Over a year ago, I entered a contest to win a copy of Michael Stelzner’s book “Launch”. This was my application>
My greatest marketing challenge is reaching beyond the ‘low hanging fruit’ of birthday parties and clowning/ comedy consulting/ laughter yoga as a sideline. My goal is to parlay 10 years of experience in education to book enough school gigs, clown camps, and adult “playshares” (they’re not workshops) to pay the rent each month. I have reached the salary ceiling as a para-educator, and always run up against the same fearful, fatalistic, and authoritarian attitudes regarding students. It’s always: Walk! Quiet! You’ll lose your recess! That’s sloppy! Quit fooling around! #2 Pencils Ready! Line Up!
I’ve read Godin and Stratten and Baskin and Shankman.
I deliver FREE pie-in-the-face to published authors as a special celebration for their achievement (1st class travel and accommodation the responsibility of the piee). [See my blog for pics of Patch Adams, Monica Drake, Charlie Williams, et. al]
I think Stelzner’s new book Launch will help me take the next uncanny leap of my career. It doesn’t hurt that his name looks like Seltzer… hey, I can see a photo op in that… I hope he’s got a sense of humor.
(p.s. send me a msg if you want the password to the slightly risque “6 Ways to p/u Jusby”)
Then I made a direct appeal via instant message to as many fcbking friends as I saw online before the contest closed.
I was able to get 44 votes to my rival’s 13. A roaring success. A landslide election sweep.
The book arrived, and I absorbed its marketing ideas and added them to my uniqueness. The prize also included a series of interviews (valued at $1500) to be published on Becky Cortino’s blog. After the jump is a recreation of the first one. Her website has since crashed and simply refers everyone to fcbk. The 6-9 month follow-up article never happened.
Launched: Fueled with Passion and Playful Penchant to Provoke Smiles
10 Sep 2011
A prolific pie-hoister, a humor instigator, an out-of-the-box thinker who encourages humor wherever he is, Jusby The Clown and Comedy Consultant aka Justin Wright, serves up humor and laughter with his own special branded recipe, in a number of tasty ways. Infamous for offering Pies, and Transformations, he also established and leads weekly Guided Laughter groups in Olympia, Washington, along with his wife, as Certified Laughter Leaders. Singing telegrams, clown camps held between Portland and Seattle, with half a dozen collaborator/assistants since 2008, round out Justin’s menu of services.
Paired with his sense of humor, Justin’s journey into his work as a comedic family entertainer and facilitator is well supported by his background in theater and dance. In addition, his art and work that look like play, is supplemented by video production study, 6 credits independent contract on clown history that concluded with free Circus Olympus, Clowning 101 at Lakewood Clown and Costume, workshops at NW Festival of Clowns, and workshops with the Simple Fool’s Silly School of Top-secret Esoteric Clowning. A self-proclaimed autodidact, learning much from books, videos, and workshops, in Justin’s quest to constantly improve, the learning and fun didn’t end with being a graduate of the Evergreen State College of Clowning, nor with all the other clinics and workshops. In 2010, both Justin and his wife Trish, also became Certified Laughter Leaders.
His art and his performances are a distinctive concoction of his interests, inspiration, and training, beginning with the main ingredient of his “clown within.” Justin’s entertainer name “Jusby” is derived from his name Justin Barnabas Wright= Justin B= Just B= Just be=Jusby… as he says, “like the laid-back, west coast advice for the Type A… also reminiscent of Busby Berkley, the showgirl mandala choreographer.” Dutch-Indonesian background on mother’s side, Justin took 9 years and 3 colleges to earn Bachelor’s degree, is a world-traveler (including Holland, France, Fiji, Indonesia, Mexico & Canada), and is a proud parent.
Justin finds inspiration from a number of sources, including: Dr. Patch Adams, Dr. Madan Kataria (Laughter Yoga movement founder), and “classmates who followed their dreams and continue to entertain, create art, balance show and business wisely.” His mentors are Enterprise for Equity micropreneur program, Trish, clown collaborators hired as assistants, and weekly Clown Forum chats.
