Friday, June 08, 2018

 

EPIC Clowning


In the book, “The Gospel According to Starbucks,” author Leonard Sweet shares the steps to having an epic experience.  He talks about how the coffee giant, Starbucks, has become what it is today, and why.  He compares the Starbucks philosophy to churches that are offering effective ministry.  I found this book intriguing, insightful and applicable.

Author Sweet shares four key components to effectiveness in ministry approach.  These four areas appeal to the internal desires of our current culture.  These four areas are components that clowns should also focus upon.

The first letter in the word “EPIC” is “E.”  This represents “experiential.”  People do not just want to sit and listen to a lecture.  They want an experience!  What may you do in your clowning to create a fun, interactive experience for people? 

Years ago, Susan Carpenter stated, “Clowns should not just give away things.  Clowns give memories.  Clowns give an experience.”  And so we should! 

The letter “P” stands for “participatory.”  Clowns interact with their audience.  This experience should be something that your audience is able to take part in.  Are they able to help you make choices?  How about choosing the balloon animal?  …or waving the magic wand?  ...or picking the juggling prop?  …or shouting out the scripture verse?  Look for ways to involve your audience with your presentation.

The third letter in EPIC is “image rich.”  Think of Starbucks.  When you see the Starbucks logo, it makes one think of their coffee and their coffee shops.  They portray a certain image and use that to help bring their customers back.  Clowns have vibrant images too.  Maybe there is a certain image you may use in your clowning.  Mark Anthony was noted for the fly on his nose and the dog collar he wore.  Lou Jacobs was recognized by his cone shaped headpiece and giant red ball nose.  Lee Mullaly has a yellow bird which sits on his hat, no matter which costume he is wearing, no matter what kind of hat he has on.  Gene Lee was known for the red and white striped pattern implemented in his clothing and props.   Consider that Jesus himself used various images to help people understand spiritual truths.

Lastly, “C” stands for “connective.” Ministry clowns build connections; connections between people; connections with their audience; connections with God.  We connect historical clowning with modern audiences.  We connect positive humor with biblical message, comedy with scriptural concepts.  We connect fantasy with spiritual reality, cartoon-images with real-life solutions.  Through the use of laughter we help onlookers connect with us, and also connect with each other. 

Look at your clowning.  Are you able to help people have an EPIC experience?  Begin to think of your clown interactions as an “experience” for your audience.  Make your time with them something they may participate in, not just watch.  Use images that help illustrate truths.  Consider the image you portray to your audience.  Build connections.  Look for ways to give an EPIC experience!


Saturday, May 12, 2018

 

Conventions, Coaching and Content

Hey friends! 

Years ago I used to run the IMPACT Clown Conference (for 10 years). I also was the department director for clowns at the International Fellowship of Christian Magicians Convention for 5 years. Recently, as the President of the World Clown Association and also as the Convention Coordinator in 2018, I worked with three international conventions.

Conventions are great...but they can only help a person go so far.  At conventions, a person attends what I call "the buffet of classes."  You walk throughout the day and "take a little of this, and then take a little of that" and fill up your plate.  That's good, but it's really difficult to dig deep and sick your teeth into some great meat. 

This is one of the reasons that I started the Next Step Workshop.  We have opportunity to move beyond the basics and begin to really chew on some important concepts and techniques while we are together. This is also why the workshop is limited to fifteen or less clowns. We want to have a personal time with everyone and help them personally at the level they are at, with the questions they have, and coach them personally helping them develop their individual presentations.

We take time for questions. We ponder the art of clowning and we strive to go deeper in our ministry too. We help each other. We encourage participants to share routines so that others can experience them and your leaders can give coaching tips and individual advice to increase the effectiveness of the presentation. Each staff member has walked this path for years and have great experience and insights to help you where you are at, and help you get to where you want to go.

We eat lunch together every day.  We "break bread" and share the communion of relationship. We pray together. We laugh. We cry. We share the art of clowning and also the heart of Christ.

I invite you to join us at the Next Step Workshop on November 7-11, 2018.  Register soon so your spot is reserved.  Any questions?  Call me at 507.720.6306 or write to me at procomedy@earthlink.net

Monday, April 09, 2018

 

Next Step Workshop Tentative Schedule For November 7-11, 2018

This is the tentative schedule for the 2018 Workshop.  The starting times and the ending times are accurate.  Class topics may be adjusted.  This is to give our attendees a picture of what our days together will look like.


Wednesday:

2:30 Arrive at Hillside Church in Mankato
3:00 Opening Session
          -Meet other clowns
          -Creativity & Improv
          -The Next Step Process & How To Get the Most Out of It
4:15 “Using Misunderstandings As A Writing Method”
5:30  Supper provided on site
6:30 Children’s Service presented by Randy, Colleen and Jeff
7:45  Balloon twistin’ for the kids that are there! (by Next Step attendees)
8:00-8:30 Afterglow with snacks

Thursday:

8:30 Prayer in sanctuary
9:00 Spiritual Warm-Ups with Colleen
9:30 Physical Warm-Ups with Jeff
10:00 Heart & Humor with Randy
11:00 Character & Emotion 
with Jeff
12:00 LUNCH on site

1:15-3:00 Writing Clown Ministry Material with Randy
3:00  Show Development Principles with Jeff
4:00 Mime-based Communication with Randy

5:00 Supper off site

7:00-9:00?   Student Demonstrations (with coaching)
PLUS discussion of Sunday service development

Friday:

8:30 Prayer
9:00 Spiritual Warm-Ups with Randy
9:30 Physical Warm-Ups with Jeff
10:00 Movement for the Movement Challenged with Colleen
11:00  Art of Clown / Comedy  with Randy
12:00 LUNCH on site

