Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week
May 10, 2010
Issue #372

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson

The history trivia question remains a popular feature of this newsletter. As the official World Clown Association Historian, I am pleased to see so much interest in entertainment history.   I have additional history articles available on my web site.  I have added a new Quick Link to this newsletter that will take you to that section.  One of the newest articles on my web site is one on the importance of an accurate history of clowing because that is the basis for your philosphy of clowning.  You can use this link to go directly to that article.
This article originally appeared in Clowning Around published by the World Clown Association.  This is membership renewal time.  Richard Snowberg, and the rest of the 2009-2010 WCA Board Members, made some positive changes in the past year.  I understand that many former members have rejoined.   
I introduced several new products at the Branson Magic Bonanza.  Several customers purchased items on the first day, practiced with them in their room that night, and came back to my table the next day to get additional pointers.  By the end of the weekend they left for home confident that they could use their new props in their performances.  The next time I am scheduled to have a dealer table is at the SECA convention in September.  (More information is available in the Educational Opportunities column to the right.)  I hope to see many subscibers there.  Please keep in mind that I consider my dealer table to be an extension of the class room and am more than happy to give you individual instruction there.  One thing that I can do at my table which is difficult in a class room is go step by step through a sleight with you standing next to me.  That way you can see it from the performer's angle instead of the mirror view provided when I am facing you.
I have posted many of my new products on my web site, and will continue to update that page in the next few weeks. I have added a Quick Link to this newsletter that will take you directly to that page.
Have a great week,
In This Issue
Thought For The Week
History Trivia
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

May 10, 2010

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


"The details vanish in the bird's eye view, but so does the bird's eye view vanish in the details."  - William James


My art teachers in school all frequently repeated that when you are working on a piece of art you are looking at it close up so that you see the details, but the viewer will look at it from a distance.  You have to step back to look at the overall piece to see what affect all the details are having on the viewer.  So we would always prop up what we were working on and view it from across the room.  However, if we ignored the details our work deteriorated into a sloppy mess.  We needed both the bird's eye view and the close up view to create a successful work of art.


Many clowns approach their make up as a work of art.  While applying their make up they see it up close in their mirror and obsess about the details.  However, most audience members will see the clown from a distance.  This is important to remember when you make a small mistake during your application.  You may be very aware of it, but audience members probably won't notice.  Also, it is important while developing your make up design to get a distant view.  I found that the time my make up improved the most was when I was working in a photo studio on the Circus Kirk midway.  Everyday I posed for souvenir Polaroid photos with people attending the circus.  Frequently they would show me our photo when it had finished developing.  That way I got to see myself from a greater distance than my make up mirror allowed and I could determine the result of changes I made in my make up design.


I have found that in writing it is important to use the proper perspective at the right time.  In the beginning I have to get the general flow of thoughts down.  I have to see how everything fits together.  If I worry about how an individual sentence is expressed, I get bogged down and never come up with a complete article.  If I stop to look up facts, I may forget where I am going.  So I sometimes type TBA, meaning "to be added", where I want to insert details.  If I am having a particularly difficult time, especially if the spell check function keeps prompting me to stop to make a correction, I turn off my computer monitor so I can't see what I just typed.  Then after I get the rough direction for the article figured out, I go back and look at the details.  I do a fact check and insert missing details.  I check spelling and grammar.  After I have the details polished, I have to switch perspective again to see if the entire piece still flows properly.  Sometimes the details that I added are an interruption and need to be removed.


In any type of project you have to switch perspectives to be sure that both the overall affect and the details is being taken care of.  That can be difficult.  Sometimes when you think you have completed a project, it is hard to inspect the details because you see what you expect to be there.  Sometimes if you are caught up in the details you are reluctant to declare a project finished because there is something that can still be tweaked even though the result of the change is minimal.  Each person has a perspective they are most comfortable with, and it can be hard to switch to the other.  One of the most effective ways to change perspective is to take a break and concentrate on something else.  With the passage of time you will forget what was there and be able to see your project from a fresh perspective.  Another helpful aid is a check list to make sure important details aren't forgotten while you are taking a more distant view.


When you go through a difficult time, either physically or emotionally, you remain focused on the details.  Sometimes the accumulated details can be overwhelming.  If you can obtain a bird's eye view of their situation the details start to vanish.  They still exist but they don't seem as important.  The value of Coping Humor is that it provides emotional distance from what you are experiencing so you can change perspective and get the bird's eye view.  The new perspective allows you to see more things that you might be able to put together to either solve the problem or at least make it more acceptable.  That is why the work of Caring Clowns is so valuable.


How can you insure you are using the proper perspective at the right time?  What can you do to change perspective?  How can you obtain a bird's eye view?  How can you zoom in on the details? 

History Trivia

 Click on the answer which you think is correct.
Dutch comics were popular in American vaudeville and nineteenth century one-ring circuses.  A Dutch comic portrayed somebody who had immigrated to America from
These links will remain active until June 1.  After that date use the History Trivia link on the right to access the answers.
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 2010 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved. 

Educational Opportunities
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
Jacksonville, Florida
 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