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So what does a party clown do?

Discussion in 'Party Clowning' started by Zoodles, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. Zoodles

    Zoodles New Member

    Wouldn't you know it.. my gig was cancelled! Although I had discussed everything with the client ahead of time, she saw on my agreement that I don't face paint on kids under 3 years old & all of her guests fell under that category (she had originally said 5 to 12). People are funny... I offered Zoodles & balloon twisting but she really wanted face painting... oh well, I guess it wasn't meant to be! Gives me more time to get set!
  2. Special K'z

    Special K'z Well-Known Member

    Oh that is too bad. Do you do arm painting on little ones? I can see no faces but painting a simple kitty or something small on the arm might be O.K.
    Sara K.
  3. SCOOP

    SCOOP Ace Reporter

    some advice balloons are not for 3 year olds either however if you hand it to the parent first then the liability of a choking hazard is the parents not yours
  4. Special K'z

    Special K'z Well-Known Member

    Not necessairly scoop. We've gone round about this. Just keep insurance and take what risks you feel comfortable with.
    Sara K.
  5. SCOOP

    SCOOP Ace Reporter

    true k;z however beyond insurancea nd legal liability comes knowing the fact you gave the balloon to a 3 year old and he choked on it vs you gave it to the parent and they choked on it both have the same outcome however i would be able to sleep a bit more comfortable knowing i wasn't the one how handed it to them.
  6. Zoodles

    Zoodles New Member

    Okay, since you guys started this... what would happen if a child choked on a balloon blown at a party where you were hired? I have liability insurance as a face painter... I'm not sure what that actually covers (I doubt anyone has ever suffered permanent damage from being face painted... considering I only use FDA approved cosmetic grade products).

    Does anyone know of anyone who was in that situation? It's horrible that we even have to think of these things, isn't it? If I gave a child a lego kit & that child choked on a plastic brick, would I be responsible?

    Maybe this is a question for my insurance company!
  7. Special K'z

    Special K'z Well-Known Member

    I believe there are conflicting reports as to the acutally percentage of chocking on balloons by children. Usually it is from kids who were chewing on uninflated balloons after they popped. Personally I think it is waaaay over exagerated as to the risks. I've heard talk like maybe a year ago that officials were wanted to ban balloons all together. That they would not even be able to manufacture them for any reason. Crazy huh? You might want to check with your insurance company but I would think facepainting, small animals and balloons would be included in the standard entertainers contract. You may need to see if you need to specify that you also preform as a clown in the contract. I also do clown magic so I list magic as part of my insurance contract. It will cover flash paper but I think that is it for special effects. They won't cover clown acrobatic acts.
    Sara K.
  8. Plywood

    Plywood New Member

    Just to add a little more fuel to the fire, I have a two-year-old who I trust with balloons. It all depends on the child and their maturity. Some five-year-olds will still put a balloon in their mouth.
  9. SCOOP

    SCOOP Ace Reporter

    i am not going to argue that point plywood there are kids that put everything in their mouths i was lucky in that my kids never put anything in their mouth but food.
    the thing is. even if covered by insurance the pad press that can come from such an accident and subsequent lawsuit could kill whatever business you have going. while your insurance will cover that cost the press can't help.
    actually my understanding is the insurance would first find out if you followed the manufacturers warning balloons or not if so they would basically have their lawyer tell the suing lawyer their beef is with the manufacture not you but i am so not a lawyer lol
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  10. Squiggles

    Squiggles New Member

    Well balloon bags now say not safe for children under 8....people are sue happy these days and they would probably win even if you did give it to the parent..but 8...man...that is old...for balloons..I was somewhere once and the 5 yr old kept putting the balloon in his mouth..I told the dad and he ignored me...so finally after about 10 minutes I took the balloon away from the child and sat it on the other side of the dad and a few minutes passes...I look and the dad is playing with the balloon and has it in his mouth! Man..crazy people.
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  11. Zeeppo

    Zeeppo New Member

    My question is... what does a party clown do?

    The bottom line is that the more that you can do the more marketable you will be. Juggling, Magic, Unicycling, stilting, puppetry are all thing that will make you more salable.

    Do you drive to your gig in your attire & cause accidents on the way?

    It is a good policy not to wear your clown face and costume to and from shows. COAI acutally has it written as a no no in their rules. There are just too many thing that can go wrong. And frankly you can avoid it by going to and from in you civies. You should work a changing area into you contracts.

    Do you always act silly once you arrive at your destination?

