If you aren’t getting ahead, you’re falling behind. I’m moderately confident that someone reputable has said that in the past, so I’m going to use it as the thesis for this post. It’s easy to look at your work and think that it’s good enough, no matter what your job is. Fortunately for my fans, my job is to continue to improve and continue to find new ways that I can bring smiles to the faces of the kids and families that invite me into their homes and events. Ultimately, I would like to raise my prices and do events all over the region, but we will start with consistent improvement here in Denver!
Step One: Improving Simply Smiles Balloon Animals
Balloon animals are what I do best, and improving my balloon twisting is as easy as adjusting my mindset. In most situations, I’m leaning towards speed. Most of the balloons I make only take 1-3 balloons and I usually make about 25-30 of them in an hour. The best balloon artists may certainly have more technical skills than I do, but in most situations I’m not exerting my creative muscles. By rethinking my approach and making these better balloons, I have the potential to increase business in the following ways: booking longer parties, having more compelling photos and content for social media, and increasing my WOW! factor and therefore my word of mouth advertising. To summarize, I need to expand my catalog while focusing on larger balloons at events.
Step Two: Improving Smiles’ Face Painting Speed
We entertainers get a lot of compliments, usually for exceeding expectations. Many people expect balloon dogs or face paintings that take ten minutes. People are very impressed by complex balloon designs and fast face painting. Right now I do about 25-30 of them an hour (more if I’m slammed), by basing a few kids in a row. I’m ultimately limited by certain factors though, such as my inability to really do two kids at a time and my inability to wield two brushes simultaneously, aren’t I? Not anymore. My newest project, in addition to expanding my catalog of painting options, is to teach myself complex brush strokes with my left hand. The plan, which will hopefully be unveiled in September or October, is to dual wield (you can tell I play video games) brushes and line both sides of the face at the same time. Minds will be blown!
Step Three: Learn Some Magic
Every year or two I go through the exact same thought process: “Why haven’t I become a magician yet? I know that it’s inevitable, and the way that I can charge the most.” Yet every time, I find myself burning out on the practice and not really getting into it. Who would have guessed that being a clown was hard work?
Rather than force myself into a mold that doesn’t seem to fit, I’m going to take some different approaches and utilize some common tropes. A clown that I respect very much from my home market gave me some great advice about a hilarious show utilizing a bunny rabbit puppet. If I know kids, I know that they love silliness, slapstick, and things not going as planned. They don’t laugh at my juggling tricks, they laugh when I throw the balls into my face and fall down. Developing some routines that are hilarious and closer to comedy than magic will be a great way to ease into that category. It will also help me flesh out step four, which is…
Step Four: Develop a Show
My balloon show has the same issue as my magic training: I’m not exactly sure where to start, and it slows me down from developing it. Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to do informal sets at different parties and practice delivery and structure. I already know how the first ten minutes of the show will go, so it’s all about building from there.
Step four has a few subcategories. The first is my comedy: I’ve begun writing down all of the jokes that are a hit with my audience, and attempting to build upon them so that I can give a more structured comedic routine. I’ve relied mostly on my wit and responding to the comments that I hear rather than driving the flow of the show. Both are acceptable routes, but structure is more reliable and better to use as the bones of the show. Another goal I have is to learn to juggle five balls consistently, which I want to achieve by practicing at it for at least a few minutes everyday.