Archive for November, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Sometimes, you just need to get out and have some fun.

Sir Toony Van Dukes and his friends from Just Clowning Around of Northern Virginia

On Friday, November 25th, 2011, Mike Becvar went out as Sir Toony Van Dukes and joined several of his friends from Just Clowning Around of Northern Virginia (JCA) and participated in the Reston Holiday Parade at the Reston Town Center.

Several of my friends from JCA are also balloon twisters and face painters. They have helped me become a better clown, face painter, and balloon twister. Getting together for parades is a way for us to have fun and give back to the community by spreading smiles to large groups of people.

Quality, Speed, and Price

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Several years ago, someone gave a presentation on software development. He presented a triangle and said that at each point of the triangle represents one variable: quality, speed, and price. When a client decides they need custom software developed, they need to decide which of the three is most important because changing impacts the other two. If you want something fast, you will either need to pay more money or sacrifice quality. If you want quality, you will either need to pay more or wait longer. If you wanted something cheaper, you will either need to wait longer or sacrifice quality.

Large, multiple balloon flower

An example of a large, multiple balloon flower made from 3 orange, 260 balloons, one green 350 balloon and 1 lime green 260 balloon

How does this relate to face painting and balloons? I have been to many events where kids had to wait in line for an hour to get a balloon or to get their face painted. I was at an event yesterday where one mother said my work was much better than the guy they had at her company’s holiday party. I told her that I wasn’t concerned about speed (length of the line). I was making bigger and better (more expensive and higher quality) balloons. If I was hired for a party and needed to make enough balloons for all of the kids in a limited amount of time, I would make simpler balloons.

As a balloon twister, I can choose to make simple, single balloon creations, or larger, multiple balloon creations. My choice impacts the number of balloons I can create in an hour. If the client wants only the larger, multiple balloon creations, they either need to give me more time, hire additional balloon twisters, or invite fewer kids to the party.

Basic balloon flower

A simple, two balloon flower made with a pink 260 and green 260 balloon

Unfortunately, it is not quite as easy for face painters. Their only option for speed is usually to cut down on the level of detail or not adding glitter at the end. Some people think that offering cheek art is faster because it is smaller, but the truth is that it is more detailed work and as a result can take just as long… Yes, there are stencils and rainbow paints that help speed up the work for some of the cheek art designs, but in general it isn’t much faster.

When I talk to the mother planning a birthday party or the person in charge of a large festival, I try to get an idea of how many kids they expect and explain how long it takes to do something for each child. Sometimes, it costs me the job as they realize they can’t afford to pay additional people and other times they are able to hire my friends to help. Either way, I see it as a win because I am not put into a position where I need to deal with a very long line of customers. I can do events where I can do my best work and wow the customer and their guests.

Thanksgiving Jokes

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Since Thanksgiving is just one week away, it is time to pull out your favorite Thanksgiving and Turkey Jokes. Don’t have any, well here are a few of mine…

Q: Why do turkeys always go, “gobble, gobble”?
A: Because they never learned good table manners!

Q: Who is not hungry at Thanksgiving?
A: The turkey because he’s already stuffed!

Q: Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?
A: The outside!

Q: What are the feathers on a turkey’s wings called?
A: Turkey feathers.

Q: Can a turkey jump higher than the Empire State Building?
A: Yes – a building can’t jump at all.

Q: Why did they let the turkey join the band?
A: Because he had the drumsticks.

Q: Why didn’t the Pilgrim want to make the bread?
A: It’s a crummy job

Q: Why did the police arrest the turkey?
A: They suspected it of fowl play!

Balloon Twisting Competition

Monday, November 14th, 2011

When planning a balloon twisting competition, how long should the competitors have to create their entries? Last week, I went to the Mid-Atlantic Clown Association annual convention and participated in their balloon competition. They had two categories, single and multiple balloons. My problem was that I felt they gave too much time.

This was a clown convention, and most clowns make balloons at parties where they need to make balloons for all of the children at the party. At parties, I feel that balloons should not take more than about 5 minutes to make. Actually, I often need to make balloons in under 2 minutes. I can see taking a little longer for the birthday child, but the competition gave 30 minutes to create the entry for the multiple balloon category. I feel this turns it from a balloon for a child at a party into a centerpiece balloon. While that is a valid category of balloons, it is not my primary focus and probably not the primary focus of most clowns doing balloons at birthday parties.


Monday, November 7th, 2011

Sometimes when I visit a website, I immediately notice something, the dates. It seems to be easier to create a website than it is to maintain that website. As a result, there are a lot of websites on the Internet that have not been edited for many years.

If you have a website (something I think that all face painters, balloon twisters, clowns, magicians, etc. should have) then I highly suggest that you take the time ever 4-6 months to update your website. I had a friend who said that every year, at the very least, she updates the files to make sure the last modified date represents the current calendar year.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

I think the classics are always a good choice for Halloween. This year, I chose to be Frankenstein. I actually dressed up twice, once the day before Halloween and once on Halloween.


Mike Becvar as Frankenstein on Halloween 2011


Mike Becvar as Frankenstein the day before Halloween 2011