Monthly Archives: March 2018

Booking A Good Entertainer

There are a number of things to consider when booking an entertainer. As with any independent business, there is a variation in the quality from one entertainer to the next. Some are wonderful, some are good and some are perhaps not up to the standard you’d expect.

So how do you know which is which?

The proof is in the pudding. (yum!)

Any children’s entertainer worth his salt will not be the cheapest entertainer on the market. Yes, there are some entertainers who charge £130 for a two hour party and the price might sound fantastic. However, you should ask yourself why he values his show so cheaply?

Does anyone recommend them?

If you have found an entertainer not by personal recommendation, you should ask the entertainer if he/she has references or testimonials from parents, schools, nurseries etc.

Be wary of testimonials on an entertainers website if they appear to have been written by the website owner – I use video testimonials and independent review sites to prove mine are genuine and not written by me. Can your entertainer prove his testimonials are genuine?

What is their availability like?

A busy children’s entertainer will usually have at least a couple of slots on each weekend day to coincide with traditional eating times i.e. a lunch party (roughly 11am-1pm) or a tea party (roughly 3.30pm-5.30pm). If an entertainer is available for a 1pm-3pm party, it is usually a sign that they aren’t all that busy.

So how can I get a really good children’s entertainer cheaper?

The best thing about children’s entertainment is that the children can literally have fun anywhere and at any time – as long as the entertainer is good.

So how does this benefit you?

Well, if your child’s birthday is on a weekday, why wait till the Sunday to celebrate? If you book a party for a Thursday afternoon/early evening, for example, you are much more likely to either get a discount from the entertainer or have some freebies thrown in. In addition, as you won’t be booking at a peak time you will get your exact choice of times.

Brilliant!

Rental for halls can also be cheaper during the week, and their availability can be more flexible.

And lastly…

When looking to book any party, it seems that the norm is to book the hall first, and then look to book an entertainer afterwards. However, the hall itself has virtually no bearing whatsoever on the success of your party where, by contrast, getting a decent entertainer is essential to its success. Booking a party with a hall for a set time limits your options when it comes to good entertainment.

My advice is to book with a good entertainer before you book your hall. If possible, why not save yourself some money and have the party at home? This also gives you the flexibility of time you may not otherwise have.

Entertainment Is Best For Your Event

If you’re planning an event or researching entertainment options after a bad experience in the past, there are a few important factors you need to keep in mind.

Here’s a short guide to determining which entertainment options are best for your next event:

Think About the Type of Event You’re Planning

A new product launch has a very different feel and environment than a yearly board of directors meeting. The entertainment that you select should fit the “feel” of your event. For formal events it’s appropriate to have something more conservative and low key. Having a small singing act or magic show is going to be a lot better received than something on the “spectacle” end of the spectrum.

Alternatively, if you are launching a new product, trying to get your audience excited and “pumped up,” or wanting to bring a high level of excitement, you’ll want to have entertainment to match. A cirque-style acrobatic show, a Broadway song and dance review or a high energy industrial rhythm show would fit the bill.

Consider Your Events Timeframe

Your entertainment should be the centerpiece of one night or afternoon during your multiple-day event. If you’re running a one-day event, you’ll need to have your entertainment on that same day. When you select an event entertainment option, you need to consider how long the show will last and whether you have room for it in your schedule. It may be better to book entertainment that takes a little less time if you’ve got your attendees on a jam-packed schedule.

As you consider entertainment options, ask the corporate event entertainment experts what they suggest. Many can customize their shows to meet your existing timeframe so you can get the quality of show that you want in the time that you have.

Understand Your Entertainment Budget

Your entertainment options will be affected by your budget, so it’s important to get that nailed down as soon as possible. When you are creating your budget for your entire event, keep in mind that the entertainment can be the “make or break” part of your event plan. It’s the thing that people are going to remember the most since it normally takes place at the end of the event.

If you want to keep your audience talking – and excited to come back the following year – it’s important to create a budget for your event’s entertainment. Don’t leave your entertainment as the last item on your list. You can either get quotes from event entertainment companies and use that to create your budget, or set a price and shop around to find an event entertainment company that will work within your budget. Keep in mind that while you shop, you may need to adjust your budget to fit the actual costs of professional event entertainment.

Find Something Unique for Your Audience

Entertainment has to be memorable so it’s important to find something unique. This is even more important if your event audience attends a lot of trade shows and other industry gatherings. Giving them something fresh and exciting can really make a difference in their appreciation of your event and their attendance next year.

Thinking outside of the box and trying something beyond a typical comedian or keynote speaker can pay off in the long run.

