I look back on my first few times "out" with more than humility; more like, humiliation.
- Dona L. Oliver
Make every twist an interesting experience. Pay attention to what you are doing as you twist and really keep an eye out for things you do that gets the attention from everyone in line. Remember that particular 'thing' and use it often. Soon you'll build a tool kit of bits and pieces (besides balloons) and find yourself in more and more demand.
The logic here is that you want an aggressive and outgoing sort of person for your volunteer. How many times have we picked somebody only to have them either refuse and make us look stupid, or get up on the stage and freeze. But most likely in order to get their hands on the balloon arrow they must have been at least a tiny bit aggressive. Plus, they've now got their own juices flowing a little and will be more enthusiastic - pumped - by the time they get up on stage.
I showed everyone how to make a simple dog. Then I gave each of my 3 guests a balloon and they made a dog as I was making another dog step for step. At the end, the rest of the people voted by clapping for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. I then awarded then the 3 balloon creations that I made before I started. After this I spent some time twisting for the people at their tables.
So you have to do something else with balloons, not "just" twisting. To find entertaining bits / routines for such a long time is IMHO not easy and I would be afraid of loosing the attention of the audience after 20-30 minutes watching me doing something with balloons. But, that's just my opinion...
Here is something what I am doing in my balloon stage show: Search the guide for "my" figure 8 routine. I tell the audience a story about myself / my life using the balloon for illustration.
Before the show I made a "balloon-baby" (in my case it's just a teddy) sitting in a real baby's napkin / diaper. In the napkin is a walkman with little loud-speakers or for bigger shows you can use the stage sound system. I made a tape with noises of a baby crying, drinking and a loud burp. At the correct point in your show, let the sound start, take the baby from behind the stage or behind whatever (the audience should not have seen it yet) show it to the audience, excuse yourself for the interuption, but tell them that you have to feed your balloon baby. Take out a little bottle for babys to drink (whatever this is called) and "feed" it (drinking noise), after this hold it on your shoulder and wait for the LOUD, BIG burp. This always gives a big laugh.
If you blow up by mouth, get some (1-3) volunteers on stage and tell them to do the same lilke you. Give them balloons, blow your balloon up (by mouth) and start twisting a simple dog, without noticing the volunteers... I dont want to start the discussion of blowing up by mouth / letting audience members blowing up by mouth again. Do it or just do it not. If you don't blow up by mouth give them a pre-inflated balloon and start making the dog. They can't follow you, make some funny comments and then teach them how to make a simple dog, like suggested by Magic Mike.
Answer: Just inflate! Are they happy with a balloon that's just inflated, and not twisted? SURE! Did they ask for the balloon to be twisted? Surely not! Not a one! Did they all have to have their favorite color? Surely not! (Just a couple). I have done a few shows like this, where I am entertaining a large crowd with clowning and with balloon antics, and being in the same predicament as above. Today I didn't have any time to pre-inflate. Last time I did. Everyone was happy enough in each show. There are certain places where a straight 260 is the best handout. I KNOW this is a twisting forum, but I've had a number of twisters think, "How stupid it is for a big crowd just to have inflated 260's without twists!" Any of you remember IBAC's opening night last year? It was so cool seeing a large crowd waving 260's. It was fun!
"May I take your order?
Would you like fries with that?
Your total is $4.18, please pull around to the second window."
By the time they are finished, I have put a fast food balloon microphone on their head. And I say, "Now talk into this end here."
The kids arrive. Now here is where I like what has been being said of late on the list. Read the audience. As you greet them, begin to share who you are and what your message is. They'll see the balloons all over the stage, and you might be in costume, so they know there is more than just a lecture coming. Giving them a chance to warm up to you just a bit and relax.
