Well 2018 and so too the Santa School season With a LOT of choices this year from various schools
I will be teaching the "Santa and the Business of being Santa" school with the 4 instructors that have franchised under my Brand.
There are 4 US instructors working across the lower 48 and 1 in Canada. The current schedule for classes are:
Greater Atlanta, GA – Saturday & Sunday, Feb. 17 – Feb. 18, 2018 – 8 am to 6 pm
SUN CITY, CA EDITION –Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 24th-25th, 2018 – 9 am to 6 pm both days
GARLAND, TX EDITION –Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 24th-25th, 2018
SHREVEPORT, LA EDITION – Saturday & Sunday, March 17th-18th, 2018 – 9 am to 6 pm each day.
LAS VEGAS, NV EDITION –Saturday and Sunday, April 28th-29th, 2018 – 9 am to 6 pm both days.
HOUSTON, TX EDITION – Saturday & Sunday, May 26th-27th, 2018 – 9 am to 6 pm each day.
STROUD, OK EDITION – Saturday & Sunday, May 5th-6th, 2018 – 9 am to 6 pm each day.
WILLIAMSBURG, VA EDITION –Tuesday and Wednesday, May 15th-16th, 2018 – 9 am to 6 pm both days.
NASHVILLE, TN EDITION – Saturday & Sunday, June 2nd-3rd, 2018 – 9 am to 6 pm each day.
RIO RANCHO, NM EDITION – Saturday & Sunday, AUG 11th-12th, 2018 – 9 am to 6 pm each day.
Vancouver, British Columbia Canada- Saturday & Sunday July 14-15 2018 - 9 am to 6 pm each day
More classes are being scheduled and all it takes is ten full tuition students to have a class in your area! Cost is still $250 for student and a sponsored guest that shares your books is only $100. All prices US. Included in the cost of the school are the three Textbooks with over 560 pages of text, small props, hand outs and written notes along with a diploma and 12 months of mentoring through contact with the 5 instructors with a combined experience of over 130 years.
To find out more go to satbobs.com to read about the school, schedule and the textbooks.
May your season be Joyous!
" One word only. What's one word you could give a new Santa or Mrs. Claus that is starting out that sums it all up? "
I found this an interesting thought project! My answer was "Build". My one word of advice, "Build".
But what did I mean? What do you "Build"? (Another word for "Build" would be "Develop") and so the the source for this particular blog. Lets begin at the start, shall we? When you first decided to portray "Santa" you needed to put together the look you will present as Santa Suits look pretty much the same all over with slight differences in detail, material used in construction of it and the items you accessorize the basic Suit with such as Belt, Buckle, Boots, pins, buttons, Beard, hat, Bag and bells. That is about it except.... clientele, presentation, advertising and building your business.
Build your appearance by taking care with the selection of your Suit and materials making it. continue to build your appearance with Grooming your Hair, Beard and health. Since all of these are in a constant state of repair or maintenance Look in the Tool box and see what tools you have to work with here. Do you sew? Do you have some one that does? Hair care, do you understand how the chemicals you would be using on your head and face! Finally do you have qualified contractors on hand near by that can do that job for you charging a reasonable price for the service? That should cover the "Building" part, yes? No!
Build your presentation. Build your "Act" as "Santa" that you will present to the Audience you perform for. Private Family visit, Corporate Employee Christmas Party. Corporate Customer Promotion party, Strolling Santa in a Store or Mall, Sitting in a Chair in a Mall as the subject focus in a "Three and Done!" photo opportunity or televisiting in a Children's Hospital or visiting an Adult Assisted care for Memory challenged (along with many more various situations). Better get out that tool box and see what tools you have to work with.and remember, if all you have is a hammer, your approach to every problem will be to pound them. Look to stock your tool chest with tools that will finesse the project rather than beat it to death with your "Mighty Ho, Ho, HO!" hammer. Having a Story telling Flat head Screw driver combined with a Carol singing Phillips head screw driver combined with an adjustable wrench stock of all purpose answers ready for those questions that seem to come every year. Don't forget to store a quantity of Nails, Screws and fasteners of various size and color as the best Hammer still needs a nail to pound to make something. Otherwise all you can do is tear down/beat down/Break down instead of build.
All done?? NOOooooo! Not yet!
Build your Clientele and Contacts! This takes different tools to build those circuits and maintain that transmission of information flowing. This is going to take a different type of tools but building this is very important as well to any growing Business. First you will need to have some Advertising "Brushes" to "Paint" your business with. Small brushes like Business cards well designed work here. Wider brushes would be press releases, Flyers, and developing a social media presence. From there you could look into an "Area Sprayer" to cover larger areas such as a well designed web page, mining your Email accounts, Wrapping your vehicle with contact information and pictures of your presentation then using (judiciously) constant contact to notify clients about your product. So the kind of tools you would use for this part of your Building project would be in the form of Pliers to hold the attention of your clientele while you connect them to your products. You will also need a supply of connectors and a few Splicing tools as well.
So keep in mind when you go out to portray Santa for the Public, you want to build a beautiful modern Home and Office to work from. Try to be a step up from a rustic outhouse lacking running water, electricity and wifi. So pick up that tool box, look inside to see what you might need to add to it and then look at the project you have built with an eye to what and where you can add to make it better.
Finally once you have your own house in order with tight doors and tight roof with a dry basement, You are ready to look around and offer help to others still working on their "Building" and stocking their tool box. This is called Mentoring.
Since my last writing in this thread, I have helped 6 Santas find work in malls, 5 Santas find work in Bass Pro Shops and 1 Santa hook up with a photography studio that does Christmas portrait sessions. Not a one was for "BIG MONEY" but they did pay decently for the amount of effort that would be involved on the part of the performer. All those positions could lead to future employment for those individuals as well.
The economy is in flux and that leads to employers being conservative in what they are willing to pay. In times like this you must be willing to extend yourself when looking for work. Look and think outside the box. Extend yourself and your circle of search when you do look for work.
An exciting project has just started that may bring work to over 100 Texan Santa in 2019. More details may be coming in April 2018 at the ISC (Denver) and Nationwide Santa (Las Vegas) events. Keep your fingers crossed. What does this mean to You, the individual Performing Santa? Not much unless you decide to start hustling. Get out there and make sure people know you are available for Parties, Corporate events. If you are like me and see the world as "What could this lead to?" rather than "I refuse to lower my standards by taking this job!" You might well find you're making some money by getting out there showing people what you can do which leads to more work this season and in future seasons.
Several friends lost their gig making $12,500 (at $25 an hour) only to find entry level gigs that pay $6500 (at $40 an hour) with the possibility of advincing up the ladder in the new company if they prove their worth. Just saying "I am Worth $250 an hour!" does not do it on this kind of playing field. If you are happy with doing 20 visits a year, 30 even, good for you. If you wish to bring the Joy of "Santa" into more homes or Families, then you need to start hustling to find the work and then do the work.
While doing all of that, Look HARD at the people you are hoping to work for! What is their track record? How happy are the people that are working for them? Do they honor their contracts with you? Every time? The word is out on several current employers and though we have had a "Code of Silence" in the past, today that is no longer in play thanks to the prevalent actions of some of those employers. Honesty is not something you can put in the bank or spend but it does reflect on whether you will receive the funds you contracted for if you hold up your end of the contract. Work for some of those that do not honor their commitments and Contracts and you will find yourself with far less cash to spend.
