Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
January 25, 2010
Issue #361

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

Last week I announced that I am scheduled to be at the South East Clown Association Convention next September.  You can find some more information about this convention in the Educational Opportunities column.
I have completed the first two booklets in my new Charlie The Juggling Clown Presents line of publications.  These booklets are designed for youth and novice adult entertainers.  They were inspired by a class Marty Hahn taught at the 2009 Magic Show Conference.  (Now known as the Branson Magic Bonanza.)  The booklets are suitable for "back of the room" sales at some of my performances.  I had them available for the first time at last weekends Mount Baker Boy Scout Council University of Scouting.  After looking at the booklets, a women said she wants to hire me for a banquet provided I bring the booklets with me and make them available for sale.  They try to make resources available at the banquet.  I never know what will open a door to a booking for me.
You will find more information on the booklets in this newsletter.
Have a great week,
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Article by Bruce Johnson
Comedy Bits and Skits
Introduction to Magic
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

January25, 2010

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

"Take pride in what you do. The kind of pride I'm talking about is not the arrogant puffed-up kind; it's just the whole idea of caring -- fiercely caring."  -- Red Aurbach, Professional Basketball Coach


I taught a class in easy to perform magic with common objects this past weekend to a group of Cub Scout leaders at the Mount Baker Boy Scout Council University of Scouting.  Although the class was only an hour long, I spent several days preparing for it.  I prepared handouts.  I choose visual aids that I would need.  I carefully considered the best way to present the information to those who would be in class.  For example, one of the things that I taught was making and using a Paper Bag Change Bag.  I prepared a customized routine suitable for the Blue and Gold banquets that Cub Scout groups will be holding next month.  I made one Paper Bag Change Bag to use in demonstrating that routine.  I knew that I would have 25 students, so I made three Paper Bag Change Bags to pass around and inspect while I was demonstrating how to construct one of the bags.  (I figured that would be eight people looking at each bag so nobody would have to wait too long to see it.)  Since my original use of the bag was to perform a transformation, I prepared another routine using the bag I had constructed to perform a vanish so they could see how it was handled now that they knew what to look for, plus to demonstrate how versatile the prop really is.


I could have very easily have taught the class without going to the extra effort.  However, I took pride in that class because I know how important the results can be.  I got my initial performing experience, both in clowning and magic, at Cub Scout events.  I never dreamed that entertainment would eventually become my career.  I will never know if what I taught this weekend may influence a future entertainer, but it is possible.  Even if they don't become entertainers, the things boys learn by performing at Scout events are important life skills that will stay with them forever.  Those skills include poise in front of groups, public speaking, confidence, and cooperating with others.


Another thing that came out of the class was several of the leaders told me that I had given them ideas they can use to make some of the necessary ceremonies, like graduating from one level to another, more interesting and fun for the participants.  A lady told me that she is in charge of teaching knots at the annual Cub Scout Day Camp.  She said teaching knots always seemed boring.  She said now she can make the class more interesting and exciting by using the magic effects I taught that are based on special properties of square knots.


I'll share another detail from teaching the class.  The organizers wanted the participants in each class to fill out a "report card" on the instructor.  The information will be used in planning next years educational program, and it will also be shared with the individual instructors so they can improve upon their classes.  The report cards had a blank for the class name and the instructor's name.  I found time before class to fill in that part of the card for the participants.  Several participants mentioned how surprised and pleased they were by that.  I told them I figured that by doing that I could spend a little more time in teaching because they needed less time to fill out the report card.


I make the same kind of effor for my shows.  Most of my performances include at least one customized routine that I prepare especially for that audience.  When I do a major show at a convention, like the banquet show at the South East Clown Association convention next September, I do many customized routines.  I could easily get by without doing anything that is customized, but I make the special effort because I take pride in being given the opportunity to perform.


How proud are you of what you do?  Do you care about the results?  What are the effects of what you do?  Why is it important?  What does that pride motivate you to do?

Article by Bruce Johnson

I wrote an article titled "Encourage One Another" that appears in the January/February 2010 issue of The Voice of the FCM, published by the Fellowship of Christian Magicians, International.  The magazine was formerly called the Christian Conjurer, but the name was changed at the beginning of this year.  The FCM was started by a group of magicians and chalk talk artist.  It has grown to include many types of variety arts ministries.  In addition to magic, The Voice of the FCM includes articles on clowning, ventriloquism, juggling, puppetry, object lessons, and humor. 

The January/February issue has another article that may be of interest to many clowns.  Clyde and Sharon Mighells wrote an article on federal laws governing the use of pyrotechnics.  One thing I learned is that Flash Paper is considered a pyrotechnic and there are requirements for obtaining permission to use it from the area Fire Marshall for each performance.

To learn more about the Fellowship of Christian Magicians go to their web site.

Fellowship of Christian Magicians

Comedy Bits and Skits

Charlie The Jugglign Clown Presents Comedy Bits and Skits For Youth Group Meetings and Campfires is a revised version of my previous Comedy Blackouts booklet. I reorganized and updated the original information and added some easy to perform skits that I learned when I was a youth in the Scouting program.  Later, when I became a professional clown, I discovered that many of those skits were traditional clown skits.  That means that I wrote this booklet for young people, but it is also an excellent resource for clowns, especially those involved in performing with a local alley.  If you already own Comedy Blackouts I don't think there is enough new material to make it worth purchasing this revised version.  I will have it available on my dealer table so you can look at it before making a purchase there.
The price of this booklet is the original price of $5.  The charge for postage and handling within the Untied States is $5 per order.  (That means if you purchase both booklets at once you owe only one $5 shipping fee.  If Pay Pal automatically charges you two shipping fees, I'll refund one of them.)  International orders will be charged the exact postage fee.  If you want to know what that is before placing an order, send me an email and I will let you know.

Introduction to Magic

Charlie The Juggling Clown Presents Introduction to Magic: Easy Illusions You Can Perform with Common Objects is a new publication.  There is a little overlap with the contents in Creativity For Entertainers Volume Three: Creative Routines.  I think there is enough unique content to make it worthwhile to purchase both books.
This book is not sanctioned by the Boy Scouts of America, but I looked at the requirements for the Bear Badge Magic Elective and made sure there was enough information in this booklet to fulfill those requirements.  For that reason there are several rope effects.  There are also several puzzles, even though they are technically not magic effects, because they are part of the Cub Scout requirements.  Puzzles can be an entertainment tool.  In fact, I included one puzzle, Tying a Knot Without Letting Go of the Ends, that I used extensively during the eleven years that I performed at Raging Waters.  It is great for walkaround entertainment. 
None of the illusions require any special magic props.  In fact you can easily find most of the required items allowing you to perform if the opportunity arises and you have not brought your regular props.
 The price of this booklet is $10 plus $5 postage and handling in the United States.  Foreign orders will be charged exact postage.  If you order both booklets at once you will automatically charged twice for postage, but I will refund one charge.
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. 
September 8-12, 2010
South East Clown Association Convention
 Introduction to Juggling, Creativity Techniques, Trick Cartoons, Banquet Show, and Dealer Table
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 

Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List