Tuesday Tip Day

Three Common Event Themes That Cut Through the Clutter

Let’s face it, we live in a world that is saturated with stimulation. If it’s not Twitter feeds bombarding us, then it’s Facebook posts that need liking, or instant messages that require replies. The result of all this instant communication is that people have become numb to more traditional stimulation. Things like color, sound, or even smell have become diluted sensations. Creating special events that aim to entertain, engage, or enhance have become very difficult to create. Even if you have great talent performing, or a dynamic speaker projecting, modern audiences want an experience that’s memorable and engaging.

One way to make your event stand out is by choosing a creative event theme. For better or for worse, your theme sets the tone for your whole event and directs many of your planning decisions. Get it right and your event will feel like a breath of fresh air.

What are the qualities of unique event themes?

A unique event theme doesn’t necessarily have to be something never done before. The key to making event themes work is to use ingenuity and creativity to transport your audience through a “time tunnel”, and take them by surprise. Here are three common event themes to get your juices flowing.

Theme #1: Wild Wild West

The Wild Wild West theme is a great theme that will appeal to just about every male. However, a well done Western theme can also appeal to women as well. Consider these event elements to bring out your Wild Wild West Event theme:

Decor:

  • Hay bales
  • Western-style bar
  • Western jail set for photos
  • Saloon with swinging doors.

Entertainment:

  • Gun slingers
  • Lariat performer
  • Whip performer
  • Knife throwing expert

Food and Beverage:

  • Barbeque
  • Hamburgers
  • Biscuits
  • Baked Beans
  • Fresh Pie

Theme #2: South of the Border

South of the Border events are great for kids and adults, especially if they’re held in states that border Mexico! There is a lot of tradition and family-oriented fun in Mexican themed events. There are also opportunities for great food and music.

Decor:

  • Create a small bridge over a makeshift Rio Grande River
  • Bright yellow lighting inside the entrance
  • Carts with vendors in Mexican attire selling novelties, baskets, handicrafts, etc.
  • Female mariachi or male mariachi cutouts that can be used as backdrops for photos

 Entertainment:

  • Mariachi muscians
  • Flamenco and folk dancers
  • Folk artists
  • Teach the Macarena or the Mexican Hat Dance and have a contest to see who the best dancer is
  • Hang a bull piñata

Food and Beverage:

  • Tacos
  • Fajitas
  • guacamole
  • tamales
  • margaritas

Theme #3: Horary for Hollywood

A Hollywood themed event is great for anyone living around or within Hollywood. It appeals to just about any age, from little kids to older adults.

Decor:

  • Have a sign announcing “The Hollywood Palladium”
  • Red carpet with rope and stanchion on either side
  • Movie set props like directors’ chairs, cameras, lights, etc.
  • Look alike performers portraying famous movie stars

 

Entertainment:

  • A small group of young male and female fans screaming as guest arrive
  • A video camera set up for “screen tests” of favorite movie lines
  • Photo area for dressed up guests to have their photo taken
  • Create a “walk of stars” with certain guests’ names emblazoned on the stars
  • Create a small awards show with miniature “Oscar” awards.

 

Food and Beverage:

  • Cognac-Marinated Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches with Horseradish Cream
  • Marinated Shrimp
  • Mixed Vegetable Salad
  • Classic Dry Martini
  • Old-Fashioned
  • Pineapple Margarita

R.T. Clown Inc.’s CEO Robin Charin Recognized as One of Los Angeles’ Most Inspirational Women Business Leaders by Los Angeles Business Journal

R.T. Clown Inc.’s CEO Robin Charin Recognized as One of Los Angeles’ Most Inspirational Women Business Leaders by Los Angeles Business Journal

Robin Charin, CEO of Manhattan Beach’s R.T. Clown Inc., was recently recognized as one of Los Angeles’ most inspirational women business leaders by The Los Angeles Business Journal. The nomination was part of the newspaper’s 2017 Women’s Summit & Awards event, and was held at the JW Marriott Los Angeles.

