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 Post subject: Re: Laura Caldwell, Annie Banannie 18/24th Jan
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:35 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:08 am
Posts: 9
Location: Southern California, USA
Here are more answers to the questions.

7, Do you have the same act but vary the presentation for all ages or do you have set acts for different ages?

Combination of both. I have a preschool (ages 3-6) motivational show, elementary school (ages 6-13) literacy show, and an elementary school science show. I don’t do shows for entirely adult audiences but I twist for any age.

In the elementary school shows and the twisting, I’ll vary the humor according to the age of the audience.

8, What’s your favourite thing to make at the moment?

The coolest thing I made recently was a simple castle from four 646s (sides), two 350s (pointed roof), and four 260s (horizontal supports for 646 sides). It took 5 minutes and the birthday girl got right inside for a picture.

I’m also obsessed with hearts. We jam at least twice a month here, usually more with impromptu jams. So really my fave thing is jamming with friends, making anything.

9, What is the most asked for model?

Depends on the audience, but mostly swords, princess crowns, and wings. I just try to make them really cool, and I also tell the kids that if they get a surprise it will be cooler than anything they’ve seen yet. (I don’t have the Jedi power that some possess to make them take a surprise and love it. You know who I’m talking about.)

10, What do you tend to do more of if stuck in the 'balloon production line' model?

Play. I tell stories, make up stories with the kids, make interactive things, tease the kids and parents, have the balloons make funny noises, have the kids tell me jokes (I can’t remember very many myself so I make them do the work). Sometimes I’ll give out numbers, go from shortest to tallest, have stupid contests to see who’s next, or institute the “ball of choice,” which will determine who’s next.

11, Who is your market aimed at?

Kids. Rarely I’ll do events just for adults, but really unless you add wine or something, those can be pretty dry. Except once I did a 10-minute presentation at a networking lunch and still have pics of the mortgage broker dressed up as a cowboy, complete with horse. That was a proud moment for both of us.

12, What kind of work do you do mostly - parties? Corporate? Etc

Elementary school and library literacy assemblies, private parties. The school market will be crowding out the private parties in a couple of years.

13, What is your favourite/ideal gig to do?

Before December I would have said the elementary school assembly. However, in December I went to Singapore and did some shows in malls. That was awesome and I want to do more and more of that type of show. It allowed me to really go crazy with the show because I had a full crew. This next year’s show will be even more over the top. I’m now in love with confetti cannons.

14, What irritates you most at a gig?

Parents not letting their kids make a decision as simple as deciding what kind of balloon they want. Does that kid ever get to practice making decisions before he grows up? (Soapbox moment, sorry.) Adults talking at the back of a show like nothing important is happening. When I make the wrong call on how to handle a group of kids, resulting in me not doing the best gig possible. (This recently happened at a gig where the first thing I heard when I walked in was “Oh, thank God you’re here. They’re out of control.”)

15, How do you book yourself?

Not sure what you want on this one. People usually call me as a result of seeing me at a gig or at a showcase. I make sure I’m right for their event and we book a date. Then they fill out a booking form and my administrative gnome Chip then takes care of the paperwork from there. I’m working on a follow-up system for existing clients because I’m really bad at that now. I also touch base with the client a day or two before their party so they know everything’s all set.

16, What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever made?

Balloon Manor! The most complicated thing I’ve made at Balloon Manor was a 5-foot wide manhole cover out of black 6-inch hearts (eek) and 260s with a monster coming out of it. It was the entrance to Underworld Studies. I have no idea how many hours that took me. I’ve made some dresses, usually short ones that end up looking more like lingerie because it’s hard to stick with it that long. I really love doing it though, and we keep our dress form Joann set up for inspiration.

17, What has been your proudest achievement in our wonderful world of twisted latex?

Definitely the show in Singapore last December. I wrote, directed, stage managed, and performed 28 45-minute shows followed by 30-minute mini-workshops in two weeks. I loved my crew, my host agent, and my audiences. It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked and the most proud I’ve ever been of my work. Here’s to doing lots more of these (I have big plans).

_________________
Annie Banannie, Balloon Storyteller (aka Laura Caldwell)
Because Every Balloon Has a Story . . .
www.BalloonStoryteller.com
www.Twitter.com/BalloonStory


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 Post subject: Re: Laura Caldwell, Annie Banannie 18/24th Jan
PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:16 pm 
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Posts: 1528
Hi Laura,

I love your wedding dress ~ it's gorgeous! And thanks for sharing some of your stories...they are so funny!

I know you do a lot of library shows... do you use storylines from childrens books, or do you write your own storylines? Also, how many balloons on average do you make onstage for your shows and how many do you take pre-made? Do you have any tips for someone wanting to do more shows of this sort?

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Have a happy day :-)

Tonya


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 Post subject: Re: Laura Caldwell, Annie Banannie 18/24th Jan
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:08 am
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Location: Southern California, USA
Tonya wrote:
I love your wedding dress ~ it's gorgeous! And thanks for sharing some of your stories...they are so funny!

I know you do a lot of library shows... do you use storylines from childrens books, or do you write your own storylines? Also, how many balloons on average do you make onstage for your shows and how many do you take pre-made? Do you have any tips for someone wanting to do more shows of this sort?


Thanks for the compliments, Tonya. :)

For the library shows I make up my own stories or use old traditional stories. I don't like using existing books because I don't have specific permission from the author. If I were a librarian doing something in my own library, I wouldn't think twice, but since I'm actually making money, I would feel I should get permission before using a story in a book. Luckily, there are so many stories out there!

I use mostly premade stuff during the shows because it slows the pacing to try to twist anything more than just really quick twists. That said, I always try to some kind of twistin and balloon nonsense in there because people love to watch it - a little. After about a minute or two, they're done with it and want to see more active stuff.

Tips? Join a storytelling group. Join a theater group too. Search YouTube for storyteller performances. Then get out there and do it.

John Abrams, www.RebelEntertainer.com, has a great little course about how to write a show, and another on how to market a show. He's a friend and mentor of mine and I highly recommend the show building course for any variety entertainer who wants to learn to build a show. I use it as a refresher when I'm thinking up a new show.

Tonya, are you going to be going to Twist and Shout this year? I'd love to see you.

BTW that holds true for everyone - come on over. Chicago is a short flight from the UK!

_________________
Annie Banannie, Balloon Storyteller (aka Laura Caldwell)
Because Every Balloon Has a Story . . .
www.BalloonStoryteller.com
www.Twitter.com/BalloonStory


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 Post subject: Re: Laura Caldwell, Annie Banannie 18/24th Jan
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:27 am 
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Location: Surrey, England
Hi Annie, I would like to ask

If you could make anyone (ever) a balloon model who would it be and why?
What would you make them?

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Professor Twist
it's all in the wrist
http://www.professortwist.co.uk


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 Post subject: Re: Laura Caldwell, Annie Banannie 18/24th Jan
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:43 am
Posts: 1528
Thanks so much for the info Laura, I appreciate it lots. And yes, I get to teach this year at Twist & Shout so I will definitely be there. I'll see you soon! :)

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Have a happy day :-)

Tonya


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