1:30 Creative Concepts For Clowns with Colleen
2:15 Teaching Scripture Memory with Randy
3:00 break
3:15 TBD with Jeff
4:00  Program Development for Sunday with Randy
4:30 The Power of Unified Movement

5:45 Supper at Randy's house
7:15 Student Demonstrations & Randy's favorite videos


Saturday:

8:30 Prayer
9:00 Spiritual Warm-Ups with Jeff
9:30 Physical Warm-Ups
10:00 Commanding the Stage with Jeff                     
11:00 Clowning With Music with Colleen
12:00 Lunch

1:00 Student Demonstration
2:30  Physical Comedy with Jeff
3:30  Blocking & focus for Sunday’s services

5:00 Supper off site

6:30-8:30 Run-through of program for Sunday

Sunday:

8:00 Participants at church in “full-clown”
8:15  Clown meeting and prayer
8:30 Official service time start 
9:30 Service ends

meet & greet

9:45 Official service time start 
10:45 Service ends

meet & greet

11:15 Official service time start  (Clowns begin about 11:20)
12:30 Optional lunch on site  (Review & Rejoice!)

1:30 On the way down the road

Friday, January 19, 2018

 

Next Step Coach - Colleen Fouts

As a children’s minister, "Ima P. Ugly" was the comedy character that Colleen created and performed in her children's ministry programs. Colleen states she became a "real" clown in 1999 when she  graduated as "Feliz" from “Come Join Us Clowns.”  

Around 2001 the Silly Saints Clown Ministry was founded at Faith Trinity Pentecostal Church where she is called, "Clown Momma".  The Silly Saints Clown Ministry has ministered in  Mexico as well as the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky on a number of occassions.  The  Kentucky Mission is called "Feed the Lambs.” Colleen and her team aim to feed others spiritually with Gospel programs and also materialistically. They minister in their local area at churches, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 

Colleen is well known for her compassion, heart, humility and her performances and classes at Kentucky Clown Derby, Show Me Clowns for Jesus, TNT Clown University and Roadshow, Creative Ministry Solutions and the Northeast Christian Clown Workshop. She has served in leadership capacities with TNT Clown University and Road show and with Show Me Clowns for Jesus. This year she is a featured presenter at the Joey to the World conference and also the All-Star Clown Week.

Colleen’s goal is to help produce good quality clowning that reaches the world for Christ, that lifts up the burdened hearts, that brings a smile to all ages and simply makes memories for God's glory that will last a life time. You'll be blessed by spending time with this wonderful, experienced, effective clown at the Next Step Workshop.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

 

Registration Form for Next Step 2018


Name__________________________________________________________ Age__________           Guy or Gal?

Mailing Address:______________________________________________________________________________

Telephone:__________________________________

Email:_______________________________________________________

Previous Training?____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Foods you won’t eat ________________________________________________________________________

Medical issues we should be aware of:_________________________________________________________

Favorite comic actor/comedian?______________________________________________________________

Where do you clown?_______________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________

What specific topics are you hoping to learn?__________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Interested in sharing hotel room expense?       Yes    /     No     

Need transportation from the airport?      Yes    /     No               ($10 travel fee accepted at pick-up)

Other stuff you want us to know:______________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

$_______________       (Registration is $375.  Alumni rate: $325.  To secure your spot, please send $75)

Please email to pastorclown@gmail.com  or paper mail to:         
Randy Christensen, 2117 Peregrine Lane, North Mankato, MN 56003     
(Checks written to Randy Christensen,  not Next Step.)



Thursday, January 04, 2018

 

Next Step 2018 Co-Instructor: Jeff McMullen

Hey Hey!

Some of you that are new to the clown world may not be aware of Jeff. He has performed most of his recent career in the Appleton, Wisconsin area. He also has quickly risen to become one of the most noted "Santa Claus" performers in the USA.

Jeff is also a college speech instructor, motivational speaker, and certified karate coach. Jeff is a distinguised graduate of the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus Clown College and, in his earlier days, toured nationally with the RBBB circus. Jeff also has represented McDonald's restaurants as part of its personality-based marketing programs. 

In 1989, he was asked to serve as an instructor/curriculum developer for the Clown College's history-making founding session in Japan (the Gold Unit). He has been a personal mentor to many noted clowns performing today including Rone' & Gigi, Karen DeSanto, the Phoenix Suns Gorilla mascot, and the comedy duo, Miller & Mike.

In 1991, he became the star performer and Director of Western Entertainment at Reoma World (Theme Park), in Southern Japan. Jeff brings great insights on the business of clowning, along with comedy insights, routining and age-appropriate physicality. He has been a regular instructor at the Clown Camp in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and also recently taught at the American Clown Academy.  You can read a bunch more about Jeff at:  http://www.jeffmcmullen.com

I'm thrilled that you (and I!) will be able to learn from Jeff during our days together!

 

Next Step 2018. It's Happening!

It's happening!   It will have been 3 years since the last "Next Step Workshop."  Are you ready for the next step in your clowning?  ...in your ministry?  Join us on November 7-11 in Mankato, Minnesota.

I'm excited to announce that the main presenters/coaches, along with myself, will be Jeff McMullen and Colleen Fouts!  (More information on them coming in future posts.)

Mark the calendar now and plan to join us next Fall!

Saturday, October 07, 2017

 

Next Step 2018 Announcement

Hey Friends!

I'm working on the November 2018 line-up and location for another "Next Step" Workshop!  We will either be in Chicago area or here in my hometown of Mankato, MN.  The dates will be November 7-11, 2018.

Mark your calendar now and plan to be with a dozen other passionate, experienced, clowns who want to make the Next Step in their performance presentations and their personal ministry.  More information will be coming before the end of the year.

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