Learn to do Business! Learn what a contract is for before you say "I never use a contract, a hand shake is good enough for me!" In life there are "ups" and "DOWNS" don't let a setback stop you! Go out and build new contacts, new relationships, New Contacts and start building your Career As a Performer NOW! This is what business owners, business people, creative people do in building their trade and clientele. After this season, you will se a whole lot of that happening in the Southern Coast states and Eastern Seaboard. Strong weather has that effect.
No matter what the climate (Business or Weather) those that prepare and build their base well, those people will be in a better position to take advantage of changes in the ongoing season and what happens from there. No one starts a business with a guarantee of success. In fact more new business fails in the first 5 years than succeed. What those new businesses that do succeed have in common is the ability to adjust to the changes in their industry.
Become a person that is self starting! One that is both ethical and honest. One that in 10 years from now people in the business will point at and say "That person is great to work with and gives fair value for his fees. Customer satisfaction is his/her first priority! Because when it is all boiled down, this is a service industry that lives or dies by its service provided. Advancement up the ladder does not always go to the one making claims of high earnings or "Who" he had on his knee. It is done quietly, diligently and consistently visit by visit, customer by customer.
Everyone! Is! Picking! On! ME!
Or the subtitle
Everything I write revolves around me!
Caution!! Long post of a blog and if you do not like my writings? Skip over it! Nuff Said on that!
ALright, there was a thread on the SatBobS group that started out with a very valid point about Santas and what they earn with a side comment about self promotion by telling the lay public how much they were paid started by Derek Dugan. Great point Derek! I was in complete agreement with it!
Well that was one point for Derek but the thread soon included people with slightly differing points of view and they were also valid unto the writers. Eventually there comes a point in any thread where a difference of opinion will be expressed in such threads especially when one party presents there point of view and inserts it in response to any and all he may differ with.
It was at this point one such incident happened between an elderly and well written member of the community who has chops going back decades in the education side of the Santa community made first an oblique comment on one of Ed Taylor's statements to which Ed immediately took up the challenge and made the conversation about him for that stretch of the thread.
I have made the effort to copy and save that thread in its entirety as it has a rich amount of opinions from many and I would hate to see a post on one of my groups be thrown away or deleted simply because it had some controversy in it.I also dis like any editing of a post by self deleting a point or series of points which leave a person's responses to those now deleted points look like he is talking to himself. That kind of action still gets you removed and banned from this group and many of the groups I moderate on. Big "no no".
So lets get to the meat of the lesson this thread gives us. We spin the "Wheel of Morality" (animaniacs fan here) and it comes down to this little bon mot.
The world does not revolve around "You".
Take a bucket of water and punch your hand into it making a big splash and the water seems to be quite agitated. Pull your hand out and it quickly returns to a calm state. Select a bigger quantity of water and the area you punch is still agitated but the larger pond is not consistently following. Big Fish+small pond= large splash. Same fish in larger lake? Not so much.
Your opinion is valid unto your self and if you believe your own PR then you are indeed a very large fish in your eyes. Unfortunately you will always run into people that do not agree with your opinion and will have to learn to accept that or ignore those "Nay sayers" in order to continue your "cult of personality" you are trying to sell.
Personally, I have learned you simply can not make everybody happy no matter how hard you try but pissing off a whole lot of folks is a piece of cake! So take this advice with a brick of salt, not everything is about "You".
Instead of trying to couch your presentation featuring you and your opinions, set your message as the focus that you are trying to communicate to others. Some will accept it, others will reject it but you and your opinions will be safely set aside so you will not be offended or hurt emotionally. Make the information the point and the instructor the means of the transmission of that information instead of sharing the light as your personality and "what you do" as the message.
I now return you to your current "tempest in a teapot" for your entertainment pleasure.
And No Ed, this blog is not all about you or picking on you. It has become common enough that many share this particular problem through the decades going back over 20 years in the Santa centric Community in all of its various permutations. Old hat actually but many new Santas and performers simply do not have the perspective of history to follow and feel it does not affect them as it did not happen on their watch.
Everyone has an idea what it takes to be Santa. They then go forward to follow that idea into reality. Where the fantasy meets reality is where some problems occur.
No matter how you conduct your Santa performance service, you are conducting one of two different things in the eyes of the IRS. You are either spending your money on an expensive hobby which you are not allowed to write off OR you are operating a business Which has to show a profit 1 out of 3 years or as my accountant says 2 out of 5.
In the eyes of the local city and county tax offices, if you advertise you are operating a business and need proper permits and licenses.
Some think starting an LLC will protect them and their property but as has been shown, that does not exactly work the way some folks think it will. Everything used under the LLC is up for grabs. Vehicle, Equipment down to the lap top and cell phone used in the business is up for grabs when you rely on a LLC to protect you. If your actions go beyond the coverage of a LLC it can be pierced and all your personal assets are then up for grabs as well. In many states personal liability insurance is a better protection for the cost all the way around.
Your presentation will determine your market and your abilities will determine your share of that market. As Santa we are portraying a fictional character the image of which is fixed in much of the public's mind and shown in movies and pictures and books dating back to 1822. Currently for the last 12 years there has been a push to alter that image by including/merging the image of Father Christmas from the "Old World". Nothing wrong with that but you are now competing with an established image that is being exported to those "Old World" countries that are importing the traditional Santa image and the folks at home that want the "Rankin Bass" image.
I have strongly suspected this used as a way to "separate" one presentation from the crowd of "Clones" in order to breakout and win market share based upon a "New and Fresh" look or gimmick such as any new "Bling" that will set your Santa image apart from the crowd. This is the easy path to being different or individual as a performer.
I advocate a better and stronger way to separate yourself from the herd. Be a better performer. Unfortunately that takes study, effort and work on your part over and above putting on a different looking suit or belt or accessory. It takes personal development in order to stand out.as a performer portraying the role of "Santa". You need to actually develop and expand the basic character and bring it to life right in the venue you are performing in be it a corporate party, a mall set or a living room. You have to step into that role when recognized on the street or in a store or at the gas station even if not in the Suit.
How do you do this? By studying the traditions and history of the character. It is all there and several schools can help you with this but essentially it happens when you decide to take this activity seriously, like a business.
Some use this as a path to spread their personal religious beliefs and sense of moral behavior which is not counter to the role we portray. It is when we begin to use the role and our religion and or our political beliefs to beat on others that is not acceptable.
A Santa is a Santa first keeping in mind we are there for the children and keeping the fantasy of the fictional character alive during their short years of believing in that wonderful fantasy.
The message we bring is for all ages but the sector of the public that is our most important demographic is children. if not for them, we would be a footnote and nice story made into movies. Remember that the next time you are tempted to beat on some other "Santa" that does not eet up with your personal expectation of how he should act or look or conduct his business.
Instead of beating on him (or her) for their presentation as a Christmas performer, let this become an open door for you to help another learning how to be better. Make the effort to instill an idea, educate someone that has a poor image in their mind of what we do by educating the people in the public about what it is we do. Make this a better performance and world one person at a time.
In the process you will become Outstanding in how you portray and perform the role of Santa, Mrs Claus, Elf or any of the many various roles that are Christmas Season venues. Strive to be the best and help those you come in contact become better as well. In this fashion you will become an Amazing Santa. A Mentor to others and someone that has made the industry better for it.
May your season be Joyous!
