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tom hughes
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Okay... moral quandary.

Anyone here ever actually PAID to work a festival? I contacted a festival in my area the other day to ask to twist and they quoted me a price for a booth... tried to tell them that I work for tips but they wouldn't budge, said it wouldn't be fair on other "vendors". Only thing is, even with their charge I know that I can make good money and, well, times are hard.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

tom
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derrick
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Paying to twist is a tough way to make money. I'd look for a different venue or at least try to find out who will be renting booths and pitch twisting balloons for them as a way to draw attention to their site. I recently did that a kids fair and was paid by a vendor to twist at their booth.

Derrick
Daveandrews
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Could you sell 'starter' balloon twisting packs, as well as twisting?

Dave
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Kevinr
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Quote:
On 2009-05-20 19:23, Daveandrews wrote:
Could you sell 'starter' balloon twisting packs, as well as twisting?

Dave


Great idea.. anyone know where to get these wholesale?
Perry D Winkle
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Tom,

I actually paid to twist a festival this weekend, and I'll do it again on the 4th of July. The thing is, you don't do it to make money. It is 100% a publicity stunt. The only thing you can hope for is to make enough money to pay the booth rental off. The other key point here, make sure there is not some mediocre clown handing out poorly rendered balloon dogs I had to have an agreement with the fair coordinator, and I shut someone down while I was there. If your paying to be there, you cannot compete with the person PAID to be there.

That said. People do not like to pay for balloons. Your paying gigs will be parties. I was charging a dollar a balloon and I had parents bodily jerking their children away from me.

Yesterday I took my chopcup on a whim, and I would call people in for a magic trick. I did a really quick one minute routine and told them about myself, put a business card in their hand and said that if they would like I could twist them any balloon animal on my shirt for a dollar.

This system works VERY well. Three fourths of the people that watched my trick bought a balloon. So I was able to pay off the booth rental and have maybe 30 bucks on the top to pay for my wife's forays into the fair.

In the end I must have handed out 150 business cards. I had several people specifically ask for a business card saying that they want me for a party, and now a church and a DJ are wanting me on a regular basis.

My vote is pay for the fair, but know that the fair pays later.
Squishy-Squishy
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I will never sell a balloon. I will sell my services, but never a balloon.

I have turned down multiple gigs this year because they wanted me to pay to be there and then charge for my balloons. I politely told them that I do not vend balloons, it is against my beliefs to do so.

Now I will admit I do pay for space and charge for my face painting and temporary airbrush tattoos, but that's because there are too many other there already doing it to buck the system.

Balloons cost us next to nothing (less than $.10 a piece), but can bring a world of hapiness to a child. Especially in these economic times, parents are not able to give their kids as much as they used to because they're trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. This means they walk past a lot of the games and rides they used to go on and play, because the cash just isn't there. I've known the heartbreak of not being able to buy a balloon for my son, because we were broke and I was out of work (I've live in a house with no electric and no running water and it's no fun). I never want to put another parent through it.

You are an enhancement to their festival, you are doing them a favor by being there. If they are not smart enough, or are that flippin' cheap, that they can't appreciate that fact, then forget about it. Once you pay them then you will never stop paying them. Oh yeah and festival coordinators talk to each other, so when festival B finds out that you paid festival A to be there, guess what? They're going to expect you to pay them as well. It's a vicious cycle that you don't want to get started.

Derrick had a great suggestion, why not find vendors within the fair to pay you to work their booth for a few hours. You can even try and get multiple vendors and spend some time at each booth. This way you get paid for your day with no out-of-pcoket expense except your balloons.

I'll end this with a story about how I made $5 without giving someone a balloon. It was several years ago and my partner and I would go out to Central Park in NYC and twist balloons for tips. We'd plant ourselves on a bench outside of the children's zoo and spend an afternoon. Well one day we were getting ready to pack up and a mother and daughter came shuffling up the walk. Both had their heads down and you could tell by looking at them that they were probably living in the park as their clothes were very dirty and they were too clean either. The little girl saw the sample balloons I had attached to my cooler bag and she excitiedly asked her mother if she could have a balloon. The mother turned around to her and said, "Child what is wrong with you, I ain't got money for food and you want something stupid like a balloon!"