If this is a church group I would do something like Moses brought the animals and make some balloon animals. Then get some audience participation by bringing some of the kids up asking their names, etc. Then have them share something on topic and have the audience clap for the winner or just let whoever I bring up be a winner, and they would get whatever they see or what I have just made. Next I never give all the decorations out at this point. I set them on stage as I make more, building up to my best stuff. Now is the tricky part, do I give this stuff out before my finale or after? I have done it both ways. Whichever way you do it, I like the end of the show to have a little bang and start them out the door.
When your time is up I like to use something to bring things to an END. Magic is very good or what ever you like to end your show. Use tickets, a drawing, a door prize, or some kind of challenge and have winners. Some random way so nobody feels like you have left them outor overlooked them for the balloons you have created. I will add one last bit of information: never, NEVER end a show for five hundred kids in South Central LA by throwing candy into the audience.
This is not tricky, the sqeeker is simply held in the curled ring and pinky fingers of your right hand. For timing, as your right fingers make the double squeezing motion, your other fingers do a double squeeze of the gizmo.
First - I'm a clown. When I want to, I can take about 5 minutes "blowing" up a balloon. - I start by using the wrong end, I blow it up with my mouth, then let the air in the balloon back into my lungs to "Blow me up" instead, I'll "huff and puff" except I let the air out inbetween "puffs", I'll let go of the balloon while it's blowing up and let it go flying away and then - finally - when I get it properly knotted, I "accidentally" break the balloon while twisting it.
Finally, I break out my pump which has a sign on the side that says "God's Love" over a pink heart. I explain that everyone has bad days, days where they feel a useless as a broken balloon - but with God's love, anything is possible, so I promptly start twisting animals for the kids.
If you don't want the show to go on too long, make a bunch of animals in advance, put them in a plastic trash bag and give them out at the end of the performance.
Take out another 260 inflate it all the way. Bend about 3" on each end. Pull an invisible hair out of your hair or somebody's and tie it to one end of the 260 pull it down and tie it off at the other end. Now test it out this is your Bow it should bend in the middle as you pull back. Okay now you are ready to pull the invisible arrow out of your back pack or quiver. Test this a few times (Showmanship) as you get it all ready and tested. Now you are ready to shoot the arrow at the heart.
As you let go with the first arrow you can either hit your target or let it fly way off target and go over to the ood wall and retrieve the arrow. Come back center stage and set up for your next shoot. Now let fly and as you shoot have the person holding the heart on top of there head pop the balloon. Wala the crowd goes wild wondering how did he do that. If you pull a stranger out of the crowd they are always willing to go along with the fun. Just whisper in there ear what you want them to do. Just when you want them to pop the balloon. This is a very easy skit and always gets tons of laughter. 10 to 15 min easy. Good luck
When I do the egg can routine I like to spruce it up a bit and add some funny glasses - of course, they are to protect the eyes of the volunteer from all the egg mush. I also pull out a bib with ketchup, mustard, etc., stains and place it on the volunteer. I say that this trick usually works all the time. . . but just in case (as I put the bib on).
I also use the EZ hat loader. Same principal as egg can but are secretly loading your balloons into the hat as you sprinkle magic dust. I did this routine today and produced all the balloon which led into the balloon portion of my show. Went over well. Depending on how many balloons you load, you can load streamers, eggs, what ever will fit. However, I do have once question. Does anybody have any ideas/suggestions for a noiseless load as you drop the load from can to hat? Also, what kinda hat do you use? Some hats which have a plastic bottom make a "kerplunk" when the load lands, and, if the hat bottom is too soft, then the load will show an indent when the load lands. ANY IDEAS???
"Something weird happened to me on the way to the party today. I was walking up. . . um. . . what's the name of this street?"
"Yeah, I was walking up Maple street, and right there in front of me was a little barking dog...what do you call them. . . the little dogs with the long bodies. . . wiener dog thing. . ."
"Yeah, a dachshund! It had a long nose, two little ears, short legs, lonnnnnng body, short hind legs and a frantically wagging tail. So I tried to get around him, but I had to go into the street and I was almost hit by a. . . a. . . um. . ."