I advise people that work in the entertainment business as performers to learn to adapt to the current Environment. By that I mean you look at the opportunities available to you in your area of operation and then look at how this can be made to work for you. In the previous (rambling) blog on this subject I used my school as an example of how I used this idea when in competition with other schools and education opportunities. Since that is still an experiment I will give another example.
Back in the late 80s I had been a clown for 7 years and felt I knew everything there was to know about this business. (Boy, was I wrong!) An opportunity came to me from a housing developer/builder. They were looking for a Clown Sign waver at several properties for the weekends about 6 hours a day Sat and Sun. This is way back when min wage was far lower than now and so was prices on all manner of consumables like 260Q balloons being less than $3.00 a bag of 144, Gasoline well under $2 a gallon and just about everything else was a lot lower.
The offer was $25 an hour for 12 hours a weekend and the run was for 3 months. The problem was the length of time to collect the balance due and operating costs. My decision was to become an agent of sorts. I would take the regular weekend work sporadic as it was to have cash coming in and I paid friends $15 an hour to dress up and wave the sign. I paid them weekly every Tuesday out of the earnings I made working private party and lived close to the bone for that first month. They were happy to make $180 a weekend and I kept the account until their payroll dept started to really drag out the payment for work performed. I looked at the situation again and decided to farm the job over to a reputable agency I had worked for for 5 years by this time.
This lead to me working for $15 an hour when called upon by the agent but I was paid every Monday like clockwork. Kitty (the agent) had the contract expand to cover as many as 8 different locations every weekend for several years but because she had deeper pockets and more cash flow from other projects she could keep those contracts satisfied and make money. I also worked other venues making more than the basic $15 an hour each weekend over this time but covered the gig for Kitty when she needed another body.
So instead of trying to keep the contract I choose to pass it on to a friend in the business who expanded the venue making work for several other friends, improved my position with in the agency when the choice came up for who was provided for higher paying jobs and maintained a good relationship with the developer to this day.
I looked over the options available, weighed the Pros and Cons of each and decided the path that held the best benefit to me for the next 30 years.
Again as a clown, I had a Major competitor that was going head to head with me over all the work in the area! It seemed to always come down to one or the other of us would win the contract no matter from where it came.
I had several options.
I could undercut her price and make less money but land more jobs. In essence work more to make the same.
I could demand the agents use only me and that would likely end my relationship with those agencies and cut of those streams of income.
I could meet with her (Curly the Clown) and see if we could not work something out between us.
That turned out to be another 30+ year good choice. My friend Becky (Curly the Clown) and I worked many venues together as agencies realized we were a good team. We networked together adding other friends from the business as time went by.This increased the earnings for both of us in part because we could command more money through the various agencies and when one or the other had a gig on their own we worked together to fill the job.
I became a Santa in 1980 simply because it is a slow time for Clowns and Magicians and the agent I was working for under a very strong "Non-competition" contract looked at me and said
"You're a big guy! Here put this suit on!" and I became Santa. No training, no knowledge of the role other than the Ranking Bass television movies. To say the least I was most likely the worst Santa you could ask for but that was my start. My first 15 years of being Santa as a designer beard saw me improve in appearance, knowledge and fees I could command from the agencies that asked for my services. I might have associated with as many as 8 other Santas during that time but only in passing when we bumped into each other in the various agency offices.They were not very social and I did not think about that aspect in regards to this branch of entertainment.
Then I received a call from a good friend and agent in 95 telling me about a group of Santas that actually got together off season in January to share stories of visits and network together. Only thing is,they were all real beard performers. I said, "Gina, I don't have a beard!" to which she told me "Grow one!"
Well in 95 I started growing my beard and was a presentable "M on 34th ST." Santa that first year. Because I was RBS, the agencies paid e more. Because I was exposed to the experiences of other Santas my learning curve went vertical. I made many relationships that I network with to this day and made several very good friends that to this day remain close in spirit if not in distance. Tim Connaghan, John Dore, Steve Eastis, Stephen Arnold, Bob McMasters, Ron Vedder, Bo Turner, Jonathan Rich,Tom Cortemeglia, Robert Tatangelo, Ron Breach, Don White, Spangle the Clown, Bob Bulick, Thomas Carmody, Robert Baxt, Keith Alton, J. Paul Raines, Morgan Putnam Robert Seutter, Ed Taylor, Larry Shaw, John Breen. John Davis Williams and many many more too numerous to list have become in person, real life friends over the course of the last 24 years since I became involved with large social groups formed around Santas now politically correctly called Christmas season workers/performers. All mentioned and not mentioned are friends that stay in touch across the country and then there are the people I have only met through social media. Such as Robin Black, Ian Loxton and Carlo Clemm to name just a few.
Social Media or real life, all have made a positive impression on me in my life and not only enriched my life but remain friends to today.
Just an example of how networking and sharing with others can make a big difference in your business and life. Of how you approach business and life in your choices canmake you not only far better off financially but richer in personal relations.
The most recent change in how Bass Pro Shops handle their Christmas seasonal business has once again inspired people to grab a handy soap box and pontificate upon how "They" would prefer the Bass Pro Shop Corporation to do business the way "They" would prefer since the "Bone head Greedy new guys in charge" obviously do not know what they are doing. Besides it affected "My" pocket book! "This will come back to hurt their business!" and often seen "It is all the fault of (someone that has absolutely no fault or power in the business decision currently happening) and that person should be eliminated!" (That last is one of my personal favorites! I spend many a happy hour trying to figure out how anyone outside of the top corporate structure has any power to sway managed to effect such a change.) But then I am easily amused. The path to success is not to bemoan the loss of the past opportunities. It is in looking and examining the present and all it entails to find a situation that might help you achieve that success once again in a different way.
To all that this event and others that have happened in the past and for those who will be affected adversely in the near future when other changes in the way the people that hire us to portray the role of "Santa Claus" go into effect, You have my heartfelt condolences. That and $12 will buy you a large coffee at Starbucks. Maybe. The point is the ONLY constant in any field of business is CHANGE. Change is constant and comes in many small and occasionally large ways every day. There is one aspect to this process that every individual has a great deal of power and control over this situation and that is in how you deal with it. That lesson can be used in every part of your life! I certainly used that attitude in my recent battle with Cancer and also in how I operate my personal business which is the "Santa and the Business of being Santa" school.
Faced with no fewer than 30 new Schools, Symposiums, Round Tables, Colleges, Conservatories and Universities (opened since Feb.2014 when my school popped into existence) chose to call a Spade a Spade when describing my educational effort. It is a technical School for people that wish to learn the basic issues, a lot of the intermediate concepts and a few of the advanced ideas involved in this business of being a professional Independent Contractor Entertainer from one that has been exactly that for 39 years as of 2017. That has proven to be a good way to advertise what I actually have to offer but a poor example to "sell" my school as a lot of people prefer to be made "Amazing", "Outstanding", "Extraordinary" or any of the other "buzzword" claims you usually hear on "Ronco" television ads for "Turnip Twaddlers". The reason for this is simple. No one can do this except the person that is taking the class. It does not matter where or from who you get your information from as long as it is factual and up to date, the only person that can make you any of those titles is (look in the mirror) You!. Since I refuse to go down the same path as all my competitors in the "Santa/Christmas Entertainer/Mrs. Claus/Seasonal Worker/Independent Contractor Entertainer" educational field of technical school education, I looked for other ways to stand out (sometimes in the rain) from the crowd as something different in how it operates and what it teaches.
