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I need some help!

Discussion in 'Newbies to clowning' started by GigglyMickey, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. GigglyMickey

    GigglyMickey New Member

    (sorry if this has already been asked)

    I want to be a birthday clown at least part time as I go to school and I have LOTS of question since I want to do this right the first time around.


    1. What do I need to get? (permits? official titles? things like that)
    2. What should I expect going to parties for kids or other gigs?
    3. How do I set up pricing? ($ per hour and keep in mind costs of supplies like balloon animals and face paint and such)
    4. What should I avoid doing at a party or running my business in general?
    5. Any tips?
    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! I'm nervous yet so excited because I love being a clown just as a personal hobby and a lot of people where I live ask me all the time would you do parties for my kid or grandkids. And I always wanted to say I would but I want to be set up first and not rush into anything!

    Again thank you oh so much! I super appreciate your time!!
  2. Donuts

    Donuts Active Member

    Is there a local clown alley around you? or another clown near by that is willing to mentor you? They are usually a great jump off point as they help with ideas on makeup costume designs for paint and party stuff. Make sure you cover your butt with INSURANCE you can get it from either World Clown Association Or Clowns Of America International either one will cost you about $200 with membership and the Insurance. Both get you an informative magazine the membership in both is around $50 more or less and the insurance is 150$ more or less. As for pricing yourself see what others charge in the alley or other clowns check even agents and what they offer try to price yourself around the same for similar skill sets and offerings. Agency's will some times train you with there magic and routines some handle everything others not! Use caution with them as a newbie. You don't want to overprice your skills. Facebook has great groups for beginner face painting even beginner clowns, As for face paint make sure make you are using FDA approved paint if in the US or your country, Snazaroo, Mehron, RubyRed are some great beginner paints and can be found on line like at Amazon, SillyFarm, Clownantics, shop around some charge for shipping others not but cost more look for prices that make sense, hope this gives some advice.
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    Check with your local town, city, or county about business requirements. Many people are able to just work as their own business and pay taxes with their social security number.

    Pricing is a tricky subject. Many people don't like to talk about their income, but will gladly complain when they hear someone is charging what they consider to be too little. My suggestion is to figure out what you need to make.

    If you are just getting started, you can't expect customers to come knocking on your door right away. It takes time to build up enough customers to keep busy. If you are going to school, your main time to do parties would likely be the weekends. If you did two parties on Saturday and one on Sunday, that would be pretty much all you could handle and would have to provide the income to cover your expenses of costume, makeup, balloons, or whatever you needed. It would also have to make up for the lost opportunity to work a different job on the weekends. If you could get a job at a bookstore that paid $100 a day, your income should make up for that lost opportunity or your would be better off working at the bookstore. Entertainers put in a fair amount of unpaid hours dealing with calls from customers, practicing, and keeping their costumes and supplies clean and ready for the next event. They also spend a fair amount of money at the start to buy everything they will need. So, it can be hard if you are on a tight budget.

    Make friends, not enemies. There is an unwritten rule that entertainers don't steal jobs from other entertainers. If you know someone already has a job, don't approach the client and offer to work for less. Network with the other entertainers. Find out if they are holding jams or other meetings. If someone calls asking for something you don't offer or a day you are not available, refer them to the other entertainers in the area. If you are charging less, let the customers know that you are new and just getting started so they understand why you are charging one amount and someone else is charging a higher amount.
    • Thanks Thanks x 4
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    The first thing you should know is to NOT slip the birthday party mom a Giggly Mickey, no matter how much you might want to, or think it could help.
  5. StuartPid

    StuartPid Administrator/Pickles' Lady in Waiting

    Princess... can we add a "Slap Tim" button???

    Mickey, what kinds of things are you planning to do at the party? Kinda give me an outline of what you see taking place. Do you have any photos and some more information about yourself and you clowning history.
    • Thanks Thanks x 4
  6. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Cuz, goodness, I don't slap myself around enough, as it is.

