Author Topic: Billy Wiz 14/20th April  (Read 4119 times)

Graham Lee

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Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« on: April 14, 2008, 11:32:16 AM »
If you have any questions for Billy Wiz (Graeme) then fire away.
Graeme has volunteered to be the first one in the firing line so that we can find out more about him & what makes him tick.
Hope to have a basic questionaire up for our next vict.. I mean volunteer.

So the first question is, How do you keep your emotions in place when entertaining in Belarus.
http://www.makeasmile.co.uk/
When I watched the link it brought tears to my eyes.

Graham Lee
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »
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Fuzzy

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2008, 12:53:17 PM »
Hi Graeme

How many children do you get to meet on each visit and what are their personalities like?

Fuzz
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Dave

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2008, 03:49:07 PM »
When did you start entertaining the children from Belarus?
And who did you start as an entertainer?
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Billy Wiz

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2008, 05:17:17 PM »
Quote from: "Graham Lee"
So the first question is, How do you keep your emotions in place when entertaining in Belarus.
http://www.makeasmile.co.uk/
When I watched the link it brought tears to my eyes.

Graham Lee

Many thanks for the invitation Graham, should be fun. :)

Keeping my emotions in place is harder than you could ever imagine. The first time I went was 2 years ago for the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. I went with my trustee balloon bag with the intentions of making as many children smile as possible.

The trip was organised through Chernobyl Children's Lifeline charity. On my first day there we visited a children's cancer hospital. 5 floors dedicated to children only, all with cancer related illnesses. It was a shock to the system. I never expected to see so many sick children, I mean sick as in REAL sick, not just a cut leg or sprained wrist etc. I have no idea how I managed to stop the hurt in myself while making balloons. If you ever get the chance to do something like this you'll understand. I seemed to visit all the rooms and wards with a permanent smile, my mind blocking out all the ‘hurt’ in front of me, leaving the rooms with kids wearing balloon hats and laughing with and at each other.

When I got back to my hotel room it was a different story. The reality of what I'd seen hit me like a ton of bricks. I phoned my wife back in the UK and couldn't talk, I just broke down in tears. Even now, after visiting this hospital 4 times during my past three visits to Belarus it still hits me hard.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »

Billy Wiz

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2008, 05:30:10 PM »
Quote from: "Fuzzy"
Hi Graeme

How many children do you get to meet on each visit and what are their personalities like?

Fuzz

Hi Fuzz,

It depends on where I go. In an orphanage there is probably anything up to about 60 kids. I've been to about eight different orphanages so far. I have 22 booked in for my next tour (28 days, leaving on 29th April)

The schools are like our schools here regards the number of children, although on a much poorer scale.

I also visited a rehabilitation camp where children get to go after they've spent a long time in hospital to recuperate. The camps hold 300 kids at a time. The last one had a theatre which I got the chance to perform a balloon show. That was a great atmosphere, the kids loved it. I brought about 15 kids onto the stage, all sat in an beside me and made each of them all sorts of hats, fairy suits, space suits, spiders, bikes . . .  all sorts. Most of it was pre-made.

One thing you do notice, is the kids are like kids were here 20 years ago. No pushing, no heckling, no shouting 'me next', all just waiting patiently for a balloon.

I'll give you an example of how good the kids are . . . . . . I turned up for a show at an orphanage one day. I didn't know that the orphanage was one of the roughest in Minsk (The capital). It was a boys orphanage with all the boys ranging from 10 to 17 years old. They are trained to go to military camp when they are old enough. I wouldn't dream of performing a magic and balloon show for boys that age here. But they were fantastic, they all joined in and again, waited patiently at the end of the show for their balloon each.

Sorry if I'm blabbing on too much guys, I just have a real passion for making these kids smile with balloons and could go on all day. :) :)
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »

Billy Wiz

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2008, 05:48:24 PM »
Quote from: "Dave"
When did you start entertaining the children from Belarus?

Hi Dave,

I started entertaining children FROM Belarus about 5 years ago. The charity Chernobyl Children's LifeLine bring kids to the UK every year to live with host families. Being here in the UK for one month, breathing fresh air and eating fresh food can extend their lives for up to two years.

Every year, the Plymouth link of the charity hold a leaving party for the kids, I have always done some walk about balloon modelling. Most of these kids have never seen these balloons before.

Two years ago, my wife and I decided we would host a child the following year. I then found out about a visit the charity was making to Belarus and was asked to join them. That was it, I became hooked. Making those kids smile with our talent with balloons is priceless. The first 3 times I went, I paid for myself. After the last visit last April a fellow magician/friend and I set up the 'Billy Wiz Make A Smile Appeal'. The plan was to try and raise £5000 in a year to pay for all expenses to go back to Belarus for a month. We did it, with the help of many sponsors including the Royal Bank Of Scotland, the CSA, Cornwall Fire-fighters, and many companies and friends in the south west.

Quote from: "Dave"
And who did you start as an entertainer?

