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News: The balloon animal supply store is closing so i can spend more time on  making videos.
 
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Author Topic: Practice?  (Read 1539 times)
Papaballoon
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« on: November 08, 2011, 04:52:11 AM »

Ok.  I have an opinion here.  This is intended to start a discussion.   It is not intended to start an argument.  I know right off the bat that Big will at least have another point.  This is good!  I have met Big and all the other Kahunas and consider him a valuable friend.  Same with others here on the group. 
Ok. I think that working for "free" is a good idea.  Or at least not a bad one.  I personslly have a difficult time practising.  This is something from my childhood.  I hate a vaccuum.  For some reason I need that reaction from an audience.  So!  I do a few places for tips only.  I also work at a farmers market and one or two other venues occasionally on a tips only basis.  Why?  Because I can get in some valuable practice time in front of something more than a fish tank.  Yes.  I have Koi in a tank.
This makes me better and improves my skills.  It is also valuable advertising, and sometimes works as a favor which may repay you in multiple ways.  I don't say it is the way to run your business, but it can be a positive rather than a negative.  Whatcha say guys?  I really wish we could all sit down sometime and have a big  chin session.  You folks here have been the most inspiring and helpful people I have ever dealt with.  Thanks! You are the best!
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how do you get to Carnige Hall? ...........PRACTICE!
funat60
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2011, 06:14:09 AM »

Papa, I totally agree with your thoughts!  Although I have not gotten to professional status, it is no fun to try new stuff and then have nothing to do with it except pop it and pitch it.  So, I go to the local nursing home and practice and the residents don't care if I have done well or not but I do have an audience.  I just sit in a room and do my thing and most of them give me good comments (some not so much but thats ok too).  Also I go to the local pet shop on a Saturday and just sit there and twist away.  If someone has a request, I do it for them, but usually I do what I want and just give it to whomever walks in next.  It is getting me requests for parties and events that I sometimes consider, but usually I just enjoy the fun.  I honestlly don't know if I will ever make this a serious business effort, I just turned 65 and retired from my job - so this could be a second career or it can remain just plain fun!
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SomeClownConsulting
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2011, 06:55:54 AM »

That makes two of us... I don't practice too much on my own (although if I'm learning something from a DVD I might make it while watching the DVD.)  I too use the restaurants as practice grounds---and will often suggest the things that I am working on to get better at them.
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naeno
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 12:11:48 PM »

Personally, I don't like working for tips.  I like to practice at home, then give the pieces away.   I give my practice pieces to my local library, restaurants, hotels, neighbors, etc.  Working on a tips basis just becomes a grind quickly for me.  I still don't like a "line".  It makes me feel a bit panicked.    Creating at home allows me to do a piece as fast or slow as I want.  I don't like an audience while I'm practicing.  I love an audience once the piece is done!
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missballoonatic
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 02:11:37 PM »

I'm a volunteer for the Medina City Schools Foundation... so whenever there are big events on the Square or for school, I get to practice, and I get volunteer hours too.
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mackerous
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2011, 01:25:02 PM »

I personally love working for tips. I wouldn’t pass up a birthday party for it, but still.

-It’s SO incredibly satisfying to bring home a big bucket of money at the end of a day. I turn on a movie, crack a beer, count it out, separate it and rubber band it. My little ritual.
-On a good day, I make ~40-45% in tips per hour compared to what I make for the first hour of a birthday party. Sounds like quite a cut, but when you think that I charge more than 3x what I make an hour at my well-paying government IT job, it’s not so bad (so yeah, I still make more money per hour at a farmer’s market than in IT)
-I do practice at home a lot (then again, I haven’t been at least nearly as long as most people here). I figure I might as well make some cash for something I would be doing at home anyway. I try to push new designs I’ve learned to practice them.
-There’s no better advertising than seeing me make an octopus.
-William Shatner says he has a primary rule (directive?) he lives by: Say Yes. It’s your door to adventure. This rule has caused me to work a gig for ½ my normal fee, but they liked me so much I they ended up giving me extra, which combined with my tips (when I work for less than normal, I put out a bucket) to be more than my fee for the time. Saying yes also made me I recently donate my time/skills to a Halloween party I found on Craigslist. With tips I broke even with metro fare and balloons, but it turned out to be in a very nice apartment building with tons of families. I left some of my better work at the front desk with cards and I’m getting some parties out of it.
-The line stressed me out at first, but I learned to kind of ignore it. Emphasis on kind of. Don’t forget it’s there totally and be courteous, but treat every customer you’re entertaining for right then feel like they are your only for them.

