3 Guests, 0 Users
18th MarDov Citron wins B.C.E championships award!
ShowSpace entertainer Dov Citron (A.K.A Captain Calamity) is an award winning childrens entertainer from Middlesex, England. After recently scooping a trophy at the 2013 British Childrens Entertainers National Championships ShowSpace caught up with the star to find out the secrets of an award winning entertainer!
So Dov, how did you first become involved in the entertainment industry and what inspired you to work with kids?
I guess I've never really grown up. I've always enjoyed getting up in front of an audience at the nearest provocation and get a buzz from the instant reaction you get when an audience enjoys what you’re doing. I just feel at home in front of an audience. Children's entertainment seems the natural place for me in the industry. I entertain adults too on corporate events and have acted in plays, TV commercials and train entertainers' for the holiday industry but I love the honesty of an audience of children. I like the fact that they won't just sit and watch you out of politeness. If they don't like you, they'll get up and pretend to be an aeroplane or tell you you're rubbish or boring. So if you can engage them and make them laugh and giggle and clap their hands then you really have a very special skill. My own children also encourage me and still love what I do so I guess they're my biggest inspiration.
Where and how did you learn your skills?
I trained as an actor so that gave me an understanding of stage craft. I've also worked in Holiday Camps and various Family Resorts where you have to entertain family audiences of up to 1500 people in amphitheatres with everything from action-dances to game show formats as well as providing day time entertainment programs. This is a great training ground for young people who want a testing ground for their skills but are willing to work very hard. Of course you can play hard too. I was consistently getting great scores from the holiday makers so in the end; Thomson Holiday's brought me 'in-house' to train their entertainer's to do what I do. Other holiday companies followed. In fact I've just come back from Devon Cliffs having worked with a great team of entertainer's for Bourne Leisure's Haven Holiday's program. They'll be injecting a bit of my ethos on entertainment into there performances this season.
I've also worked in Theatre in Education, PR and Corporate Events. All of which provide a great training ground for children's entertainment whether it be doing shows in Shopping Centres, School or compering at conferences. The important thing is to keep working and keep learning.
What do you think makes your shows original and unique?
Having a unique selling point is really important in London where I ply my trade. It is an overcrowded market and there are a lot of very good entertainer's here so it is important to stick your head above the crowd. My shows have a few unique elements; I do a bubble show which is very popular and has won awards. It's taken me to Morrocco and other exotic locations as it's so unusual. The bubble show is a 30min show (although it can be extended). I create bouncing bubbles, bubbles inside bubbles, chains of bubbles, smoke blown into bubbles, hand bubbling, bubbling with house-hold objects, giant bubbles and people inside bubbles. Then to finish off I get a bubble blanket and release thousands of bubbles over the children's heads. The show is all set to music and it sits in the last section of my party packages; after tea so that the parents coming back into the hall to pick up their children see it as well and book me. These days most parents who are familiar with my party package tend to stay for the whole party, which is nice. The most important thing about my parties is that I keep them alive, I don't follow a script. I work the audience giving them magic, action dances, clowning with balloons, interactive games, circus skills, puppetry and lots more. I always mix it up responding to my audience and constantly keeping them engaged. I also offer my clients the option of me coming to their child's party as a popular character from TV or popular Children's culture. Characters include; Pirate, Super Heroes (I can offer lots of options), Mad Hatter, Ben 10, Jedi Knight, Secret Agent, Scooby Doo Characters, Wizard and lots more. The character appearances add a little more value to my parties.
I also believe that a party starts from the point where the initial enquiry comes through and how you attend to the needs of your client from initial enquiry, right through to after party care is vital if you want to keep getting booked. I always arrive at a party early. It doesn't matter that you can set up in 10 minute, a parent putting a party together is always worried that their entertainer is not going to be ready in time so I turn up at least 30minutes before the party to put the client at ease, win over the trust of the birthday child and ensure that the venue is set up the way I need it for me to deliver the best party possible.
What’s the best part about your job?
From my position in front of my audience, I have the best seat in the house and can see every giggle, every smile and every reaction. That's the best part of my job by far.
What’s the best comment you’ve ever received about one of your performances?
I've performed for many well-known people over the years including Madonna and Guy Ritchie's children, The Sultan of Brunei's nephew, Michael Macintyre's children and at Downing Street to name a few. But the parties I enjoy the most are the one's I do in my neighbourhood for the children I see every day whilst taking my children to school. I get loads of lovely comments and testimonials and always direct people to my Facebook page (which is on my business card so people can access it easily) and the comments on there are lovely.
Any disaster’s during a performance, how did you overcome it?
I've just come back from the largest magic convention in the world in Blackpool where I was awarded 3rd place in the British Children's Entertainer of the Year National Championships 2013. I had to perform on the Opera house stage in front of 1500 of my fellow entertainers and magicians. Nerve wracking or what?!! There was a bit in my routine where I use a vacuum cleaner to blow up a 6ft balloon which I climb inside (don't try this at home). I had tested the vacuum cleaner before the show and it all worked but for some reason during the show it didn't. No problems. I thought on my feet, changed the order of my show, threw the balloon and vacuum into the wings and my colleague blew it up for me. I still did the show but not in the order I had planned and the audience still enjoyed it. Well they must have done if my trophy is anything to go by. The important thing is, even when it goes wrong; keep smiling and carry on. No one else needs to know things aren't going to plan. Some of my best shows have come out of the need for me to think quickly on my feet and carry on.
In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about working in the entertainment industry?
There are certainly some deep routed misconceptions about 'children's entertainment'. It seems that most parents have had or have been to a 'bad party'. There is a big difference between entertainer's at the top of their game who love their job and perform each party with enthusiasm, skill and professionalism and there are unfortunately entertainer's who want a bout of weekend cash and really couldn't care less. Clients who have never experienced a good entertainer are sometimes left feeling that all entertainer's are over priced and not very good and that they themselves could do a better job. I am determined to strive to dispel this misconception.
What advice would you offer to anyone wanting to work as a childrens entertainer?
Test out your show on friends and family. Take criticism onboard and adjust your show accordingly. Always entertain your whole audience with games and interactive elements that engage every child. Avoid activities that just engage one child whilst others wait to be entertained ie making a balloon for each child or face painting ever child is lovely but it is best done as a separate entertainment from the main entertainer. Someone should always be engaging the whole room, even if one or two children go off during your show to get face painted. If you do work with balloons; think of ways of engaging the whole audience with balloons not just twisting a few dogs and swords but creating a comical routine where the balloon creation is the end result. Enjoy your work and constantly challenge yourself with something new to keep it alive.