This is how I have broken new ground in the area of "Santa Schools". I decided to write a book that would cover the spectrum of what we would run up against when starting out in this field of work that covers the first 3 years rather well. Actually I wanted to do an updated "Big Book of Santa" like Victor Nevada did up in Canada which he finished shortly before his death. I very nearly joined him by the time I finished the third volume of the Textbooks used in the school. (I think it may have something to do with writing a book over 575 pages or a set of same at 600 pages.) Well with the updated and expanded editions of the three volume set now out, (and available through Amazon and quality book vendors near you on the internet) I have brought that to the community while managing to avoid the dying part for now.
The second way I have gone and done something very different is I took steps to make sure my school would last beyond my (then best medical advice and estimate) expiration date. That date is currently back in the "Unknown" box but the steps were taken and remain in place.
Basically I franchised my school to others in vastly different areas across the US and Canada. No other school has tried this experiment and this is the first year of the franchise being offered. In simple terms I made an offer that the very qualified individuals I offered it to they simply could not refuse on financial terms. First year free! Yup the franchise in 2017 for those that take it get the ability to kick the tires and run the shop for free this year. After that, if they decide to continue the agreement, they then will have to make a franchise royalty payment on December 30 of each following year they decide to run the school again. They get the printing at cost for the textbooks used in their classes, and they have a proven curriculum they can follow. Oh, if you are interested in the details, I am currently looking for instructors in the UK, Australia, Europe and anywhere else that imports or uses the Character "Santa Claus". Sorry this is not a school on how to be "Father Christmas" or any other permutation of St. Nicholas. He is a distinctly different kind of portrayal and the focus of this school is on being "Santa" in the country of the origin of the character and those countries that currently import him.
The concept of a Technical school teaching to a focused industry bringing information to the students from Professionals experienced in the field of study is nothing new. Nor is that concept restricted to the realm of performers. It is an interesting exercise in learning just how much experience on the part of the instructor teaching the class is involved. In several cases this issue is side stepped by the use of hiring or otherwise gaining the services of someone that does hold the required level of experience applicable to the study of the subject involved. That too has been going on for quite some time back in the southeast portion of the US and now on Video instruction. In Either case, as long as the students receive fair value and actually benefit from the information passed along, it is a good way to learn.
The concept of a "Traveling" school is also nothing new. Consider the movie "The Music Man" and you see both the benefits and the possible pitfalls. Tim Connaghan's IUSC was avery innovative and surprising method of bringing a quality and quantity of information and education to our community Besides his and my own offering there are or were at least 4 other such schools that were in operation and or continue. Look for Susen Mesco to bring her teachings on the road in 2018. The single one thing that truly set SatBobS apart from all other school up until this year was the policy over the previous 4 years of operation no class booked was ever cancelled due to lack of attendance being the ONLY school that would teach classes of One (1). Sadly due to the shift of operation with the franchised Instructors, that particular part of the class operation has been removed for the current year.
When starting the school I looked hard at what was currently offered back in 2014. One day workshops were to limiting in duration to cover the amount of material I wished to present and so I chose to bring out a 2 day class which eventually grew to include 16 hours of interactive lecture. The textbooks were a work in progress during this time and so the price of the class reflected that as well. LAst year I capped the price of the school at $250 per full student There is also a "Sponsored" student option where the sponsored student shares the textbook of the Sponsoring student. This has been popular with Married couples. Unless or until another Textbook becomes published that is where the price of the SatBobS School will remain for the foreseeable future.
January of 2018 it is my (hopeful) intention to have each announce their schedule of classes and starting in February we would begin teaching classes at the rate of 1 class a month if there is a response from the market. Each instructor will be traveling in his or her territory so that will maintain the classification of "traveling" school but the volume of classes will increase from 9 a year when I was the only instructor to a maximum of 45 classes happening some where near your area during the February through October school season. As I said there are three textbooks included in the full tuition price.
The first book, Santa And The Business Of Being Santa, focuses on the business end of things, covering things like what separates a hobbyist from a professional Santa, being a performer and a Santa, negotiating contracts, pricing your services, ethics, taxes, and a lot more. The second book in the series, The Nuts And Bolts Of Being Santa, talks about things like Santa schools, companies that hire Santas, costumes, beards and wigs, and the people and services that support us in doing this job . Book 3, Santa And The Performing Santa, is filled with great information including the lyrics to Christmas songs, magic tricks, props, Santa’s elves, story telling and a lot more. Over 85 different chapters that are included covering the industry we work in.
So included in the tuition are the three textbooks, 16 hours of interactive lecture, a diploma, and 12 months of question answering "mentoring" for the one price. There are several other benefits attached to the school but suffice to say for the price, you will be hard pressed to find an offering equal to this school. Yes there are some schools that offer more at a higher price. There are also schools that offer less at a comperable price. You pays your money and takes your chances.
The 2016 SatBobS School Tour
GORDON BAILEY·TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2016
Well another year of operation and another Textbook is added to the class. Why should you attend? You have the White Beard. You have the Belly. You have the $1500 custom made Red Suit. You have the $900 pair of Boots. You have the real leather Belt with the $450 Gold Plated Lazer Cut Brass “Santa” Buckle. You have the Bag. You knock on the door and belt out your best “Ho Ho HO! That will carry you for the first 5 minutes. Then what do you do?
THAT is what the various Santa Schools try to teach you! How to pose for the picture. How to gain the attention of your audience and entertain them with Story telling, Songs and First Person anecdotes of the mischief the Elves get into and How Mrs Claus helps to keep things running smoothly up at the North Pole. Eye Contact. Vocal projection. Audience psychology.
All of that and much more that is involved in being an independent contractor entertainer is what you learn from the SatBobS Santa School.
What the SatBobS Santa school covers through lecture and books. In this third year of operation (getting the School up and running and on the road) I have been asked repeatedly this year for "more information" about the school. I will now try to answer that question for folks and in the process set up a kind of guideline for my presentation.The school is broken into 3 sections:
1.)The History of the Character we portray and the difference between St Nicholas vrs. Santa (2 very different Characters with vastly different backgrounds)
2.)The business side of being an "Independent Contractor Entertainer" and the related practical considerations in operating a business whether for profit or for Charity.
3.)Practical information on performance and appearance to further break it down I will list the topics of lecture by section, there is some overlap between sections as to topics though.