Why Not Hire a Children’s Entertainer

Entertainers

There are many children’s entertainers in Leeds and the surrounding areas, you just need to do a quick Google search for “Children’s Entertainers Leeds” and you’ll have more than enough to choose from. There are clowns, magicians, fairies and pirate themed event organisers that specialise in entertaining for kids parties.

Just a couple of the best in the North West (and East):

JingJangJooJong – The crazy couple who create a magical alien world to entertain with.

Make a Wish Entertainment – Specialising in fairy-tales for children

So if you’re struggling to think of something to do, just hire an entertainer, most of them are members of Equity so they are quality performers. Make sure they have public liability insurance however so that any little injuries from the activities are fully covered and you have nothing to worry about. You may also wish to check for CRB clearance which many of them advertise having.

Equipment

Is it a dance, a do, a ball, a shower? Whether a birthday party, surprise party, or a calm British tea party, there’s some equipment you should make sure you have!

The things below aren’t always needed, but they usually are, and are always good to have in-case that 1 guest requests them:

  • Plastic cups (because if it goes outside, it’s best not to have glass)
  • Plastic cutlery (for the same reason as above, but also because you can throw them away and don’t have to wash them up!)
  • Paper towels (because someone will spill something… somewhere.)
  • Plasters (even plastic cutlery can cut!)
  • Bottles of water (for exhausted kids, and intoxicated adults!)

They are the basics, and obviously if you’re catering for a certain type of party you’ll need your niche products, kids parties normally always have balloons, don’t forget the helium, or even easier just buy pre-filled balloons, that way you don’t have to blow them up, it can take a lot out of you. For themed parties the entertainers sometimes provide costumers for the kids or something to help them feel more involved, however it will be worth checking with them before-hand and if not maybe rent outfits or just one token piece (pirate hat/eye-patch) to give to the kids it really enhances the atmosphere. You can usually haggle with outfit stores as they don’t really have set prices, so go in hard and say that you’ve got a party for 20 kids and need 20 outfits can you have them for £10 each! You may just get lucky.

Things to look out for!

Equity, Public Liability, CRB Check

There are some things that set some entertainers apart from the others. They don’t necessarily mean they’ll be better, but they do mean that the person has taken the extra steps of professionalism in entertainment, insurance, and safety.

Logos to look for on websites:

1. Equity membership logo: Being a member of Equity, the professional performers and creative practitioner’s institute, usually guarantees that the entertainer has been classically trained, or at least displayed a high level of performance ability and professionalism. Again this doesn’t absolutely mean that they’ll be better than someone whom isn’t a member, however it’s always a nice reassurance, as there’s nothing worse than having an entertainer turn up who’s not… entertaining, especially when there’s a tough crowd, amateurism really shines through and can make the situation very awkward.

2. Public liability insurance: This is probably the most important if you have more than a few children being entertained. There are so many little things that could go wrong, from a tip over a speaker cable, swallowing a popped balloon, damaging the entertainers or the clients equipment. But if someone has liability insurance at least you know that any injuries to your loved ones are fully covered, and it stops the “who’s fault was it” debate and saves people a lot of money.

3. CRB Checked: This is the least important of the three, but it does show that they have gone another extra step to prove that they’re suitable to work with children and in sensitive situations. It doesn’t really reflect the entertainment value, and there’s generally no risk to children at parties when the adults are still there supervising, however it is another nice reassurance if they do have it.

The Psychology of Entertainment

On the private and public forms of entertainment and the psychological mechanisms in entertainment

Entertainment has many dimensions and could be personal/private or more general and public forms of entertainment. When we play with our mates that is a personal form of entertainment and when we sit and watch a movie on the screen that is a more general form of entertainment as we are sharing the experience with many others. There are some differences in our perception of private and public forms of entertainment as personal entertainment will always be based on personal experiences, our personal worldview and will be determined by personal interactions.

The more general and public forms of entertainment are less interactive and there seems to be this basic contradiction as all personal forms of entertainment are more interactive and public forms of entertainment are more personal and private. This scenario has been changing with television programs increasing audience participation in the program however interaction patterns between entertainers and viewers in any public entertainment scenario remain within strict limits and boundaries.

Entertainment takes us to a different world and feeds our need for fantasy and an escape from real life. This is especially true for entertainment that is more public or provided by the media and entertainment provided by films, theatre, music, and all forms of creative art. Films and theatre transposes us to a world of fantasy and grabs our attention so we remain engrossed as almost a part of this alternative reality. Entertainment could also be in the form of magazine stories and gossip or even celebrity culture and the psychology of entertainment could also explain the extreme craze of celebrity culture that we have in the modern world.

