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KeirRoyale
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OK I am not one to get one the Café and rant but what is with these people at Balloon Distractions??? They call you and basically want you to destroy your own local market by encouraging college kids with little or no talent to go in and twist balloon animals for tips while Balloon Distractions makes all the money (and it's really not much money either, $45 for four hours! And I can get $100 for being a balloon twister in Denver for a two hour restaurant gig). They are pushy and rude and can't get it through their head that they are barking up the wrong tree until you finally call them out as being a provider of cheap knock-off balloon artists and then they get upset.

And if you are reading this Ben... Calling someone like me and asking me to train and schedule cheap knock off balloon twisters that don't get paid makes about as much sense as you calling a teamster during a strike and asking him to organize some scabs to jump the fence tomorrow morning!

In short... Next time I hear from Balloon Distractions (and I am sure they will call again as this is the second time in one year that I have heard from them) I will just hang up the phone right away. I have every confidence that they will not be able to enter the market here in Denver as everyone who can so much as make the simplest of balloon animals knows how much of a rip-off they are.

OK, I am putting my soap box back under the bed now : )

Keir

http://www.DenverKidMagic.com
Bad to the Balloon
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I am Sad Ben doesn't call me anymore.....
Mark Byrne
AKA Mark the Balloon Guy
As seen on the TODAY SHOW
www.balloonguy.net
Creator of Bad to the Balloon DVD series
Go to my store: http://tinyurl.com/Bad2theBalloon
KeirRoyale
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Next time they call me I will tell them that you are relocating to Denver Mark and that they should give you a ring. : ) So how many times did they call you???

http://www.DenverKidMagic.com
derrick
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I had a similar call here in Little Rock, AR. They told me that I could work with them or they would have no trouble finding someone else in my market that would. Guess we will see.
KeirRoyale
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Yeah they always say that and then they call you back to try to get you to work with them because they can't find anyone!

http://www.DenverKidMagic.com
Goofy Gideon
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As a Balloon Distractions 1099 I want to agree with many of the points made. I think a good chunk of Balloon Distractions's balloon twisters are not as talented as they could be and they make the industry look "cheap." I also think Balloon Distractions's practice of extreme telemarketing to the magic community gives the company itself that "cheap" look.

With this in mind, I have to say that all the twister I have trained (of which most are NOT college kids but adults with real financial needs) have gone through each of Don Caldwell's Mad Hatz DVDs and have several hundred hours of practice. Some of our artists could not commit to enough practice and we let them go (yep, we cared about quality).

I can only speak for my region, but as someone who was a working member of this community before Balloon Distractions called me, I truly believe we have been adding talented competition rather than “cheap entertainment.”

While it is true that the working for free devalues the market, when they work private parties all of my (I cannot speak for the whole company) twisters charge market value and keep the proceeds. We definitely make it harder for a balloon twister to come into a restaurant and charge $50 an hour, but a good chunk of the restaurants (I can think of 8 in my region off hand) told me they use to have a "[professional] balloon guy," and the customers did not like them and they never made the "cool stuff" our artists make.

I do not think every magician should start a Balloon Distractions franchise. In fact I think most would be bad at it and most WOULD hurt the industry. However, for the talented entrepreneur who can move his or her eyes away from the bottom line, a lot of good can be done. I have definitely added strong competition into my market and to be honest I book more private balloon twisting gigs for than I used to.

By the way, the reason so many magicians have been getting phone calls is because the company stupidly started a free-for-all sales contest to recruit new Regional Partners. Thankfully they stopped the practice two weeks back. Frankly I feel the position should be applied to anyways.

Like any of you, I do not want my name associated with something negative without justification. Therefore if anyone has any questions about the company I will be more than happy to answer them with honesty (no matter which way it goes) and WITHOUT trying to sell the position--like I said I am trying to clear up our name, or at least move marginally in that direction.

By the way Bad to the Balloon, I have purchased both of your Bad to the Balloon DVDs for our local twister library. Thank you for helping our artists raise the bar in our market.
Kevinr
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Well see Mark you videos are helping balloon distractions in his market.

:)
Bad to the Balloon
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If you Value my recipes on Bad to the Balloon you should encourage your twisters to each buy their own copy of BTTB #1 & #2.