Part of the topics covered: Section 1: Be Original (pg.1 bk.1) The Evolution of the Santa Image (pg.7 bk.1) The Export of Santa to Other Countries (pg.145 bk.1) Live Appearances of Santa in America-A timeline (pg.149 bk.1) The Changing Image and Traditions Surrounding Santa Claus as Opposed to St, Nicholas and "Old World Traditions" (pg.153 bk.1) How Traditions of The Old World and New World Applied to Santa Claus (pg.157 bk.1) A new Tradition (pg.21 bk.2) Alternate Names from around the world (pg.180 bk.3) Character Development and Role Playing (pg. 172 bk.3) Santa's Elves (pg,188 bk.3) Old World Companions and Other Creatures (pg.192 bk.3) NORAD Tracks Santa and his Sleigh (pg.201 bk.3) GLONASS Tracks Father Frost (pg.204 bk.3) Candy Canes (pg.205 bk.3) Thomas Nast (pg.167 bk.3)
Three Methods of Learning (pg.3 bk.1) What separates a "Hobby" Santa from a Professional Santa (pg.27 bk.1) Negotiations and the Business of being Santa (pg.35 bk.1) Pricing your Service (pg.41 bk.1) Outsourced HR/Placement Agencies and How they work (pg.47 bk.1)How your Behavior can affect your continued employment (pg.53 bk.1) Business and the Santa Experience (pg.59 bk.1) Experience Matters (pg.67 bk.1) What can a Santa do the rest of the Year (pg.71 bk.1) Insurance Sources (pg.77 bk.1 reprinted with expanded material pg.61 bk.2) Taxes and You the Santa (pg.89 bk.1/reprinted pg.56 bk.2) A few words about Agents/Agencies (pg.6 bk.2) A sampling of Work opportunities from 2014 (pg.9 bk.2) Santa Schools and Educational opportunities (pg.23 bk.2) Listings for Custom made Santa Suits (pg.32 bk.2) Listings for "Off the Rack" Suits (pg.35 bk.2) Reasons to Cultivate relationships with a "Brick and Mortar" store (pg.38 bk.2) The Myth of the Refundable Deposit (pg.41 bk.2) Credit Card capture devices and a Caution in their use (pg.43 bk.2) How Blogs and your Hobby can Help you Earn Money (pg.48 bk.2) Copyright Material (pg.52 bk.2) Pay to Play Contract example (pg.121 bk.3) Section 3: The Performing Santa by Robert Seutter/Santa True (pg.84 bk.2) Wigs and Beards by Marianne F. Coleman (pg.64 bk.2) Hair Bleaching advice by Barbara Tompkins (pg.80 bk.2) Santa Suit construction and Care by Krissi Peters (pg.81 bk.2) A Topic that No One Wants to Approach (pg.21 bk.1) Ethics-What are they and How They Apply to the Santa World (pg.81 bk.1) The Checklist (pg.97 bk.1) Magic and Santa (pg.103 bk.1) Profitable activities for Mrs. Claus and Elves (pg.109 bk.1) Make up and Santa Image Enhancement (pg.115 bk.1) What Can a Santa say to Children (pg.119 bk.1) Storytelling By Santa-An Introduction (pg.125 bk.1) Lyrics for Songs Used as Stories (pg.33 bk.3) Alternate Props for a Santa presentation (pg.160 bk,3) Santa and the use of Magic in a Visit (pg.104 bk.3) Making use of Visual Properties to Introduce and Illustrate Story Lines (pg.37 bk.3)
I hope this helps answer some of the questions of what the SatBobS traveling Santa school is "about". Yours,
Santa Gordon Bailey satbobs.com
The Santa and the Business of being Santa school (Also known as the SatBobS school) has begun its third year of operation. A traveling school I bring the education to your area saving you the cost of transportation, time and in many cases housing. In 2015 the SatBobS school drove through 17 states and held 10 classes.
Now I am working on the schedule for 2016. Had the first class in January in Sun City, California.
The class is presented over 2 days and includes 16 hours of lecture and full students receive all three textbooks totaling over 425 pages of material.
The cost of tuition is $225 per full student and sponsored students that share the books of the sponsoring student are $100. So a Santa with a sponsored Mrs. Claus would receive one full set of books to share and the cost would come to $325.
Returning students or any student that has any of the textbooks will receive a $50 refund/discount on their tuition. Sorry but the discount does not stack.
This Santa school addresses the fundamentals of being an independent contractor entertainer addressing the business end of being a Santa from how to negotiate a contract to taxes to expanding your market and includes examples.
The class goes on to cover the various connections you need to do the job well and easily, has some of the history of the character we call Santa and the formative influences that caused that character to form. How Santa has become a export back to the Old World and gives you some depth into the background of the character to help you portray him. Finally the class addresses performance and types of different performance classifications such as improv, story telling, magic, cooking, ...the list is rather extensive. Mrs Claus and elves are not ignored by any means! Profitable activities using these additional characters are discussed and in the case of Mrs. Claus several ideas on how to set up Mrs. Claus visits and activities that would have her out on her own performing in various ways. Included in the cost of tuition is several handouts, a diploma and for the full paid tuition student a complete set of text books for the class including :
Vol.1 Santa and the Business of being Santa
The starter book for my class. Covers a little of everything.
Vol.2 The Nuts and Bolts of being Santa
The book that contains connections to the people and businesses that support us in doing this work including those that hire us.
Vol.3 Santa and the Performing Santa
This book has performance tips, discusses performance Magic with an eye to fitting into a Santa visit. Story telling, Singing, Pay to Play contracts with an example, history of the Santa character and the different influences that caused the formation of the modern Santa.
All it takes is 8 students to have me come out to your area and hold a class. That and someone that will help me with finding the venue to hold the class.
So here is the updated list of where you will find the SatBobS traveling school and myself peddling my books and other wares.
2015 list of locations:
April 11th & 12th Simi Valley SatBobS school
April 25th - 28th Las Vegas Nationwide Santas event
May 4th & 5th Springfield Mo.SatBobS school
May 9th & 10th Memphis Tn. SatBobS school
May 15th & 16th Nashville SatBobS school
May 23rd & 24th Dallas SatBobS school
May 30th & 31rst Houston Satbobs school
July 24th & 25th Seattle SatBobS school
Remember, it only takes 15 Santas coming together and asking for a class to arrange for me to travel out to you. I have openings in June and August for further classes this year.
For information about the school or to pay for your tuition go to SATBOBS.com and look around. Use the PayPal buttons to order your books or class admission.
Santa Gordon Bailey
About 2 years ago, Santa Ian Loxton, Tim Connaghan and myself all came to the same idea at pretty much the same time and Tim coined the term "Santa Emeritus". Basically there comes a time when a Santa simply cannot do the work of being Santa due to illness, injury or simple old age.
That does not mean they have to hang up the suit and stop. There is a slowly maturing technology based Santa visit that has just had it's start in 2012. This is the "Video over the Internet" visit with families.
Now through "Video calls over the internet" there is another way for those that no longer have the strength, stamina or ability to travel and visit for an hour or hours at a time to continue to work. Back in 2012 they came out with "Your Santa Story" and that was the first attempt of a large scale marketing of this idea. It flopped due to some poor planning and marketing on the part of the developers but the idea survived and has grown. It was a mixture of a personalized DVD that was sent to the home for the family to watch and live or recorded over the internet messages.
Then came along the "Hello Santa" that was bought by JibJab last year. Also last year there was another entry called "Talk to Santa" and while they did not come close to meeting their goals, "Hello Santa" did show improvement from the first year to the second.Back about 2 years ago, You need a good solid and fast internet connection, a decent computer or laptop that can handle the information/data transfer and a good web camera. What has hampered the growth of this type of "visit" is two fold. First the public has to adopt it fully and there is some significant lag in this so far. Last year was the best response so far but there is a long way to go before this takes off.
The second and most important is the Santas themselves adopting the medium. You work from a split screen following a script and plugging in the information provided for the call. The problem seems to be not many of the Santas seem to be able to project the energy, eye contact and enthusiasm needed to carry off the interview.
Granted it is a new medium and even though the call may be "live" the Santa is alone in a room with a backdrop and a computer but no children to work off of. This is something older Santas will have to adjust to and work on in order to make this type of visit work for them. Younger, more tech savvy Santas have shown to be better able to adapt to this new medium but even then you need to be able to project your personality through the internet with energy and enthusiasm.