Celebrities seem to open up a world of fantasies and for some people knowing every move of celebrities could bring immense satisfaction as it would almost mean participating in fantasies. Fantasies help in overcoming frustrations and serve as therapeutic as they aid in the escape from realities of life. Real emotions and real life are stressful and entertainment helps us to move beyond real life and moments of stress to participate in fantasies that are soothing as we do not have to be directly involved in these fantasies and yet as spectators we can still participate in a tacit or passive manner.

Participation in any book, film or creative art is almost like sitting on a reclining chair that has the technology to soothe your muscles while you relax. In the case of entertainment we participate almost in a passive manner and although we may be very alert and awake in the process of watching a movie, entertainment gives us the illusion of non participation as we don’t have the opportunity to get voluntarily involved in the scenario. Anything that gives us some form of pleasure could be considered as entertainment although entertainment could also give us pain as when we cry when we get emotionally involved with characters while we watch a movie.

Entertainment could trigger emotional involvement and emotional reactions such as happiness, sorrow, anxiety, fear and despite these strong emotional participation, there is little or no physical activity necessary on the part of the viewer. This active-passive process is the main attraction of entertainment as entertainment enables us to be both active (in terms of emotion) and passive (in terms of physical or voluntary mental involvement). Entertainment means like films are influential yet they influence subtly rather than aggressively and this subtle influence seems to work better on the human mind than any aggressive forms of influence. We see work as duty and entertainment as pleasure although both involve some form of emotional involvement. Work at the same time requires voluntary participation, decision making and physical involvement along with emotional involvement.

Yet why is work perceived as something heavy and entertainment as methods of relaxation? The answer is unpredictability. In case of entertainment, in most cases we may not even know what to expect from a movie or a music video. This unpredictability triggers our interest as we are unable to predict what emotional states would be evoked during this mental adventure. Entertainment is usually a form of mental and emotional adventure. In cases where we do know what a movie is about, it is the feeling of emotional familiarity that drives us to experience what we already know. Suppose a video game gave us a pleasurable feeling or evoked aggression and competitiveness in us, we go back to feel the same emotion as it was pleasurable or exciting. Stretched too far these forms of entertainment could easily become addictive.

Coming back to the distinction of work and entertainment or play, work involves responsibility and despite the emotional involvement in entertainment, apart from being a passive participant, we do not have to be responsible for anything, there is no problem solving or decision making and that is how entertainment in all its form is so pleasurable as the right brain activities of decision making and the cortical regions of the brain are not activated completely yet the pleasure sensations and emotions such as the hypothalamus and left brain activities are usually activated so we tend to associated entertainment with emotions rather than problem solving and decision making.

We humans are rational beings and yet emotions still seem to rule our lives and form the core of our existence as emotions still draw us to do things that may be irrational. Entertainment being primarily emotion provoking rather than reason provoking has a major impact on people’s lives. Appreciating any forms of entertainment could switch from the stages of interest to emotional involvement and finally addiction. The celebrity culture is a direct result of the last stages of appreciation for entertainment.

An interest in celebrities comes from emotional involvement with characters in movies and there may be substantial lack of differentiating fantasy and reality so fans of celebrities are more in love with the characters these celebrities play or the traits they project rather than the personality of celebrities. The celebrity culture seems to take people to a persistent fantasy world and individuals are seen as discussing all aspects of celebrities from their shoes to their hairstyle to the cars they possess. This sort of culture could however be explained with individual need to escape reality and identify with someone in a fantasy world and would be an important element in the study of fantasy.

The study of entertainment brings out many psychological aspects of active-passive participation in emotional or mental adventure and these could be

1. Identification – Viewers often identify with characters in movies or figures in art and this strong identification helps explain the value of entertainment. Young children have seen to imitate film stars as they begin identifying with movie characters.

2. Fantasy – Entertainment feeds on the need for fantasy in people and provides an escape route from the real world. Addiction to entertainment could be the basis of reality anxiety in people.

3. Projection – Individuals tend to project their own emotions or state of mind on to a painting or a song and could derive pleasure from this

4. Regression – Entertainment could often remind individuals of their past or a part of their own life they may have forgotten and in some cases bring out the child in them. For example when older people enjoy video games, it brings back their childhood and they may become addicted to this sort of entertainment.

5. Sublimation – Entertainment is also a form of sublimation of our impulsive desires and this especially true when we participate in entertainment as in the interpretation of art

6. Displacement – In non participative and passive forms of entertainment, individuals tend to escape from reality and displace their emotions from real people to characters in movies. For example a teenager in love with a girl whom he cannot attain may fall in love with a character of a movie who may have similarities with his dream girl.

All of the above processes are ego defense mechanisms delineated by Freud and the interplay of so many defense mechanisms in entertainment suggest that entertainment is more than simply a source of pleasure and could trigger complex psychological processes in the human mind. More research would be required in this field of psychology for a complete understanding of the advantages or disadvantages of entertainment in modern society.