How to Become a Professional Clown
Do you sit through all day at a boring job daydreaming about doing something more fun with your life? Perhaps you should be a clown. It sounds silly but there are a lot of people out there who are making a living either part-time or full-time as a clown. Even if you aren’t ready to quit your day job, you may find that you would like to try out the possibility of working as a clown. Most people who want to do this don’t ever bother to try because they aren’t quite sure how to get into the business of clowning for pay. That shouldn’t stop you because it’s really not that hard to start learning how to become a professional clown.
Think About What Type of Clown You Want To Be
The first thing that you should do is to start thinking about the type of professional clown that you might want to be. You don’t have to make a final decision about this yet but it’s a good idea to start thinking about it now because it will help direct your path towards becoming a professional clown. Some of the types of clowns that exist are:
• Clowns for children’s parties and events. The most common type of clown that people think about becoming is the clown that performs at children’s birthday parties and other events for kids. These clowns may work as part of a professional organization or they may work as independent entrepreneurs. It’s important that these clowns really enjoy children.
• Clowns for hospital wards. Some people put their professional clown experience to use as a volunteer in a hospital. Often these people volunteer in the children’s wing of hospitals but sometimes they visit adults as well. Clowns can really help brighten up the nasty experience of staying in a hospital. It’s important that these clowns want to help others, like kids and don’t mind working in the hospital setting.
• Clowns for children’s performances. There are also clowns who don’t interact with kids as much even though the kids are their audience. People who work in the performing arts may participate in theatre shows where they get to do their clowning on stage. These people should be interested in theatre and the performing arts and may not desire a lot of hands-on interaction with the audience.
• Clowns for adults. Believe it or not there are people who work as clowns only for adult audiences. These are often sexy clowns or burlesque clowns who perform at theatre events designed for adult venues. They may also be clowns that perform at adults-only events. Often these people also engage in other circus arts like fire dancing or aerial acrobatics although that’s not necessary. This a great job for the person who likes to make others laugh but who doesn’t really want to work with kids.
Get Training As a Clown
After you’ve decided what kind of clown you want to be, you should start getting an education in how to be a clown. There is a lot to learn to be any of these types of clowns. You’ll need to learn about costumes, make-up, acting the part of a clown, interacting with customers (whether these are kids or adults) and doing things like juggling. If you’re going to be working for yourself as an independent entrepreneur then you may also want to learn about business and marketing.
Some of the methods that you can use to get training as a clown include:
• Attend a clown school. The most common way to become a professional clown is to go to school to become one. There are good clown schools all over the nation. They will train you in the art and business of being a clown and will provide a strong network to set you up with work as a clown when you graduate. Even if you’re going to work for yourself as a non-traditional clown (such as a burlesque clown) you can learn a lot from attending one of these official programs.
• Attend workshops and conventions. If you don’t want to commit to going to school full-time to become a clown then you may want to get lessons from day-long or weekend-long workshops. These are put on by clowns all over the nation. Clown schools, magic shops and theatres are a good place to look for advertisements for these workshops.
• Get a clown mentor. You may be someone who likes to learn things one-on-one in which case it would be a good idea to learn clowning from someone already in the business. Start attending events that feature the type of clown that you want to be. Introduce yourself and explain what you’re hoping to find. Be willing to offer up some payment for the services of this mentor.
• Read and research. Ideally you’re going to want to get your training from someone else but if you don’t have that option right now then you can at least get started on your education by reading as much as you can about clowning. There are many books out there on costume makeup, acting and juggling that can help you get started on learning how to be a clown.
Create Your Clown Persona
As you’re learning about being a clown, you should be working on developing your own clown persona. Begin working on costumes and make-up that are in line with this persona. Learn more about this here.
Start Working as a Clown
Once you’ve gotten some training, you’re ready to start working as a clown. There are two ways to do this. One is to get hired by an organization that hires clowns and sends them out on jobs. This would include party planners that hire clowns for children’s parties as well as theatre groups that are looking for clowns to audition to join them. The other method is to start your own business as a clown in which case you would market yourself as an independent clown to anyone that you’d like to work for. If you’ve gotten to this point then you’re ready to create a business plan and to move forward with the business of becoming a professional clown.