Improv training, Story telling training and even joining a Speech writers club might be helpful in getting better with this. But as this medium continues to improve and mature, NOW is the time to make the effort to become skilled in the ways mentioned here in order to be the kind of Santa that can and will thrive and grow with this new idea.
It started as a concept. A new story tradition. An amalgamation of "Old World" traditions brought to this "New World." Just like the banjo and the stumpt fiddle, "Santa Claus" was born here in America. From a small start the tradition grew as it embodied a new direction while keeping alive many of the old traditions.
First mentioned in print in 1772, as St. A. Claus. The new tradition left behind to the "Old World" many of St. Nicholas’s companions such as Black Peter and Kram…pus, Santa was a far more gentle and forgiving tradition.
As time passed, the tradition of Santa grew in popularity, so too did the stories and "touchstones" of the new "Santa." Used mostly as window dressing in the early half of the 1800’s, to draw customers to the stores, the image was defining itself as well with political cartoons run in the Harpers Weekly. Toward the end of the 1800’s, we saw the first "live" Santa performing in stores and on street corners ringing bells to collect funds for meals.
With the advent of the motion picture, the image of Santa and the associate traditions and stories rapidly grew and changed. With each military conflict involving America, wherever we went, so too did Santa. WWI, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Desert Shield and all the conflicts since, saw Santa going to those lands to give comfort to our personnel.
In doing so, we exposed the local population to this tradition as well and Santa has been making great inroads in supplanting or replacing the older St. Nicholas traditions that may have been already in place there and planting the idea of Santa in lands that did not have such a tradition centered round the Christmas Holiday.
Now we see Santa working in places such as Mainland China, Japan, the Philippines and even Ferrari World in Dubai.
The traditions of Santa Date back less than 300 years where as the traditions of St. Nicholas go back beyond 1600 years! The change of the Santa image and tradition over the last 15 years is vastly greater than the change in the St. Nicholas image and tradition over the last 300 years
From time to time, we all encounter someone who is convinced that, “Magic dealers are ripping off magicians!”
The reasoning goes something like this: If a shop can afford to run a sale, then the shop’s regular prices are too high.
I have heard this claim firsthand from magicians in person and I have seen similar comments online. Recently, on a popular magic forum I read about a shop running a 40% off sale and the commenter said if the shop could afford to sell merchandise at 40% off, then retailers in the magic business must be making a killing.
FORTY PERCENT OFF!?!?!
I was intrigued, so I checked it out and sure enough the magic shop was running 40% off their catalog of magic tricks, books, and DVDs. It excluded any of their special-priced or one-of-a-kind items, but still, so much good stuff on sale! A lot of the discounted items were from
Magic shops don’t make the high profit magicians think they do.
This made me think that magicians really don’t understand what their local and online shops are going through post-recovery. Brick-and-mortar shops should be on the endangered species list. We’re talking hen’s teeth. And online stores come and go all year long, with only a scant few making it to five years. Selling magic is a tough business. I am always heartened by the shops that continue to push forward, against the odds, to be there for their loyal customers, and to spark the imaginations of the new generation of bearded hipster buskers, illusionists, and conjurers.
Margins are razor thin.
How much does a shop make when it sells a magic trick?
Answer: about 15-20% of the trick’s retail price.
Are you surprised?
If the shop sells you a $35.00 trick, they really only make about six bucks. Not a lot of profit considering labor costs, payment fees, insurance, rent, shipping to and for, server fees, utilities, and the time and expertise shared while selling you the greatest magic trick ever. By the way, that $6 profit only appears in the shop’s coffers if the magician paid full retail. Toss a 40% off discount into the mix and the shop just lost $7 on that $35.00 sale.
At 40% off, the customer is purchasing merchandise at the same price as the magic shops, but with zero risk.
So how can a “real” shop have a 40% off sale and make money? It can’t. The shop is not making any money on sale items at all. In fact, it is losing money. Its fervent hope is to make it up when the customer’s gaze falls upon a one-of-a-kind item that is exempt from the sale. There is also the hope that the sale will lure in new customers, be they pros or neophytes.
Magicians, take advantage of sales!
But remember whenever you buy anything over 15% off, the shop really isn’t making a profit. Consider also picking up an item exempt from the sale, or forgoing the sale and supporting the shop without a discount. C’mon! Throw the shop a bone once in awhile. Magic shops need your [full-price] support.
Now to translate that over to the Santa world it only takes you transposing the words "Santa Store" over the words "Magic Shop", and "Santas" over "Magicians" . Simply make the mental adjustments appropriate and you will see this applies to all kinds of entertainers.
So why shop a "Brick and Mortar" ? The benefits of networking. A shop is open 365 days a year mostly. It draws a lot of customers potentially looking for the services you provide. By developing a good working relationship with such a store in your area, you increase your chances of getting a gig you did not have to generate on your own.
You leave flyers, business cards and contact sheets with the store owner and if they like you, they hand them out to customers looking for the services you sell. Of course that means you need to be a reasonably good customer for this to happen. Drop in from time to time, pick up a pair of gloves or a prop if you see something that you could use in your act.
Yes it might cost a bit more than via the Internet but the added income from the jobs the store will generate for you is more than compensated. That and it is handy to be able to drop in last minute for that one item you need for a show!
Various Credit Card Capture devices and Protocols
A cautionary tale included
There are now many different means of accepting Credit Cards and ATM Cards for payment. Care must be taken to use the devices carefully and correctly as otherwise you are in for a lot of trouble.
I have listed 6 that are popular and fairly recent onto the scene but there are more out there and they all have different percentage costs per "Swipe" and some include fees per "Swipe" or Monthly fees that are charged to you whether you use the device or not.
Most can be used with a internet capable smart phone just about anywhere you can find a WiFi connection or over your 4G network. The advantages of being able to offer this method of payment is obvious. You could make it easier for those that came to your Garage sale to buy that Moose Head! If you are operating a business as an entertainer, you can accept Credit Cards over the phone and in person at a Venue.
As with all things of modern convenience, there is a down side to this wonderful technology. It can be very painful to your finances if you do a show, sell an item or simply take a Retainer only to have it "Charged Back" to your account. Here are the words of experience of Carmen Tellez, a professional entertainer and business owner for many years relating how she lost about $1000 using PayPal as her means of accepting Credit for payment.
Carmen recently posted on a local Professional Face Painter's group about this problem and gave me permission to use her words. Seems her company CharmandHappy was not the only business that got stung by these people. One of the ways to fight the problem is to alert others in the community of the danger.
WARNING Will Rogers WARNING!!!
Friends whom are party biz owners. Beware!
There seem to be a ring of douchebag party theft of services in SoCal.
Last time I protected the names. But now I'm putting it out there
even though those may be fake.
Jay & Jasmine White
1416 96th in L.A. 90047
1417 96th in L.A. 90047
emails ordering from:
They are having lavish parties, charging total on card, then doing a chargeback as a fraudulent charge.
Many small party biz companies have now been a victim and another chargeback was reported just this morning.
(This caught my eye so I asked for more details from Carmen as she is a long time friend.)