As with Magic Videos I only reap profits from sales, not from the wholesale sharing of my products. Pay for what you get!!! At $25 each my videos are a reasonable investment. Most people can make it back in one night.

I would say Don Caldwell and any other twisters who puts out a product would feel the same way. BTW if ANYONE has a pirate copy of BTTB I will prosecute to the highest extent of the law which is printed on the cover of my DVD... hope you never have any disgruntled employees...

Enough about how people steal ideas from others....

Let talk about how prostituting an industry for your own personal gain is how you help people.

You guys on Friggggging crack???

Sure you guys are not selling sex but you are pimping people out, like cheap labor from Mexico!!!! I wish I had the gaul to sell people a bucket of cr@p and tell'em its gold.

I don't and I can't..... do you have any idea how many REAL people I have help to put into business?? What do I ask for in return? Nothing... I do it because it is right.

DON'T peddle the Bull that your helping out people. For everyone one person your helping you are in most markets putting 2 out of business.

Little advice on knowing what a scam is:
• You make money for doing nothing or setting up a system.
• People have to lose, so you can win.
• There is Multi- level selling involved
• You feel dirty at the end of the day.

Your young, seen your website, stop drinking the Ben flavored Kool aid. Listen to well other performers ..... the short term gains will not out weight the long term results.
Mark Byrne
AKA Mark the Balloon Guy
As seen on the TODAY SHOW
www.balloonguy.net
Creator of Bad to the Balloon DVD series
Go to my store: http://tinyurl.com/Bad2theBalloon
Goofy Gideon
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There are no pirated DVDs and we have multiple copies. I was trying to be nice.
Perry D Winkle
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Geez. This thread makes me happy I don't put everything into balloons. Is there no bastion of sanctuary in Corporate America.

Mark,

Perhaps you should offer your next round of videos to a more select crowd and charge more for them. I cannot speak for others but I will pay more. Also, make sure the video states it is illegal for mass exhibition.

Gideon, I can hardly believe that anyone would admit your position. That's all I can say.

Tear up your non-compete, move out of the region, incorporate yourself into an LLC for a whopping $50 and go on hire corp to corp with restaurants if you want.

Hearing that you guys are taking on private parties is just painful. I cannot believe that anyone would take a monkey on the back in this business.
Graham Lee
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Quote:
By the way Bad to the Balloon, I have purchased both of your Bad to the Balloon DVDs for our local twister library. Thank you for helping our artists raise the bar in our market.

As they say in England, "That's just not cricket"

Every person who uses a design from anyones DVD should have their own copy, a library, whatever next?
Perry D Winkle
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Quote:
As they say in England, "That's just not cricket"

Every person who uses a design from anyones DVD should have their own copy, a library, whatever next?


I agree 100%. Mark, I think you need to put together an end user license agreement on your dvds to prevent this garbage. I work in software and have access to a reputable attorney who can put this together for you. Send me a private message if you want his contact information. A five second splash of EULA at the beginning of your dvd will shut this library nonsense down.

It's a shame that you cannot trust people to act ethically.
Wes Holly
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It's been said many times before, and I'll say it again:

If you're selling your clients a balloon/magic show (however skilled it may be), somebody (maybe several somebodies) will come along offering a balloon/magic show for a cheaper price. You will lose business. Stop selling the show and start selling "YOU".

This is a business. It is not profitable for anyone to complain how so & so is "devaluing" the market. The only clients they are going to "steal" are those who don't place a value on what you do. Re-define, re-organize and move up the food chain.

Companies that lose clients are usually ones that take their clients for granted. Does this describe you? When was the last time you sat down with the GM of your restaurant with ideas on how you can help bring in new business or otherwise make improvements? When have you ever asked, listened and implemented ideas from birthday parents or the corporate talent buyer? Stop resting on your laurels or somebody will kick you off of them.

