March 2010 Vol 1, Issue 11

Creativity For Entertainers Trilogy

Creativity For Entertainers

Welcome to the eleventh issue of my Creativity For Entertainers newsletter.  
I want this newsletter to be useful to you.  I rely on your feedback  to determine what I should include.  I did not receive any response to the definitions of comedy techniques in the last two issues, so I have not included one in this issue.
Let me know which articles are the most useful to you.
I have been working through the process of updating my web site.  I was surprised by how much needed to be changed.  When was the last time that you looked closely at your web site?  What can be improved?
Have a great day,
In This Issue
Creative Exercise
Silk Painting
Color Changing Streamer
Sunfire Blendo Addition
In Memory: Don Brisbane
Creativity at SECA
Available Props
Quick Links
Join our Mailing List!

Creative Exercise

Your muscles become stronger the more that you use them.  That is why people go to gyms to exercise.  Your creativity also becomes stronger the more that you use it.  Here is a creative exercise.


My father is a wood worker.  During one period of his life he hand carved custom clocks for people.  When one of his friends retired he carved a clock with the numbers jumbled.  In the center of the clock face he carved the words "Retired!  Who cares?"  Then he installed a clock movement that ran backwards (counter clockwise).  The backwards movement was available commercially so there must have been a demand for it.  How many uses (serious or humorous) can you think of for a clock that runs backwards?

Silk Painting

In my Creativity For Entertainers trilogy I mention silk painting to create customized scarves.  At the time that I wrote the books I felt like I did not have enough experience painting silks to attempt to write a description of how it is done.  I was still at the stage of "I didn't know it would do that!  What caused that to happen?"


I have gotten much more silk painting experience after the books were published.  Also, some new products have been marketed.  I have discovered an method that I think you can follow easily and experience success.  (There are other methods available.)  This method is not appropriate for mass producing scarves, but if you need one or two special scarves it will work easily for you.  I have written an article describe the process and posted it on my web site.


Creating Custom Silk Scarves

Tip for the Color Changing Streamer

If you have a problem with a prop more than once, you need to find a solution to either prevent it from happening again or to cope when it does happen in a performance.

I mention the Color Changing Streamer in Volume Two on pages 136 and 138 and in Volume Three on pages 214 and 308.  It is a wonderful prop that I use frequently.  I have purchased several and put them away to keep as a back up in case something happens to the one I am using and it is no longer available commercially. 


This will make sense only to those people who have purchased a color changing streamer.  The one difficulty is that sometimes the inner layer gets covered completely with the outer sleeve.  That makes it difficult to operate.  I have tried different solutions over the years and have found one that I think works very well.  I shortened the outer sleeve a little by hemming it up.  Now the inner layer is always instantly accessible.

 What problem do you encounter with a prop?  What solution can you find?

Sunfire Blendo Addition

Sometimes creativity consists of combining existing ideas from two different sources.


Duane Laflin introduced a new product called the Sunfire Blendo a year ago.  It incorporates the Color Changing Streamer into his Laflin style blendo.  (I describe his method of performing a blendo in Volume Three pages 226-231.)  In his new version you pick up a colored streamer and give it a shake.  The streamer changes to a black one.  Then you gather up the streamer and suddenly it transforms into a 36-inch scarf that is black plus the four colors that had been in the streamer.  Since it is a product that Duane is selling I won't reveal the changes that he has made in the set up, but it is a very clever idea.  I also like the design of the new Sunfire scarf so in addition to purchasing the blendo routine I purchased a second unprepared scarf for use in other routines.


Arthur Pedlar, an International Clown Hall of Fame inductee, said, "Clowning is different from all the other circus acts in that it is the only one based on thought."  Magicians sometimes do things simply because they can.  (Something done for no other reason than it is visually pleasing is sometimes referred to as eye candy.)  As a clown I try to have a reason for everything that I do.  I loved Duane's new product, but there seemed to be a step missing logically.


