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Old 05-10-01, 08:33 AM   #1
Irina
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Post Clowns: performers or vendors?

I read the dicussion on being paid for the festival appearances, and I honestly envy you, guys...For me the question is: will the festival let me in for free - or charge me for a space as a vendor.And I know that a lot of face-painters and balloon-twisters deal with this dilemma. We try to persuade the organisers not to charge us for the space, I even agree not to occupy any spot and do walkaround, but they still want me to pay to be in, in the best case they want percentage of my income...Does anybody have a good idea how to approach management, so they don't try to sell you a space?
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Old 07-04-01, 06:18 PM   #2
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Danger....Danger....

a sore spot for me. Do you do an act? or do you sell the balloons? do you EVER turn some one away because thay cant tip you?? Have you ever gotten a tip from some one who did not get a balloon? there is nothing in this biz that pisses me off more than some one dressing in a clown outfit to try to rip off festivals buy calling them selves entertaners. If you are selling balloons, and admit to selling balloons, spair us the bad clown bit, It is insulting to REAL clowns. and makes it that mutch harder for thouse of us who are trying to book thies places as REAL entertaners.
Yes I twist balloons, yes I get payed for it.
Yes I work for tips, and I can make as mutch as some one selling them.

As for face painting just get a venders spot, pay for it and adjust your pricesas best you can. I intend to do this next summer...but that is next summer.

oh and as best as I can tell, I would rather pay a flat fee than a % of income.
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Old 07-04-01, 06:38 PM   #3
Triona
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If you are selling the balloons then you are a vendor the same as every other vendor at the event. What makes you think you should get special preference over the other vendors? (Yep, sore spot with me too).

I have found that if you work strictly for tips, most organizers are happy to let you in for free. I've even had a few gigs where they paid me to be there. Face it, the balloons cost about $.07 a piece. If one out of every ten parents gives you a buck, you've broken even with a little extra. I have found that in most cases, if the parent has something to give they will, even if it is only change. No matter what, you've made a child happy and that to me is the bottom line. If you do good things, good things come back. I have never walked away from an event empty-handed, and always feeling good about the day.

I know there are some of you out there who are going to rail at the thought of not making gobs of money, but doing it any other way makes you a vendor and in some cases can even get you arrested (Central Park, NYC).

As far as face painting goes, you can either try and get the organizers to hire you and you paint for free, or you just have to accept that your a vendor and pay the fees. You don't have the flexibility that you have with balloons, which is why I don't do it much.
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Old 07-06-01, 05:51 AM   #4
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hi,nothin personal triona,but i think the key to this discussion is,your profile says your a customer service rep.it may be misleading,but it sounds an awfull lot like "DAY JOB".
while A balloon costs 7 cents,8-18 balloons,15 years,and a limited time to make my weeks nut(off season),plus travel,muse and the right to live well after alot of training,hard work,research,writing,designing and general creative flair allow me to expect more than a buck...i do lots of pro bono (free for U2 fans)
but mostly its ignorance or cheapness.they want something i have,i have the right to set a fair price.

not everyone makes poodles
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Old 07-06-01, 04:14 PM   #5
Triona
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Hi Mike,

Well the profile should now read unemployed and living on the tips from balloons. I did have (and hope to have soon) a "day job". However, my roommate (and partner) Pokie-Poke who posted about the same thing is a professional busker and has spent better than 15 years juggling and entertaining in the streets.

My point was not that she shouldn't charge, that's up to the individual to decide, but if she is charging for her work, she is a vendor and should have to pay vendor fees like anyone else.

When I am paid to appear at an event, everything I do is free, be it balloons, face-painting, etc. If an event doesn't want to pay me I will either twist for tips or charge, if they don't ask for the vendor's fee. 99% of the time they'll go for the twisting for tips, but will want a fee if I am charging the public.

P.S. I know not everyone makes poodles, personally I hate making doggies, snails rule!

