Clown Tutorial – twisting balloon animals, part 1
The first ‘clown skill’ we’ll look at is twisting balloon animals into different shapes. Why balloon animals first? There are several reasons: it’s virtually expected of a clown for one, it’s inexpensive (roughly 8 cents each, buying them retail), and extremely versatile.
How Do I Start Clowning? Now, what do I do?
So, you’ve determined your clown character, designed your make-up, and created a costume that will work for you. What next?
Well, before you go before that first audience, you will need something to do to entertain them! I recommend that you look at some of the skits that you can do for a start (we’ll list several good resources for skits at the end of this article). But there’s more, of course. (more…)
Clown Magic, part 1 – an introduction
Welcome back to our ongoing how-to seriesâtoday, we’re going to begin discussing clown magic, how it is similar to “standard” magic, and how it differs.
Let’s begin with getting some definitions out of the way. By “magic”, we’re discussing the sleight of hand and “sleight of mind” (pun not intended) popularized by David Copperfield, et. al. We are not discussing anything unholy, unwholesome, or that God would frown upon. That’s magick (or magyk, or…), and something we’re not going to touch with a ten-foot pole.
Another disclaimer: Mr. Copperfield (and all other performing magicians) aren’t doing anything “mystical”, etc. They are doing things that we’re not expecting, and taking advantage of some presuppositions that our minds make. Here’s a short example. There’s a magical prop, called X-Salted. It’s a gimmicked salt shaker. The presentation is as follows: the magician comes on stage, and starts pouring salt out of the shaker. He stops, unscrews the top of the shaker, and dumps all of the salt out of the shaker. He screws the lid back on, and turns the shaker upside down. Salt continues to pour out of the top of the salt shaker – for minutes. Since we (as adults) “know” that that salt shaker top can’t possibly hold that much salt, we’re astounded. It must be magic! The answer, of course, is that our perceptions have been fooled, and the salt shaker lid holds more salt that we think it would. Children aren’t fooled by this illusion, since they haven’t “learned” that rule about space. (more…)
Clowning Tutorial – clown magic
Welcome back — today, we’re going to discuss clown magic, how it is similar to “standard” magic, and how it differs.
Imagine, if you would, a clown (either whiteface, auguste, or tramp) walking on stage with a serious demeanor. He has a beautiful assistant walk on stage, pushing a small table. She climbs onto the table, and lies down, face up. The clown walks over, makes a few mystical passes, and covers her with a large cloth. He steps back, pauses, and gestures with his arms, pantomiming up, up– up! Slowly, the covered figure rises several feet into the air. The clown confidently steps forward and whisks away the sheet, to reveal that the assistant has vanished!
Now, what’s wrong with this picture? (more…)
Clown Tutorial – Clown Magic – magic card magic – free magic trick
Welcome back – today, the rubber meets the road, and we introduce a free magic trick that you can introduce into your clowning. As always, you want to adapt these things to fit your character. (more…)
Clown Tutorial – Clown Magic – do’s and don’ts of magic tricks
Welcome back! In this installment of Clown Magic, we’ll talk about some do’s and don’ts.
The most important don’t is the most basic: never divulge how a trick is done, except to another magician/clown. No exceptions. Ever. Don’t do it. Just say no. Get the idea? This is a very bad thing to do; you would be divulging someone else’s hard work, so that when an audience sees that trick, one or more of them will say (probably out loud, disrupting the performance) “I’ve seen that before! I know how that’s done!” or something equally witty. This is a lose-lose proposition all the way around. Magicians will stop doing that trick (for example, magicians rarely perform the “sword through the basket” routine anymore, since it’s been exposed so many times), the audience member looks oafish, and the rest of the audience loses out as well. (more…)
Clown Tutorial – balloon twisting, part 3
Welcome back! Hopefully, by this time you’ve had an opportunity to purchase some balloons (260Q), purchase a pump, and inflate some balloons, and try twisting a simple dog. Now we’re going to add to your repertoire.
Clown tutorial – balloon twisting, part 3
Welcome back! Hopefully, by this time you’ve had an opportunity to purchase some balloons (260Q), purchase a pump, and inflate some balloons, and try twisting a simple dog. Now we’re going to add to your repertoire. (more…)
Clown Tutorial – balloon twisting, part 2
Welcome back! We’re now at the point where the rubber meets the road (pun intended), and start learning how to actually twist balloons. Actually, it’s the latex meeting the road, not the rubber, since the balloons we’ll be using are made of latex — this is what makes them more malleable, and able to survive being ‘twisted.’ Having gotten that tidbit out of the way, we’ll need the following to begin with: (more…)
Warm ups and cool downs at clown performances – how and why
One of the basics about clown performances that often bet overlooked is the need for warm-up exercises beforehand and cool down exercises afterward. Athletes know about the need for both warm up and cool down exercises – and we don’t typically think of ourselves as athletes, but a clown performance can be just as physically demanding. When clowning, we tend to use muscles that we forgot that we had — and those muscles tend to remind us of that fact afterwards. In addition, there tends to be a lot of bending, stooping down to the children’s height, etc. — and if our muscles aren’t ready for that, they’ll hurt afterward. (more…)