It has been my pleasure over the years to see the Puckett Family at Fellowship of Christian Magician regional conferences and at the Magic Show Conference.  Each time that I saw them, the two oldest boys would show me something new that they had been working on.  They are very creative and I was always impressed with what they had come up with.  Several years ago, Matthew Puckett demonstrated a bit that he performed with a Color Changing Streamer.  When he gave the colored streamer a shake, four small scarves floated through the air and the streamer was black.  It looked like he had shaken the colors right off the streamer.  (He had put four six-inch silk scarves inside the outer sleeve.)


There was the missing step in Duane's routine.  I contacted Matthew and received his permission to use his idea.  By combining Duane's idea with Matthew's idea I now pick up the colored streamer.  I give it a shake, and the streamer turns black.  The audience immediately calls my attention to the four small colored scarves lying on the floor.  I pick them up and bunch them up with the streamer.  I squeeze them as if I am trying to force them back together.  Suddenly they merge into the beautiful 36-inch Sunfire design scarf.


Matthew has graciously given me permission to share his idea with my subscribers.


Look at the routines that you do.  Is there a step missing in your character's thought process?  What can you incorporate that will logically fill the gap?  When you purchase a new product, ask yourself, "What do I already know that can be incorporated into this?"


For purchasing information for the Sunfire Silk Scarf or Sunfire Blendo contact Duane Laflin at


In Memory: Don Brisbane


I was saddened to recently learn that Don Brisbane passed away in January. Don was a member of the Northwest Ring of Fire, a local group in Lynnwood, WA affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Magicians.  He was a very creative individual and I always looked forward to seeing what he would perform during the Open Mike portion of each club meeting.  He created the Will the Color Match routine that is described on page 146 of volume three.  (After he purchased a copy of my book, he told me that I made one small mistake.  His routine used pictures of cats not rabbits.  Then with a twinkle in his eye, he added, "Well I guess that is a change you can make when you do the next edition.")


A few months after he read my book Don contacted me to make sure I would be at the next meeting.  (Because I often have a schedule conflict on the night of the meeting I am not able to attend very often.)  An idea prompt on page 148 reads, "What cards or other objects could you use?"  Don wanted to surprise me by demonstrating a routine that had inspired.  He did a very funny routine with pairs of socks and the phrase "Will The Socks Match."  Each sock was in a separate envelope.  At the end all of the socks matched a mate that was the same color, except for the last two.  They were two different colors.  He acted confused for a moment and then pulled up his pant's legs revealing that he was wearing a mismatched pair of socks that was the same two colors as the final pair in the magic effect.  He was the first I saw to actually use the Card Match principle with solid objects.

Creativity at SECA

I will be doing a general session called Creativity Techniques at the SECA (South East Clown Association) Convention in

Jacksonville, FL in September.  This session is based on Creativity for Entertainers Volume Two.  The description for this session is "Anybody can be creative and everyone can learn to be more creative.  During this session you will learn practical tools and techniques to spark you own creativity.  You will discover how to use the HaHa! - Aha! Connection, Top Ten, SCAMPER, and other techniques to generate ideas allowing you to connect more fully with your audiences and come closer to realizing your potential as an entertainer.  Bruce will also introduce useful techniques for turning those ideas into reality."

SECA Convention Information

Available Props

Purchasing my books gives you the right to make any of the props that I describe for your own use.  I realize that sometimes you would rather invest your money instead of time, so I make some of the props for sale.  I have updated my web site so you can purchase them over the internet using PayPal.
If you would rather wait and see them first before making the decision to purchase them, I will have them at my dealer table at the Branson Magic Bonanza in April and at the SECA convention in September.  The Branson Magic Bonanza, formerly known as the Magic Show Conference, is an excellent event.  I am attending it for my own continuing education.
That's it for this issue.  I am always interested in your questions, comments, and how you have been able to apply the information from my books.  Often readers come up with ideas that I would not have.  Their ideas then inspire me to create additional related ideas.  This newsletter is an attempt to keep two-way communication with readers of my books flowing.
Bruce Johnson
Charlie's Creative Comedy
Copyright 2010 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.  All rights reserved.