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 Post subject: Re: David Brenion Interview
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:30 am 
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And now for Graham’s Questions!

How is your workload made up, do you do mainly birthday parties/restaurants/corporate.

I touched on this in question 12… but I was curious, so I checked into the exact figures! Luckily, my wife keeps a detailed spreadsheet, so for 2010, our jobs were:

61% Restaurants
26% Parties
9% Corporate
3% School/Library Shows

Of course, that’s with 3 restaurants a week, and for two months in 2010, we were working 5 restaurants a week (that was a bit hectic… I don’t think we’ll be doing that again)! Already 2011 is showing signs of a different split, for example we’re already booked over 3 times as many Library shows for this Summer. Who knows?


What has been the most successful way to market yourself.

I’ve mentioned word of mouth being what we rely on most heavily. That being said, however… our website (http://www.niftyballoons.com) is something we’re very proud of, and something that has been just invaluable. Parents nowadays, particularly affluent ones, are web-savvy and are used to having professional, clean and well-designed interfaces for all their business needs. We can’t afford to have an entire IT department, of course… but Shana and I knew this was going to be very important for us, so we put a lot of time and effort into designing and implementing our website. It’s not perfect, and we’re constantly looking for ways to improve it, but it’s something we’re very proud of overall.

Are you pleased with your change over from 3 ring to Nifty balloons or is there still more work to do till you reach the character/look that you are after.

Haha! Will I ever be satisfied? It’s become somewhat of an inside joke how frequently I’ve changed my name and image! David Brenion is what it says on my passport, so there’s a good chance that’ll stick! As I said, when I first got into balloons, it was one of many skills I was learning as an amateur birthday clown. When I managed to convince my wife to join me, we settled on the name “3 Ring Entertainers” because we wanted to convey that we did it ALL – balloons, facepainting, magic, juggling, stiltwalking… why, we were a veritable 3 Ring Circus! After relocating back to Shana’s native southern California, though… we realized that the concept of a “clown” was not as popular with clients out here. We would often be specifically requested NOT to come in clown make-up. Then we started shedding the services that weren’t really our strong suits until we ended up with only the skills that we truly loved and excelled at. As we doffed the rubber noses and rainbow stripes, we still wanted to look fun and colorful, but still respectable enough to be hired for a corporate gig… so we settled on our current look. We’ve always been a fan of the retro mid-century look, it’s not an uncommon image for performers. And we decided we wanted our name to evoke that image, and so we settled for the 1950’s slang term of “Nifty”!
So yes, we are pleased with our change over. There is always work to be done, and characters will always evolve… but I feel like we’re narrowing it down to a business image we will be happy with for the foreseeable future!

_________________
David Brenion
www.NiftyBalloons.com
www.facebook.com/niftyballoons


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 Post subject: Re: David Brenion Interview
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:02 pm 
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And for Professor T Wist's question:

Who would you most like to make, or have made, a model for and what would you make them?

And why?

I'd have to say Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. His books introduced reading as "fun" to me and countless other children... the sing-song rhyme and rhythm of his writing stays with us as adults, and the whimsical imagery and nonsense situations are pure childhood imagination fuel! He has passed away, but if I'd had the chance, I'd have loved to have spoken with him, and come up with some zany balloons in the style of his artwork.

Thank you for your kind words, Professor! I'm glad you're getting use out of the reindeer... that was always one of my favorite earlier pieces!

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David Brenion
www.NiftyBalloons.com
www.facebook.com/niftyballoons


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 Post subject: Re: David Brenion Interview
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:08 pm 
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Slowly chipping away at this question list... again, thank you for your patience!

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

My biggest piece to date was my first large competition entry at Twist & Shout 2010 in Chicago.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24237387@N08/4391281898/in/photostream/
It was my first time working on a large scale, and I can definitely see how I’d change it if I had it to do over… but all in all, I’m pretty happy with it! It was my first time scaling up one of my sculptures that used 6” hearts (the face of the ants) to larger scale with the 15” hearts.

Here's the small version with 6" hearts:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/photo.php?fbid=100197373330422&set=a.100197246663768.268.100000204783156&theater

And the larger (with my wife Shana and a trashed hotel room for size reference!)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24237387@N08/4390512803/in/photostream/


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

Teaching at the Twist & Shout Balloon Convention 2011 this last February was amazing. I had never officially taught before, just impromptu jam room instructions, so I had no idea how my material would be received! Thankfully, the balloon community has been incredibly supportive and wonderfully enthusiastic. It was truly amazing!

18, What advice would you give to someone starting out, or wanting to increase their business?

When I look at the pictures of my work just three years ago, my progress has been incredible, and I really owe it to two things. One: regular restaurant work. It doesn’t HAVE to be restaurants, but just having a venue where you can get frequent twisting practice in, where speed is of the essence and off-the-wall requests are a regular occurrence will make you a better twister in record time. Two: jam with other artists when you can. I have the good fortune to be in an area with a staggering number of top-class twisters… but some of my best moments of inspiration strike when I’m jamming with a complete beginner. Play with the balloons, see what shapes they make and see where that leads your imagination. Don’t forget that what we do is FUN!

19, What road in latex do you see yourself taking in the future

Whew! Too many directions to count! My wife and I are relatively new to the industry, and loving every moment of it. We want to try it all: twisting, stage performing, competing, teaching, travel! We’re at the stage where we’re sampling a little of everything that’s out there so we can decide where to focus our efforts in the future – and we’re loving it!

20, What is your personal goal when you set off to work? Is it money or to entertain etc?

My goal is to be what every guest at the event talks about the next day. The money is essential… everyone needs to eat! But helping make memories is our privilege as entertainers, and I take it very seriously!

_________________
David Brenion
www.NiftyBalloons.com
www.facebook.com/niftyballoons


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 Post subject: Re: David Brenion Interview
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:23 pm 
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Location: Edinburgh
Hi David

Just wanted to thank you for the great answers to these questions - you've obviously taken a lot of time and thought over them and I, for one, really appreciate it.

Unfortunately, I'm not going to make it to your lecture, but having met you at The Millenium Jam, I know the audience are in for a fantastic day.

Thanks again

--Neil

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"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." - Bill Cosby


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