@Naeno, I fully understand working at home. That is my favorite place to twist. This is why I like making party favor balloons for parties. I make them all at a slow pace while on watch a movie (subtitles on, can’t hear over the squeaks) and bring them to the party.
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SomeClownConsulting
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2011, 07:26:58 PM »

-On a good day, I make ~40-45% in tips per hour compared to what I make for the first hour of a birthday party. Sounds like quite a cut, but when you think that I charge more than 3x what I make an hour at my well-paying government IT job, it’s not so bad (so yeah, I still make more money per hour at a farmer’s market than in IT)

Ditto... and I have a global reputation as one of the top ten in the world in my area of expertise (you can google my name and you'll see it.)
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jillybilly1976
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2011, 12:20:46 PM »

I have had an open ended invitation at the Sears Department Store here in Regina for 2 1/2 yrs.  If I'm not booked, I can come in anytime I want and twist balloons for tips - I don't charge them and they don't charge me - if they ask me to come in they give me a gift card for the store.  I usually make in tips approximately about half what I charge per hour.  I look at it this way I get paid to practice, and have recieved many jobs while on location.  And hey otherwise I'd probly just be at home watching tv anyway.
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Peter John
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2011, 08:33:49 PM »

I painstakingly work out every joke on paper, every raise of my eyebrow at the correct time and even the exact location and placement of my fingers in my performances.   I only present balloons that I have worked out months before on paper, then figured out the construction and then figured out how to accompany it with jokes, punchlines or delivered timing and rehearsed it until it can be done over and over in my head and with complete finger muscle memory...

and then I go on stage.... and "wing it".
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funat60
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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2011, 02:38:38 AM »

Cute Peter John, very funny!
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MileHiTwister
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« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2011, 06:16:43 PM »

I hate practicing at home too.  It scares the dog and I don't get to practice the "patter" and presentation, which are just as beneficial to learn as the shape.  So I don't mind twisting for tips, but then balloons are only a glorified hobby for me.  As a teacher, I am pretty busy most of the year, but I can go to farmer's markets etc. in the summer.  Like others have said, I usually make about 50-60% of my hourly fee BUT I can decide whether to go or not, I don't prep a special balloon for the birthday child, I'm never abandoned by all the adults with tons of kids clinging to my legs, I can close up and go home when I want, and I can get an awesome fruited lemonade, often in exchange for a teddy bear with a heart.  But mainly, I make a lot of kids happy, and that's much better than having a room full of balloons to pot and discard or bag up and find a place to give them away.  (Although now I save my scraps and my wife makes the balloon bracelets.) 

And recently, I donated my services and balloons for a kid's event.  The organizer thanked me for my donation and asked me what I typically charged so she could send a receipt for my taxes.  Instead, she sent me a check for the full amount with a note that they had raised extra funds and wanted to pay me because I had made the event a huge success.  They also want me to come back next year and bring a helper or preinflated balloons so that I can do even more.  Works for me. 

I didn't want to hurt any of the professional twisters in my town, but having recently met a couple who were stuck up and seemed only interested in money, not entertainment or art, I am having second thoughts.  I'm not going out to steal business from anyone, but my bottom line is still having fun as an artist and making kids happy.  I will take jobs for tips if it meets those criteria.
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SomeClownConsulting
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« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2011, 08:38:59 PM »

The organizer thanked me for my donation and asked me what I typically charged so she could send a receipt for my taxes. 

Just so you know, you can donate your time, but you cannot claim the amount on your taxes... the IRS is onto that.  If they did give you a receipt and you did claim it, it would have been illegal.
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MileHiTwister
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2011, 08:42:24 AM »

That's nice to know.
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SomeClownConsulting
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2011, 09:08:48 AM »

You will often be offered a receipt for volunteer time so that you can deduct it from your taxes,,, but legally you can't.  the irs won't let you claim that time.  i suspect it is a result of professional volunteering their time in non-professional manners (eg a lawyer serving as an usher) and then claiming a write off for that time.  (Now this is 10 year old memory from my individual taxes class so things could have changed, but I doubt it.)
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