Archive for business

Advice to Young Performers

Posted in Behind the Scenes at FSD with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2016 by freakshowdeluxe
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Merchandise for sale after the show! Check out the new Glow-In-the-Dark shirts!!! This is a photo from FrightFest 2016 at Frontier City Amusement Park in Oklahoma City, OK.

FIRST: FreakShow Deluxe has finally opened an online store! Yay!You can purchase FSD-branded merchandise online and get it delivered wherever you want. Send it as a gift, or get a little something for yourself.

Get several somethings… they’re small.
We are offering over 20 items, including: our exclusive line of coffee (it is so good!), shirts, hats, buttons, stickers, shrunken heads, cigars, and so much more!
Go visit our store right now here: https://freakshowdeluxe.bigcartel.com
SECOND: There is a horrible public group on Facebook called the Sideshow Spectrum. It was put together by the amazing Todd Robbins, who is a great guy – but the group is a heckuva time waster when Reverend Tommy Gunn should be doing other things.
So it is a public group. You can go check it out yourself. Recently, a young performer posted, asking:

I am a very new performer (less than a year), but I feel I have a good act that I am still polishing. The trouble I am having is that it is only ~20 minutes and that feels short.
So far I have only been able to perform open mics, a local performing arts festival and as entertainment at a local outdoor event.

There was more – you can read the whole thing here.
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FIRST: Get a nifty banner and some cool costumes! (photo of Grennan the Green Monster and La Pequeña Arañita at George Washington’s Mount Vernon for the 2016 Colonial Marketplace)

After thinking about it, your Reverend decided to give his advice – in kind of a way like this:
You didn’t mention any of your other background, so you may not need this, but let me offer you the following advice that I have given to young actors — So you’re feeling pretty good about your sideshow show?
Good!
NOW: STOP DOING SIDESHOW. Walk away. Go take some acting classes, elocution lessons, speech classes, dance class, singing lessons, and movement work (maybe some martial arts training, too). Learn how to read music and maybe play an instrument. At the same time, study stage lighting, sound design, set design, and properties. In your free time, research performance history (not just circus and sideshow history – and not just new stuff, either – really get into the meat of it), mythology, story structure, philosophy, and psychology.
Once you’re done with those – COME BACK to your sideshow work, and rebuild it all from the ground up (because now you’re going to realize it wasn’t as good as you thought it was).
While you’re rebuilding it, take some time to do some formal study of business, accounting, insurance, contract law, and other money-related matters. Study some investing. Take some sales courses so you learn how to sell. Study, then apprentice, in tour management, booking, working with agents…
NOW you’re closer to really being ready to move forward!!
If you’re not going to do all those things, then HIRE people you trust who KNOW how to do those things for you that you’re not clear on – listen to those people when they tell you what you should do.
All of this will help you to see how all of these things are interrelated – and that nothing and no one operates in a vacuum.
By doing this you will hopefully avoid most of the pitfalls, and keep from adopting many of the bad habits that end up ruining performer’s enjoyment of what, ruining them financially, and making their life a lot harder than it needs to be.
I do not doubt that some folks are going to say/feel that I’m an a**hole for pointing all this out. I am. Some other folks are going to worry I’m giving away the secrets of success. I’m doing that, too.
But it’s not free advice. You’ll pay… oh, yes… you’ll pay.
OH! And don’t forget to attend the annual The Southern Sideshow Hootenanny in New Orleans, LA!! It is THE place to be for the modern sideshow industry. We look forward to seeing you there!
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The last thing you need to know is GTFM!

This Business We Call Show (part 1)

Posted in Behind the Scenes at FSD, History of FSD with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2016 by freakshowdeluxe
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photo by Lornography at Coney Island USA

So I, your Right Reverend Tommy Gunn, have been writing a book in addition to presenting at conferences and the like — but a lot of that has been on hold as your FreakShow Deluxe worked to reboot itself once again.

“What?! AGAIN!?,” I hear you crying out there upon reading that last sentence.

Yes.