Audience: "Car? Motorcycle? Elephant?"
"Yeah, an elephant! He had a long trunk like this, two big ears like this, two big legs with piano keys on them, a big fat body, two more legs and a tail! He was rampaging down the center of the street because he was being chased by a. . . a. . ."
Audience: "Tank? Zulu warrior? Power Ranger?"
"Yeah, a Power Ranger!"
You get the idea. After a while, they get into the swing of things, and start suggesting stranger and stranger items. If you want to make something specific, give them more clues ("it had a long neck, spots, rhymes with carafe. . ."), but if they name something you know, you can make what they say, and give it to the child who suggested it, and let the story grow organically.
Not for the faint of heart, but it's a lot of fun, and it guarantees that the kids will get a unique story because they're part of the process.
I began with a few words about balloon safety and that no part of a balloon should go in anyone's mouth (I use a Pumpo to inflate all balloons). I then explained to the participants (kids from 2-10) that we were going to tell our own story and use balloons instead of pictures. I had a volunteer write down the story and she read it back after we had created the story.
Participants selected either a yellow or a pink paper. I started by selecting a child with a yellow - she shouted out "horse' and while I made a horse, we decided on a name. I put the horse on a long straw and placed it on my display stick. Then I selected a child to read a pink paper and the story was about friendship, picked the next yellow - scorpion and together we began a story about how a horse and a scorpion could be friends. The children were involved and amazed as I made balloon after balloon, and they helped with the characters and the type of action and interaction.
If the crowd had been small, my plan was to give a balloon to each child as I made the creation. But since the crowd was very large, the balloons stayed on the display stick, and, after the program, I gave all the balloons to the librarian. Only a few children asked for a balloon and were satisfied with the answer that the balloons were for the library.
I ended the program with a magic trick that produced a miniature Tootsie roll for each child and then each received my Activity Page which includes a coloring section and a word search puzzle. I had fun and feel that I really entertained the participants in a novel way.
Example: start with a monkey (while I'm twisting) "Once upon a time, a monkey (what's the monkey's name?) "Oh, Alex - once upon a time, a brown monkey named Alex" (select the next child - tiger) (while twisting a tiger) "peeked through the bushes and realized that he was a long way from home because he saw a tiger enjoying the sunshine"
We'll make up our own story using our creativity and each child will get a balloon to take home. I plan to have extra cards with repeat items if the crowd is large.
In the Los Angeles area, libraries share their success stories, and I've been invited to perform at several libraries because of a show last year.
The curious thing about this (soft cover) $1.25 book is that there is even a (balloon) song to go with it (but I don't have it. . . yet!). I just read what the song said and it sounds nice for kids. I'll bet anything that kids will like it!
"I love hats. I really do. In fact, I had a dream last night where there were hats all over the place. Hats on the floor, hats on the table, even hats on the ceiling. I figured a dream like that must mean something, so yesterday I went to (name of a local racetrack). Sure enough, in the first race there was a horse running named Fedora. Since a fedora is a kind of hat, I bet all my money on the horse named Fedora, and you know what? He won! The horse named Fedora won the race, and I won a lot of money.
"Then, in the fourth race, there was a horse running named Panama. Since a Panama is also a kind of hat, I took all the money I won before and bet it on the horse named Panama. And you know what? He won! The horse named Panama won the race, and I won even more money.
"Then in the last race, there was a horse running named Chateau. Now, since I'd won all that money betting on the horses named after hats, and Chateau is French for hat, I bet all my money on the horse named Chateau. And you know what? He lost! The horse named Chateau lost the race, and I lost all my money. I still don't know what happened. Isn't Chateau French for hat?" (Someone will point out that chapeau is French for hat, not chateau.)
"What? You mean Chateau isn't French for hat? Oh, no! No wonder I lost all my money. Oh, well. It wouldn't have mattered anyway. The winner of that race was a Japanese horse named Yarmulkah."
