April 2011Vol 1, Issue 15

Creativity For Entertainers Trilogy

Creativity For Entertainers

It has been several months since the latest issue of this newsletter.  My personal schedule has prevented me from getting one out sooner.

In my Creativity for Entertainers trilogy, I stress that if you look the same place as everyone else for ideas you will find the same ideas as everyone else.  To find new fresh ideas you need to find new sources of inspiration. 


I recently picked up a copy of the May 2011 issue of Disney Family Fun magazine.  It had several things that I thought were good idea seeds.  I'll explain them below.

Have a great day,

In This Issue
Hungry, Hungry Frogs
Readable Story Books
Oversized Game Board
Two More Ideas
Creative Warm Up
Quick Links
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Hungry, Hungry Frogs


An article titled "Hungy, Hungry Frogs" had directions for making frog puppets out of paper plates with pipe cleaner tongues.  A magnet in the end of tongue allows the frog to pick up metal objects.  The article describes two games.  The first is seeing who can pick up the most flies made from black tissue paper and paper clips.  The second is picking up the correct numbered square of paper with a paper clip attached.


The frogs as described wouldn't hold up to the stress of performances, but I was intrigued by the idea of a frog puppet with a magnet in the tongue.  A way to use it in a magic trick would be to split a playing card using the directions in Volume Three in order to insert a thin piece of metal in the center of the card.  During performance you would force that card using one of the methods in Volume Three or another method that you prefer.  Then the frog would catch the selected card.


How else might you use a frog puppet with a magnetic tongue?  Where else could you hide a magnet in a puppet?  What would the magnet make it possible for the puppet to do?

Readable Story Books


This magazine has an ad for the Hallmark readable story books.  These books have embedded electronics that allows you to record yourself reading the text.  When somebody opens the book, the playback feature is activated and they hear you reading the story.  This reminds me of the Read Along record/story sets I had as a child.  (The very first one was Bozo at the Circus read by Vance "Pinto" Colvig,)  


Dana and Jane Abendschein, a pair of clowns in Missouri, started a program several years ago called Story Link.  They took books into prisons and recorded parents reading the stories.  Then the book and cassette tape was sent to the children of the prisoner.  It provided a connection between parents and children.


Last year I attended a show in Branson, MO called Yakov's Moscow Circus.  During the show, Yakov Smirnoff reads a book about a troupe of circus performers in the old Soviet Union.  Sometimes he is shown on a large screen holding the book as he reads it.  Other times, you just hear him as a voice over narration.  His narration from the book provides the transitions between the circus acts.  After the show if over, copies of the book are sold as souvenirs.


How could you use the read along / readable concept in your performances?  Would you actually use one of the Hallmark books or a different technology?  Is there something else you can do with the technology of the Hallmark books?


An idea that I had was to record the revelation of a chosen card.  During performance you would force the card, and apparently fail while trying to locate it.  Giving up in frustration you would open the book.  During the narration of the story one of the prerecorded characters would announce the identity of the selected card.

Oversized Game Board


A mother wanted to play Twister at a party, but the standard format is limited to four players.  In order to allow more players to participate at a time she used a round stencil and non-toxic paint to create a giant playing area on her lawn.  Many entertainers organize games as part of their service.  I think there is an idea seed here for them.  You would have to obtain permission before painting grass, but some people work at facilities dedicated to company picnics so they might be able to use this method.  Perhaps another method like circles of carpet placed on the grass would work.  I like the idea of playing on grass because that is a relatively safe surface.


What are some of your favorite board games?  How could you enlarge them so more people could participate?




I mentioned Storigami, the combination of storytelling and origami, in Creativity for Entertainers Volume Two.  This magazine issue had an address for a storigami web site.  That is origamiwithrachelkatz.com


Besides origami, what other skills do you have that could be combined with story telling?

Two More Ideas



Many entertainers incorporate bubbles into their performances.  This issue has instructions for constructing your own Giant Bubble Wand.


This issue also has instructions for using markers to decorate white shoe laces.  The illustrations reminded me of the laces some clowns use in their shoes.


Creative Warm Up



There are six quick idea starters from one issue of a magazine most entertainers don't read.  Those are ideas other entertainers probably won't stumble across.


What other unusual publications can you find that might present you with some quick idea starters?


Even if you never use the ideas that come to mind while flipping through a magazine, it can work as a creative warm up.  Mari Messer said, "An artistic warm up is like lighting a log fire.  You can't just strike a match and light the log directly.  You have to prepare a fire with layers of crunched newspaper and kindling so the logs will catch fire.  Play is the crunched paper and kindling for your creative fire."


A log requires a lot of heat before it will burst into flame.  That means starting a lot of little fires that have the combined effect of raising the temperature.  You need to come up with lots of little ideas that you won't use to prepare you for coming up with the great ideas that you will use.  You have to raise your mental temperature to get your great ideas to burst forth.


Before your next creative endeavor, as a creative warm up, try flipping through a magazine and trying to apply what you see to your performances.


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.