Do you want to become a professional clown and you want to know what it takes? If YES, here are requirements you need to apply and get a clown license. There are no formal academic or legal requirements to becoming a clown, although a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts or in Visual and Performing Arts can be useful. Both degrees teach the skills necessary to conduct a public performance.

However, in practice, you’ll want to spend some time putting together an act and you may want to attend clown school to learn how certain things are done. But if your performance requires music and loud noise publicly, then you may be required to obtain a music license. In the united states, in order to play music in a business setting, permission must be acquired from the composer or license holder.

Typically, it is possible to obtain a “blanket” license allowing businesses to play music owned by a large catalogue of artists and recording studios. Such licenses can be obtained from Performance Rights Organizations, such as ASCAP or BMI.

How Do Clowns Make Money?

Clown businesses make their money from the fees collected for their entertainer jobs. Fees will be adjusted based on the hours in attendance and the work being performed. According to reports, most performers charge fees by the hour. To successfully start this business, it’s important you look to see what other performers in your area charge on average for their services.

Fees can range anywhere from $15 to $100, per hour, depending on the job and the services requested. The person or group hiring the performer may be more willing to pay top dollar if they have the financial backing to pay more. These will all vary, depending on the climate for clowns and costumed performers in your area. An average costumed performer in the United States can make around $35,000 per year.

This number will fluctuate, depending on if this is a full or part-time job and what services you can offer your customers. Note that some larger party companies have reported profits exceeding $100,000, annually, although these businesses tend to be multi-faceted. Versatility, then, becomes key and very crucial. But in this industry, you do not need any license or permit to become a professional clown in the United States.

How to Get a Clown License and Become a Professional Clown

The initial costs for starting your own clown business can be very low, with most of your startup money and resources being spent to outfit your business with the proper insurance, reliable transportation, and the basic supplies used for entertaining at parties.

With less attention on the traditional clown makeup and outfits, many performers are able to perform in regular clothes and minimal make-up, relying instead on the acts they perform and talents they put on display. So, if you want to pursue a career in clowning or below are tips to become a convincing and professional clown.

  1. Create a Clown Persona

The first thing you have to do when looking become a professional clown is to create a unique clown Persona you can align with. Get to know your clown’s character. Is your clown persona introverted, noisy, and shy? What kinds of tricks do you want to do as a clown? Note that a shy clown probably would not do showy magic tricks, and a goofy clown probably would not have makeup with fake tears on it.

You have to ensure that your clown has a distinctive character. Have it in mind that a lot of clowns often improvise when they’re onstage; practice your improvisation while you’re exploring your clown’s character. Additionally, clowns have their own names that they use for professional purposes. This name sometimes ends in “o,” such as “Keno” or “Freyo.” Think about your name carefully, because you will use it to market yourself for gigs.

  1. Attend Clown College and join a Professional Clown Organization

Consider spending 8 weeks learning about the process of being a clown. In this college, you will receive training to develop your clowning skills. You will also receive professional development; after the end of the 8 weeks, the college will facilitate your auditions for different circuses, if you would like.

There are also many groups, like the World Clown Association, that you can join since they support aspiring clowns. Explore the resources that a clown organization can offer to you, whether it might be mentorship from an older or more experienced clown or a tutorial on how to do makeup more effectively. Many of these resources are available only to members.

  1. Obtain Clown Accessories

Clowns are known to always have tricks up their sleeves, from balloon animals to card tricks to handkerchiefs for juggling. The aim of clowns is to be funny and also to show different tricks throughout their acts. Whether you want to make balloon animals, juggle, perform magic, mime, or do a comedic routine, your act will ultimately be a performance.

You can also consider humour, especially slapstick humour, when creating your act. When people see clowns, they want to laugh and be entertained. Be sure to try on your wig at the costume shop to make sure it fits. Clowns often have rainbow-coloured wigs. Purchase an outfit that fits your style, and looks a little bit outrageous. Feel free to layer a bright jacket or blazer over your shirt, too. Find one at either a costume shop or a thrift store.

Clowns often wear very bright colours and prints. Choose pants that match your current ensemble. Buy these at a costume shop. Pyjama pants will also work. Note that nothing is too loud or too outrageous for a clown outfit. A typical clown wears enormous shoes that are bright and shiny. Look for a pair of these at a costume shop.

  1. Choose the kind of work you want to Pursue as a Clown

Most clowns in the United States start out in the world of freelancing, but eventually, clowns either focus on freelance work or try to start performing with a circus. You will have to choose which of these options is for you. Do you want to stay in one place to do freelance work, or would you travel with a circus?

