I am an entertainer. I have an act where I balance a variety of items on my nose and chin, such as ironing boards, bikes, wheelbarrows, and ladders, while at the same time I dance to music and engage the crowd. I am mostly hired for basketball halftime shows and minor league baseball in-game entertainment. For basketball, I have a 6 minute performance that I do between the halves. Baseball is a little more in-depth. For baseball, I have 5 different 90 second on-field performances that I do between innings. During these on-field shows, I balance ironing boards, bikes, wheelbarrows and ladders. Sometimes I dance with baseball players while balancing a chair. I also have a 7th inning contest where one lucky fan can join me on the field to try to win a prize. If the fan can throw a ball and knock down a bat that I’m balancing on my nose, they win! When I’m not on the field, I’m in the stands interacting with fans by having them challenge me to balance something of their own, such as sunglasses, hats, phones and even ice cream cones.
The first question people always ask me is: "How did you discover you had this talent?" I discovered I could balance things on my face when I was 11 years old. I was bored one day at baseball practice, and I balanced a baseball bat on my nose. From there, I did local talent shows where people really enjoyed my act. I turned my act into a halftime show at 16. At 16, I did my first halftime show for Temple University at The Palestra in Philadelphia.
Everyone is busy and has a lot to do. When I first started out, I would get frustrated when people wouldn’t call or email me back. Then I realized I need to be patient. You’re not going to get 100 shows overnight. Give people time. For some teams, it took me 4 years to finally perform for them. Reach out, give it some time, and send a reminder email/postcard. If they don’t respond after a couple of reminder emails or voicemails, reach back out next year.
"Put people first, not money."
I have met some awesome people and mentors during my four years at PBA. First, I’d like to acknowledge Jennifer Fonseca in the Career Development office. Jennifer helped me turn what were a few shows here and there, into dozens of shows. She helped me turn a part-time job into what is now my full-time career. Jennifer was so generous with her time and treated me like family. She mentored me through weekly meetings and shared some brilliant ideas to help me grow as an entertainer.
Second, I want to acknowledge Dr. Timothy Ladd. Although Jennifer was the one with a lot of the great ideas, Dr. Ladd was the one who continuously encouraged me to follow my dreams. Dr. Ladd is a big believer of following your dreams and doing what you love, which is why I truly enjoyed visiting him in his office. Dr. Ladd was actually the person who told me to talk to Jennifer, so I wouldn’t be where I am today without Dr. Ladd. I really believe if everyone had a Tim and Jennifer in their life, the world would be an amazing place.
One last person that has definitely helped me along my way is President Bill Fleming. President Fleming reached out to me even before I was a student there. We met on my first campus tour. Our relationship grew and grew, and we became very tight family friends. President Fleming was a big supporter of my unique talent, and was always asking about where I was in my career. President Fleming has helped me make connections, and start entertaining in minor-league baseball. He was the one that suggested I would be successful there.
Work to build relationships. Put people first, not money. If you work to build relationships, your job will become easier because you work with people that like you. If your goal is money, putting people first you will eventually make you more money because the people around you will want to help you and see you succeed.
The great thing about the entertainment business is how friendly the other performers are. I have been able to grow my relationship with a handful of other halftime and baseball performers- most of which are actually my competition. These people don’t look at you as a competitor stealing their shows, but more like a friend who shares the same interest as they do. One person I’d like to recognize in particular is an entertainer named Jeremiah Dew, aka JDew. Upon meeting him, JDew instantly began pouring out knowledge that he had gained throughout his entertainment career, and gave me pointers on things that he wish he would have done when he started. Additionally, JDew gave me tons of advice on how to make my show the best possibly can. To this day, we stay in touch and he continues to give me advice. JDew is another firm believer of “putting people in front of the sale.”
Some other performers that I would like to acknowledge that gave me advice along the way are Mad Chad, Steve Max and Juggling Josh.