Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
April 6, 2009
Issue #328

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

I am finishing up some new products that will be available on my dealer table.  They are not listed on my web site yet.  I will be doing some traveling during the next couple of months for personal and business reasons.  My goal between trips is to update my product page on my web site.  When that project is complete I'll announce it here.
I will have a dealer table at the Mid Illiois Magic Conference and at Clown Camp.  You will find more information on those two educational opportunities under my lecture schedule to the right.  I will also have a dealer table at the Magic Show Conference.  You will find more information on that in an article below.  That article also has an invitation for all my subscribers and my previous customers.
Now is a great time to travel to an educational event because airlines have been reducing their fares.  Last winter I checked air fares for a potential trip and have just learned that the current price is half of what it was a few months ago.
I hope that I will see you at the Mid Illinois Magic Conference, the Magic Show Conference, or Clown Camp.  If you can't make it to one of those events, I hope you will be able to take advantage of the current air fares to attend another event to continue your education.
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Magic Show Conference
Applause Cues
Charlie's Contemplations
Lecture Schedule

Thought For The Week 


April 6, 2009
"Bartlett's Familiar Quotations is an admirable work and I studied it intently." - Winston Churchill
Statements become quotations because they succinctly express an idea.  It may be some piece of wit, wisdom, or philosophy.  They often inspire, instruct, amuse, or challenge us.  Many people select their own favorite quotation which becomes a guiding principle for their life. 
I have been reading about the work of the Walt Disney Imagineers, the group that designs and builds the Disney theme parks.  One of the things that struck me is how often they use quotations by Walt Disney to guide their work.  One of their principles is "The only name on the door is Walt Disney."  The company still very much follows his concepts and philosophy.  The company also emphasizes cooperation in all stages of a project.  They believe the end result is more important than individual credit for an idea.
Winston Churchill believed that reading quotations can arouse curiosity about the author and motivate somebody to learn more about their life.  After reading many quotations by Walt Disney, I have started reading Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler.
I have collected quotations over the years.  I have written down ones that I particularly like.  My family and friends have observed me jotting them down on scraps of paper where ever I encounter them.  (On a recent trip to Downtown Disney in Anaheim, CA I found a quote I liked over the door to a restaurant.  I wrote it down on a napkin to bring home and add to my collection.)
I have purchased several books of quotations.  One that I have found particularly useful is the Random House Webster Quotationary, complied by Leonard Roy Frank.  One of its useful features is an index of authors.  When I wanted to quote Abraham Lincoln in my Thought For The Week to honor the bicentennial of his birth, I was able to quickly find 117 quotations by him in this book and select the one that I felt was most appropriate.  This book is also cross referenced so if you look up a subject that you are interested in you can easily find related topics that might also be useful.  The source of each quotation is listed so you can go to the original version if you want to learn its context.  I know the value of serendipity so I often browse books of quotations after I have found what I originally needed.  Quotations that I collect on my own often resonate with the beliefs that I have.  Quotations in books sometimes challenge my beliefs and make me reconsider my ideas. 
As an author, one of the things I do when I have a mental block is to turn to my file of quotations.  Even if I don't use a specific quote, it will often start a new trail of thought leading me to discover an idea that I will use.  Sometimes a quotation will spark an idea for performance.  On rare occasions a quote has resulted in a new routine, but more often a quote reminds me of a concept that I can use in further developing one of my existing routines.
The internet is another excellent resource for quotations.  There are many quotation web sites.  I wanted to read Franklin D. Roosevelt's "We have nothing to fear" speech last fall.  I was able to find a site with the complete text.  You can also subscribe to quotation newsletters.  Some provide you with a daily quote which is quick to read.  Some like this one start with a quote and then provide a commentary explaining how the newsletter publisher has applied the information in the quote.
Where can you find interesting quotations?  How can you use them as a source of inspiration?  Who is the author of your favorite quotations?  How can you learn more about the author's life and work? 