Note that freelance clowns enjoy more flexibility in their schedules, but they do need to market themselves extensively so that they keep getting gigs. However, if you are an established circus clown, it may be easier to get more freelance gigs.

You can also choose to join a circus for a couple of years and then settling into freelance work. Meanwhile, circus clowns need to audition and travel with the circus. But unlike freelance clowns, they do receive health benefits. Many people cannot be circus clowns for their entire careers because the travelling is challenging. Circus clowns may do 500 shows in one calendar year.

  1. Practice your Performance for a Small Audience and Market Yourself

Before you go out to explore this field, consider gathering a group of people you know and trust to evaluate your clown performance. If you know any other people who clown, ask them to critique your performance. Take your time and practice your performance as though it is the “real thing” and ask them to write down comments for you on ways to improve it and things that are working well.

Also create business cards with your contact information, clown name, and photo. Write down your specialties, such as birthday parties, magic tricks, or slapstick humour. Make flyers with this information on them and hang them up in public places (such as coffee shops, restaurants, and toy stores).

Conclusion

Clown and costumed performer businesses have traditionally excelled in the United States, with numerous requests for children’s birthday parties and celebrations often accounting for the bulk of the reservations. Nonetheless, traditional clowns have seen less work, due to the shift in perception of clowns from cheery and happy to more ominous and, for some, scary.

A lot of factors can be cited for this societal shift but the bottom line is, the business is experiencing a change in how these performers use their crafts to maintain a decent work schedule.

Note that by expanding the forms of entertainment available in the performer’s repertoire, the clowning business is finding new and exciting ways to bring the spark back to this classic performing profession. With the new changes come more expansion and growth potential. As a performer, the field is ripe for expansion, but needs creative individuals to steer this clown car to the modern events of the new millennium.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How Do You Become A Licensed Clown?

There are no formal academic or legal requirements to becoming a clown, although a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts or in Visual and Performing Arts can be useful. Both degrees teach the skills necessary to conduct a public performance. However, in practice, you’ll want to spend some time putting together an act to put on as a clown and you may want to attend clown school to learn how certain things are done.

  1. Do You Need A License To Be A Clown?

You may not need a license to be a clown but if your performance requires music and loud noise publicly, then you may be required to obtain a music license. Such licenses can be obtained from Performance Rights Organizations, such as ASCAP or BMI.

  1. Who Is This Business Right For?

Clown business is right for those who are naturally funny, those who love kids and those who are ready to be considered not too serious.

  1. How To Choose A Clown School?

Here are quick steps to follow before choosing a clown school;

  • Check the school’s profile
  • Read up testimonials from past students
  • Request to speak with the school administration
  • Pay a visit and take a tour on the school
  • Sit back to make a decision
  1. How Do You Start A Clown Business?
  • Create a Clown Persona
  • Attend Clown College and join a Professional Clown Organization
  • Obtain Clown Accessories
  • Choose the kind of work you want to Pursue as a Clown
  • Practice your Performance for a Small Audience and Market Yourself
  1. What Does A Clown Symbolize?

Clown symbolizes an entirely unadulterated symbol of fun, frivolity, and happiness. Basically, clowning acts as a creative conduit for personal expression through jokes, costumes, props, and makeup.

  1. Should Clowns Be Licensed By The State?

It will be nice for clowns to be licensed by each state in the United States of America. This will help regulate this line of business and also give players in the industry the opportunity to charge more and earn more.

  1. Is Clown School Hard To Get Into?

At present, Yes.

  1. Do Clowns Have A Union?

Yes, there is kind of a union or body that professional clowns belong to and it is the World Clown Association (WCA). The World Clown Association (WCA) is a worldwide organization for clowns, jugglers, magicians, and face painters. It holds an annual convention, mainly in the United States.

  1. What Are The Three Types Of Clowns?

Traditionally, there are three basic types of clowns that appear in the circus: the whiteface, the auguste and the character.

  1. How Long Does It Take To Be A Clown?

You are expected to spend 8 weeks learning about the process of being a clown. You will receive training to develop your clowning skills. After the end of the 8 weeks, the college will facilitate your auditions for different circuses, if you would like.

  1. Did Steve O Go To Clown School?

Yes. Stephen Gilchrist Glover (born June 13, 1974), known professionally as Steve-O, is a British-American television personality, stunt performer, comedian, and entertainer. He attended Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College (1997).

  1. How Much Does A Professional Clown Make?

On the average, in the United States of America, a professional clown make between $47,297 and $87,382 per year.