The little girl's eyes fell back to the pavement. I called over and asked if the little girl wanted a balloon. The mother answered that she didn't have any money and I told her that I didn't ask for money I asked if the little girl wanted a balloon. The mother asked again if it was free and I said yes I gave the little girl a teddy bear with a heart and a hat that were my samples, we were leaving anyway, and she went skipping down the walk like she didn't have a care in the world. Her mother looked at me with tears in her eyes and said "God bless you, ain't nobody does nothing for anybody anymore."

It was at that point that I realized that I would never sell a balloon.

Now for the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say. There was an older man sitting on the bench down a little bit from us. He asked me how much a bag of the balloons cost. I told him around $5. He reached into his pcoket, pulled out a $5 bill and said, "Here. buy yourself another bag of balloons and keep doing what you are doing."

It was shortly after that that I got a new job, we got our utilities back on and, though we struggle a little at times, we've always had enough to get by. Maybe it was the kind act, or maybe the promise I made to myself, I don't know. All I do know is that I will never break that promise and will never sell a balloon.

Getting off the soap box now, my feet hurt,,,
Perry D Winkle
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You must forgive me, maybe I didn't elaborate on what balloons cost me. First there was that $75 booth rental and the $40 worth of balloons that I went through. And then there was the day at the office (my full time job) that I chose to give up, say $345. Then there was the pagoda that cost me $95, and a table that cost me $50.

And I brought in about $90. By my reasoning, I lost $515 on this event just so that I could promote myself. The kicker is, I wouldn't change a thing. And I have no problem supporting my community fair by giving up a booth rental. Is it not also the communities responsibility to take care of those in need? Am I not helping to fund that?

I've tried other venues. No one wanted me working in their booth. In this economy no one was willing to pay for it, just as the first poster alluded to. I'm really glad that you found something that works for you, but it didn't work for me, I tried.

Let me tell you my heartbreaker story.

I had a little girl look at me with big eyes and say she had no money. 10 Minutes later I watched her dish out 12 bucks to get her face painted.

Now I'm not a crook, and God knows that if a child's balloon pops I replace it throughout the day at no cost. But obviously I'm living in a different world, one where I have a kid that needs to eat also.

When someone watches a magic trick, they watch you twist balloons, they obviously find entertainment in what your are doing. The people who got my business cards were the people that valued what I was doing. They were the people that needed a business card.
Perry D Winkle
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My world is collapsing in on me. I'm watching kids pay $3.00 to pull a rubber duck out of a pond and take home an inflatable sword manufactured in Pakistan for 30 cents through child labor.

But I bust my tail for 2 days doing magic and balloons for pennies and I'm in a 'moral quandary.'

Forgive me folks. I don't want to rant. I just want someone to make sense of this for me, I'm begging you.
Perry D Winkle
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Quote:
The other key point here, make sure there is not some mediocre clown handing out poorly rendered balloon dogs

I should clarify a point here. I do not have a problem with clowns. In fact I have a friend that is a professional clown who is helping me get my start.

I have a problem with a clown that comes into a fair without disclosure to the coordinators, and they are totally cool with bucking you from the show. Even worse, when they hand out very poor designs it adds insult to injury.
tom hughes
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You know the difference between a clown and Freddy Kruger?

Kids aren't afraid of Freddy Kruger!

Okay, since I started this thread ( and was unaware that it was still going on until today) I'll clarify what happened and explain my reasoning.

In the area I live there are numerous balloon twisters... plenty of them and I am, frankly, the new boy in town. I want to break into the kids show market so I'm out to be seen as much as possible... I busk at weekends on the streets and twist at any festival which will allow me to. I have found both to be pretty lucrative and earn as much in a single day's festival twisting, for tips, as I do in a week my regular teaching job (!!!).

In my area there is a tradition that balloon twisters often turn up at festivals and gatecrash... set up shop and start work. I belive that this is giving the balloon twisters in the area a bad reputation among festival organisers who see twisters as freeloaders ( their words not mine). As a result I have decided that I will twist at festivals when I am allowed to... NO festival in this area has ever, nor will ever, pay a balloon twister to work... they don't pay the musicians, organisers etc... it just won't happen.

On this occasion I decided to make a business decision the festival would NOT let me twist without renting a space, I worked out how much it would cost to rent a booth and how much I could reasonably expect to make by vending balloons... and I went for it( as a side note, I would never and have never turned a kid away for lack of money... neither while busking nor vending... )... I made a pretty good profit over the weekend and was happy with my take.

