Building a Show Pt 4

Theming your Performance – Part 4

“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

Jimmy Leo

It was a wonderful ride home and the success of the presentation for the librarians danced around my head….hopes of the phone ringing non-stop floated through along with the occasional thought that this may, in fact, all be for nothing.  What if they only demonstrated interest at that particular moment, but as each day passed into the next..I became a fading thought from their mind.  Life does have a tendency to move on, and countless cliches exist for just such reasons.  The early bird CATCHES the WORM……Nothing ventured, nothing gained……a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush…you get the idea.  How many times have I made a promise to myself to do something, call someone, try something I’ve meant to do for years…just to have the bad habit of life bleeding each day into the next stop any kind of progress?  More often than I care to admit.  My mind kept circling this thought…and realizing that I did NOT want to fall into this category with this NEW experience.

I got to work right away on fliers that promoted the new shows.  I could have just thrown anything together, but I wanted to be sure i focused on the key elements they offered.  SO I was careful to push every benefit that my show offered.

Audience Participation – Your audience won’t just watch the show, they Become a part of the experience through verbal dialogue they provide form their seats!

Audience Interaction – Some of your lucky audience members get to come up on stage and BECOME the characters of the STORIES!

BALLOONS! – and A LOT of them!  balloon masks, costumes and props so unique, they’ll blow your MIND!

GIVEAWAYS! – Because your audience deserves something special, KEEP the balloon props for your library…or raffle them off to the audience!

Personalization – Stories that actually involve YOUR library in the STORY ITSELF!

KODAK MOMENTS! – A Post performance opportunity where the audience members can have their picture taken with the balloon guy or someone in balloon costume!

but most important of all, book this show because it promotes;

LITERACY! – Like you, Cloud 9 Balloons recognizes the importance of literacy and wants to help provide this important foundation in the life of every child

THEMING – Personally theming the stories you love, your favorites, catering to your reading program theme and crediting YOU to the audience for it all!

The bullets seemed to cover every aspect and i was careful to mention the balloon twisting workshops and the stage show with it’s grand finale.  I mentioned the package booking as well.  I ran off copies and went down to the county’s library system – A physical location that had access to each library within the county – over 60 to be precise. The nice feature was that they handled mail as well.  I saw this as an opportunity to reach 60 libraries all at once.  The tricky part was getting past the gatekeeper.

She was a very sweet woman and stood firm at the front desk of the reception area like a captain at his helm.  How do I get her to lower her guard?  How do I get her to be receptive to me?  How do I get her to not only allow me to place one flyer in the mailbags for each library, but to actually WANT to give me that kind of access.  Then it struck me; this theming idea.  Was it limited only to balloon performances?  Couldn’t see why it would be and truly the entire nature of it was to provide people with the things they truly desired.  The things they wanted.  Theming allows a person to tap into the interests of the clients.  With that I let my simple minded brain go to work on the things I remember seeing on her desk the last time I popped into the Library System.  There were flowers in the vase and they were right out on display for everyone to see; those working there as well as anyone from the outside walking into the door.  She was proud of the flowers.  A sly smile crept across the one side of my lips.  Flowers in a vase….like taking candy from a baby.  I put together a balloon woven vase and made a handful of balloon roses.  Placing them inside, I drove over to the location.

“HI.  I hope you don’t mind me taking up a few minutes of your time.  I wanted to drop this off” I said as i held up the balloon vase full of balloon flowers.

She was amazed at it.  “That’s AMAZING!  and it’s made all out of balloons?  You’re very talented!  Who is it being delivered to?”  She responded.

“No, I’m afraid you’re misunderstanding.  they’re for you.  I will humbly admit to wanting a small favor in return.  Is there even the SLIGHTEST chance I made be able to have each of these flyers placed into the mailbags for each of the libraries within the system?  …for the children’s librarian, of course!”

“That’s it?  I’d be HAPPY TO!”  She exclaimed.

I thanked her profusely and made my way out the door.

As I made my way out the door that day, I recognized two very important lessons I learned that day.

Follow up can make all the difference in the world…I made an annual pilgrimage to the library systems of ALL the counties close to me as a means of follow up.  It was one of the smartest business tactics i ever developed.

Theming was a far greater concept than I ever gave it credit for, applied well beyond the realms of working in a show, and completely appealed to a person’s psychological nature.  Theming was simply catering to the interests of the client for the purpose of engaging their interest in what you were offering.  Theming was going to get A LOT more attention from me in the near future, because if i could gain THIS kind of success with it in just ONE market………   :o)

Coming soon……Theming your Performance – Part 5

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

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!

Journey to the Center of the StageBuy Jimmy’s DVD Journal to the Center of the Stage Today!

about Jimmy Leo –

Based in the Tampa suburbs, Jimmy Leo has been twisting and entertaining with balloons for over 16 years. He has worked for such clients as The New York Islanders, Steinway Pianos, Jet Blue Airlines, appeared on local and national television, and performed for hundreds of schools, libraries, camps, charities, restaurants and nightclubs. Along with spending time seeking out new markets and creating new routines, Jimmy has penned a book on performance and marketing and filmed 3 instructional DVDs.. He has put together stage shows, and workshops for schools, camps, libraries, colleges, and corporate businesses. Along with these accomplishments.  He has designed and presented multiple lectures and presentations with the purpose of providing educational entertainment with various purposes; some being to promote reading and awareness of the environment, and others designed to promote awareness of reducing stress in the workplace. He is currently emerging as a keynote speaker on the art of creative marketing and team building. Still, his two greatest accomplishments are named Miranda and Emily.

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