  1. Why Do Clowns Wear Makeup?

Clowns wear makeup because clowns prefer to have unique looks to distinguish themselves, and even if one did try to copy another’s makeup, the differences in facial structure would likely still render the two clowns reasonably distinct.

  1. What Are The Costs Involved In Opening A Clown Business?
  • The cost of registering a business name (DBA preferable)
  • The cost of securing any required license and permits
  • The cost of renting an office facility (you can actually start from your home or shared office space)
  • The cost for equipping the office
  • The cost of acquiring various clown costumes, makeups and related accessories
  • The cost of printing business cards, fliers and other PR and marketing materials
  1. Why Do Clowns Wear White Makeup?

The use of white-face dates back to comic actors featured in ancient Greek plays. In these seminal theatrical extravaganzas, white-face enabled performers to project facial expressions to the back rows of cavernous amphitheaters.

  1. Is There A Real Clown College?

Sure, there are real clown colleges in Europe and in the United States of America.

  1. Can You Make A Living As A Clown?

According to SimplyHired.com, the average salary for a clown ranges from around $38,000 per year to $44,000 per year. Of course, those just starting out will earn less while those who are extremely talented can earn much more.

  1. What Do You Learn In Clown School?

Students study such clowning disciplines as acrobatics, juggling, stilt walking, improvisation, makeup and arena choreography.

  1. What Skills Do You Need To Be A Clown?

Clowns need to be comfortable with the idea of both choreographed acts and solo ones. The extempore acts entirely depend on the clown’s comic timing, sense of humor, and wit. Creativity and improvisation ability are also crucial since a clown needs to provide constant entertainment to the audience.

  1. What Are The Ongoing Expenses For A Clown Business?

The ongoing expenses for a clown business include the labor cost for the workers, lease payments for the equipment, costumes and accessories, insurance, purchase of supplies such as makeups et al, telephone and internet subscription, fueling and the amount allocated to monthly marketing efforts.

  1. How Does A Clown Business Make Money?

Clowns make money by keeping people (mostly children) entertained and they do this by basically displaying clowning acts through jokes, costumes, props, and makeup

  1. What Type Of Clown Is Pennywise?

It is a shapeshifting monster who usually takes the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, originating in a void containing and surrounding the Universe—a place referred to in the novel as the “Macroverse”.

  1. How Much Do Clowns Earn in UK?

A clown starting out with a limited circuit of bookings may expect to earn in the region of £5,000 per annum, and will normally run the business as an ancillary to an unrelated full-time job. Some become very popular after an extended time on the entertainment circuit, and can receive up to £25,000 in show revenue.

  1. Where Do Professional Clowns Work?

In the circus, a clown might perform other circus roles or skills. Clowns may perform such skills as tightrope, juggling, unicycling, Master of Ceremonies, or ride an animal. Clowns may also “sit in” with the orchestra.

  1. What Is The Growth Potential For A Clown Business?

The growth potential for a clown business is positive, but you must be willing to work hard to promote your clown business. The truth is that, as long as there are children’s parties, the services of clowns will always be needed.

  1. How Much Profit Can A Clown Business Make?

The average clown in the United States can make a profit of around $35,000 per year

  1. What Are Some Insider Tips For Jump Starting A Clown Business?
  • Be Uniquely funny and different (create your own unique costumes)
  • Be deliberate with your marketing approach
  • Join the right network and associations
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your trade
  • Leverage on all available online and offline platforms
  1. What Is A Female Clown Called?

A female Clown is called a Clunt.

  1. How Much Does Clown College Cost?

On the average, you should expect to pay about $32,000 to attend a clown college.

  1. Do Clowns Have To Go To School?

Specific educational qualifications are not required in order to pursue the career of a clown. A high school degree, however, may be preferred by some employers. More than academic qualifications, clowns need specific industry skills in order to excel. There are a number of schools that offer training to clowns.

  1. How Much Do Birthday Clowns Make?

Birthday clowns make annual salaries as high as $56,000 and as low as $34,000, the majority of Clown salaries currently range between $41,000 (25th percentile) to $48,000 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $55,000 annually across the United States.

  1. Who Is This Business Right For?

Clown business is right for those who are naturally funny, those who love kids and those who are ready to be considered not too serious.

  1. How Much Can You Charge Customers?

The amount you should charge your customers should not be cast in stone; you should be flexible with your charges. Just make sure it falls within what players in your industry charges.

  1. Who Is Your Target Market As A Clown?

Your target market as a clown are;

  • Event planners
  • Party planners (most especially birthdays and children’s parties)
  • Circus operators
  • Schools
  • Sports competitions organizers
  • Marketing and promotion companies (for road shows)
Joy Nwokoro