Interestingly late on the Saturday afternoon another local twister turned up to the festival and started twisting... I didn't even realise that this was happening until I saw some balloons which I hadn't made go by. At the end of the day ( as I was heading to another festival) I talked to the other twister, she had gatecrashed the event and expressed that she was upset that I had rented a booth arguing that " we are entertainment" and we therefor shouldn't have to pay... my argument however stands... if you haven't been booked to work then you are not the entertainment; by renting a booth I had an agreement with the festival organisers that I would be the only twister at the festival... did the other twister bother to check?... no, although in fairness to her she was very pleasant and very apologetic.

I don't see any moral quandary in this any more... what is worse gatecrashing events and having organisers see you as a freeloader or being totally up front with them, working hard and coming home with some cash for the family?

tom
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http://www.themagictomshow.com
magician/magic show in asheville w.n.c.
Juliegel
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I live in a relatively small town and everyone has watched me grow up into the man I am today. They saw me at the beginning with my misshapen dogs and 4 petal flowers and they see me today with my huge detailed balloons, magic, and juggling. I am lucky as my town knows that I never started for the money. My fair calls me every year and offers me a fair sum for 4 days of work. They know that I am a person that is happy making people happy and they are willing to help me out with that.

Nice generous people are a hard find these days but someone willing to pay for one is even harder.


As always,
Dylan
Stevethomas
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I was once hired to work an event for 4 hours of twisting (package deal, as I also did a 45 minute magic performance), and, as I got started twisting and a few of my hats were going around, some guy who had paid to walk around and sell was apparently getting pretty irate and expressed his feelings to the festival organizers. They told me that I'd still be paid and didn't have to make more balloons. Seems like it was just a communication problem between a couple different committees.

Steve
Juliegel
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Quote:
On 2009-06-23 06:40, Stevethomas wrote:
I was once hired to work an event for 4 hours of twisting (package deal, as I also did a 45 minute magic performance), and, as I got started twisting and a few of my hats were going around, some guy who had paid to walk around and sell was apparently getting pretty irate and expressed his feelings to the festival organizers. They told me that I'd still be paid and didn't have to make more balloons. Seems like it was just a communication problem between a couple different committees.

Steve


I had a similar situation where I noticed poorly made dogs and hats going around. Some people I knew informed me that a christian group had a booth inside and were making them. Now I really did not have a problem with them because I knew people knew quality. I did however use them as a bit of a scapegoat for problem children. I would have kids at the front of a line throwing fits and popping their balloons right in front of me and then asking for a new different one because theirs "popped". I had other people in line waiting with their own kids and the next thing the child happened to ask for was a large multi balloon hat that I had made earlier and he must have seen around. I made a quick move and told him that I did not make that hat but there was a booth inside the building that must have made it. He ran off and the line sighed with relief. Looking back on it I regret having to lie to the kid but I feel that it was a good solution to the problem.


As always,
Dylan
Pokie-Poke
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This topic has gotten me so mad I had to hold back and calm down till now to respond.

NO YOU SHOULD NEVER PAY TO TWIST AT ANY EVENT THAT HAS PERFOMERS, OR OTHER ENTERTAINMENT!!!!!!!!! Smile

Deep breath....

Not only will you never get paid to work that event, but nither will any one else, as you have poisond the well for everone.

Deep breath....

event organisers get paid to do what they do. they have a budget to work with. They cry poor to talk you down in price, that is how it works. Your local town fair, with all the volintirs has a bigger budget than the person whos birthday party you are hopping to book. How mutch do you pay to work a birthday party?

deep breath....

for what you could spend on a month of fairs you could get a tv comershal, where you could tell people to HIRE you for there next fair.

deep breath...

Crashing an event is also bad, but if you need the cash and you happen onto an event all ready in progress, find some one in charge and offer to perform for a cut rate, you better look 110% or this wont work. don't push for tips, and treet this as an audition, lots of cards. good coments get back and next year your booked. agen LOTS of cards, because they cant hire you if they don't know who you are.

deep breath...

I think I will save the rest for my book "Don't cut yourself, poke out you eye, or pay to play, and other things to avoid."

deep breath...