Look – the last big restructuring really came back in 2004, after I moved your FSD from where it started in Ohio to Hollywood, where we opened The Empire Amusement Hall. That really was a while ago… I need to create “Examining 10 years of FreakShow Deluxe (part 6),” but in the meantime you can read this to catch up: Examining 10 years of FreakShow Deluxe (part 5)

The company has hit a time now where a fair amount of our family who has been with us has been doing this for going on 10 years (if not more). But their lives are NOT the same!! Things change – people change – life changes… and with those changes, some of our folks need to focus on other things besides your FSD, and we want them to have the opportunity to do so. Additionally, there have been some additions to our family – and it is time for them to move to the forefront.

So, with all the retirements going on (our company members switching to OG (aka Oh Gee!) Status, and some new patched members coming to the forefront, AND a restructuring of the company, along with creation of several new divisions within your FSD (namely, The Skeleton Crew, The Koffin Krewe, and The Voodoo Krewe). There is a lot of work to do. A lot of thinking – and then writing – then thinking again… plus a new executive staff to work things out with, too.
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The Koffin Krewe Logo
is being created now

 

It is the process that is the hard part. The analogy I used to explain it to someone yesterday  was that I am effectively building a motorcycle. From the ground up. And, even though I have built motorcycles before – this one is to be an improvement on the last one I built.

This means the structure paperwork is, in this analogy, is the putting together of all the pieces. The framework, the wheels, the motor & pre-fabricated pieces, and then determining what the new pieces are that I need to manufacture myself. There’s a certain amount of time that I put things together – step away to look at it from a distance… maybe even walk away for a bit to think about what I am doing. Sometimes, I have to stop working on the new bike to bang out some parts or get some things going for jobs that are already on the books — things that have to be squared away before we reveal the new creation.

At this point, there is a sprocket I need that I have to create for a specific purpose. So I research a bit, but then I have to take raw material and then pound it into the configuration that I need to fit where it is supposed to and do the job it is meant for.

The process is time-consuming and difficult. Eventually, the planning portion has to stop and the bike moved into the next steps.

Now – here is where my competitive spirit comes in: at the same time I am working on this new bike, there are other bikes out there on the road. Some are pretty cool, some are pretty fast – some are copies of other bikes I built, and some are totally original – but other people are out there with their bikes… and I wish mine was out there, too. Especially because I know that my bike is going to be much better. Perhaps it will even be considered game-changing!

So, yes, I am a bit jealous of the bikes that are out on the road right now. Then I have to remind myself that the new bike will be game-changing, and even when it is, some people have different tastes, and maybe even like one of those other bikes over mine (even though, obviously, mine is superior). And then I get back to business.

Because it does not end with designing the bike, creating new parts, and initially putting it together. Oh no…

Once most of the designing and fabricating is done – then the whole thing has to be disassembled and sent off for paint, chrome, and/or powder coating… Which means it goes into someone else’s hands to do some of the work on it. The big question – will everything happen like it is supposed to during this stage? If something goes wrong – am I prepared for that and how to fix it?

Then, when all of the pieces have come back, the whole bike has to be reassembled (looking for all kinds of problems along the way), and this time extra things are added like the wiring. Does everything go back together like it is supposed to? Did I forget anything, or mis-measure anything? Do the layers of finishing (paint, chrome, sealer, etc.) add anything that now means things do not fit together like they are supposed to?

And, FINALLY, with it all together we get to fire it up and see what happens. Did it fire? How does it do on the test drive? There is going to be a break-in period on the motor. Some bolts are going to need to be tightened (maybe sprayed with some Lock-tite, if it seems they are going to be a problem), parts adjusted, lubed, sparked… you get the idea.

Now that it is broken in, NOW we get to ride it! Try and see how fast it will go. How tight it can take a corner. How cool does it really look and sound when it is moving… and when it is standing still.

Of course – now that it is done, I can see a few things I might like to change about it. That color is not really what I was thinking of – that chain is not exactly where I would like it to be – maybe I do not like that style taillight after all.

Soon, it is time to build the next bike…

Many thanks to Pat at Led Sled Customs for the insight into what it takes to build a bike. Led Sled has been a friend and sponsor of FSD since our companies started at the same time in 2001. Check out their amazing products at: http://www.ledsledcustoms.com
Also, do not try to build your own bike (or sideshow) from my analogy here… it won’t work.

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FreakShow Deluxe – DO NOT Try This At Home