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Looking for Work? Leave Your Costume and Makeup Home but Take Your Skills.

Discussion in 'Clowning Articles' started by Fitzwilly, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Fitzwilly

    Fitzwilly COAI Secretary

    Looking for Work? Leave Your Costume and Makeup Home but Take Your Skills.
    Dan “Fitzwilly” Langwell

    Do you want to work more? Perhaps we need to give the public more options. I’m not just talking about adding juggling, unicycling or origami to the skills we already have. What about a halfway character, a character in between a regular person and a clown? A comical entertainer, an entertaining performer, basically a clown without the makeup. Having a character like this opens many a new door. Some businesses want entertainment but they may be concerned about customers or staff being afraid of clowns even if they themselves are not. Some people have had a bad experience with a well meaning but very amateur clown which has left them with reservations about our craft in general. For some it is cool to be afraid of clowns, but people still love to watch the antics of “undercover clowns” look at Robin Williams or Jim Carey.

    There is an element of risk to performing sans face. We no longer can hide behind our secret identity. People see us, the real us. At first it seems like a risk but it is another step towards freeing the child inside of us. I still wear my Fitzwilly nametag when I am a comical entertainer. Many people still refer to me as “the clown.” That is exactly the response I want from the public. Fitzwilly is the clown they need at their next event whether he is in makeup or not.

    This past year I did a number of gigs as a “comical entertainer” or “festive artist” this saved the time of putting on the makeup but I still wore my clown shirt and vest with my black slacks and comfortable shoes. My intention was to stand out in people’s minds. When Jane Q. Public saw a group of people crowded together I wanted her to be able to identify me even from a distance as being the entertainer. I did not want to be confused with the wait-staff at any of the restaurants I was working either. I just recently came across a comment by Tom Sikorski as quoted in The Funny Paper that I think really brings this point home. “Audiences expect a performer to create an exceptional experience… I think that if you don’t look out of place off stage – you don’t look special enough.”

    This is not the usual thinking. Many times the public has the choice between a clown who hopefully knows what is going on, or a high school kid in ripped jeans and a baggy t-shirt who can twist a couple of flowers and swords, bought a face painting kit at Wally-world, or learned a couple basic magic tricks. Clowns are not just for little Julia’s birthday party. Clowning is for everyone.

    The “secret” if you can call it that, is to adjust to the market. There are plenty of articles about adjusting your look and your show for different age groups. Ideas such as wearing less makeup and a simpler costume for younger aged groups are commonplace. Well, why not use this kind of thinking when considering the different needs of the public at large?

    A few things to consider when working out of face:
    · Use your clowning skills – Be entertaining, Be fun and energetic
    · Dress for success – Dress professionally but make it say “I’m the entertainment!”

    The option of clowning out of face also is a great option when you get those emergency calls at the last minute and you just don’t have time to get into “full battle gear.” Especially if you are able to keep a small clown kit in your car. Perhaps a shirt and vest, a few magic tricks, and some basic face paints. Many parts of the country it isn’t feasible to keep balloons in the car at all times, but if you could keep a small balloon kit near the back door and get into the habit of taking it with you wherever you go.
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