To find inspiration for the story, I suggest consulting Pooh-books for small children and first readers. Their stories have simple plots, and can easily be adapted to fit a balloon routine. (I've done so with other stories).
Whatever option you choose, costumes or balloon figure characters, it is advisable to make the more complex ones beforehand. This will keep the story in pace. Remember that to keep the children interested in the story, the action has to pass at a sufficiently fast rate.
If you check out BHQ, you'll find lots of suggestions for Eeyoor, Piglet, Tigger, Pooh and the rest of them. Make some balloon trees as a backdrop for the Thousand Acre Wood. The rest of the accessories will depend on the needs of the story.
You may want to have both alternatives at the ready, because if you have rowdy (do they still use the word rowdy?) children, using them as actors may be a tad too exciting for the little dearies.
The rest depends on your storytelling abilities....
At the end, the kids will either have balloon costumes to wear, or have one of the characters or props as their own. If necessary, make some more to give each kid an equal share of balloon, and do something extra for the birthday boy or girl.
I found it fun too if I couldn't make a particular balloon behind MY back... I would start off saying... behind my back and then say better yet... behind HIS back... and stand behind someone to make it... this always got a good laugh.
Be careful with this one, but, when making a cap like T. Meyers, I have the teenagers blow the bill when I'm shaping it. Then I let go, so it smacks them lightly on the snout. It gets a laugh at their expense, but it is taken well. Rule # 1 though is to never get a laugh at your audience's expense.
I do this especially if a parent has three or four children. I'm quite sure you guys know the sort of parent I aim this at. It doesn't take a genius to work out when a dad's got his kid for the weekend or a Grandparent is taking junior out for the day.
1070 Bank Street Ext.
Painesville, OH 44077
Composers Recordings, IncJUDY DUNAWAY
73 Spring Street Ste 506
New York, NY 10012-5800
Piece for Solo Tenor Balloon, Bluebird, Champagne in Mexico City, Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime, Blown Uncut, Rubber Patchwork Quilt Featuring Judy Dunaway, balloons with Yasunao Tone and Dan Evans Farkas, electronics.
Emergency Music CD 778
From the performance lofts of lower Manhattan since the early 1990's, Judy Dunaway has forged a new and insistent musical voice with her trademark family of musical instruments - balloons. Into an amplification system she strokes them with moistened hands and inflates and deflates them to form rhythms and shape irregular melodies. In her notes to this CD Dunaway describes the development of her balloon techniques and also speaks passionately about the magical powers of latex to seal, protect, hold breath, and spark imagination. In an era when it is difficult to be truly unique, Judy Dunaway succeeds at communicating a personal and powerful new art.
Check Stock on:
New York Guitars (featuring Dunaway's 60-two-10) (CD698)
- Is my business affected by the copyright Laws?
Copyrighted music is a property and its use must be paid for as any other neccessary business expense. So as long as your business plays copyrighted music, you must pay a license fee. This includes aerobics, dance and exercise studios; hotels; discos; nightclubs; shopping centers and malls; hospitals; colleges; restaurants; country clubs; cruise ships; industrial plants; skating rinks; trade shows; conventions; expositions; meetings; telephone music-on-hold systems; and radio and television stations---as well as many others.
- What if I only play from the radio or a tape?
Wharever the source of music ---tape, record, compact disc, live musicians or the radio (over the speakers, to include your phone) --you still must pay a licensing fee for the right to play that music as part of your business.
- What happens if I continue to play music but refuse to pay?
BMI will check your music programming, and when our music is played we will take approiate legal action. BMI is committed to protecting our writer's and publisher's right to the full extent of the law. And the penalties for copyright infringement can be substantial...from 500 to as much as $100,000 per copyrighted work. So paying a norminal fee now can save your more money in the long run."
For those who haven't worked with it before, MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It was first used to allow a computer to control an electronic instrument such as a keyboard or drum machine. Now it's used as a fast and economical way to send music from one computer to another.
