Building a Show Pt 2

Theming a Show – Part 2 (Word of the Showcase)

Jimmy Leo

“To entertain for the purpose of temporarily taking someone from their cares and worries in the world is noble…but to recognize an entertainer’s ability to REACH an audience and UTILIZE that gift for an educational purpose…holds FAR greater value” Jimmy Leo

Libraries are an interesting market. I was intrigued at the fact that they themed their own summer reading clubs. In some cases, they had a kick-off party and a final celebration as well. What truly fascinated me was the way they altered their summer reading club from one year to the next. I saw it as a tremendous challenge. Others may have wanted to be satisfied just providing the services they personally desired to provide – and hope they got booked. Still others beyond that had discovered the concept of theming their shows to what appealed to the client…as I myself had now started doing…But the idea of an annual theme within the summer reading club? That would mean taking on the undaunting task of finding out each year in advance what the theme was and redesigning the reading performance to match that theme. I didn’t see a single entertainer out there doing such a thing. The level of work involved alone for the recreation of the performance from one year to the next…I saw it as a challenge

At this point, I had worked a few libraries already doing straight balloon twisting. It was ok,, but I wasn’t enjoying it…and I found myself having a need to enjoy myself during my performances. The balloon shows served as this new direction and the idea of theming these shows in an educational direction…..lit a fire under me. I was finding a personal drive to take action towards new goals in the field of entertainment. The idea of constantly changing the themes of the show to ALSo rotate around the themes the libraries were providing was the exact catalyst I needed to answer my question. Libraries provide their own themes to summer reading as well as annual reading programs and look to have programs that filter towards that. To have it focusing on literacy as well caters to their desires twice as much and offering a performance that is Unique made it desirable.

I received word about a library showcase for one county. I was quick to gain more information and become a part of it as quickly as I possibly could. I wanted to be sure to receive the bookings from the libraries, but the goal I had long term was for them to not just want my show once. I wanted them to book it on a frequent basis. Changing each year as their library theme changed insured constant bookings on an annual basis, but I wanted to push the envelope further; I wanted to secure as MANY bookings PER library EACH YEAR. For that to happen, I needed to add a few more elements to the mix. Besides theming the show, I needed to provide different kinds of shows. Having already created a format for designing balloon performances, (the A.R.T. Principle), I could create multiple shows using different stories, some classics, as well as some unknowns. The beauty of this set up as well as my ability to speak directly to the children’s librarians themselves and find out some of THEIR favorite stories that they read to the kids. I would then transform it into my own version of the balloon story.

New stories were used and different packages created; One for a “cozy” sized group at a reasonable price as well as a stage show developed for audiences of any size with a larger price tag. I also incorporated balloon twisting workshops. They were themed towards building self-esteem. Packages in place and showcase date set, I felt as if I was ready…almost. The idea of securing more bookings resulted in more money. But how does one get a person to part with more money? Again, I fell back on what seemed like a common-sense answer; white tag sale

She never needed it, she has 30 of them already at home, and before entering the store, she didn’t even want it. So why did she buy it? Because…and say it with me…it was….ON SALE! I’ve also learned about the wording of it. Save $2.00 doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as saving 40%! So I understood. I wanted them to purchase multiple bookings within each year PER LIBRARY, Libraries work within budgets so the idea of saving money is appealing to them. In the end, I worked up a package for all three that pushed the stage show as well, with higher savings for that than the others. Seeing as how the cost for it was greater, it didn’t appear to be a loss. Final package offer? A savings of $25.oo per small performance or workshops and a $50.00 savings on stage shows – booking one of each resulted in a savings of $100.00. Sounded good, but phrasing..could it be better? Book one of each performance and you can save…in THREE FIGURES!!! I LOVED IT! Three figures ranged anywhere between 100 and 999. It sounded much more appealing…and psychologically sounded like they were saving even more…creating a greater interest on their end. I liked it, put it in place, and got ready for the day of the showcase…

For more on entertainment concepts, balloon show creation, and stage show presentation, “Journey to the Center of the Stage” Featuring the Performance of Jimmy Leo is available.

All inquiries, questions, and comments are always welcome. As always, it’s a pleasure to share my knowledge with others – Thank you for the opportunity!

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Jimmy Leo – Cloud 9 Balloons

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