Creating something new: Are you brave enough?
This article is for clowns who have been clowning for more than 5 years.
Wait — okay, let me back this train up.
This article is for anyone who has been clowning long enough that they have had financial and personal success with a clown character and are feeling the need for a change.
It is one thing to write new material after you have had success with a number of routines. It is much more comfortable to stick with the tried and true stuff than to trot out something totally new and risk failure! You have an image to protect, your clown brand to maintain, and a fragile performer’s ego to shelter!
(at least most of us will admit to that)
But what happens when you need to make a big change?
Why should we change?
Society keeps hounding us, telling us that kids are afraid of clowns. We hear our clients say things like:
“Can you come and do your clown show, but without make-up?”
“We really just want a balloon twister, not a clown.”
So we start to think we need to change in order to stay relevant.
What if your character has grown and developed out of your current look?
What if you are in need of a change to re-energize your clowning?
How do you do it?
I will tell you it takes some thought.
I can only speak from experience. So here is my journey:
Years ago I tried an auguste clown face just to be in step with my students.
You see, I was telling them not to be afraid to try something new. But I myself had been wearing the same whiteface for many years. I felt I needed to practice what I preach.
I surprised everyone and came out with a new clown character, Kookla. It was my clown version of the cute little puppet from the show Kukla, Fran, and Ollie.
The reaction I got was really mixed.
The people who were new to clowning and who really didn’t know me loved the new character.
The people who knew me were horrified!
“WHAT!?! Where is Pricilla Mooseburger???”
“You aren’t going to stop being Pricilla Mooseburger, are you?!”
I was really puzzled by the mixed reactions.
But I did understand one thing from that experience:
People don’t like change.
It is human nature to avoid change and growth. We are creatures of habit; we don’t want monumental shifts in our lives.
CLICK HERE to read the 10 choices you’ll regret — #5 is especially poignant.
I never really did anything with that auguste character. But years later, as I got older, I faced some health issues. I got heat stroke a couple of times while in clown. It made me realize I needed to come up with something cooler for parades.
So I put together another new auguste look. One of my customers had returned a cute little plaid clown suit and we made her something different. I loved that plaid! It was fun, functional, and it worked for hot weather.
Then disaster struck: the costume got stolen at a hotel. Bummer! I couldn’t replicate the costume I had; it was a very special plaid fabric.
Now what do I do?
It really made me think. Could I put the same thought and effort that I had put into my original whiteface clown and come up with something I would love just as much???
That’s a tough question to answer honestly.
I had seen a number of my colleges give up their whitefaces, loose their wigs, and adopt more character Auguste make-ups. I was so impressed with their bravery.
Could I be that brave?
Putting it all out there
For those of you who don’t know my backstory, I have been the same white face since 1982 and I took on the clown name Pricilla Mooseburger in 1987. That is a long time to work on a character and a brand.
As an individual I have been through a lot. I am not the same person I was in my twenties and thirties when I developed Pricilla Mooseburger into a brand.
Do I dare make a change?
The reality for me is that in the Pricilla Mooseburger character I have nothing left to prove.
She has taken me around three circus rings on the back of an elephant. Danced around Disneyland performing in stage shows and countless photo ops. Her cartoon image has been the center of my brand for my costume shop and she is the goodwill ambassador for my clown camp. Pretty big shoes to fill.
Yet…She doesn’t satisfy my every performance need anymore.
Am I older and wiser? That certainly is up for debate!
But I knew once my cute little plaid suit was stolen I needed to make the change.
Follow my journey!
If you find yourself in a similar position, I hope you will read my next blog to see my new clown character: Miss Moose.
I am also working on a new gag (that’s circus clown lingo for skit or bit), and you can see the end result here. You’ll get a “cluck” out of it!
More adventures in aging! Miss Moose helps you work with what you’ve got.
Are you thinking about a big change?
Tell me your struggles, and what has led you to that decision. I would love to hear how your progress is going!
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Be inspired! Read my blog posts about character development and costuming:
- Clown: Plain Clothes Division
- Enjoy the moment
- Afraid to make a change?
- What is a real clown?
- Don’t dilute your make-up!
- Creating non-clown characters
- 4 Reasons NOT to wear your costume
- Create a Christmas Elf character
- Use your skills all year-round
- 10 Choices you’ll regret
Mooseburger Clown Arts Education has been running one of the world’s most well-rounded clown schools since 1996. Performers from all over the globe travel to Minnesota each summer for a fun and intensive clown training program. Each aspect of our clown camp is designed to meet your needs and boost your confidence as an entertainer.
Whether you want to join the circus, visit nursing homes, run your own birthday party business, paint faces, or twist balloons, there is something just for you at Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp.
Or call me toll-free to discuss your education and see if Mooseburger is the right fit for you: 800-973-6277