funny.

    Performance failure is the greatest teacher, and what builds success through refinement of one's act.

    There is/was a clown from Denmark on this site who might be able to offer advice on more localized performance circumstances. She has written well and thoroughly of her own experiences and development as an entertainer here.

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