Charlie's Creative Comedy presents

Thought For The Week

Issue #555
March 2, 2015

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson



In my main article this week I refer to the article in last week's newsletter.  If you want to read past issues of this newsletter, you may use the archive link at the bottom of the right hand column.  I try to keep the archives updated.  If the most recent issues aren't there, check back soon and they should be.


We are starting the busy spring convention season.  The Trick of the Trade in this weeks issue is something that may be useful when you attend a convention.


The World Clown Association convention is just over two weeks away.  I have not yet met Gigi and Bucky, the convention headliners, but I am looking forward to their classes and performance.


On Wednesday evening at the convention, after the performance by Gigi & Bucky, Clown Camp will be hosting the hospitality room.  There will be information on the 2016 Clown Camp Reunion. A special discounted early bird registration will be available.  Richard Snowberg has requested that Clown Camp alumni wear a Clown Camp t-shirt, jacket, etc to the hospitality room.


I hope to see many of my subscribers at the WCA convention.  Please take the time to say hello.


Also, registration is now open for the World Circus Summit.  There is an ala carte style form.  You can decide what you want to participate in.  For example, the Circus Historical Society and the Circus Fans of America are each hosting banquets during the summit that are an extra fee item.  There is also an optional trip to see a circus performance that will be preceded by what planners hope will be the largest circus band performance in history.  There are many activities though that are covered by the basic registration.  I think the World Circus Summit is going to be a historic event people will talk about for years.


I will see you down the road,



In This Issue
Thought For The Week
Trick of the Trade
Educational Opportunities

Thought For The Week 

March 2,2015

By Bruce "Charlie" Johnson


When you are green, you grow. When you are ripe, you rot. ."- - Roy Kroc, founder of McDonalds


In my most recent issue (Feb. 23, 2015) I discussed "Better" as a journey, not a destination. Is it necessary to strive to become better?


Two years ago I felt like at my age and stage of my career I really did not need to strive to improve. I had already created more routines than I could perform in any one show. Instead of working to create new routines, I could vary my show by simply reviving some of my existing routines.   I have some acts that I have not done in years which got great response. When I have performed one of them again they still get a wonderful response. I thought that I didn't need to purchase any new magic because I have plenty of things I purchased in the past that I haven't learned to perform yet. If I wanted something new, all I have to do is work to master one of those routines.


I gradually realized that was the wrong attitude. In nature everything is either growing or decaying. In life things are improving or declining. My juggling act has not changed in years. I am satisfied with it. Adding a new trick probably would not significantly improve it. I had stopped working on learning new juggling tricks. When I practiced I worked on brushing up the tricks that were already in my act. I noticed that my consistency started to fall off. I dropped more often in a performance. I began to loose confidence in my ability to juggle. Why? Randy Pryor said that you are not capable of performing to the top of your technical ability during a show. The pressure of trying to avoid mistakes, distractions from the audience and other factors mean you perform at less than your potential.


When I stopped working on new tricks, my skill level began to drop. Now the tricks that are in my act are the most difficult that I attempt. When I perform I am not able to succeed at the most difficult tricks. I have returned to working on new tricks. If I never perform those tricks in a show they are improving my show because they raise my technical skill level. The tricks in my show are easy compared to the new ones that I am trying to learn. That has given me increased confidence that I can successfully complete the tricks in my show.


There is another reason for continually trying to be better. Joy is one of the by products of the creative process. Performing something new that you have created boosts your enthusiasm. You take pride in your accomplishments. You know that you did not just get by, but that you made an honest effort.


Remember that emotions are contagious. If you are bored by your performance, your audience will be bored by it. If you are excited, your audience will be excited. I could have easily performed only my existing routines during my up coming Tramp Tradition show at the World Clown Association Convention in Reno this month. But I am putting a lot of effort into creating some new routines that I will perform there for the first time. I am looking forward to the show. I know I will enjoy the results of my efforts, and I hope the audience will enjoy it as well.


Part of that process was going to a lecture last month by Murray Hatfield. I was determined that I would not purchase any new props. However, one of the props he demonstrated and had for sale fits in perfectly with something I was already working on. Another one is a good utility idea that I have already planned to use in different ways in upcoming performances.


Is your performance improving or declining? Where have you become complacent? How can you try to increase your skill level to make what you use in your show easier by comparison? How can you boost your confidence? Where can you be more creative in your material? Where can you become better?



Trick of the Trade


I was lecturing at a magician's conference several years ago.  I was surprised by what the participants were most interested in learning.  Many suitcases today are designed to either be closed or opened all the way.  I had opened my suitcase up half way so the vertical lid blocked the audience view of the props in my suitcase.  That amazed the magicians.  My solution was simple.  On each side I used two binder clips and a shoestring to create a brace that kept the lid from opening further.


I always take a handful of binder clips (available in stationary stores around the world) and a small ball of kite string when I travel.  If I need to hang a prediction before a show begins I can easily do that with the string and a couple of binder clips. 


When I travel to teach, staying organized is a struggle.  There usually aren't enough drawers and shelves so I end up with things for classes and performances in piles around my hotel room.  Yet, being organized is vital to the success of the event. At a recent educational event, I tied one end of a piece of string to a lamp post and tied the other end to a binder clip.  I put a copy of my schedule in the clip.  Everytime I returned to my hotel room I didn't have to search for my schedule.  I could quickly check to see what was coming up.  That way I knew if I needed to prepare visual aids for a class, attend a meeting or rehearsal, teach a class, had time to relax, or could attend a class taught by another instructor.


On one trip I needed another clean shirt for my costume because after I arrived I was given another opportunity to perform.  I washed a shirt out in the sink, stretched string across the bath tub, and used binder clips to hang the shirt up to dry.


Those are just some of the ways I have used these handy little clips.  Get some yourself and see how many ways you can use them.

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 2015 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.


World Clown Association Convention


March 22- 26, 2015

Reno, Nevada

Tramp Tradition Show,

Controlling Focus,

Class of 1989 


World Clown Association


World Circus Summit

July 14-18, 2015

West Springfield, MA

Panel Discussion: Circus Today -- Clowning 

Jackpot Junction


 World Circus Summit


Colorado Clowns

Day of Education

August 22, 2015

Denver, CO


Clown Camp Reunion


June 2016

La Crosse, WI


Clown Camp Reunion

For information on additional services that I can provide for an educational event 

Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List