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Jack Mattson Interview 8/14th June

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Graham Lee:
Jack has kindly agreed to give up some of his time to answer the questions this week on balloon chat and some from the Uk will probably be wondering.....................who's Jack :D
Well once you've seen his portfolio and see that he won twister of the year 2009 at twist and shout this year then you'll know who Jack is  ;)
I met Jack for the first time at twist and shout and he's very dedicated and focused on his work, so please feel free to ask him some questions about his twisting life and his other job as a magician as I believe Jack still works in a magic shop in Southern California.
Portfolio details although be warned there are 34 pages of balloons and you will need some time to view everything; http://jackmagic1.balloonhq.com/

He also has a socal twisting group; http://www.socalballoonartists.com/about.html

jackmagic1:
Hello all!  First off I'd like to thank Graham for not only giving me the opportunity to say hello to all of you, but for making the time to provide this great place for us to gather.  Thanks again Graham!  I hope you dont mind I start this a bit early.  Here are some answers to your questions......

1, What road led you into balloon modelling?
I started playing with magic about 11 years ago.  As all magicians know, family members will no longer hire out a magician once there's one in the family.  This made me think I should learn some balloon animals and led me to my first book by Marvin Hardy.  Then I met Don and the rest is a blur....

2, when did you get started with balloons?
I twisted my first dog about nine years ago then really developed a passion for the art once I started paying attention to what Don Caldwell was doing with balloons.

jackmagic1:
3, What’s your best twisting experience?
My first answer to this question was "winning the honor of Top Twister at Twist and Shout 09."  Then I thought, even a BETTER experience has been the opportunity to meet all of you folks in the balloon community.  Winning awards is great, but attending conventions and meeting new friends from around the world has been my best twisting experience by far!!  

4, What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you during a ballooning/entertaining session?
A drunken grandmother demanded I put her grandchild in front of everyone.  "Just make him a quick one."  We all know that one.... After explaining I was just about done with my other group and her grandson was about to get the best balloon I could make him she yells out "he's an a-- h---, he doesnt like kids, lets go."  Then proceeds to go to the group I was working with and tries to tell them what a blankity blank I am and how I dont like kids and such.  This is a VERY mild version.  The long version involves the grandmothers son and daughter yelling at me also.  I was very hurt that night.....

5, What do you most enjoy about twisting & why?
What I like most about twisting is the reactions the art receives.  There is nothing better than a stone face CEO putting on a giant balloon hat and acting like the character or thing he now looks like.  I can tell a story of a couple who sent me an email telling me the kissing monkeys I made for them helped their marriage.  Balloon artists have the ability to bring out emotion unlike any other entertainer.  This on top of having the best friends in the world is what I enjoy most.

6, What's your favourite age to entertain?
Sorry kids!  Children will like pretty much anything handed to them if presented right.  Its the adults I love to entertain!!!  Again, a child smiling is cute.  However two adults running around chasing eachother with balloon hats on is priceless.  I stopped counting the number of adults who at first thought the balloon guy was childish but were first to cut in line once they saw what we can do now days.  
7, Do you have the same act but vary the presentation for all ages or do you have set acts for different ages?
If we are talking about a stage act I guess you can say what I do is the same act all the time.  I never considered what I did to be anything but for a young audience until I was hired to perform the act for a dads Christmas party where no children would be attending.  It was the best show Ive done yet.  The only difference are the jokes and way I interact with the volunteers brought up on stage.

8, What’s your favourite thing to make at the moment?
Smiles!  Honestly my favorite thing to make is something I have never made before.  I take every request I can very seriously.  If they took the time to think of it, I probably should take the time to know it because it will most likely be asked for again.  

9, What is the most asked for model?
As we all know if we ask "what can I make you", we are setting ourselves up for the old "I want a dog, a sword or a flower."  I try to look at the child and imagine what they would like most so this question is a bit hard to answer.  If a boy asks for a sword I will ask him why he wants a sword.  I will ask him if its because he watches TV or does karate, etc etc.  This will lead me to something else I can make for him besides the basic stuff.  I can tell you though if I make my Minnie Mouse bracelet, Mickey or Dons lady bug/hula monkey, I will have to fight off the demands for duplications all night long.  Most of the time I will not make these until the last ten minutes of a gig:)

10, What do you tend to do more of if stuck in the 'balloon production line' model?
I try as hard as I can not to get myself in to these situations.  The balloon companies have given us so much new product to play with, unfortunately the pieces cannot be made quick enough to do in line situations.  However I still try to apply the "Wow Factor" to even a one-balloon design.  So no matter what, stuck in a line situation or at home with hours to work, I still try to make something never seen before by the public.  Thanks to Don, I also use the idead of wands and prints.

11, Who is your market aimed at?
Adults and companies looking to show off to their clients by hiring someone and something different, new and exciting.

12, What kind of work do you do mostly - parties? Corporate? Etc
Most of the events I get called for are birthday parties.  I end up turning most of them down and refering others because I do not work outdoors.  My most sought after gigs are  company parties or events where I can dress people up in costumes.

Ida Twister:

--- Quote from: "jackmagic1" ---
4, What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you during a ballooning/entertaining session?
A drunken grandmother demanded I put her grandchild in front of everyone.  "Just make him a quick one."  We all know that one.... After explaining I was just about done with my other group and her grandson was about to get the best balloon I could make him she yells out "he's an a-- h---, he doesnt like kids, lets go."  Then proceeds to go to the group I was working with and tries to tell them what a blankity blank I am and how I dont like kids and such.  This is a VERY mild version.  The long version involves the grandmothers son and daughter yelling at me also.  I was very hurt that night.....


--- End quote ---

So what do you do in a situation like this??  If you have a parent or guardian that's totally irrate & making a HUGE scene?

jackmagic1:
So what do you do in a situation like this?? If you have a parent or guardian that's totally irrate & making a HUGE scene?
This is a good question.  Every situation is different but my goal is always the same.  I will attempt to find someone else to take over the battle for me.  When the grandmother was calling me names in front of the other group, I had already made them a cute cat.  The girl with the cat told the grandmother to "go drink some more."  I quickly slipped to the other side of the group and continued to make them happy.  The one thing I suggest NOT doing is having any further conversation with someone getting this out of hand.  Get out of there as quick as possible.  Do not try to explain yourself or even make the person happy.  If they must have a balloon, give them a blown up 260 and walk away.  Obviously there will be no way to please this person.  So again, I try to find someone else who has nothing to lose by taking my side.

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