Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
November 30, 2009
Issue #354

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

My subscription list is continuing to grow slowly but surely.  Thank you to everyone who is helping to spread the word about my newsletters.
Last week's main article was well received.  This week the article is about another choice that you can make.
I think magazines are rushing to get issues out before the end of the year. This is the third week in a row that I have had information to share on the publication of an article that I have written.  Each of these magazines have their own emphasis.  I encourage you to subscribe to variety arts publications that match your interests.  However, your subscription only pays part of the cost of publication.  Magazines also depend upon advertising fees to cover the rest of the cost.  When you purchase something from an ad in one of the magazines, let the company know where you saw their ad.  That helps the advertisers determine which publications are an effective place to invest their advertising dollars.  Also, consider purchasing items from your favorite authors if they have an ad.  That makes it financially feasible for them to continue writing their articles.
Have a great week, 
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Theatrical Term
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

November 30, 2009

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson
"These folks are correct that they have the right to free expression.  However, they also have the right to expect that other people may not react well to their frankness.  The reality is that the way you express something that you believe affects how it will be received.  We all have the right to offer our unvarnished opinions or to be more thoughtful and more effective." -- Daneen Skube
"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." - The Bible  Proverbs 12: 18
I think the internet has a lot of potential as a medium for sharing ideas and brainstorming.  I have tried out several different on-line groups discussing variety arts.  Most of them ground to a halt because of the same general conflict.  Somebody made a harsh criticism.  When they were confronted about what they had said, they responded that they were only speaking the truth that others needed to hear.  (Often I felt they were motivated by a desire to appear as an authority who knew everything.)  Then an argument began over how they had expressed their opinion.  That would continue for a while.  Shortly after that died down somebody made another harsh comment and the cycle began again.  You had to wade through a lot of the same repetitious bickering to find anything posted that was of value.  Eventually the effort was not worth it.
I have seen how the way opinions are expressed can create deep hurts within variety arts organizations.  I have seen more than one local organization split apart because of criticism between members.  Katie Harmke, one of my subscribers sent me this message, "As a new (very new) clown, just starting to understand being a part of an alley and trying to make contacts, I want to remind seasoned clowns to remember how important it is, when appropriate, to critique each other, not criticize each other. There is such a huge difference between these two words/actions. We are each others' biggest fans and thus, biggest critics.  As the expression goes, 'you always hurt the ones you love,' so, remember taking advice from a colleague can be especially painful.  Choose your words carefully, be sure the person can truly benefit from your advice, and, above all, offer your assistance to make the suggested improvement become a reality."
The apostle Paul wrote, "'Everything is permissible' but not everything is beneficial.  'Everything is permissible' - but not everything is constructive.  Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others."  (I Corinthians 10: 32)
Free expression is permissible in the United States and many other countries in the world.  That does not mean that it is effective or beneficial.  When you are tempted to offer your opinion, ask yourself these questions:  Will my opinion be welcome?  Am I motivated by a desire to feed my ego or a desire to help the other person?  Have I chosen my words carefully so they are as effective as possible?  Have I expressed my opinion in a way that won't trigger the other person's defenses?  Am I overwhelming the other person by making too many suggestions at once?  Are my words constructive?  Am I willing and able to help the other person turn what I suggest into reality?  Will the other person truly benefit from what I have to say?
I am not always as effective and constructive as I wish in expressing my opinion.  However, my choice is to try to be more thoughtful and effective.  What is your choice?

Article by Bruce Johnson

An article I wrote titled The Fairest in the Land has been published in the Volume 8 / Number 4 issue of The Funny Paper.  It is a story that I tell while twisting a balloon swan sculpture.  Each twist transforms the balloon into a different object featured in the story.

Theatrical Term --

 Break the Fourth Wall
A theatrical convention is that a set has a back wall, two side walls, and an imaginary fourth wall between the performers and the audience.  The wall is invisible from the audience's side, but is solid from the performer's side.   The performers in a play don't know that the audience is there.  The audience are only observers who don't influence the action on the stage.
Some variety acts, most notable mime sketches and puppet plays, maintain the fourth wall.  Some clown skits also maintain the fourth wall.
To acknowledge the presence of the audience in any way is to break the fourth wall.  This can be done by an aside directed to the audience during a movie.  Bob Hope was known for doing this in his movies.  In the Burns and Allen TV program the sceneds with Gracie generally honored the fourth wall, but George would step off the set to comment directly to the audience about what had been happening.
Many variety acts break the fourth wall completely by interacting with the audience.  The exact content of the act varies sleightly with each different audience.
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
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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