This is part of a series of articles to combat coulrophobia (the fear of clowns), educate the uninformed public about the consequences of masquerading as “fake clowns”, and defend #REALCLOWN. CLICK HERE to read the other articles on the “creepy clown” stereotype.
I travel extensively around the country teaching at clown conventions and hosting weekend educational events. I talk to clowns every day! For Mooseburger Camp I talk to each and every participant. That means 70 to 80 calls depending on the year. Right now I am in the middle of these Moose Camp PEP talks. I always start with “Tell me a little about yourself and the kind of clowning you are doing”. It is fascinating! I do hear about all the fun.
…But I will say there is a tone of discouragement as well:
The ‘scary clown’ movement hit us like a sucker punch.
Ringling closing felt like a bad dream.
Fewer people going into clowning…
How can we turn this thing around?
Clowning is a big ship; it will take a bit to turn it around and get it moving in the right direction.
I believe it is worth trying to save what we have and help it grow again.
Don’t worry, my clowns!
I have a few ideas:
Tell our story – We as clowns need to learn how to tell our story in positive ways. Using social media and NEVER posting scary clown images or even clicking on them are two good ways to start. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Show the good you are doing in your volunteer and charity events. Don’t just show close up pictures of your make-up. Show the happy people with you! Write a story for the local paper. Don’t wait until they contact you. Contact them. Get the word out. Toot your own horn! I know it may be hard, but it is important to change the narrative about clowns in the media.
- Support your local clowns! We as organizations need to support the existing clowns. Due to the decline in clown club membership there are fewer and fewer clubs. Clown clubs are a great place to socialize, get education, and a variety of performance opportunities. But not everyone has access. We need to figure out a way to support the clowns we have, whether they have a club or not. We got a start with the #REALCLOWN hashtag movement and the Real Clown Cards. More ideas to come in future newsletters (you should subscribe)!
- Attract more people to be clowns and friends of clowns! It used to be easy to get folks interested in clowning. Advertise a class in your local community ed brochure and 20 people would show up. Not anymore. We need to think about how we attract people to clowning these days. Does your clown club have a card? If someone shows interest, are you ready to invite them into the wonderful world of clowning? People may be put off by lots of make-up, wig, and costume you have on — that is not to say you should water it down! How about inviting them to go along to an event or show without putting them in make-up. A red nose on a string can be a valuable recruiting tool. Once they see what fun you are having it will be easier to get them interested in joining you as the real deal!
- Educate the public – Kids know about scary clowns. Gee, thanks media! 😡 But they need to know about fun happy clowns! Do a presentation ‘How to build a clown’. Put your make-up on in front of group of kids at a school daycare summer rec program or library. This is important to help ease the fears kids may have been taught by their parents or what they have seen online or on TV. This is a great idea for beginning clowns! It becomes your story, your show. You only have to do a fun song or juggle scarves at the end to have a short show!
- Resist! That’s right, resist the urge to talk to the media about scary clowns. Resist the urge to talk about how hard it can be. Stay positive. When necessary take action. Write letters of protest to companies that use clowns in disrespectful ways. I have sent out emails on different companies and you have done a great job of sending them letters telling them exactly what you think in a meaningful appropriate way! The squeaky wheel and clown …..
- Education for clowns – Since clown clubs have gotten smaller or are nonexistent in most areas, we need to rethink our education. I think the clown organizations are doing the best they can. But we need to rethink this facet and come up with new ideas. I will be working on that as well!
This is a multi-pronged approach. You may be in a position to do one or two of the things on this list. Guess what? Almost all of these ideas don’t cost you a dime. Yup. They are all free. All it takes is some initiative and time.
Don’t be afraid to do something. Don’t wait. It will take time to turn this ship around. But I believe we can do it.
Want to be a part of the solution?
Mark your calendar for The Summit at Mooseburger Camp 2019. We will have a special course dedicated to coming up with meaningful solutions, followed by an action plan and follow up after the camp. But getting to a summit takes a first step.
I know this may sound like a shameless promotion.
I have been asked “Why not do this separate from camp?” It is because I want the rank and file clowns to be a part of this idea and the solutions as well. We need leaders.
This is a starting point. We need to begin somewhere; take that first step with us.
Let’s turn this thing around!
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
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