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Profile of jakeg
Alexa: I went to a balloon lecture, and most of the people there were phenomenal. I was totally in awe.
It seems as if some of them knew hundreds of figures. I think that a good repertoire is important, but how many figures does a good repertoire consist of? When doing a restaurant gig, how many different figures do you actually do? How about when you're twisting for a line? A party?
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Profile of alexa
Sorry Jake, I just saw this. The secret to all twisting more advanced than the basic dog is the pinch twist or the ear twist. (If you know how to make a basic 1-balloon teddy bear, it's the twist for bear's ears).

A lot of my different figures overlap. For instance, I usually end up making a ton of princess crowns, scepters, and spiderman. However, the body that I use for Spiderman is the exact same body I use for an alien, a fireman, a cop, a smiley face doll, etc. I change up the designs on the crowns and scepter, too.

As far as the different venues, I book a minimum of an hour for twisting. If you are making cool sculptures, you will be able to command that from a birthday mom.

As for line twisting, I only take shows where I can get a minimum of two minutes a kid. That's what is neccessary for interaction and entertainment to happen. In a restaurant, you have a turnover, true, but the management needs to see that you can make different things.

A lot of my balloons are requests made up on the spot. I have a lot of thoughts on this in my now completed lecture notes. I am not trying to make you buy something, but there are $10 and if you are between dogs and trying to make the leap to the next step, it might be something you want to consider.

I hope this helps!

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NY then AZ now
1840 Posts

Profile of Neznarf
The Mell Mellers DVD's have some GREAT balloon schtick I have never seen before which I have borrowed and are in my act.

The DVD's are well worth the money.
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to's about learning how to dance in the rain."
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Profile of MrGreggy
I have a no-line technique that I've used for many years now that works wonderfully! Here's the paragraph describing that chapter in my book "Kids Think It's Funny":

One Hundred Balloons an Hour, a technique developed over thirty years of making balloon animals. Using this technique, you can do about 100 balloons an hour and still keep everybody entertained... without them waiting in a line!

Imagine the balloon twisting as a non-stop street performance with the kids standing in a semi-circle in front of you. The second a child walks up, they are doing something. I have the box of balloons next to me, and I tell the child to pick their favorite color. Some venues I have them pick their two favorite colors. I then blow up the balloon(s) and hand it back to them, telling them to hold on, I'm not done yet. Once about 15-25 kids have balloons in their hands, I start twisting. During all this I'm doing silly gags, jokes, funny questions, a bit of hat juggling, etc. A non-stop show. During the busiest times the longest a kid has to wait is about 10 minutes tops.

It's a technique that works in almost all settings where there are lots of kids. For smaller groups, like company picnics, birthdays' etc, it's really not necessary.

The details of this and other balloon performance ideas are in my book "Kids Think It's Funny" book. The link is in my signature.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot! I'll be presenting a lecture at the Kapital Kidvention childrens entertainer convention in late January 2010.
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Profile of jackturk
I'm an extremely lame balloonist, all variations of basic dog, other than the flower and the parrot-in-swing.

So, rather than do the right thing and become expert, I opted out to make a joke out of this. I tell the crowd, "I can make 5000 different kinds of balloon animal, and they all look like dog. Check out the Cambrian Explosion, you'll see why..."

I also make up little bits with each of my lame critters. When making a rabbit, I say, "okay, let's see if you can guess what it is... it's got long ears, it goes hippity-hoppity, hippity-hoppity, it's cute, it's cuddly, in the Spring it brings low-carb chocolate eggs... that's right... you guessed it... It's a CROCODILE!!!!"

With the mouse, "let's see if you can guess who this is... he's a very famous mouse, he lives in Disneyland, he's got a girlfriend named Minnie, a dog named Pluto, a friend named Goofy...who dates a cow named Clarabell... totally different species, we won't get into that. That's right, it's DAFFY DUCK!"

And a dog with a Washington state flair... "it's a very popular dog, wins awards at the Westminster dog show, great with families and kids, yes, it's an AIRDALE... get it, Airdale...? ... well, I used to make Huskie dogs, but they always ran out of air after three quarters...."

That tends to draw a big really groan in the Seattle area... Apply to your own local losing sports team mascot.

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A Birthday Magician
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Profile of A Birthday Magician
I Like the Mel Melloes gag...with a single white balloon...make a swan shaped head and ask what it is...then say a swan...then suck a ball onto the nose bit and ask again...and say it is a swan with a boil on his nose...funny!
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Profile of danfreed
I have a lot of funny physical humor with the balloons as well as the verbal humor, and I take breaks to do quick magic tricks - some with balloons. Balloon twisting should be entertaining and funny as much as possible, otherwise you are not much of an entertainer, you are more of a balloon vending machine. Unfortunately I rarely see anyone being funny while balloonanimilalimiling, and people(clients and guests) accept it as the norm. If balloonists and kids entertainers don't have a flair for comedy they should do something else. If you have a line of people to get through you can't be funny or entertaining every second, but you should be funny and entertaining in general - you know what I mean.
Potty the Pirate
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Profile of Potty the Pirate
Wow! this is an old thread. Balloon twisting has come along in leaps and bounds since 2003. To answer the question - I do find line work tiring - so I tend to start out with loads of gags and banter, but after a couple of hours, I tend to speak less and less, and just concentrate on twisting! That's one reason I mostly avoid line work in general. My favourite time is twisting for a smaller number of kids, where I can make some really awesome balloons. I always make at least one big balloon at Birthday Parties for the Birthday kid.
Although most kids and their parents are quite happy with simple balloons, there's no doubt that if you twist some big and amazing creations, you get big and amazed reactions!
Potty Smile
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