iPhone at Work: Clowning Around
How does a professional clown use his iPhone to get the job done and what iPhone apps help get him through his day? TiPb’s iPhone at work contest aims to bring you just such slices of the iPhone life. Here’s JimmySlo’s answer and as a small token of thanks we’re sending him a $20 iTunes gift certificate. If you want to see your name up on the TiPb home page and get a gift certificate all your own, head on over to the TiPb iPhone Forum and share your story now!
I am a clown in a travelling circus currently touring North America.
Before, during (in the dressing room), and after the show, I have my head buried in my iPhone 3GS. Reading blogs, checking the news, and especially checking a Twitter search for the name of my show. I like to get a feel for what the audience buzz is before the show, as it could help with my pre-show improvisation in the Big Top. At intermission, audience members fire up their phones and tweet about how the show is going thus far and what they think. I'm right there, in real time getting feedback. Same thing after the show. I'm also checking for discount ticket deals (before the company tells us) so I can blitz that info out, surreptitiously helping get butts in seats.
Using my iPhone to check the Twitterverse before the show has come in very handy, and it adds a surreal, hyper-modern, meta-theatrical element to my performance. And sometimes, a certain someone, may be singled out in a very unique way.
Every once in a while, more often than I'd like I run across a tweet like this:
Off to the lame circus with my family despite a particular dislike of clowns.
Now right off the bat, he's just knocking the circus, eluding that he's probably just gonna have a bad time no matter what. But add to that, he mentions the clown thing. Anyone who knows me knows I don't take too kindly to clown haters. But I thought I'd let it go. Then, less than an hour later, he pushes further:
Coulrophobia is abnormal or exaggerated fear of clowns." Bugger off! If there's anything that's abnormal or exaggerated, it's a clown.
Okay, so the guy is starting to have an annoyingly good time with his clown-bashing venom, and does so by popping onto Wikipedia for some zinger fodder. I'm trying to keep my cool. A follower of his pipes in, somewhat ignorantly:
Last I checked, there aren't really clowns at that circus...
To which our first guy says:
My @$$ there are no clowns!. It's like the friggin' Blaire Witch Project with grease paint.
And with that, I held my tongue no longer. During the show I wrote to him, knowing full well he'd read it at intermission:
"Blair Witch Project with grease paint" Great line! Hope we didn't totally ruin your night. See you in your nightmares!
Intermission rolls around. This pops up:
RT "Hope we didn't totally ruin your night. See you in your nightmares!" From the clown. In the show. On stage!
And then three minutes later:
Totally p0wn3d — or should that be c70wn3d by a clown from somewhere in the tent about 2 minutes into intermission.
And then five minutes after that, directly to me:
Well played. Truly well played, my funny friend. How on earth did you even see my tweet? I'm not sure if I'm reassured or freaked.
Then my fellow clown in the show chimed in to both of us:
Why don't you two just get a room? Geez.
To which I respond to both of them:
Well I DO know where he's sitting. Hint: Look behind you!
Quoth the guy:
And then even his wife got in on the action:
This is [his] wife and I SO want to tell you where we're sitting.
Despite my encouragement, she didn't. At the end of the show, our guy gives his final thoughts:
I had a great time, guys, and should be able to sleep with the lights off in a few weeks.
Mission accomplished? Have I won this guy over? By playing into his bullcrap fear or hatred of clowns, have I turned him around?
I'm mostly tickled by the idea of using Twitter on my iPhone as another performance layer. Meta-cyber-theatricality. Taking audience reactions, or or just their thoughts, from the web and using them in the performance. At one point in the show when I'm screaming with fear, I screamed this guy's Twitter handle, followed by "I'm...so...scared!!" ala Blair Witch Project.
The evil clowns just got evil-er.
That's just one example of keeping "real time" on the audience I'm about to "entertain" thanks to my iPhone.
Do you happen to be a professional entertainer as well? Do you use your iPhone to enhance your work? If not, do you plan to now?