Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #416 
October 24, 2011

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson





In the second article in this issue I talk about planning articles.  There is another type of planning that you can do.  That is how you will continue your own education.  There are clown conventions this spring.  There are week long educational clown programs next summer.  There are magic workshops and weekend conferences all year with the big magic conventions next summer.  Look ahead and pick one that you want to attend.


Why should you plan ahead?  First, so you can start saving to pay the cost of attending. 


Second, so you can apply for one of the available scholarships to pay part of those costs.  There are several scholarships available.  The California Clown Campin' program has their own scholarship called the Don Burda Scholarship fund.  The World Clown Association has the Bo Bino Scholarship fund that can be used for any qualifying program including California Clown Campin'.  Clowns of America International also has a scholarship fund.  The application requirements and deadlines of each scholarship vary but one thing they have in common is that it takes time and thought to fill out the application.  Now is the time to begin that process.  Another thing these programs have in common is that they are underutilized.  Few people apply for them so your odds of receiving one is excellent.  If you use the California Clown Campin link under Educational Opportunities you will find a scholarship page listed on their home page.  That will lead you to information on some of the available scholarships.


A third reason to plan ahead is that some programs have minimum attendance requirements with cut off dates.  If there are not enough preregistrations by a certain date the program will be cancelled for the year.  More than once I have waited too long to register for a weekend program and discovered that it had been cancelled.


I continue to get a slow but steady stream of new subscribers.  Thank you to those who are recommending my newsletters to others.  Welcome to my new subscribers.  You can read some back issues by using the Newsletter Archive link in the Quick Link section on the right.  If you decide this newsletter no longer meets your needs you can easily remove your name from my mailing list using the SafeUnsubscribe link at the bottom of every issue.


I'll see you down the road,


In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Planning Articles
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

October 24, 2011

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson




"It takes generosity to discover the whole through others. If you realize you are only a violin, you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert."   -- Jacques Yves Cousteau


The 2011 Comedifest Staff members performed an improvisational show the first night of the conference. Most of us do improvise a lot in our normal performances based upon working from a script and being open to departing from that when the opportunity presents itself. However, creating and performing completely fresh material on the spur of the moment was a new experience for the majority of us in the show. The director of our show was Mary Pat McCoy, who performs regularly with Comedy Sportz in Portland, OR. We met with her for an hour to become familiar with the format of the comedy games we would be playing during the show, including a game she had invented that was being debuted during our performance. After a short break it was time to perform in front of our audience. I quickly realized that it was impossible for anyone to try to be the star of the show. Success really depended upon a group effort. My role kept shifting. At times I initiated a scene that provided my partners something to build upon. At other times I built upon a scene started by somebody else. I found that I was more concerned about not letting the others down than I was about doing well myself. From discussions with the others I learned that they felt the same way too. Each person tried to do their best to support the others in the role that was needed at the moment. Because I knew I had the support of the others, I felt more freedom to take risks. Some things I attempted were not too successful, but somebody else would step in and rescue me. That generosity resulted in everyone doing a great job.


I am currently the Committee Chairman for my grandson's Cub Scout Pack. I have learned that I don't need to try to do everything, because that isn't possible. My role is to keep track of things and support the others in making their own unique contributions. One of our den leaders recently organized and ran a day of launching model rockets the boys had made. Another den leader has coordinated our annual fundraising drive. A different den leader is organizing a trip for families this weekend to a farm that has a pumpkin patch and corn maze. Still a different den leader is planning a food drive for a local charity. A committee member is collecting dues and getting our membership renewals delivered to our Scout Council. Another committee member is contacting an elementary school about our Pack presenting the flag ceremony during their Veterans Day assembly and organizing a service project to be completed by the boys. I write the Pack's newsletter keeping the parents informed about what is happening. By each person playing their own part we are able to run the best possible program for the boys and their families. Sometimes people tell me I am doing a great job as Chairman. Actually it is the entire committee that is doing a great job. I would be a failure without their individual contributions. By making it possible for them to do their jobs I am able to do my job better.





I am the World Clown Association Historian. Part of my job description is writing articles on historical topics for Clowning Around, the association's publication. However, I know that my knowledge is limited. I wrote about the history of clowns in baseball for the October issue of the magazine. After reading the article, Dave Fisher contacted me to let me know that he specializes in performing at baseball games. I learned more about the topic from him. I encouraged him to write an article about his experience. He has done that and it will be published in the December issue. The organization's members will learn more about the topic than if I was the only one addressing it.


What is your role? When do you need to initiate something? How can you let others build upon what you started? When do you need to build upon something started by others? How can you make your own contribution? How can you encourage and support others in making their contributions?




Planning Articles

I really would like to see more people writing articles for variety arts magazines. As a way of encouraging you I will provide you with a little advice once in a while through this newsletter.


Writing for magazines requires advance planning. You have to look ahead on your calendar when deciding what to write about.


One reason is that it takes time to produce an issue of a magazine. White Tops, published by the Circus Fans Association of America, and Clowning Around, published by the World Clown Association, both had an October 15 deadline for articles and ads for their December issues. The editors of both magazines do a wonderful job working with graphics and photos to produce visually appealing magazine. They are also working with authors to get the best possible text. All of that takes time. The December issues of those magazines will probably be in the mail before the end of November so readers will receive them in December. It can take three weeks for a magazine to be delivered because each distribution center and post office that handles it can delay it if there is a high volume of mail. Priority mail is handled before magazines.


That means the December issue of a magazine will arrive too late for readers to be able to apply the information to their Christmas performances. They may already be performing those shows before the magazine arrives. So if you want to write something about Christmas performances it is most helpful to the reader if it appears in the November issue. That backs up your deadline for submitting those articles to the middle of September.


That means that for me I will start a Christmas article during the month of August. The way I work is to write a rough draft to get my ideas down before I forget them. I may edit it again to improve the way it flows. Then I put it away for a while so that I can return later to take a fresh look at the article. You tend to see what you expect to see so in the initial editing process I think the article says what I meant it to say instead of what I actually wrote. When enough time has passed that I forget what I wrote I have a new perspective and often spot parts that need to be clarified. That is also when I spot grammatical errors.


Actually because I am a columnist, I have several articles in progress at once. When I come up with an idea for an article that I am not ready to write, I write that down before I forget what it is. Often that is just a brief outline. I have articles in the rough draft form that I will eventually edit. While the progress on those articles is paused I am polishing other articles that I will soon be submitting.


It took me a while to learn to schedule articles in advance. However, here is an easy way for you to do it. It is the method that I first began using. It may be too late to write a Halloween article for this year, but it isn't too early to write one for next year. As you experience this year's holiday performances, ask yourself, "What would be a good idea for an article? What new idea really worked well in my shows that others could also use? What problem did I solve?" Then write the article now while it is fresh, and file it away. Then next summer you will be ready to open your file, edit the article, and submit it in a timely fashion.

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 2011 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.
All rights reserved. 
Educational Opportunities

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.
Show Me Clowns for Jesus
February 17-19, 2012
Springfield, MO
Topics to be announced


California Clown Campin'

July 30 - August 5, 2012

San Bernardino, CA


Classes:  To Be Announced 


California Clown Campin Information



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