Sunday, December 28, 2008

How to Have a Great Birthday Party!

Get Bookings:
Before you can have a great party, you’ve got to have a great client. On another day, I’ll write some about advertising, lead generation, and database maintenance. For today, however, I’m just going to say that you’ve got to make sure you get your name out well enough to get the event in the first place.

Make sure when you book the event that you get plenty of facts and information pertaining to the event. The more you know, the more you have to work with. On the same note, be sure not to ask too many questions or you may scare away an otherwise great potential client.

It is always a good idea to map out your route to your event ahead of time. By doing so, you are well aware of the estimated time of travel and can allow yourself plenty of time for accidents and traffic delays along the way.

Giving 110%:
This section pertains to how you use your intel that you gathered to give your client more than they expect. For instance, if you find out that Birthday boy Sammy likes Batman, you can learn ahead of time how to make a great batman lootle. You can then go to the event prepared to awe and astound the crowds with an amazing sculpture you planned to make ahead of time.

Get there:
Get there early or on time. You do not want to have the party mom stress out over when you’ll be there. Know that she’s plenty stressed about the party already. She doesn’t need your help making her hair fall out.

Get Going:
I start with the birthday child and usually make the figure I planned out on the way there. If it is a boy, I’m usually making a super hero or a crazy costume. If it’s a girl, I make a full princess outfit with crown, dress, wand, and ear rings.

Nip it in the Bud:
Stop any and all problems before it gets too big to handle. If you notice a child is acting up as soon as you get there, make note of it and draw extra attention to them. Sometimes you’ll find that if you set the right tone in the very beginning, things will work out really great for the rest of the party. This section could be a whole book by itself (In fact, there are MANY books on it.), so I won’t be spending time on it other than letting you know it should be dealt with appropriately.

Heading Out:
When you leave, be sure to thank your client for their hospitality. Many times they are going out of their way to invite you into their homes. They are inviting some of their closest friends over and honoring you by presenting you to them as an entertainer and sometimes even a family friend. Do not take advantage of it; and, certainly you should be grateful.

Get Out:
This last point has been added to emphasize the importance of leaving on time. Your client has planned their event around the times you were scheduled to be there. Be sure not to get in their way by staying too late.

Last Notes:
Okay, so I know these weren’t complete notes on how to perform at a party or even how to get a party or go through with an event, but I hope that you’ve at least seen an outline for what I do and how I go about doing it. If you have any specific questions or you would like for me to expand on a certain section above, let me know and I’ll be more than glad to do what I can.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Yup... This is just a post to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Hope you are all doing well!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Stage Show: One bite at a time

I’ve always wanted to put together a stage show. I have always been fascinated by the idea and, though I didn’t really know where to start, I knew I needed to find a way to make my dream become reality.

This week I was able to get a step closer toward developing a stage show.

I have a habit of asking The Amazing Kenny (Insert Link) on a regular basis how I can improve myself as a performer. Not only do I ask him, but Jimmy Leo and Mike Clay. There are a number of others, but those are the ones I most often call for advice.

This week it was Kenny that helped me out. I asked him what I should do to improve my performance in the restaurant and he told me something quite amusing. He said “Act like Jimmy Leo.”

For those of you who know Jimmy Leo, you know exactly what he’s talking about. And for those of you that do not yet know who he is, I suggest you look him up and learn a little about him. Jimmy Leo is a GREAT entertainer and balloon artist. He is very creative and I can’t think of a better person to call when I need motivation on a new bit of performance I’m working on.

I went to work this week and I made sure to keep Kenny’s advice in the back of my head. And when the time came, I totally took on an aura of Jimmy Leo. Even better than that, I was able to use a storyline that I gathered from one of Guido Verhoff’s classes at Diamond Jam.

I went up to a table with 6 children and 4 adults and proceeded to tell a story of a prince and princess, dressing them in balloons and entertaining the entire section of the restaurant.

I’m not going to be going into detail about the specific story here, but I told a story as I made very simple balloons for each of the characters. Not only was it a LOT of fun, but I also noticed that it was VERY similar to a stage show.

That being said, I feel it has moved me a step closer to actually developing and presenting a full stage show of my own. From here on out, I am going to use my restaurant gigs to not only help with my individual gags and routines, but I will also be using them to help develop and refine entire stage shows.

With time, patience, sacrifice, and a little luck, I should be refining a stage show within a time frame of about 3-6 months. Once I have that refined, I will be able to attend Jeff McBride’s School of Mystery where I can get personalized coaching on my show, performance, and polish.

And for those of you who are restaurant entertainers out there… Have you developed a stage show yet? Have you tried it in the restaurant? If you don’t have a show, have you considered piecing one together in a restaurant setting?

And for those not in a restaurant… Have you ever considered piecing together a stage show from event bookings? What could you do at your next event to mimic a stage show and help yourself grow as a stage performer?

And my challenge for the week:
Attempt to tell a story with your balloons in a way you’ve never done before and at a place you’ve never considered. Let me know how it goes. I’m interested in hearing about it.

Monday, December 22, 2008


So, I did not work much of any balloon gigs this week, but I did go visit some family. Actually, I visited a LOT of family.

I took my girlfriend and we drove up to Alabama and saw a lot:
Her Aunt and Uncle, My mom and step dad, my 2 sisters, my brother, my grandma and grandpa on my mothers side, my nephew, my aunt and uncle on my fathers side, my grandma on my fathers side, my cousin, and all the awesome people and places in between.

It was a great experience I thought... It was really hard trying to see everyone all within a weeks time since they do not live in the same area.

