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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ballooning 101 » » Balloons and Audience Participation (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Orville Smith
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Besides the obvious fulfilling of requests for particular sculptures--what ways do you have audience-participation? I remember another thread where a balloonist told about an audience-participant joining him INSIDE a giant balloon. But what are other ideas for audience-participation?
jakeg
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I used to do a 40 minute stag show that was almost all audience participation. Norm Barnhart has some good routines on his DVDs.
Karen Climer
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I use balloons to act out stories for my library shows. For example, a story like the three little pigs would require hats/masks for the three pigs and the wolf. I also make simple house of of yellow, brown, and red to represent straw, wood, and brick.
Mikey-
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Oh I love audience participation!
I often will have participants hold sections of the sculpture so that I don't have to stuff them in my apron or under my arm. I really enjoy playing with that dynamic: for sculptures with duplicate parts I'll make part one, have them hold it, then make part two, and look quizzically at the first one again, as if I forgot I made it, then continue onward in a feigned panic mode. I'll give parts to different people and have them trade, or hold them at a certain angle, or put the part I'm working on close the part they're holding trying to "eye-ball" the sculpture. I do this stuff very, very often.
For sculptures with entirely inflated parts, like an octopus, I will (depending on the age) hand over the balloon pump and a balloon and ask them to help me by blowing up this balloons. While they struggle with it, and have a great time, I'm almost done with the rest of the time consuming pieces. Also, if I'm making balloons for a young man, or a macho man of any type, I'll ask him to blow up the balloon by lung power to showcase their strength.
You can do games with the audience: Blow up a round 6" and drop it on the floor, hand 2 people a balloon pump each and have them play "hockey" trying to blow the balloon around. Blow up a 646q balloon halfway and push the inside over someone's fist and arm, then let go and it becomes an arm cannon, this is pretty sweet if you can make a target of some kind.
If I'm feeling confident, I'll have them get a stopwatch and time how long it takes me to make something simple, like a sword. Have them place bets ahead of time. This is fun if you make something slow immediately before this one. You could have them sing a song as a timer mode, like "happy birthday", if you're not done ask them to sing the second verse (wakka wakka!).
Here is one of my favorite gags, but it requires some prep. A lil' girls asks for a horse, and I get halfway through actually making a horse. I'll then ask "A horse, with the long ears, tiny fluffy tail, bounces up and down, right?" they say no, describe a horse, and so on. Then I bust out my phone: I have image folders in my smartphone with pictures of common items (dog, sword, flower) with the wrong word describing them. IE a picture of a rabbit with a title that reads horse. Then, every single time, they get their parents' phone, or their own, and find a horse picture for me. What makes this really funny, is the next kid in the group usually gets a picture handy without any prompting. It's so cute!
If I'm at a restaurant, I'll ask the kids to grab a new straw from the waiter, for things like a flower stem or a chameleon tongue. When they see that ordinary things add a new trick to the balloon they get really excited. I'll stuff napkins for a superman cape, or french fry baskets for a boat in a ballon shark's mouth. Kids and adults will happily launch on fetch quests for you. When making the last item for the table, I'll ask for crackers or something, and then eat it.
For anything they wear (jet packs, hats, angel wings) I will have them stand up and use an un-inflated balloon as a measuring tape, going along their wingspan, height, head circumference and then something silly like how long each finger is as if it's very important. If I do this routine, I'll do the whole bit even for just a hat. If you have a notepad give it to them and have them take dictation: "You are 6 mediums cats tall" Your fingers are 14 mouse legs thick" "Your head is 1.23 turtle shells wide", then look at the note and correct their spelling and notation if needed.

I could do this for days. I hope these ideas got your creative mind flowing! Happy twisting!
plink
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An oldie I've always had fun with is T. Meyers Tazmainian Devil.
jakeg
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Quote:
On Dec 26, 2015, plink wrote:
An oldie I've always had fun with is T. Meyers Tazmainian Devil.

I started out doing a similar routine from Bob Folmer's book with a swan. When 360s were discontinued, I started using Taz. I've been looking for my instructions, (I haven't done it in 25 years), but can't find them. I remember the gist of it, and there were some things that I changed around, but it was a good routine.
In fact, it was so long ago that one of the morphs was to the Flying Nun. (For those too young to remember, that was once a popular tv show with Sally Fields.)
R2D2
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Quote:
On Dec 26, 2015, Mikey- wrote:
Oh I love audience participation!
I often will have participants hold sections of the sculpture so that I don't have to stuff them in my apron or under my arm...

Thanks for posting this. I've started to try out some of these ideas. I had some kids time me with a stopwatch a few days ago, and it made things a little more interesting. Some kids like watching the twisting process, while others get bored. So I love ideas like this.

I might try out the "mis-labeled animal pics" on my phone. I'm afraid little kids will just think I'm a moron and teenagers will not even buy into my story that I don't know my animals. But I'll certainly try it.

And I've got to get kids to hold each part of the creation as I go. That's a good idea.

Feel free to post any other ideas you have, Mikey!
jakeg
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To keep interest up, make members of the audience part of your routine. For example, for one of my animals I had to twist a figure 8. It became a Boeing tie, a mustache , a pair of glasses, and a hair ribbon. I also used a lot of simple riddles and jokes to keep the audience busy.
The Mighty Fool
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Wow! Mikey's got some cool ideas!

If I'm making a multi-balloon sculpture, I'll hand one ballon to the kid, then when I need it, I snatch it from their hand and say "GIMMEE THAT!!" NEVER fails to get laughs.
If I'm making an octopus, I'll hand the balloons to the kid one by one, then after blowing up the 4th balloon (the kid now has 3, I have 1) I take trhe 3 from the kid, but drop the 4th into their hands as I do so. Realizing I only have three, I wonder where the 4th got to, see it, and repeat the process, changing it up on the 3rd time so I end up with one & the kid with three again.
Everybody wants to beleive.....we just help them along.
R2D2
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Mighty Fool: very funny!
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