According to Los Angeles Business Journal CEO and Publisher, Anna Magzanyan, this year’s event was the 25th anniversary of the annual ceremony that honors dynamic and successful business women throughout Los Angeles County.

“It was an uplifting and inspirational event that honored Los Angeles-based women who really lead by example. All of the nominees successfully blend effective business vision with a passionate commitment to positively making a difference, both in the world of business and in the communities they serve,” said Magzanyan.

According to Magzanyan, more than 100 prestigious women nominees were submitted for the honor by Los Angeles Business Journal readers.

“It was a tremendous honor to be nominated. I started my business back in 1985 as a single woman because I knew I could run an event planning business better than others I saw in business. I was also broke, so I borrowed $1,000 from my father, and bought a clown outfit and Care Bear costume. I paid him back within one month from my profits. The business took off immediately,” said Robin.

Robin, who started her career as a Broadway musical performer and actress, thoroughly understood the business of entertainment and Hollywood. She forged a deep network of professional actors and performers whom she could regularly call upon to perform at events that ranged from children’s birthday parties to large office holiday parties. Her list of clientele is also impressive, including Hollywood stars as Barbara Streisand and Tobey Maguire, and prestigious corporations like United and Delta Airlines, the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott International hotels. Robin also carved out a unique niche as the go-to source for real-bearded Santas.

Being recognized as one of Los Angeles’ most successful woman business entrepreneurs was a nice honor, but Robin thinks the award represents something bigger.

“Starting a business is hard enough, but to create a company within the male-dominated entertainment industry is especially difficult. I think all women-owned businesses are special, and I think I am fortunate that I moved west to a city and state that encouraged and supported women-owned businesses,” said Robin.

According to the US Census Bureau, California has more than one million women-owned businesses, including nearly 450,000 in Los Angeles County. In Los Angeles alone, women-owned businesses employ 393,400 people and contribute $85.3 billion to the economy.

“Being recognized as a professional woman entrepreneur by the Los Angeles Business Journal really helped me take a step back, and think about my business. I’ve been doing this for 32 years, produced more than 35,000 events since I started. Not bad for actress-singer who moved well,” said Robin.

Five Great Ideas to Foster TGIF in Your Office

R.T. Clown Inc. is one of Southern California’s leading event and party planning firms, specializing in creating, organizing, and executing unique and entertainment-themed events for all kinds of businesses and organizations. That’s right, working at R.T. Clown Inc., means you work hard, but it also means you play hard too. That’s why we love Friday’s around here, and that’s why we thought we’d share five great ways to kick up your TGIF office environment.

Idea #1: Fishbowl Friday Contest:

The rules for this TGIF idea are simple: put everyone’s name into a fishbowl, then pull out someone’s name at random. The chosen name gets to escape the office one hour early on Friday afternoon. Make sure you do this regularly so that everyone will eventually win.

Idea #2: The Ugly Hawaiian Shirt Contest:

The rules for this TGIF event are also pretty simple: create a contest to see who can find and wear the ugliest or tackiest Hawaiian shirt. The winner receives a gift card for coffer or the local sandwich shop.

Idea #3: Monthly Happy Hour Gathering:

Nothing says “TGIF” like margaritas and appetizers! Try sending out a memo to everyone in the office inviting them to a weekly or monthly happy hour at a local establishment. Events like this are great for building morale and encouraging employees to form connections outside of the workplace.

Idea #4: Team Lemonade Stand Contest:

The classic lemonade stand on the corner is the epitome of entrepreneurship, right? So organize a contest in your office where each department or team organizes, presents, and markets their version of the lemonade stand in the office. You can expand the idea beyond just selling lemonade – like selling advice, selling jokes, selling greeting cards, or whatever each team wants to sell. The team that creates the most unique approach to marketing and selling, wins.

Idea #5: Employee Appreciation Day:

Every Friday afternoon, during lunch, hold a simple and quick employee appreciation period where one or more employees are honored for their good work. This is a simple, and effective way to acknowledge employees, and you can even include a certificate, a catered lunch, or other token of appreciation.