In his work, he says he’s been most surprised by “the positive reaction to the pie-in-the-face niche, which started as a 2007 April fool’s prank a friend wanted played on his wife (while he was out of town), and became my current claim to fame with kids and adults lining up for it.” He has been delighted by “the Laughter… in the audience and in myself… with guided Laughter Yoga practice or just from the spontaneous material of being present at special events.”
I asked Justin about how he would like to incorporate humor in the public/private school curriculum, and his thoughts about humor in the school setting. He recounted his experiences and observations:
“I have used humor during my work as a para-educator in the public schools when faced with curriculum that, while whimsical, is basically dull, irrelevant, culturally myopic and potentially counter-productive. That is, I use humor as a chance for meta-cognition. I talk about how we don’t always have one right answer. For instance, in first grade I have been challenged by curriculum that uses cartoony pictures to prompt kids about beginning sounds. They show a rabbit and a snake (and two other pictures) and ask which starts with R. Unfortunately, the snake has a rattle; it’s a rattlesnake. And a rabbit is also called a bunny or a hare. Funny, eh? Messes with their minds. I try to alleviate that frustration with humor.
Recently, I’ve been working in Juvenile Detention. These kids need humor more than about any I’ve seen. Most can easily behave like class clowns. Of course, when kids make mental connections and experience cognitive dissonance (from homonyms and homophones, from puns and double entendres), they blurt it out. Their ah-ha turns into a ha-ha. In Juvie, more than anywhere, they are told to silence that impulse. I would offer in-service workshops for educators in humor theory and practice with an emphasis on Laughter Yoga.”
Justin is an enterprising entrepreneur-entertainer, incorporating a variety of venues for promotion, including online/social media, Buy Local Savings book (sustainable south sound), Youth Enrichment Foundation platinum merchant, make free appearances (offering a free pie-in-the-face) at local gatherings like parades, festivals, arts walk, block parties. His target market is well-established, and expanding to include adult students of clowning ages 18-27.
Internships are another area of expansion, and Justin has registered with his alma mater (Evergreen) to offer a First of May Clown internship, and making himself available as a ‘subcontractor for Independent Learning Contracts.’ In keeping with his love for this art and promoting it, Justin said, “That’s how I first was exposed to the study of clown as a legitimate academic and, therefore, vocational pursuit. I earned 6 credits for ‘Cinema: the Shamanic Origins and Mythology of Clowning and the Traditional European One-Ring Circus’.”
Like any business owner, Justin has goals and a Bucket List, albeit his may be a little different from a majority of others:
- Deliver 1000th pie to Peter Shankman (he has agreed in principle)
- Deliver pies to willing authors and celebrities
- Deliver Guinness record-breaking pies
- Secure pieing sponsors (local bakery/ dairy)
- Incorporate humor and healthy laughter into public and private school curriculum, and build understanding of benefits of class clowning
Business plans to diversify his offerings include: adult parties (burlesque, adulterated pies, etc); offer internships/individual learning contracts; “playshares” through Parks and Recreation; promoting/booking Clown Camps 4-6 months in advance, school assemblies and PTA events.
He has a game plan — in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, he says: “I’d like to be a featured attraction, referring out my apprentices/proteges, and traveling to clown internationally, awarded an honorary doctorate, stuff like that.”
…and I believe it. Jusby! We look forward to seeing you in Center Ring!
Justin aka “Jusby” was the winning recipient of my extra copy of Social Media Examiner founder Michael Stelzner’s book “Launch,” and my additional promotional BONUS package valued at $1,500, I added to the event. I was delighted when he agreed to be interviewed and participate in my special offer.
This article is the first part of that BONUS additional promotional package. In about 6 months, we’ll revisit Justin to see how he’s progressing along on his business goals and plans, and how implementing ideas presented in the book “Launch” helped fuel his flight.
We’re keeping this party going!