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Topic: Fire breather in music video
Message: Posted by: magiGlen (Jun 3, 2006 09:32PM)
Hello everyone. I just happened to catch a music video on the television called 'I write sins not tragedies' by Panic! at the disco. At the end of the video there is a fire breather. I was wondering if any of you know who this gent is? How do you go about getting well known enough to apepar in music videos? Thanks.
Message: Posted by: T-RAY (Jun 4, 2006 05:07AM)
Practice and perform! I'm a music producer myself, so if you get good enough, I'll know about you!!! I'll let you know if the opportunity arrives....then you'll have to be good enough to fit the bill. Where are you located?
Message: Posted by: magiGlen (Jun 4, 2006 08:21AM)
I live in Canada, so I'm far away haha.
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Jun 4, 2006 09:54AM)
Doing a music video is not all that glamourous. The pay for music videos is pretty lousy. Plus, it is a buy-out, so they barely pay you and then you get nothing in residuals when they air the video over and over again. They rarely are union shoots, so the hours can be long and working conditions can be poor. And don't think you would be hanging out with your favorite rock star. Unless you are in a shot with them, you won't even see them. And even if you are in the shot with them, it's possible that you will told to stay away from them. They will have a big crew of hair, make up and person assistants around them between each shot. Some of them are nice and take interest in what is being done around them. But don't count on it.
Message: Posted by: magiGlen (Jun 4, 2006 11:49AM)
Hey Todd, I in no way suggested that I would want to be in music videos, I'm sorry if my post sounded that way. I was just wondering if only well known fire eaters or breathers in the area are searched out, or if they just have sort of a casting call were all the potential fire performers go? By the way kind of off topic, but tomorrow I am fire eating for out high school assembly, wish me luck!
Message: Posted by: T-RAY (Jun 4, 2006 12:20PM)
Todd's right about the loot, but if you're a high school student, it would be a memory of a lifetime and a visual document you'll always show.....especially to new clients. Anyway, I don't know too many Canadian artists other than Nelly Furtado, The Philosopher Kings and a group called Swollen Members (rap).....but if you hear that any of them are doing a video shoot and looking for a fire eater, e-mail me and I'll say I heard you were good.....I hope you are, if you're eating fire!!! You never know what can happen... :) When I was a kid down south, I auditioned for someone and ended up performing on the sideshow stage in a mini-series called "Chiefs". They had an entire carnival with a real sideshow with huge banners (including one for me!). I got to hang out with Charleton Heston, Billy Dee Williams and a whole bunch of other bigtimers. It was a lot of sitting around.....filming over and over.....only to have most of the footage that I was in end up on the cutting room floor, but I got a quick scene with the bearded lady and some of the other acts. My entire town was hyped about it and I never forgot it. Just remember that it's basically impossible to making a living as a fire eater, but the fun and memories are worth all the money in the world.
Message: Posted by: Todd Robbins (Jun 6, 2006 05:05AM)
Here in NY, it's pretty random. Usually a casting director will know some sort of a variety skills person (stilt walker, juggler, etc.) and when a call for a fire eater comes their way, they will ask these kindredly skilled folks if they can do it. If they can't the casting director will ask if they know someone that does the skill. So, it's usually who you know to get a gig like this.

A good example was the upcoming flick, Fur. They had to have a sword swallower. A circus skills friend of mine recommended me, so I got the call. I had to meet with the director and the casting person. The money was lousy, but I thought it would be something good to do. Well, they had me go out to the middle of nowhere in Brooklyn for a costume fitting. Then they scheduled the days of shooting. Then they changed the dates. Then they changed the dates again. Then they changed them yet again. So I'm blocking out these days and turning down work so I can do this movie.

We do the first day of shooting, which was the last scene of the movie. It's a lot of hurry up and wait. It's a whole lot of nothing.

Then we do the second day (about two months later) and this is going to be the big big important sword swallowing scene. They block it, and then re-block it, then re-light it, then re-block it. Then re-light it and rehearse it a bunch of times. Then they do a camera rehearsal. Now, I'm gloaming blades each time they run through this, so I have done the act more than a dozen times for them during the hour they need me on set. This was after sitting around for four or so hours waiting for them to get to the scene.