R.T. Clown Inc. Is a Leader in Holiday Activation for Southern California Malls

Retail malls recognized a long time ago that incorporating a smiling, jolly Santa Clause into the mall marketing mix during the months of November and December was a great way to drive more shoppers into stores and activate sales. Retail marketing professionals refer to this strategy as “holiday activation”,   but whatever it’s called, the strategy works. In fact, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Holiday months of November and December account for nearly 20 percent of annual sales inside malls. In addition, ICSC found that 50 percent of parents with kids aged 13 or younger plan to make a trip to a shopping center for the specific reason of visiting Santa Claus.

R.T. Clown Inc. is an event planning and management company headquartered in Manhattan Beach, and has been providing Santa Claus performers to malls across Southern California for since 1985.

“From a retail perspective, we really understand the importance of incorporating Santa Clauses into malls during the holiday months,” said Robin Charin, company director for R. T. Clown Inc. “It’s not just about providing something cliché or typical, it’s about working with mall owners and marketing directors to create an environment that attracts and engages customers, while also promoting as many stores as possible within the mall. We provide real bearded Santas who can sit on a decorated chair and talk with children about the North Pole, reindeers and presents, or we can provide strolling Santa Clauses that wander throughout the mall grounds promoting certain stores or an event within the mall,” said Robin.

Robin, who has become a sort of an informal expert when it comes forecasting holiday excitement, predicts that this holiday season should be a good one. In fact, according to the ICSC, sales across all platforms and channels are expected to be 3.5 percent higher than last year’s sales. In addition, the organization predicts that 90 percent of shoppers will step into a retail store or mall sometime during November and December to experience that Yuletide feeling of the holidays. Even millennials, who are notoriously more comfortable with ecommerce technology than over-the-counter transactions, will be entering malls in droves this holiday season, according to a recent ICSC press release.

“Understanding how to connect with shoppers via professional Santa performers is what makes R.T. Clown Inc. one of the most sought-after event planning and entertainment companies in Southern California,” said Robin.

R.T. Clown is considered the leading provider of real bearded Santa Clauses throughout Southern California, and has been providing real bearded Santa’s for the Westfield Shopping Mall Group since 2001. In addition, R.T. Clown has provided authentic Santas to the Center Club of Orange County, the Moorpark Country Club, Marina City Club, and the Sherwood Country Club.

Robin takes the business of Santa Clause marketing so seriously, that she insists all of her professional Santa’s are members of The Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas (FORBS), an Orange County non-profit, member-only organization that promotes the positive image of Santa, by serving the community, community groups and organizations of all kinds. The group aims to enhance the spirit of Christmas and the joy of being Santa by fostering the spirit of fellowship among our members with social events throughout the year.

The Importance of a Good Checklist for Your Next Holiday Party

Let’s face it, there are checklists for just about everything. But you know why these memory nudging lists are so important? They are important because they work! A good checklist works because it can save time, improve efficiency, and minimize mistakes.  Another good thing about checklists is that, hidden within each one is a written trail of accountability. This can be an important thing when trying to dissect a problem, and determine how to avoid it in the future. Good checklists also serve as diaries that provide detailed and customized information, for anyone to review at a later date. Three of the most common checklists include the Personal Checklist, Revolving Checklist, and Priority Checklist.

Personal Checklists:

Personal Checklists are great for personal accomplishments that are tracked over a period of time. These personal lists keep track of anything from dieting to exercise on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. A personal checklist also keeps you organized throughout the day while also providing consistency.

Revolving Checklists:

Revolving checklists keep track of items that need to be completed over a period of time while also evolving over time. Revolving checklists are always moving, advancing toward a new hill to climb.  Revolving lists remove tasks once they are completed, and replaced with a new task, always revolving. Writers often use this kind of checklist when working on a book or novel.

Priority Checklists

Priority checklists are slightly more complicated than the simple checklist, because they also include a priority element.  Priority checklists are great for assigning and monitoring accountability. This is a perfect kind of list for event planning, where everybody can see the big game plan while simultaneously tracking individual components.