MIDI files are small (not much larger than an email message in most cases, about 10K for a pop song or up to 100K for full orchestrations of lengthy classical pieces). Digitized music (like a CD) records the frequencies, decibel levels, of an actual performance in order to reproduce the sound. MIDI is like sheet music - it records the instrument, notes and dynamics, so that a computer or keyboard can interpret the music to the best of its ability.
The nice thing about MIDI music is that your computer is the performer, eliminating the problem of using someone else's recording. Some MIDI music is copyrighted, though, and there will be a message saying so when you download it. Most of the composers are willing to negotiate a *very* low fee for its use.
There is a huge selection of MIDI music available on the 'net. You can find classical, rock, country, new age, every genre you can think of. Just do a net search on MIDI.
When you open a MIDI file with Netscape or most browsers, it will automatically play the song. All MIDI files are not created equal. They have all been created by *people*, either typing in the score or playing it on a keyboard. Some of them have klinkers, some of them are poorly orchestrated, but most are worthwhile.
In the studio, I use my laptop computer to play the music, and I'm quite satisfied with the quality (piano, guitar and drums sound particularly good off of the MIDI program). For performance, you might want to record the music from your computer onto a cassette tape. You can get a cable at your local Radio Shack that can connect from the speaker port of your computer (if you have a sound card or a Mac) to the microphone port of your tape recorder.
If you want to take this a step further, there are some great software packages out there to let you compose your own MIDI music. I bought the package Encore, which I can use to transcribe sheet music and turn into a MIDI orchestration, or reverse engineer a MIDI file to sheet music. With this software, I can change the orchestration, add a verse, or make any other changes so that the music lasts exactly as long as I want, plays at the tempo I want, uses the instruments I want, etc. It was under $400 at Fry's.
You can send any questions to me, Cap'n Denny (the Red Flash) or go check out the volumes of information about MIDI on the 'net.
Copyrights and Trademarks
Are you using music in your act? Or using music to play behind you as you facepaint, do skits or clown magic? I'll bet 99% of you are now raising your hands! The next question is: Did you know that you are most likely breaking the law?
Wait a minute! What do you mean I'm breaking the law? Well, guess what . . . I'll bet you my last pair of striped socks that most if not all of you who use music are doing it illegally! Now the next question is: What do I do to avoid breaking the law, other than turning off my tape player?
Let's answer your questions by explaining the laws that govern the use of copyright materials and trademarks.
If you play music in your act, you are probably cheating out one or both of the two music agencies that were founded and formed to protect musical copyrights. These two groups are BMI and ASCAP. ASCAP stands for the American Society of Composers and Publishers. BMI stands for Broadcast Music Industry. These agencies were created to protect the rights of musicians, song writers and composers. You see, every time that a song is played, either on a stereo, radio or broadcast medium, the song writer, performer and/or composer was not getting recognition and reward for his or her good works. That is why ASCAP and BMI were formed to give these men and women a means of collecting fees that were rightfully theirs because the music they wrote was being used for something that they weren't being paid for. Each has a number of songs in its registry. ASCAP has over six million songs, with literally thousands being added by the week.
As it was explained to me, the use of music is a property issue. You can use music in Private (Home, Car, etc.) You can not use it in Public. Now the courts have defined the term PRIVATE as: the normal gathering of family and friends. This means that anytime there is a group together for a normal type "family" gathering, then it's okay to play music. Examples of this would include: while at home, driving in your car, attending a Birthday Party, at a family wedding, attending your parent's Anniversary Party, a housewarming when your folks moved into their new condo, etc. This is group who came together and are having fun in a normal "family" style setting.
A PUBLIC use is where there is a gathering of people that are more than just normal family and friends. This can and does include events like: High School Reunions, a performance at a Flea Market/Swap Meet, a gathering at a Company/Church Picnic, a special presentation at the neighborhood Elks/Moose/Eagle/Waterbuffallo Lodge or Country Club, and also any special skit you perform at the next Clown Convention.