Magic Show Conference

I believe in continuing education.  Each year I select at least one educational opportunity to attend where I am not on staff so I can concentrate on being a student.  Where I have gone has varied, but in recent years I have been attending the Magic Show Conference in Branson, Missouri.  (I mentioned the conference in last week's newsletter.)  I have learned magic effects there that I have added to my performances.  However, the real benefit is the emphasis on showmanship at this conference. 
I will be attending again this year.  The conference is April 30 - May 2.  There is a free pre-conference Gospel Magic day on April 29. 
I will have a dealer table at the Magic Show Conference.  I will have some new products on my table there and at the Peoria Magic Get Together the previous Saturday.
I know that there will be many Thought For The Week subscribers at both events.  Please stop by my dealer table to say hello. 
Also, if you have previously purchased any magic effect from me and have trouble figuring out the instructions, bring that effect with you and I will be glad to spend some time teaching you how to perform it at my table.  Some people learn quickly from written instructions.  For other people it is easier to learn by seeing something actually performed.  Sometimes I can figure things out from the instructions, but other times I need to see it.  My goal is to be the best possible resource to you and to help you learn in the method that best fits your needs.

Applause Cues

One of the things I heard Ali Bongo talk about is getting more applause by cuing your audience when it is time to applaud.
Ali said he tried to end routines either holding two props, one in each hand, or a single prop stretched out between the hands.  Then he raised his hands up to chest level displaying what he was holding, and paused.  Audience members will tend to applaud at that point.
Ali had another technique that was more subtle.  He would use bold primary and secondary colors during a routine and finish by producing something pink.  For example at the WCA Convention in Scotland, Ali demonstrated his color changing yo-yo routine.  He displayed a red yo-yo hanging from a string in his left hand and a blue yo-yo hanging from a string in his right hand.  He lowered the red yo-yo into a paper bag leaving the end of the string visible.  He lowered the blue yo-yo into a second paper bag also leaving the end of the string visible.  When he pulled up on the strings the yo-yo's had changed places, the blue was on his left and the red on his right.  Then he tipped the bags over to demonstrate he had not left a red yo-yo and a blue yo-yo in either bag.  A pink yo-yo fell out of each bag and dangled from a string attached to the bag.  The change to an unusual color caught the audience's attention and they would applaud.  By repeating that color scheme Ali conditioned his audience to respond by applauding when they saw something pink, even if they weren't aware what was happening.

Charlie's Contemplation's
I have now written over 300 Thought For The Week Articles.  I have collected the first 52, which were shorter in length, into a booklet titled Charlie's Contemplation's.  Remember that a free copy of this booklet witll accompany any order by a Thought For The Week subscriber of one of the following booklets Comedy Blackouts, Introduction to Silk Magic For Clowns, Jest Juggle, Trick Cartoons Jest in Time, or any issue of The Clown In Times.  You can order by sending me a check or money order or by using Pay Pal.  For more information on these publications click on the link below.
Thank you for being a subscriber.
I would appreciate anything you can do to spread the word about my newsletters.  You are welcome to forward this newsletter to a friend using the forward link below.

Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2009 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved. 

Lecture Schedule
 April 25, 2009
Mid Illinois Magic Conference
Scottish Rite Cathedral
400 E. Perry Ave, Peoria, IL
A lecture on comedy writing that will be unique to this conference.
I will also perform a fifteen-minute act  in the public variety show.
Registration opens at 8 AM. 
The show begins at 7 PM.  
June 7-13, 2009
Clown Camp
La Crosse, WI
This is the 29th and final reqular year for this excellent educational program.
I will be performing one of the Staff on Stage shows and will be in the Staff Bits show the first evening.  My classes will be Trick Cartoons for Clowns, An Introduction to Comedy Techniques, Card Magic for Clowns, The Creative Process, and Audience Interaction. 
I believe in promoting any event I will be lecturing at.  If you schedule me for an educational event that you are hosting, I will list it here.  My goal is to to what I can to best meet the needs of you and your group.
For information on additional services that I can provide for an educational event 

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