" I should have known better. I originally said no charging total but thought with a paypal invoice linj itcwould be okay
Re: paypal they do not favor using system for deposits or services. Only oriduct deliveies with signature approving delivery. But a lil later tonight ill send specs"
"The client called to place an order for 2 ponies and a petting zoo. She asked to charge total amount to card. I let her know that we do not allow total charge on card. I sent her a PayPal Invoice. She paid $190. We communicated via phone, text, email and PayPal. About a month went by. She called to tell me that her mother wanted to hire for more time and pay with her credit card. I told her that her mother had to call me with that information. So she did. I sent her a PayPal Invoice. About a week went by when she called stating PayPal is having problems. I was not surprised. I took her request over the phone. She said this was a block party and since she is responsible for the balance in cash, she was afraid to have that much cash on hand, she'd rather pay the full balance with the credit card. I gladly accepted. $950 The party was September 13, 2014. A few days after party, $190 (the first charge) was charged back with a claim as Fraudulent Charge. Then September 25, 2014 the balance of $950 was charged back with a claim as Fraudulent Charge. I was informed via PayPal."
"I don't know if a stolen credit card was used or not. It could be they know the PayPal ropes and know they'll win due to my not knowing those tiny details better. Or it could be a stolen credit card. I have no idea."
Now there are some tactics that will help you in this situation, If you use one of these or a Bank Merchant services devise like my B of A capture dongle thatis linked to my Business account, you will generate a receipt to the client that will be emailed to them. When you go to the event or Party use the same cell phone to take a picture of the location, the hosts that are paying for the party and bring a Hard Copy of the receipt for them to sign for your records. Also take a selfie or two of you at the party as proof you performed there. These will strengthen your position if you have to go to court to collect.
Also when you take a credit card in person, ask to see a state identification card like a license. Copy the number of that ID onto your receipt as further proof you did business with the person making the charge. DO this also when you have them sign the Hard Copy you generated if they did this over the phone or by using a PayPal button on your web page. Again this give you the proof you were dealing with the person that made the charge and allows you to make sure it is their card.
This has been an expensive lesson and a hard one as well but well learned now!
The Myth of the Non-Refundable Deposit
This is why I never take a Deposit!
Has this ever happened to you?
"Hi, we were going to have you be Santa for our home party but we just decided to go to the Bahamas for Christmas instead. I know this is short notice but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the whole family and we just have to go! I know this is short notice but can we swing by and pick up a refund of our deposit in the next couple of days? Thank you and Merry Christmas!"
Now the first thing you might think is "My contract clearly states that the deposit is non refundable!" and your thoughts may run along the lines of "I held this date for them for months! Now a few days before the event, they want to cancel and get a refund?!? Fat Chance!"
Well my friends, the key word is "Deposit". And if you contract does not have wording such as "Monies paid as a RETAINER to hold the time and date retaining the services of the Independent Contractor shall not be refunded if the appearance is cancelled. Said RETAINER shall be applied to the total cost of the performance at the time of the event." By taking a retainer and holding the time and date for the event, you earned that money. By taking a Deposit against the total cost of the event, you have not earned anything until you do the work.
So what does that mean? No matter how many times in the contract you put in that the deposits paid are forfeit in the event of a cancellation, if it goes to small claims court, the judge is going to rule that the work detailed in the contract has not been done and that YOU therefore have to return the money. All of it. You don't so the work for any reason, you do not get paid. Period. There is no such thing as a Non-Refundable Deposit.
Here is the reason why. Your contract reads "Santa Inc. will provide 2 hours of entertainment performing as Santa for the family and guests present at the party on December 15th 2014 and all deposits collected will be applied to the total cost of the performance." What that means is when you arrive in court with your copy of the contract in hand and the Judge asks you "Did you perform as outlined in this contract?" Your answer will be "No, because they cancelled." The judge will the rule in favor of the person that cancelled the party as YOU did not do the work. You did not perform and therefore you did not earn the payment.
In short, a DEPOSIT pretty much means REFUND if you do not perform for any reason what so ever. Think about that for a minute or two.
A RETAINER is a different story all together. In your contract you should state that the "RETAINER is collected to hold your time and services for the date and time specified and that you will NOT accept any work or make any other reservations or accept any other clients for said date and time. For this reason, in the event that the client cancels the contract for any reason, all monies paid shall be retained by Santa Inc. in order to offset its loss of business.” This will then stand up in court as you will have earned the money by not taking any other business while holding that time and date for the client.
Retainer you get to keep, Deposit you have to refund.
Now over the last 32 years in the course of doing business, I have given partial and even full refunds. Not because I have to but because it was "Good Business" to do so. When you have a high profile client with lots of friends you would like to perform for in their homes and businesses, it is simply good business to accommodate a client that has a problem that keeps them from holding up their end of the contract.
IF I can afford to do so, IF the client is important to my business, IF they have been honest with me and it truly is out of their control, I will issue the refund cheerfully and promptly. As a very good and trusted friend, Mentor and fellow magician told me, it is all part of the game.
Blogs, Writing and publishing. How they can benefit YOU!
I was thinking about this for a while now (I know, dangerous activity) and it occurs to me that folks "Blog" for many different reasons. Some like to share what is happening in their life at the moment. Others think it is a great way to share what they ate that day. Some,like myself like to share the experiences they have learned from to help inform others of possible "problems" they may encounter when pursuing a particular activity.
I have been blogging on the subject of being an entertainer/performer for several years at this point telling the readers what to look out for both good and bad. Several times the places I had posted the blogs on had folded up and closed, taking my writings with them. Bummer.
Now I write my blog on several "walls" in order to keep them available to share as well as keep track of.But what started as a way to share my experience and sometimes my opinions has now evolved into a way to generate a cource of income as well. No I am not talking about "selling" banners on your web site of linking your blog to an advertisement portal. I am talking about having your blogs published in book form.
I started a Facebook group called "Santa and the Business of being Santa" to build a recognition base on the social media.Part of that was to also share many forms of knowledge and experience I had gained working the entertainment industry as an Independent Contractor Entertainer. With an emphasis on the Santa Claus role and the Christmas entertainment industry but not limited to that alone.
The Blog was a very important part of that. SO were all the other files I included to help others find what they needed to get the job done.I then invited most of my fb "friends" to be members of this group. They in turn added to the files and invited their friends to join as well. And so on, and so on until today at this writing the membership numbers over 1500. Not a bad start for a little project.
The next step was to start a "Santa" school. I decided to use the same name for the school as I did for the group making use of that "recognition" generated by the growth and popularity of the SatBobS fb group. For the class I needed a text book so I looked towards the blog I had been writing for several years and reworked some of them to then make a book for the school. A little more complicated than it sounds but still it was easier than I expected.
Seems I am a very fortunate individual in that I happen to bump into people just when I need their help and advice. I was writing the book and getting it into shape with the major help of a very long time friend Gina Bacon and had managed to get it to the point I could then self publish my efforts for the school when I ran into 2 very talented people that offered their help in getting this published to a much wider audience!
The first was Santa TN. Stephen helped me with his incredible array of skills and talents by putting a web site together for me www.satbobs.com and giving me hours of advice helping me avoid many pitfalls while showing me better ways to accomplish my goals. Stephen also connected me to Charles Barnett.
I knew Charles in passing up until then but what I did not know was that Charles was the owner and operator of the North Pole Publishing House of Memphis, TN. and that he was looking for his first book to publish. Stephen put Charles and I together and again, I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I turned the material over to Charles in March and both he and Stephen worked on it from then through to the end of May before submitting it to Amazon for publishing. Amazon published my book starting in June of 2014 and it has been a fun ride ever since!