Balloon Distractions ("BD") is not the problem. Macy's doesn't have a problem opening a store across the street from a Wal-Mart. If you don't like the way that BD is paying (or not paying) their employees that is fine, but if you aren't going to hire them, offer training and find them jobs, then you aren't the solution. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.


wes holly
Happily Yours,
Wes Holly
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Baltimore, MD, USA
FuDD
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WES sounds like a Don Caldwell write up on balloon hq

http://www.balloonhq.com/column/caldwell/apr07/

Sounds about right.
may you be filled with loving kindness
http://www.williamsmagic.com
http://www.celebratemagic.com
KeirRoyale
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Wes I agree with you, however I am not as worried about anyone stealing my gigs as I am worried about the image these "balloon twisters" project. I have had numerous people walk into restaurants here in Denver that I charge $100 to and offer to do it for free and the management has said "no thanks" and then saved the "business card" of the balloon twister that came in and handed it to me and ask me if I know them. What does worry me though is that these "balloon artists" come in wearing their "Tip me Tip me" buttons and or have a "stand over the customer until they get the hint" mentality. I fight this image daily and try to get customers to realize I am not there to hit them up for money. And the fact that Balloon Distractions is trying to flood the market with people that I don't want to see working in my market does not exactly endear me to them.

Gideon is the one that most recently called me and inspired this post (and it seems in turn my post likely inspired him to join the Café) And I realize Gideon when you are around college age that $15 per hour seems like great money, but one day when you are supporting yourself and or yourself and a family then you will realize why people like me aren't real crazy about people like you and that is why you get so many twisters that don't much care for Balloon Distractions. And as for the quality of the twisters they send out, if I have to train them from the ground up, how talented are they likely to be before they graduate from college and move on???

Additionally I would say I am generally very good about not complaining about what others are charging the Denver magic and balloon art field. After all I am sure I am not the most expensive out of every quote out there for a birthday party etc. wether it be as a magician or a balloon artist. I usually take the mentality that "you get what you pay for". But with Balloon Distractions I think the more people that know up front about their tactics the better. And since the Magic Café seems to be very well optimized this is a good place to rant about them so that other balloon artists and magicians can see how most professional entertainers feel about their operating practices.

Best regards,

Keir Royale
http://www.DenverKidMagic.com
Bad to the Balloon
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Quote:
On 2010-05-30 03:30, Goofy Gideon wrote:
There are no pirated DVDs and we have multiple copies. I was trying to be nice.


So if there are 15 people in your down line you should be able to provide receipts for 30 videos?

I'll believe it when I see it!!!

Just to let you know with the above scenario you have stolen between $300 - $750 from me and my family (because they weren't purchased directly from me it would be on the low end.)

Want to explain to my wife and kids how you were trying to be nice?

BD is an example of the Butterfly Effect... It seems like a good idea, but the slight change in social structure has devastating results to others. I have seen many people who really needed the income get dumped because of the cutthroat manner in which your business is done.

If you think Ben is such a great guy maybe you should talk to Jonathan Fudge and find out how much money was promised there.

Note to Wes:
There is a big difference between coming in with a cheaper product and dumping. Dumping is what China has done to us (USA). They are not coming in with a less expensive product they are coming in with the same product with no overhead (employees?) and selling at 1/4 of the price.

Think about this..... if you make 100 balloons per hour ( I know I can!) that is 400 balloons per shift at and average of $7 per bag. $28 in supplies. If the BD's are guaranteed to make $15 an hour in reality they are making $8 per hour without any taxes taken out. You would be better of being a greeter at Walmart.

Other expense: Gas, Costuming, $5,000,000 liability insurance ... anyone getting the point.

Gideon stay in school ....
Mark Byrne
AKA Mark the Balloon Guy
As seen on the TODAY SHOW
www.balloonguy.net
Creator of Bad to the Balloon DVD series
Go to my store: http://tinyurl.com/Bad2theBalloon
Bad to the Balloon
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Hey I only got 2 shows today on Memorial Day so I thought I might go through this line by line

Quote:
On 2010-05-29 21:52, Goofy Gideon wrote:
As a Balloon Distractions 1099 I want to agree with many of the points made. I think a good chunk of Balloon Distractions's balloon twisters are not as talented as they could be and they make the industry look "cheap." I also think Balloon Distractions's practice of extreme telemarketing to the magic community gives the company itself that "cheap" look.


