My First Notebook Entry Ever

This is the first entry I ever recorded after doing shows. It was Jan. 19th 2008. I had arrived in San Francisco on New Years Eve with nothing and, as the old chestnut goes, I still had most of it left. I’m sure I was told on the 18th to take notes after every show and that I should write my ideas down in a notebook. I haven’t missed a show yet. I haven’t edited this at all but I really wanted to. 

Sat, Jan. 19th 
Balloon Twisting & Juggling 

No one watches a guy just juggling. Need music & a lot of props displayed. Set-up draws a huge crowd. The Robot and Robot Jr. drew 50+ people just setting up. The breakdancer gathered just as many people doing nothing. The drummers set up nearby but lost their crowd to the break dancers. People love to pose, think of something to have people pose with. Sea seat? Bearded woman or strong man? 

The pier market was a great pitch, I worked it from 12:00 until about 12:30 or one ‘o’ clock. I made around 25-30 dollars there but would made more if I got there earlier. The Pro-Life parade got in the way. Work it from 9-12 next weekend if it’s nice. No need to have music there (too loud) or to have anything extra i.e: the wheel, large balloons, etc (too crowded). I left the market and walked down to Pier 39 in time to catch Greg Frisbee’s 1:45 show. He had a 100+ crowd which is great. I worked near the “circle pitch” and made a killing. Fifty plus dollars in 2 hours or so. 

I put on instrumental music which seemed to help fill the time during complicated twists. People love the patter. Keep talking. Parents tip more when their kids are laughing and engaged. Try and remember that you’re performing, not just twisting balloons or juggling. I made more monkeys than anything else. This is because I was wearing a monkey on my shoulder 

The bag of balloons was $23 something. The apron was 2.99, 3 Sharpies for 4.99. All in all I made a profit.


3 thoughts on “My First Notebook Entry Ever

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  1. Nice stuff man. I used to take loads of notes after each show. I went through a stage of taking loads of stats for each show; approx audience size, drops per minute, stage time, distance travelled and stuff. It was quite interesting. I also made a very impressive pie chart of time spent as a pro juggler. This all took up too much time and I soon realised that it was a massive waste of time! But the note taking is a must do. I am starting a new tour tomorrow and this has inspired my to write a little something about each show. Thanks man.

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    1. I started note taking the same kinds of notes you did. Super focused on the measurable things I understood: hat size, crowd size, drops. Now it’s more about tracking the unusual things that happen: ad libs, hecklers, etc. I also any new jokes I’m working on with a super anal spreadsheet I call the “Laugh Track”. Recently I’ve been going through old notebooks and finding ideas that I worked on but failed at and seeing if years of experience or a fresh prospective can turn them around. Loads of fun.

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  2. I don’t have my first notebook anymore, but I do remember one joke from it:

    “Robert Nelson loves juggling so much he named his kid after camp stove fuel.”

    I misplaced that notebook at the Hawaiian Juggling Festival. Robert Nelson found it and returned it to me saying “Camp Stove Fuel?”

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