Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
September 21, 2009
Issue #347

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

I did not get a Thought For The Week newsletter sent last week because my personal life was very busy.  However since the last issue I have enjoyed corresponding with many subscribers.
If you send something this week, please be patient in waiting for a reply.  I am going to take some time off and will give my computer a vacation.
Have a wonderful week,
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Circus Lingo
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

September 7, 2009

 "Benefits outsell features every time."  -- Julian Franklin
That is a concise statement of something that I have heard about advertising many times and have been working to put into action this year.
A feature is something about you, your company, or your product.  For example, Charlie juggles during his performances.  A benefit is the effect that has upon your client.  For example, "Charlie wins the respect of older children and adults and holds their attention through a display of juggling skill."
I have not had as many booking this year so I have been taking advantage of the available time to change and improve the packaging for my products that I sell on my dealer table.  I have tried to keep the benefit principle in mind.  For example, some of my packet card tricks use sleight of hand moves that are easy yet effective.  I once said they were deceptive enough to fool everyone.  That is not really the important benefit.  I have realized that the benefit is "a sleight that you can easily perform while concentrating on your presentation, yet strong enough so that your audience members feel a sense of wonder."
In the past I have said I include audience participation in my shows, which is a feature.  For a new promotional brochure, I was able to turn that into a benefit in a caption of a smiling child assisting me on stage that I wanted to use in a new promotional piece.  The caption was, "Your young guests will be thrilled to appear on stage with Charlie as he makes them the costars of his show."
Expressing things in terms of a benefit requires learning about your customers and what they need.  I have performed at two Cub Scout Pinewood Derby races.  After each of them somebody told me in previous years some of the cubs cried over loosing the races, but this time the joy they felt watching my performance made them forget their disappointment.  That is not something that I would have anticipated, but now I know that is a benefit to scheduling me to perform at one of those events.
Thinking in terms of benefits puts the focus upon your audience or clients instead of you.  You begin to think in terms of how you affect them.
Advice that I have often heard is that instead of trying to compete with others by lowering your price, you should compete by increasing the benefits for your customers.  It is especially wise in the current financial climate to find benefits that are of low cost to you.  That is one reason why I started my email newsletter for owners of my Creativity For Entertainers trilogy.  It is an additional benefit that costs me time but really does not increase my expenses.  It increases the value of my books without increasing the cost to me or my customers.
A benefit that I added to my birthday parties several years ago is posing for a photo with all the kids at the end of my time with the kids.  It ties into my slogan of "creating happy memories that last a lifetime."  Earlier this month I did a birthday party for a one-year old girl.  After I posed with all of the kids together, I posed with her, her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother.  It meant spending some extra time at the party to get that pose, but I think it was worth the effort because of the memories it preserves for my client.
What are the features of your performances or other services that you offer to your clients?  How can you rewrite that in terms of benefits to your customers?  What additional benefits can you ad that won't cost you much more?


Don Heynen responded to my Thgurht For The Week article on scripting by saying what convinced him of the advantage of scripting, even for strolling routines, was the abililty to remember ad libs.  He said before he began using memorized patter he would often forget comments that he had ad libbed or that had been made by a spectator.  Now they are easy to remember because they stand out from the rest of what he said. 

The added another advantage to performing scripted material.  Don said, "Also, now that I script (or at least memorize) everything I do, I have found another advantage. I do not add "you know," "ah," "I mean," or other verbal tics into my routine. And, of course, because of those tics, I can spot when another performer has not subjected his script to memory."
I know that I sometimes use "ummm" as a verbal place holder while I pause to think what to say next.

Circus Lingo - Sitting Web

A web is a canvass covered rope used to climb to aerial rigging in a circus.  Sometimes the web has ankle and foot loops that are used for performing an aerial ballet on the web.
A person stationed at the bottom of the web to assist the aerialist is called a web sitter. 
A web is easier to climb if the tension is adjusted.  The web needs to be slack while the aerialist wraps their leg around the rope and taught while they are pushing themself up.
During the aerial ballet the web has to be taut for some tricks and slack for others.  The web is also spun to make the tricks look prettier.  Frequently an aerial ballet concludes with a very fast spin.  The web needs to be loose to get a fast spin.  To stop the spin the web sitter pulls down sharply on the web.  Then they loosen the web and flip it around the aerialist's leg so she does not have to grobe for the rope.  When she descends the web sitter grabs her waist to greacefully and gently lower her into her waiting shoes.  A good aerial ballet performance is actually a partnership between the aerialist and the web sitter.
Being a web sitter is one of the duties often expected of circus clowns.  I was a web sitter in 1980 and 1981 while touring with the Carson & Barnes Circus.
Thank you for being a subscriber.  I am always interested in your questions and comments.
Remember if you have missed an issue, you can read it by using the archive link in the right column.  If you want to change the address where you are receiving this newsletter, use the update profile link below.  If this newsletter no longer meets your needs, you can use the SafeUnsubscribe link to be permanently removed from my mailing list.  If you want to spread the word about this newsletter, you can use the forward email link below to send copies to others that you think might be interested.
I hope to see you down the road.

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

Educational Opportunities
October 15-18. 2009
Northwest Festival of Clowns
 Olympia. WA
Red Nose Festival Competition Coach and Vendor
 November 4-8, 2009
Next Step Workshop
Wilmar, Minnesota
This is an advanced workshop for those serious about Gospel Clown Ministry.  It is limited to fifteen participants.
April 29 - May 1, 2010
Branson Magic Bonanza
Branson, MO
I will be there with a dealer table.
July 9-15, 2010
Clown Camp Singapore
Sixteen hours of classes over three days plus four days of performing in Singapore schools. 
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 do 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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