Really what do you think you have to offer to true professionals? Other than a glorified MLM? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-level_marketing (Educational Element)

Quote:
With this in mind, I have to say that all the twister I have trained (of which most are NOT college kids but adults with real financial needs) have gone through each of Don Caldwell's Mad Hatz DVDs and have several hundred hours of practice. Some of our artists could not commit to enough practice and we let them go (yep, we cared about quality).


Is Balloon Twisting an art or a manufactured product? Is twisting a skill or entertainment. For those that don't know I am at BD ground Zero it started in my back yard. I have been a restaurant entertainer for over 25 years. BTW I do 9 engagements per week and I am paid a wage in everyone of them.

So walk me through the process..... I see a line up of twisters with Jeff Koon's armbands and black outfits standing at attention. Goofy Gideon with a riding crop barking out orders..... Make a Don Caldwell Octopus!!!

Feerously a dozen wannabe twisters, sweat the 10 minutes to make their best DC Octopus.... Gideon yells enough!!.... one lone twister is still working on it, he knows his fate........

Quote:
I can only speak for my region, but as someone who was a working member of this community before Balloon Distractions called me, I truly believe we have been adding talented competition rather than “cheap entertainment.”

While it is true that the working for free devalues the market, when they work private parties all of my (I cannot speak for the whole company) twisters charge market value and keep the proceeds. We definitely make it harder for a balloon twister to come into a restaurant and charge $50 an hour, but a good chunk of the restaurants (I can think of 8 in my region off hand) told me they use to have a "[professional] balloon guy," and the customers did not like them and they never made the "cool stuff" our artists make.


talented competition rather than “cheap entertainment.” HOW do you justify this statement. If there was an established value for something and now you give it away... this makes no sense.

Then you contradict your statement.... This is the part that PI$$$$ me off the most. You stole work from others and admit it. 8 TIMES!!! Do you have no respect for your brethren??

Quote:
I do not think every magician should start a Balloon Distractions franchise. In fact I think most would be bad at it and most WOULD hurt the industry. However, for the talented entrepreneur who can move his or her eyes away from the bottom line, a lot of good can be done. I have definitely added strong competition into my market and to be honest I book more private balloon twisting gigs for than I used to.


Franchise?? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franchising (Educational moment)

You are a region director. A manager paid by BD?

You book more gigs because your out there!!! Got nothing to do with BD's

Quote:
By the way, the reason so many magicians have been getting phone calls is because the company stupidly started a free-for-all sales contest to recruit new Regional Partners. Thankfully they stopped the practice two weeks back. Frankly I feel the position should be applied to anyways.


What you don't like people offering FREE Management positions? You think they should earn them? IRONIC!

Quote:
Like any of you, I do not want my name associated with something negative without justification. Therefore if anyone has any questions about the company I will be more than happy to answer them with honesty (no matter which way it goes) and WITHOUT trying to sell the position--like I said I am trying to clear up our name, or at least move marginally in that direction.


"justification
the act of defending or explaining or making excuses for by reasoning; "the justification of barbarous means by holy ends"- H.J.Muller"

Do some research, BHQ, Clown Forums you will find out what people think.

As for my personal experience, I will go on record that I have been threatened several time by BD & personally by BA. Physically and with my business. I am still here and will be.

Quote:
By the way Bad to the Balloon, I have purchased both of your Bad to the Balloon DVDs for our local twister library. Thank you for helping our artists raise the bar in our market.


Your statement sounds like you own 2 DVDS. Additional copies my be purchased at http://www.BalloonGuy.NET go to the store I await your order. and the name is Mark.


So what is next ??? Get a copy of JawDroppers and buy some thumb tips and start sending magicians to do the same?
Mark Byrne
AKA Mark the Balloon Guy
As seen on the TODAY SHOW
www.balloonguy.net
Creator of Bad to the Balloon DVD series
Go to my store: http://tinyurl.com/Bad2theBalloon
Pokie-Poke
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Thanks Mark I was doing to rant, look at all the typing you saved me!

BD called the one restaurant I work, and tryed to hard sell me out of a job. the GM told them that he had a twister already, they said that they "I know" it got to the point the GM told people to just hang up on them when they call.