[This message has been edited by Triona (edited 07-06-2001).]
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Old 07-09-01, 07:33 AM   #6
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generally,i pitch it that the balloons are by donation,but i ask a $x minimum on the big ones...its an interesting grey area.

not asking permission...
only forgiveness.
mike
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Old 07-10-01, 09:27 AM   #7
The Twisted Ones
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It really depends on your style. If you dress up like a clown and make little dogs and swords for all the little kiddies, you are basically being a vendor and should pay a fee if the festival wants you to.
However, there are some of us who create what we truly believe to be pieces of art. I don't generally busk much these days, but when I do it's for tips. Give all the lines you like to encourage larger tips, but if you insist on a price, you are more or less a vendor.
I have on occasion gone the other way and charged prices for my pieces and feel justified in doing so. The sculptures I make are usually costumes and can take 5-20 minutes to make. I am entertaining the crowd while I make them and do get tips from the audience who are watching. I liken it to the musician who's music everyone on site can enjoy, but if you want to take it home with you, you must purchase an album. If the crowd gets antsy, once an hour or so, I will take 5-10 minutes to pump out 100 dogs. That way, all the kids have something, and I can get back to entertaining the crowd.
I do feel that the local clown with 10 single balloon designs is not ready for public performance, but neither is the 3 ball juggler with 10 jokes he heard in other acts.
I also have a problem with kids seeing a clown take money, so I guess that's an extra strike against them. It's like paying Santa to sit on his knee on Christmas.

Kenton
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Old 07-10-01, 09:49 AM   #8
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Sorry, I got distracted on the thread of the topic. I should add a couple small points to my last post.
I myself am not a clown for one.
As for the original post on this site, in regards to paying or receiving payment for working a festival, I NEVER pay to be somewhere, with the exception of Harbourfront, Toronto, which makes all buskers( jugglers, magicians) pay $30 for their permit for the summer.
If I want to go to a busker festival I will submit my promo material around new years. If you want to be treated like the other entertainers, you must follow the rules they do.
If it is a local festival like an auto show or BIA event, its because I have a last minute opening in my schedule. If it's my first time there, I will call a week or two before hand and ask them for permission to come entertain their crowd. I will explain it's to fill my schedule opening and due to the last minute nature of the booking I'm willing to come in for just tips.
Always talk to the person in charge both at the beginning AND end of the event. Be sure to give them your promotional info at the END of the event.
If and when they call you the next year to see if you can come again, let them know it's now a booking and you would look to be compansated by way of an honourarium of $x. If you are worthy as an entertainer, you will get it no problem.
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Old 07-11-01, 01:17 PM   #9
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On a sid note, I don't like dooing balloons as a performer, probibly becaus of the gray area of tips v vending. (I like twisting for twisting sake)

however, (evil grin) if I see some one doing the clown vender thing, selling without permition calling them selves performers to get over. I'll sit in the corner out of the way and make big, and/or complacated stuff and send it his way in the hands of kids, so the next kid in his line dosent ask for a doggie but asks for daffy duck, pluss I wont charge for them.

As far as a balloon busk lines I will tell them that I work for tips if you feal like tiping thankyou but I must admit the bigger the tip the bigger the ...(normaly hats)
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Old 07-13-01, 07:54 AM   #10
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Thank you, guys, for suggestions. I do agree, that if we paint faces or twist serious balloon sculptures for fee - we do become vendors, even if we do some freebies or "little stuff" for tips, and have a crowd of onlookers. It would be silly to twist say Micky Mouse out of 10 balloons or paint the whole face without some minimum or range agreed upon upfront.And honestly, when I work at a busy festival - I would rather just charge for faces. On the other hand merchandize or food vendors are making way more money then we do, even if I have 50 kids in a line, I still can't paint more then 20-30 kids an hour...So, I don't think it's fair to charge me the same fee for the space as somebody selling goods.I usually do agree on a persentage (15-20%) of my income, or reduced rate for a space.
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