I suppose this post is primarily about the philosophy you follow in your clowning pursuit. I try to do my own thing, and not get too caught up in what everyone else is doing. I try to look at other entertainers as potential friends, contacts, collaborators, and people who understand what I’m doing.
I believe that the key to really succeeding in entertainment of any kind is to focus on yourself (no, not like you’re the center of the universe). There is always going to be someone out there who is better than you are at what you do. So what? You are not them, and you can only improve upon what you have right here and right now. Work with what you’ve got. Maybe you’ll never be as good as they are, but you can strive to be the best that YOU can be. If you’re always looking over your shoulder at what the other guy is doing–studying his show, or copying his balloon designs–you are going to have a very paranoid and unenjoyable time.
When you begin to focus on your own clowning, instead of everyone else’s, you can pursue the things that really interest you. Maybe Puffy the Clown can make a killer Spongebob balloon and you feel badly because you can’t. If you are more interested in Transformers than Spongebob, then focus on that. Do what you want, not what you feel you have to do to keep up with the Joneses of the clowning world. This also applies to the services that you offer. Don’t feel as though you have to do everything. If magic isn’t your thing, don’t push it. You’ll just end up being a nervous, frustrated, and grumpy magician who really does not enjoy what he’s doing. People will have no trouble recognizing your discomfort and angst!
All this rambling is simply to encourage you to be true to yourself and your own interests and ideas. Pursue clowning the way that you want to, not according to how someone else is doing it. The learning curve for clowning is endless, and there is no correct sequence for learning the material. Enjoy yourself, have fun, explore, get creative, and listen to your inner clown voice that says, “That!! I want to do that! I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the harmonica while break-dancing to calliope music!” Well, maybe that idea isn’t the best, but you get the idea.