    And, I want to know why the Irishman likes rainbows.
  7. GigglyMickey

    GigglyMickey New Member

    Okay so here is a little outline of a sort of 'game plan' so to speak of what I will/hope to do:

    1. Face painting (which I already have the snazaroo currently) and i'm currently practicing on friends and my nephew. Which I will have to upload later this week when I get a new sd card.
    2. Balloon animals. I have been doing balloon animals for around a year and a half now.
    3. Juggling. I have a few items: rings, scarves and balls. I'm a little rusty so im practicing like crazy to get used to it again.
    4. Story telling. I have a knack for telling stories and drawling in a crowd since I have had two years of drama class.
    5. I was hoping to learn some magic tricks as well but that's a work in progress.
    Overall I might wait till possibly mid November or mid October to be completely official since I need to make sure that im completely ready and I got some great skills to keep kids entertained.

    I think there is one other clown that is in my town. She came out of retirement a year ago and I was planning on emailing her later this week to ask if she could possibly mentor me or atleast give some advice. To the best of my knowledge there aren't many clowns in my area but i'll be sure to ask if she wouldn't mind sharing that information with me.
  8. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    Remember that each activity takes time. With stories or magic, you can handle a group of 10 or a group of 50 in the same amount of time, but with face painting or balloons, it will take 5 times longer for the group of 50.

    Every activity has a target age group. The activities planned for a party with a group of 4 year olds will likely need to be different from a group of 10 year olds.
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  9. JedTheClown

    JedTheClown Member

    As far as pricing, keep a high price in mind, and offer "discounted" rates. Example: "my rates are 250 for two hours but if you pay in full prior to your party, I will cut you a 50 discount!"

    I noticed that at a party there's so many things going on for the host that you don't want to ask them a billion questions. Just ask where they would like you to set up, confirms the time you'll be there till, and collect payment.

    I've also done parties where all the kids are having fun with other activities that no one is coming up to me for balloons. I look at it this way, since I am being paid to make balloons, I constantly make balloons regardless if people are in line. I put all the balloons I make in a big bin or bag, so by the time my gig is up, I'm able to at least give the host a bunch of balloons I made that they can hand out after I'm done with said gig.

    The hardest part is leaving, there will always be one kid or one parent asking to make "one" more balloon. I usually handle it by packing up all my stuff (balloons, table, equipment etc.) and tell them let me put my stuff away, I'll make your balloon away from the crowd so no one sees and give it to them. Otherwise you'll be stuck making a dozen more balloons!
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  10. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    I find that at most events, once the kids see balloons, they come running. Like you, when I get some down time without any kids, I will continue making balloons and leave them behind. I have done a few parties where they didn't want balloons, just face painting. That is harder to fill the time when nobody gets in line.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  11. tippy

    tippy New Member

    I'm new here. Just reading to see what's happening with everybody else who may be new, too.
  12. GigglyMickey

    GigglyMickey New Member

    Thank you everyone for all the great advice and ideas. I really don't have anyone here in my area to help me out and im excited for next month since i'll have the money to pay for the applications and such. Hopefully I'll have everything done ad running before my birthday in January so that's a gift for my self. :D and hello Tippy Pleased to meet ya!
    :cool: :D
  13. Klinki the Clown

    Klinki the Clown New Member

    Hi GigglyMickey, since I live in Germany I cannot tell you anything on the legal side in the US however I do many birthday shows.

    My birthday show usually lasts one hour and it includes clowning, juggling as well as magic - ballons I do after the show. In my shows one thing leads to another. For example: I want to juggle but forgot my balls. For that reason we do a magic trick to get the balls (drawer box, crystal silk cylinder or anything else where easily three balls can appear) My favorite is the crystal silk cylinder. I have the kids to put three silks in there and after a magic word the silks are gone and the balls have appeared.

    Then I have the next problem - we now have the balls but I forgot how to juggle. Proving that I throw the balls behind me and of course they fall down. Usually the Kids say: "not behind you - you must throw them in front of you" - which I do and the balls fly into my audience.

    Then I ask the kids who can juggle - to my surprise usually someone put his or her hand up. I take the kid up front, standing behind the kid, he or she holds on to my hands and I begin to juggle three balls however for the audience it looks a little like the kid is juggling. After the kid has taught me how to juggle - I do so with three balls, the normal cascade, the backward cascade, the circle and the fountain - nothing very hard.

    That is just the beginning and I am not making a secret of my show. So if you - or other clowns here - would like to find out more I will post the next step.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  14. The NORMAL One

    The NORMAL One Active Member

    And when you actually do it , make sure you always expect the unexpected.

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