You can quite simply use almost any song or music out there . . . if you pay for it. You can purchase an ASCAP Per Concert License for a very small amount. For example, if you do a company picnic that has up to 250 people there, and there is no admission fee to attend this picnic (unlike a concert ticket to get in. This doesn't mean that you have to pay for parking in a regional park), then ASCAP allows you to use any of their registered six MILLION songs for a fee of only seven dollars. That's a pretty good deal if you ask me. And you don't have to pay each event as they happen. You can report your work to ASCAP and then pay the amounts on a quarterly basis. They even send you a form that you use to keep your records accurate and accountable. Plus they offer a quantity discount if you know that you are going to do a lot of events with the same music. After 25 events, ASCAP allows you to deduct 20% off of the fees charged after your first 25. Or better yet you can pre-pay for 100 or more, and then you get a 5% discount on all of them. Depending on how many events you do, this can be a substantial savings over the total figure. The fees for BMI are very similar. For more details on either of these, you can contact them directly at the following phone numbers: ASCAP has offices all over the country. I called one on the West Coast - (800) 910-7348 ext. 52. BMI is based out of Memphis, Tennessee. You can find them on the web.
So let's say that you decide to ignore the law, and you want to go out and play a neat album or cassette tape that you bought at the local record store. Sit down for this information. The Infringement Damages can be costly. Fees and penalties for use of copyrighted music without permission or arrangement can range from $500.00 - 20,000.00 per song! And this means every time that you play the tape again, you can get hit with another penalty or fine. This can get very expensive after a very short length of time.
So you want to follow the law, and do what's right . . . but you don't want to have to pay any fees unless you have to. You do have loopholes. Many of these are set up and you don't even know it. For example many of the arenas that a clown, magician, juggler, facepainter, or what ever entertainer you are plans on performing at, the fees are already paid for by the arena itself. For example, County Fairs, Restaurants, Shopping Centers, and Casinos have to pay a fee to ASCAP for the use of music in their establishments. That means that if you are brought in to perform for people or guests in their establishment, then you are covered and you don't have to pay the fee. However, you want to make sure that you are covered by asking the person in charge if the fee has been paid for. That way you are protected.
Let's say that you get a call from a client who wants to hire you for their annual Company Picnic or Christmas Party and they happen to have to put you on hold for a moment . . . listen carefully. Do you hear music on hold, like a radio station, or a tape of pop music? If you do, then chances are the company has paid for a Business Multiple Use For Corporation License. That means that they have paid the fee to ASCAP and/or BMI for music. Again it is best to ask them if they have paid the license fee.. Be safe and not sorry.
Public Domain Music
Another loophole is the use of any music you find labeled Public Domain (PD) music. That means that the music is no longer under copyright, and you are free to use it without paying royalties to anyone. Much of the public domain music is "Classical". There are a lot of popular and folk songs that are public domain also. Don't think that all classics are Public Domain until you check. Plus keep in mind that just because your record says (PD) doesn't mean you can use it. The PERFORMER has a royalty coming to them if you use it straight from the record. You can use the song by having someone else perform it, and you don't have to pay the royalty fee. For example: Have your niece play the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven in a "Jazzy" tempo, on an out of tune piano, and that is fine! Two excellent sources for folk music that is Public Domain are Great American Folk Songs, published by Dell, and Folk Songs of the World, published by Bantam Books. You should be able to find these at your local music store, or library.
Speaking of libraries, you can take care of your music needs by purchasing what is called a Music Library. This is a collection of pre- recorded background music from which you can select the pieces or parts of pieces that you want to use for your act. In just about every thriving metropolis there is a struggling musician or two who wants to sell their skills to movies, television or the legitimate stage. All you need to do is look in the Yellow Pages under MUSIC and see if there is a listing for a recording studio in your area. Call around and ask for music libraries. You can even find companies that sell music libraries in the classified sections some music or guitar magazines.