I was talking to another restaurant and lost it to BD. Hard sell + under cut price.
the twister is not very good, the manager who works that shift hates when they show up. (if they show up) but the GM of this restaurant has a near 600 mile commute so he can't be bothered, they more than likely will drop balloons altogether, rather than take another risk in this form of entertainment.
www.pokie-poke.com
The Adventure cont...
Cholly, by golly!
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Hilarious!
WillRoya
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It is worse in Vegas, one company has talented balloon artists working for tips only. At least Ben can't undercut free.
KeirRoyale
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Will that is exactly what BD does... They only pay the entertainer on the rare occasion that they have a slow night and don't make a whopping $15 an hour in tips!
revlovejoy
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Will - I'm curious. Is this company by any chance the one profiled in Twisted: A Balloonamentary?
Smarty Pants World
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Rev, I believe it is.
Kevinr
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Quote:
On 2010-06-08 04:13, KeirRoyale wrote:
Will that is exactly what BD does... They only pay the entertainer on the rare occasion that they have a slow night and don't make a whopping $15 an hour in tips!


$15 an hour in tips???

If I don't make ATLEAST $50 an hour in pay/tips I am out of there!
magicguyri
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Quote]
On 2010-05-31 04:01, KeirRoyale wrote:
Wes I agree with you, however I am not as worried about anyone stealing my gigs as I am worried about the image these "balloon twisters" project.

Somehow I feel that if you BD wannabees knew what quality looked like, and what quality can charge ($$$), you might rethink what you are doing. Try to recognize that pimping is pimping.
derrick
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After turning them down back in May I had another call from another representative of the company a couple of days ago. They are getting very persistent about getting someone to work in my area. I know of at least 4 other magician~twisters that have turned them down. I'm guessing they will eventually find someone around here that thinks this kind of money sounds good.
miamiballoonguy
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Yeah, I'm done with them myself.

I had been going through some tough times and have worked a few gigs for them, but I'm done with them. It disgusts me that some restaurant owners opt for the cheapness over quality, but oh well. Those are the types that care more for the bottom line than the customer experience. These are the type of places that I don't want to work at anymore. Yes, unfortunately, I had to take a step back due to the crappy economy here in South Florida. But, since things are looking up, I can finally stop filling gig for them. They were relentless trying to recruit me and a few others that I know in my area. I know for a fact that they have stolen a few gigs from a few friends of mine, and those managers are regretting it. They tried to get them to come back, and those friends refused to return. The customers really don't like being shaken down for tips, either. But for some reason, these companies that should be more about the customer experience and customer retention, are more about the bottom line.

It gets worse. The people that are in the running for regional director in Miami are the worst form of human being around. These are the type that give Capitalism a bad name. Talk about exploitation! I found out that they charge $90 to $100 per hour for a private party, and only pay the artist $15.00 per hour. This is the worst kind of human being out there. Making money without working. Seriously, that $15.00 in tips per hour that they supposedly make turns out to be less than minimum wage after expenses. They are predators taking advantage of our youth and it has got to stop. But then again, the youth see that $15.00 per hour that they will supposedly make and they think that is great.
BigSmile
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Another question:
I had the chance to take a look into (two of) their insturcional DVDs (don't know if there are more).

Some of the material is really nice. Mr. Fudge shows many models and I really love some of them. So how is Mr. Fudge involved in BD?
Perry D Winkle
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Quote:
On 2010-12-08 01:57, BigSmile wrote:
Another question:
I had the chance to take a look into (two of) their insturcional DVDs (don't know if there are more).

Some of the material is really nice. Mr. Fudge shows many models and I really love some of them. So how is Mr. Fudge involved in BD?


Thanks for the heads up. I'm not purchasing anything related to this individual now. A five second google search reveals that he's a head trainer for them.
Graham Lee
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Quote:
On 2010-12-08 20:21, Perry D Winkle wrote:
Quote:
On 2010-12-08 01:57, BigSmile wrote:
Another question:
I had the chance to take a look into (two of) their insturcional DVDs (don't know if there are more).

Some of the material is really nice. Mr. Fudge shows many models and I really love some of them. So how is Mr. Fudge involved in BD?


Thanks for the heads up. I'm not purchasing anything related to this individual now. A five second google search reveals that he's a head trainer for them.

I believe he was the as you say "head trainer" but not any more.
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