Now, at last is the moment of truth. The director comes in and looks at what has been set up...and doesn't like it at all. He cuts the scene. There was nothing wrong with what I was doing, it was exactly what they wanted, but on camera the way they set up the scenario seem forced,so they cut the shot.

So, if you see Fur when it comes out, you will see me wandering around in a few scenes for no good reason at all. That's show business.
Message: Posted by: magiGlen (Jun 6, 2006 06:48AM)
Doesn't sound to glamourous I guess, like you said! but off topic again I performed fire eating at my high school for an assembly, and it went great!!
Message: Posted by: Caveat Lector (Jun 6, 2006 09:04AM)
I would concur with Todd, I was booked to be a fire eater for the band The Strokes and do some fire eating in their video "Heart In A Cage". When I got to the set at 6AM they didn't know if they were going to have time to block it out and do it. So they put me on set anyway and had me walk around and then I had to attack some of the band members with some hookers...ah showbiz. The video comes out a month later you see my feet and a quick shot of my head. All this for $100 plus 13 hours on set and a KFC lunch....welcome to the big time....
Message: Posted by: juggling1 (Jul 5, 2006 02:51PM)
LOL that's good stuff and the KFC made it all worth while!
Message: Posted by: jfox (Mar 20, 2007 12:02AM)
Well I'm glad I didn't take that Fur gig Todd. They bugged me about doing it and I was just too busy at the time and the money as you said was thin. Also the movie was such a dissapointment, Diane Arbus was so much more interesting. There shurely was budget for the star talent.
Message: Posted by: jfox (Mar 20, 2007 12:11AM)
This reminds me of a story from Diane Faulk, sword swllower from Coney Island,(back in the 1980's). She was asked to do a music video in New Jersey for a local band, and the money was lousy, along w/ the conditions and then she learned, later when video came out, the local band was none other than Bruce Springsteen, the video was Tunnel of Love.
Message: Posted by: thegreatnippulini (Mar 20, 2007 06:29PM)
There's a commercial for a breath mint or cough spray, I forget which, that features a bunch of fire breathers for the "ow my throat hurts" portion, followed by the "cool frosty minty" after portion. I'm sure that none of these fire workers are famous or had any extreme abilities that got them the gig.

It's all about who you know and who you blow.

This is why I am retired.
Message: Posted by: jfox (Mar 20, 2007 11:40PM)
I did a couple comercials that paid great and didn't know or blow. You go audition and if they like you, they call you back, they talk w/ you more and they call you back again. It's a lot of ******** for nothing if you don't get the gig, but if it comes through the dough can be the best payday you'll ever have. You might be required to have an active AFTRA or SAG card.
Message: Posted by: Harley Newman (Mar 21, 2007 12:26AM)
I'd like to welcome Johnny Fox to our board!

For those of you who don't know Johnny, you should. He's been a mainstay of the Maryland Renn Faire, for almost 30 years, and knows his stuff.
Message: Posted by: thegreatnippulini (Mar 21, 2007 07:34AM)
Oh, I thought it was Michael J. Fox without the Mike part.

Heh heh, just kidding!

It's good to see you here!
Message: Posted by: Tim Cridland (Mar 21, 2007 02:15PM)
Re: Tunnel of Love.... I just found it on YouTube... talk about a blast from the past.. thanks for mentioning it Johnny. I had forgotten it. The thing I like most about YouTube is that all of these old music videos are there, and you can see them whenever you want.


I did my first music video a few months ago, for Canadian band Billy Talent and director Dean Karr.


We were treated better than most music videos shoots, from what I have heard, and paid better, but not much better.
Any performer doing a music video is advised to go into it knowing that it is the lowest end of film/video gigs and just accept it for what it is.
I mean, what else are you going to do with a day of your life? You will get a little money from performing and have something to add to your resume. You might even get a gig when someone recognizes you as the dude from the (fill in the blank) video.



I have know Johnny Fox for so long that I know him by his real name..... John Fox.
Message: Posted by: Freak Prodigy (Mar 21, 2007 02:19PM)
Welcome to The King of Swords!

Message: Posted by: Stephon (Mar 21, 2007 08:31PM)
Nice catch, Harley! Somehow I didn't put "jfox" together with Johnny.

Great to have you here, Johnny!