I started magic as many of us do as a child with simple tricks.  At 21 years old I was driving buses for a living in Edinburgh. They asked me to perform a magic show for their kids Christmas party. £50 for three 1 hour shows!!! That’s how I started. A month or so after that I went through to Glasgow to Tam Shepherds magic shop and brought some bits and pieces as well as a bag of balloons. I didn't buy a pump and on the way home on the bus I tried blowing them up and thought 'what a waste of money'. I couldn't do it!!!!! Then I started to blow it a little and managed to make a weird looking dog. Next again day my jaws were in agony, I'm sure you've all been there. Now 21 years later I'm performing shows for a full time living and LOVE IT. :)
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »

Graham Lee

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2008, 09:02:30 PM »
Quote
Sorry if I'm blabbing on too much guys, I just have a real passion for making these kids smile with balloons and could go on all day.  
Quote

Graeme you carry on, I'm thoroughly enjoying your replies.
Even though I say so myself, what a great first choice for the, Interview a "Balloon Chat" member .
I think I need help sorting out the quote box :?:

Graham Lee
« Last Edit: April 19, 2008, 11:26:22 AM by Graham Lee »
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Graham Lee

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2008, 04:08:17 PM »
Graeme

What's your favorite age to entertain?
Do you do the same act but vary the presentation for all ages or do you have set acts for different ages.

Graham Lee
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Billy Wiz

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2008, 05:59:27 PM »
Quote from: "Graham Lee"
Graeme

What's your favorite age to entertain?
Do you do the same act but vary the presentation for all ages or do you have set acts for different ages.

Graham Lee

For me the perfect age is 4 to 8 year olds. Although I stopped taking 4 year old bookings some time ago. I find it frustrating when so many parents stay at a four year olds party and chit chat at the back. I also find many children just cling to their parents at that age. But if I do a party for that age with no parents it's brilliant. If my diary ever slowed down I would reconsider taking bookings for this age group again. Luckly at the moment I have enough work coming in to be a little choosy. In saying that . . . many children's entertainers manage no problem, I think it depends on your show, maybe mine is aimed more towards the kids than anything to amuse the adults???

I never change my show Graham. When I go out on a weekend for example, I'll perform the same show for all age groups. I just change the way I present it. I have a louder voice for the older ones and a nice soft / whispery voice for the very young ones which ends up louder towards the end of the show once they are familiar with me.
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Krazy Kev

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2008, 07:40:31 PM »
Hi Graeme,
Whats your fave thing to make at the moment? What do you tend to do more of if stuck in the 'balloon production line' mode?
Krazy Kev
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Billy Wiz

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2008, 08:38:33 PM »
Quote from: "Krazy Kev"
Hi Graeme,
Whats your fave thing to make at the moment? What do you tend to do more of if stuck in the 'balloon production line' mode?
Krazy Kev

Hi Kev, I love Don Caldwells Goofy balloon, I've been making that a lot lately for the birthday child. It certainly gets the wow factor and with practice can be made in about 15 mins.

If in a 'balloon production line' I normally make various hats, lots of them. If the booker see's kids wearing your balloons everywhere they know they're getting value for money. If the line isn't too big, I spend longer making slightly bigger models, in a more entertaining mode. Then it's things like fairy wings, motor bikes, spiders, bigger hats or my space suit which I've been making for about 15 years now, the space suit gets bigger and better all the time. Haven't got a recent pic, but when I do I'll post it on here.
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Krazy Kev

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2008, 07:49:41 PM »
Look forward to the pic!
Which volume of dvd's is the goofy on = it looks fab.
Kev
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Billy Wiz

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2008, 07:57:46 PM »
Hi Kev,

It's Mad Hatz & Wild Wearables - Volume 1

There's a few crackers on there:

Ladybug bracelet
Monkey hat
Out of this world hat
Three eyed drooling mutant
Space ranger costume
Princess costume
Tink costume
Itty bitty fishy hat
Octopus hat
Something Goofy

I always say that if you get just one thing from a DVD it's worth every penny, I got a few ideas from this, highly recomended.
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »

Billy Wiz

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2008, 08:02:52 PM »
I don't know if you guys are the same as me, but quite often when I buy a DVD, I watch it, think 'mmm I like that' then put it on the shelf and never watch it again. Are you the same?

I found a program on the net the other day which can copy just a small section from a DVD, shrink it in size so it doesn't take up too much memory and then save it in a folder on your PC. I have now started to look through all my DVD's collecting little snippets of what I like and saving them all. Now if I want to make something different, I can just look in my favourite clips in one place, rather than searching through a DVD from start to finish trying to find it.

If any one is interested I'll find the site I downloaded it from. It wasn't expensive, but makes life a little easier.
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bickers

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Re: Billy Wiz 14/20th April
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2008, 03:28:26 PM »
Do you use weaving much and helpful do you find it? Do you feel the effort and amount of balloons you put in are worth the end result?
« Last Edit: January 01, 1970, 01:00:00 AM by Guest »