Some places charge twice for music: once for the collection of music, and then a "per use" or annual fee to use the music. I suggest that if the studio wants to charge you twice for the use of the music, keep looking. Now some music libraries can get pricey too! They have what is called "Needle Drop" charges. This means that they charge you for each song. A song can be a short as 10 seconds or up to 6 minutes long. You have to look around and ask about the fees for these. Most good studios collect the same music libraries and will charge you by the hour's worth of music. For example: a company here in my town of Anaheim charges $15.00 per hour to be alone in the studio to listen and select the songs that I like. They charge $35.00 per hour to have a technician in there with me to help run the CD player. If I want something weird like a sound effect, they charge $85.00 per hour to use the computer generated music sounds. If I want to record my selections onto a tape they charge $35.00 for a 1/4" tape to record my music selections on. Or $50.00 per hour to record it to CD. Plus of course, you need to buy a blank CD at the cost of $20.00. So let's say I hit it lucky, and I find a group of 20 songs that I like. The combined total of the music equals one hour, and it took me 4 hours to find them all, plus another 1 hour to record it to a blank CD; that would put it at $67.50 to find the songs I like, plus $52.50 for the technician to record it over onto my $20.00 CD. The grand total is $140.00. This is probably the most expensive CD I will ever own, BUT the music is cleared of ASCAP/BMI restrictions. That means it would have paid for itself in 20 picnics, and every other show after that is free of any fee at all! Sounds good . . . doesn't it!
Because of this need for restriction free music, some musical groups have put together CDs and tapes of free and clear music for the entertainer. You will see an occasional ad in Laugh*Makers or other entertainment magazines.
Fun Technicians has one CD called Music for Magicians and Artists. I personally have this one and love it! Check it out! Others that I have, have heard of, or know about include:
Illusionworks has two CDs: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
Magician's Easy Edit Music Kit: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
Milt Larsen of Hollywood's Magic Castle owns Electric Lemon Records who will soon have CDs of Circus style music available.
You can even find some discarded Music Library albums in your local Thrift Stores or Goodwill. The only problem that I have found with these is that the music is very "time honored" and "Seventy-ish or Disco" sounding. Unless your clown character or Magician is wearing a Polyester Leisure Suit, you may not want to have a "Bee-Gee" sound behind you.
If you go to your local recording studio, music store, Guitar Center, or College you may find a musician or two who can compose and perform for you an original song. This can be a start for some up and coming composer, or it can be a dramatic savings to you from the fees of an accomplished musician. I have found that most original songs can cost anywhere from $500.00 on up. A good friend of Pretzel and Kritters composed our theme song, and he gave us a major break by only charging us $300.00 for both! Most composers charge a per page fee in the area of $180.00 per page. You can expect a musical rendition to go through a page of music in about 20 - 30 seconds. If you want a theme that lasts 3 - 4 minutes, you can see the dollars going quickly!
A Final Musical Note
ASCAP, BMI and most everyone else is a money making institution. They are there to actually do something that needs to be done . . . protect the rights of musical performers and composers. They don't want someone using their works without due compensation. But they really don't care about the little guy. That CAN include you, if you picture yourself in that light. However . . . your integrity is up to you. But if you do work conventions, large company picnics or corporate events . . . protect yourself by purchasing the license and not having to worry if you are asked to cease and desist by a man in a dark suit carrying a briefcase and a money hungry grin on his face.
To sum it all up, there are things that we need to do as entertainers to add sparkle to our shows. Music is one, and facepainting can be another. If you do either of these things, I implore you to make sure that you are doing the right thing, and not breaking the law. Many of the companies out there may not really care about the little guy, but it is quite simply wrong to break the law. Let your conscience be your guide and do what is best.
Rick "Pretzel" De Lung
2034 E. Lincoln Ave. Suite #101
Anaheim, CA 92806
P.D.A. Productions. Reproduced with permission.