The experience taught me a lot. So, here's my reference to balloons, especially with my experience in line work:

I've found that doing line work gives you two main choices. You can either try to get to as many people as you can or you can spend as much time with each person as you can. You can't really do both.

In reference to family, I chose to spend time with as many people as I could and then I made sure to let them all know that I enjoyed what little time I had with each of them. Some I spent a day or two with and some I was only able to spend a number of hours with. Just the same, it doesn't mean I care any less about any of them. It just means I only had that much time.

Balloons, like life, always offers a choice. Be sure you are aware of what you are choosing, what you are sacrificing, and what you are getting in return.

Wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays over the next few weeks!!
May your quality time also be quantity time.

Your Balloon Man,
Jonathan Fudge

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party... With Balloons!

So, I went to Disney for the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party with my girlfriend and some of our friends. And, as you can imagine, some balloons were thrown into the mix.

Before I start talking about the balloons though, you totally have to make it to the Christmas party if you haven't already. There is FREE hot chocolate and cookies. That alone is AMAZING.

Anyway, we started the night making balloons for Peter Pan and Wendy. After I made them simple swords (So we could play "lost boys"), Wendy wanted a hat and Peter wanted a monkey to sit on his shoulder (not pictured).

Yeah, I was just as suprized to get the request as they were to actually see me make it. Well, here's the pic.

After making the balloons, Peter Pan asked us to follow him and wait. Well, we did. He soon returned with an awesome piece of paper or certificate certifying my awesomeness and he and Wendy both signed it for me. So, yeah... that was awesome and totally made my day, let alone all the other cool stuff we did.

On the way to the next section of the park, Briar Fox stole away one of the girls in our group and totally started to flirt with her BIG TIME. I thought it was hilarious, but her boyfriend might not have felt the same way. Just the same, everyone in the group laughed and had a great time with it.

After we chased them around a bit and goofed off, it turned out that Briar Fox, Briar Bear, and Big Al were all going to ride on the Aladin's Magic Carpet ride. So... Lucky us, we were invited to ride along with them and were automatically pushed to the front of the line with them to ride.

Not only that, but afterward, I got to make them a balloon. (What can I say, Briar Fox kept telling us he really wanted a rabit... What was I going to do? I can't deny Mr. Fox.)

This is him trying to catch him. Don't worry though, Briar Fox decided he was too chewey and gave him back to me.

I also made Big Al a balloon teddy bear. He liked it. So, we then went on to watch the parade. What I didn't know is that we were now being followed by one of the park employees....

He soon followed us to Aladin's group where I made a Lamp for Genie and then Abu told us he wanted Carpet made out of balloons. So, I did so. I even added another little "Abu" on there so that he would have some company.

A little scared with the guy following us, I decided to ask why he was there.

Yeah, it turned out that he just liked the balloons and wanted to see what else I was going to make for other characters in the park. So, that was really cool. We ended up having our own private our guide by the time the night was out. So that was REALLY awesome.

Before the night was over, I made balloons for Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eyore, and a few others at the park as well. Yeah... It was definately a Magical Experience.

Hello Circus!

I was at a restaurant and I was twisting away and doing my thing when all of a sudden one of the tables I had been entertaining calls me over. The lady looks me dead in the eye and says, "Try not to laugh at me when I tell you this..."

As you can imagine, there were a whole multitude of things that were going through my mind when she said that. I have been around long enough to know that there are some crazy people out there doing some crazy things. So, I wasn't going to let anything she could share suprise me.

I noticed she was pulling out a business card as she was telling me this, so I knew she had to have some conection with entertainment. Needless to say, I was still suprised when I found out that she was a seasoned worker with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Baily Circus. I think she told me she had been working with them for 15 years. So, she told me she knew Bello (Yay!) and I told her that I'd assume she knew who to contact if I wanted to work with the circus.

So, yeah... I was really excited about that. I think she enjoyed my entertainment and she informed me that she would be handing my card out to someone of importance at her office.

Either way, I'll be calling her in the next day or two.

I'm smiling.

Jonathan Fudge
Your Balloon Man
Florida's Balloon Guy ;-)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Xmas Jam!

So, Kenny and I totally got together and went over some Christmas balloon shapes.

You can see his post Here.

The balloon Jam was only about 20 mins to an hour long, but we made it a point to take pictures of most everything we made. The focus was mostly on Christmas balloons, however we did make a few "Holiday" balloons that we could twist for those that did not celebrate Christmas.

And in addition to the ones below, I also was reminded by Merissa that I could very easily make a wreath or a candy cane. Along the same lines a dreidel, star of David, or other Hanukkah items can be made as well.

Without further adieu, here are some of the pics from the Jam.

This balloon Christmas tree was made from a couple of green 260s, a brown scrap, and a white 260 for the "lights" or "ornaments."

This angel was a white 160, a blush and yellow, and then a diamond clear 260 for the angel wings and halo.

This hat was meant to be Santa stuck in a chimney. I thought it was hilarious. I can't wait to be able to make it at a party or event.

And the last picture are the other shapes made. It was a tiger, santa, monkey, and an elf. The tiger and monkey each have a santa hat on to keep with the holiday season. I could see how adding a simple holiday hat could change any figure to match for the holidays.

On a side note, my trip to Japan was AWESOME! I was able to twist for the locals of Okinawa and had a blast while I was doing it. I also stayed on the military base and twisted for a number of events there. It was wild seeing how even the military base was a different culture than I was used to, let alone the being in a different country.

Until next time...