    You should stay in character as long as you are dressed as a clown. Not all clowns are silly some are very low key. It all has to do with what your persona is. And what ever it is stay in it. If your character might drink pickle juice then by all means as for it. Just be aware that someday someone is going to give you pickle juice.
  12. Pickles

    Pickles Czarina / Administrator

    Seriously? I'm going to have to disagree with you, Zeepo. I can't imagine arriving at a gig in my "human form" with all of my make-up, costume, etc. in tow, and evolving into Pickles the Clown in the party host's bathroom. I shudder at the thought of trying to get "in clown" with the youngin's banging at the door trying to get a glimpse of the transformation. And think of the powdery mess I'd leave in the party host's bathroom! And then "de-clowning" in the same bathroom before I flee the scene? (I don't know about you, but I get pretty messy when I shed the clown make-up.) Maybe with a simple costume and minimalistic make-up this would work, but definitely not for me. It also seems that some of the magic would be lost if Pickles arrived and departed as Beth.
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  13. V

    V Well-Known Member

    I think the venue decides the approach. For your run-of-the-mill, one hour birthday party; I'd get the grease paint on before you leave. If I were a customer and the would-be party clown requested to use my bathroom to get ready, I'd call the next clown in line. I've seen it happen, and I don't think it's very professional. I wouldn't ask to use their car to get me to the event or use their bicycle pump to inflate balloons, so why use their home to get ready? You should be performing the moment a kid sees you.

    That being said... I wouldn't drive to a festival in clown. The same for most business events for me actually. I'll work some time in before the event to meet with the organizer in person, and then find a facility to get ready (usually my RV for festivals). Every corporate/business level event I've worked has had an accessible area for me to change and add make-up. I couldn't imagine arriving in clown; and most likely wouldn't take the gig if I had to (remember, it's okay to say 'no.' You should never be in a place where you have to accept every gig).

    But.... I digress it seems since the title was directed towards the 'party clown.' If it were me going to a party at someone's house; I'd go in clown.
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  14. Plywood

    Plywood New Member

    Vegetus, are you saying that you wouldn't arrive in clown if you were doing some sort of stage show at a festival? I just want to be clear on your meaning. If so, that would make sense. It would definitely be odd to be unloading all your gear and setting up for a show in full costume.
  15. V

    V Well-Known Member

    Basically yes; but it depends on the festival here as well.

    Country festivals - I pretty much take my rv and stage from there, so in essence my rv is my home and I prep there.

    Street festivals - vary; but as an example I'll give you my routine for a street festival I've done yearly for several years. Day 1 kicks off with a parade, so I actually do arrive in clown for this (as a group/troupe really); do the parade, do some walk around for a few hours and I'm done for the day - on day 1 I usually go into the town and clown and/or busk to get people to the festival. I'll mess with traffic, shops, etc. Go home, de-clown and return to the festival to either enjoy the festival, or stooge for some performer pals.

    The first day of the festival is the only time I arrive in clown, and only for the parade. It's also my busiest day. The remaining days I get in-clown (or not if I'm doing a different show) do my scheduled stage time then de-clown. I may have to redo my clown a couple of times throughout the day if I have more than 1 stage scheduled. Regardless of 1 show or multiple shows, I'm never in costume when I'm not on stage save for day 1 promoting.

    Pre-parade photo below along with some others I regularly associate with (plus one of my rats that was present to partake in a therapeutic program (where they allow seniors that have been transported to the festival grounds by various nursing homes; to interact with animals - mostly dogs and cats +1 rat). Cyclists aren't in costume at present (wearable balloon costumes usually).

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  16. Pickles

    Pickles Czarina / Administrator

    I have received full glasses of pickle juice before. I politely sipped at it, raving all the while, then asked for a to-go cup. A little pickle juice goes a long way!!!!
  17. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    Actually, some people do just this sort of thing pretty effectively, though not in private, but publicly, even marketing the transformation as part of the formal presentation. For example:


    I've also seen Ringling Clowns do likewise for their on floor Pre-Show as a form of public demonstration for audience education and enrichment.
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  18. Finney

    Finney New Member

    This seems to be another example of what you're talking about, Tim:


    (Chuck Sidlow getting into clown at what appears to be a festival performance)

    I personally think this is genius... what a creative way to combat coulrophobia, coming out as an obviously comedic entertainer (NOT just Joe Shmoe), and making your "transformation" a part of your act?

    Plus, as a bonus, I could see that type of performance easily encouraging kids to want to be clowns themselves!
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
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  19. Plywood

    Plywood New Member

    The question here is whether or not a party clown should do this. I still think not. Mom and Dad are not interested in paying you to put your makeup on.
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  20. Special K'z

    Special K'z Well-Known Member

    Totally agree Not for a party clown. I do this every year for my day care. Perfect place to do it. First started doing it in the early 1990's for a different day care I worked at. Sorry this photo is a little blurry. I didn't take it, but it shows a fun part of this show. I never know what I will emphasize. Every time I do it it is a little different, depending upon the kids. I have tons more photos of me doing this if you want more I can upload to my profile. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?...1887265.-2207520000.1364571703&type=3&theater
    Sara K.
    I also go in the second grade every April bring all my stuff and do an educational presentation before they go to the Shrine Circus and then Tic Toc on our forum here takes it from there. When the kids get to the circus they seek him out cause I've already shown them pictures on our white boards from this forum etc., and brought in tons of props, books ect. They are pointing out clowns saying Hey he's dressed as a traditional hobo. He's dressed as a traditional white face, etc.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
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