This post is not aimed at any one person, but at the act its self.
www.pokie-poke.com
The Adventure cont...
Perry D Winkle
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Ok, I think I've established the pattern. Squishy Squishy, and Pokie Poke do not like paying for events, or getting paid for a balloon. If the avatar is an adjective proceeding another similar adjective or verb that is perceived humorous, do not try to buy a balloon.

An interesting phenomenon to say the least. While I fully acknowledge that none other than I will laugh at this you should know that for the next two weeks (during that momentary tranquility one finds on the crapper most likey) I will reflect on this and continue to laugh.
Ryan Price
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It all comes down to cost versus reward. If the costs are low enough and the rewards are high I do not see any problem with paying for a space at a festival. Some considerations would have to be met of course. This would include there being no competition whether paid or otherwise. I am considering doing this at a couple events next year. Balloons would have a set rate and I would also be selling other balloon related products.

How do you see yourself? Are you an entertainer or a business person? I’m a business person first and I sell entertainment. Pure entertainment does not put food on the table.
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I've had to pay for a busking permit for a street corner on more than one occasion. The fee was minimal and the tips usually covered it within the first hour or so. I have shared the fee with another clown and that allowed us to share the space, split the fee and work together. This was when we were doing a street magic show and balloons.
Rob "Riff, the Magical Clown" Eubank aka RiffClown
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<BR>Magic is not the method, but the presentation.
Squishy-Squishy
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Quote:
On 2009-06-21 16:53, Perry D Winkle wrote:
You must forgive me, maybe I didn't elaborate on what balloons cost me. First there was that $75 booth rental and the $40 worth of balloons that I went through. And then there was the day at the office (my full time job) that I chose to give up, say $345. Then there was the pagoda that cost me $95, and a table that cost me $50.


You chose to make those balloons cost more than the $.10 a piece that you buy them for (and if you're paying more than that, I'll give you some websites to check out). I also won't take a day off from my regular job unless I'm getting paid for a gig.

The bottom line is, you claim that you are doing this for exposure. For what these events have apparent;y cost you, you could have had a short commercial on your local cable station for the same amount of money and you wouldn't have to lose time from work.
Squishy-Squishy
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Quote:

In my area there is a tradition that balloon twisters often turn up at festivals and gatecrash... set up shop and start work. I belive that this is giving the balloon twisters in the area a bad reputation among festival organisers who see twisters as freeloaders ( their words not mine). As a result I have decided that I will twist at festivals when I am allowed to... NO festival in this area has ever, nor will ever, pay a balloon twister to work... they don't pay the musicians, organisers etc... it just won't happen.


That's not cool. I've guerilla'd events, but only open events like Mardi Gras down in Philly or the fireworks displays in the local communities. If we show up at a somewhat more organized event, we'll get permission to twist for tips, If there's another twister there, we don't bother.

Quote:
On this occasion I decided to make a business decision the festival would NOT let me twist without renting a space, I worked out how much it would cost to rent a booth and how much I could reasonably expect to make by vending balloons... and I went for it( as a side note, I would never and have never turned a kid away for lack of money... neither while busking nor vending... )... I made a pretty good profit over the weekend and was happy with my take.



The only problem I can see with this is if you charge child A for a balloon and then make child B a balloon for free because they don't have any money, the parents of child A could get really upset.

Busking is a completing different animal. I prefer calling it twisting for tips because busking infers a show. Either way, you give your product away, be it a balloon or a show or both and what comes back is what comes back. I do wear a tip button in those situations that says, "I twist for the smiles of children and the generosity of their parents". This pretty much sums up my philosphy of the whole thing.

Every area is different and every twister has to figure out their solution to this dilemma.
Perry D Winkle
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The bottom line is, you claim that you are doing this for exposure. For what these events have apparent;y cost you, you could have had a short commercial on your local cable station for the same amount of money and you wouldn't have to lose time from work.


$500? Yeah, I could run for 30 seconds at 3 am on the local cable that everyone in my neighborhood cut for OTA digital television...

Ask a Rainbow or Kirby vacuum salesman sometime why they don't have a commercial on television. Then ask them why they don't have a website on the internet. It's a wash.

Yesterday while setting up for a fair I got a phone call from a church. Now I'm hired on the 31st.

Whatever I'm doing seems to be working.
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