Now why am I telling you this? Simple, have you looked through the titles and subjects available on Amazon? Instructionals, Self Help, Cook Books, Photo picture books, Crafts, Stories of all types and much more! Seems just about any one can and has written a book that can and will be published on Amazon. All over the world there are people that share an interest you might have and they would purchase your book if it interested them enough.So far copies of my book have been sold to people in Canada, England and Japan as well as here in the States and that is only since the book has been available since April and it went on Amazon in June. This next year will be an interesting experience to see how well it will sell.
At the end of each month the book sales from the previous month is directly deposited into my business bank account. I do not have to do anything more for that to continue. Amazon prints the books on demand, takes care of the shipping, handles the credit card charges and deals with the taxes. I just get a deposit in the bank at the end of each month
SO, if you write a blog and wish to correlate the individual articles into book form to have it published, I would give you this piece of advice. Go and contact the North Pole Publishing House @ 4728 Stage Road, Suite #1 Memphis, Tennessee 38128 to learn more about the process. Not only is this publishing house have very reasonable rates, they will also take you step by step through the process helping you "polish" the presentation of your book and provide you with proof reading and cover art if needed.
Then you too will be published and hopefully share your interests in a much wider arena while actually getting paid to write about what you love to do. I will be submitting Vol.2 to them in January for similar treatment since the first book went so well!
As always, I will leave this with a hope you find the activity you enjoy so much you would pay to do it, and then find a way to be paid for doing it. This is yet another facet of how this can be done in following the "Secret of Life", which was once a blog here and now section 5, page 17 of Santa and the Business of being Santa vol. 1.
May your season be Joyous!
Santa Gordon Bailey
Instructor and owner of SatBobS School
This is a 70 year old lump of coal given to me today by a very nice lady! She learned I was a Santa and had to give me a lump of coal! Lol! the book is only there to give scale of size of this puppy! Lucinda had kept this in her family from her Grandmother to her Mother and then to her sister to her and she gave it to me. This was from a Kaiser Steel mill originally.
I placed it on the book to give you a sense of size. I am working this "Return to Santa" into a story for this year's season. I will be using the "Lump" that was returned to Santa as a prop in the story while in the Downey Stonewood mall this year. If your in the area anytime after the 5th of November, come on down and see the Lump of Coal and possibly have your picture taken with it!
Everyone has a reason for doing something in Daily life or Life in general. Surprisingly sometimes these go deeper that "Seemed like a good idea at the time." which is usually prefaced by "Hold my beer!" Since 1987 I have had an interesting peice of art work hanging on my wall where ever I call home. It is an "Artist's Statement" made by W. Dan Cantrell and though it caught my fancy back then, over the years I have come to appreciate the deeper meanings. I share with you today.
an "Artist Statement" I had purchased back in 1987 from the artist W. Dan Cantrell which goes as follows:
I do the work because I want to.
I do the work because I like to.
I do the work as a personal exploration of myself.
I do the work to engage other people in thought, perception and emotion.
I do the work because I have something to say.
I do the work because I have seen something beautiful.
I do the work because I have seen something ugly.
I do the work to be the kind of person I want to be.
I do the work because I know how.
I do the work to make money.
I do the work because I am an artist.
Those, in part are my reasons for doing this portrayal of Santa. I am sure there are more reasons that are just as valid unto the person centered on them. Please take the time to determine the reasons YOU do this performance.
Santa Gordon Bailey
Jan. 29, 2014
A topic that no one wants to approach.
One way of looking at it is:
"“Naughty” Joke To Adults Get's Beloved Macy's Santa Fired"
or another headline on the same story:
"Bad Santa Fired From Macy's Over Lewd Joke | The Stir"
Two different headlines on the same story. This happened back in 2010 and was perhaps a bit of an over reaction on the part of the adults involved (No children were present or privy to the joke telling) and also of that on the part of Macy's but it is a problem that is growing.
The Santa involved with the first example was John Toomey told a joke to the adult couple that had asked "Why are you always smiling?" His reply was "I know where all the naughty girls and boys live." Macy's pulled John out of the chair before the next break. No hesitation on the part of the employer to get that Santa out of their building once they had a customer complaint. This is after working the same location for 20 years.
John after he appeared on the "Tonight Show" and shared his story was later hired by the Pub "Lefty O'Doul's" where John collected over 10,000 toys for the children of his city and also earned much more money than he ever did working for Macy's. A small silver lining. Sadly John Toomey passed away in July of 2011. Age 69
In 2013 we had:
"Man arrested, banned from playing Santa, after Hanover Mall incident"
"Herbert Jones, 62, now faces indecent assault and battery after cops say he got handsy with Santa’s Little Helper, leaving the teen in tears as she recounted what had happened to detectives, The Smoking Gun reports.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/mall-santa-62-molested-female-teen-elf-barred-playing-st-nick-cops-article-1.1528938#ixzz2rrfvusVu"
Which even if he did not do what he is accused of here, means he has to fight the case in court, then find a new venue to perform in and on top of that, has lost an entire season over what was possibly a bad act of judgement.
"Winterport lawmaker fired as Bangor Mall Santa after saying 'I don't give a damn'"
"Joe Brooks, who had been working as Santa six days a week since Nov. 15, said he was very upset when he was fired by two female representatives of Noerr Programs Inc., which operates shopping center photo services nationwide. They called him during his evening break, he said.
“At about 6 o’clock I got a phone call from corporate headquarters in Colorado. Two women called me and said they were relieving me of my duties,” he said by cellphone Friday. “When I asked them, ‘Why?’ They said they were not going to tell me. I said, ‘This is a pretty serious matter, relieving Santa Claus five days before Christmas.’”"
"“They said, ‘Two weeks ago you were apprised of a complaint. This is a continuation of that,” the four-time state representative, now an independent, said. “They would not tell me what it [the complaint] was in reference too.”
"Brooks said the only thing that he can think of that could possibly have led to a complaint was a conversation he had with a staff member about three weeks ago during which he said, “I don’t give a damn.”
“Yes, I was in the kiosk and I probably should not have used that word,” Brooks said. “It was a private conversation. I didn’t think twice about it.”
What is the point of all of this? Simple. We need to become more aware of the things we say and the way we conduct ourselves in the public eye. Especially in the High Volume Venue such as a Mall or BPS.
We are products of our upbringing and what was acceptable in the 70's and 80's as we grew into adult stature has become criminally actionable and socially unacceptable in the middle of the 2010 decade. As we have seen, the telling of an off color joke can now have major consequences. The act of touching anyone without their express permission is equally actionable. There is no such thing as a private conversation while you are dressed as Santa and in the public view at any time.
There is a reason for wearing white gloves while taking pictures. That is so your hands can be seen and you have proof you had not touched anyone inappropriately during the picture taking process.
Now we need to be just as aware of what we say and the context it is being said in if you wish to avoid the problems these recent cases have brought to light. At the least they can result in a reprimand all the way to losing your season and criminal prosecution
Always remember you are there to bring Joy and Fun to those that visit with you. You having "fun" is not part of the Job description. If you can not enjoy working this type of venue, then it is not for you and you should seek other venues to play the role of Santa such as home visit, Corporate event or the new emerging Video Chat visit with Santa that has begun.
For those that say "Bah! I will say what ever I chose! It is a free country and I know how to be Santa!" this blog is for you!
May your season be Joyous!
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