To help you plan your next holiday party, R.T. Clown Inc. has created an example of a Holiday Planning Priority Checklist to make your next event a piece of cake.

Download our checklist!

Four Great Tips for Taking iPhone Event Photos

R.T. Clown Inc. has been creating, coordinating, and executing corporate parties and holiday events for nearly three decades. Throughout all those years, the company has produced nearly every kind of event imaginable.  We have also taken a lot of photos, usually with a nice camera. However, we know that the most popular camera these days for snapping shots is the Apple iPhone. So to help you document your next event, whether holiday, Halloween, or New Year’s Eve, we’ve assembled some simple tips and tricks to help you next time you want to capture your next event on an iPhone.

Tip #1: The Rule of Thirds

The most basic rule of photography is also one of the most important! It’s called the “Rule of Thirds.” Basically it means composing your image based on a grid of nine equally-sized squares, and then aligning the subject in one column, or one-third of the frame. Photographers that follow the rule of thirds are able to capture more visually appealing shots because they force the eye to flow across the image. All iPhone’s have a grid option available, which can aid you in lining up photographs so that they follow the rule of thirds. You can turn this option on by visiting Settings > Photos & Camera

Tip #2: Anticipate Where You’re Going to Use Your Photos to Find the Correct Shooting Mode

One of the great things about Apple’s iPhone is that it allows the photographer to shoot in several different modes when taking a picture. Typically, these modes include square, wide-angle or panorama, and basic photo. Now it may sound elementary, but many people will shoot a square photo for their social media banner, which should be taken in wide mode. Conversely, if you want to shoot pictures to post to Instagram, use the square mode. Remember these different modes are designed so that the photographer can find better framing for their photos.

Tip #3: Be Positive About Using Negative Space

Negative space is the area of the photo that is not the subject. Think of it as the emptiness of a photo. For photographers, negative space is important to understand because it gives the eyes some breathing room. Also, using negative space effectively can enhance a busy photo. For example, if you are taking a photo of a skyline underneath a brilliant blue sky, you can use the principle of thirds outlined above, and place the skyline in the bottom third portion of your grid, while allowing the top two-thirds to be filled with sky. With practice, you can create a nice balance with negative space.

Tip #4: Choose Natural Light over Flash

When it comes to photography, there is nothing better than natural light. Even the newest iPhones have great flash units, but at the end of the day, the flash unit still just an LED light, and sometimes can create a bluish hue over your photo. Therefore, always try shooting your photos using natural light sources

These are just a few of our rules that we use to elevate our Instagram game. Have any iPhone photography rules you live by? Share them with us below.

Did you know that R.T. Clown Inc.’s mascot, “JayЯ” is a rock star in Australia, has his own bumper sticker affixed to Southern California cars, and has accumulated more than 50,000 followers on both Facebook and Twitter? And if you ever visit the Manhattan Beach headquarters of R.T. Clown, you will see JayЯ sitting at his own desk.

According to a recent article in Entrepreneur magazine, mascots can be incredibly effective marketing tools. They act as characters and spokespeople that endorse any company or product on a very personal level. Even more interesting, mascots have been found to be more memorable than celebrities when it comes to product endorsement.

“We really wanted a mascot to represent our company, R.T. Clown Inc., and one day my husband, Mark and I found a ventriloquist dummy that we both just fell in love with. We added some hair, created a wardrobe for him, and included him in most all of our events. Over the years, JayЯ has become an important member of our team. But even more interesting is that JayЯ has also become a kind of miniature version or alter ego of my husband,” said Robin Charin, CEO of R.T. Clown Inc. “We always hoped the dummy would make us money, but he hasn’t so far,” quipped Robin.

R.T. Clown Inc. has specialized in creating, planning, and executing unique entertainment-themed events for companies since 1985. The firm’s clients include such companies as United & Delta Airlines, the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott International Hotels, and Santa Monica’s The Beach Club. Since opening R.T. Clown Inc., three decades ago, Robin has produced more than 35,000 events ranging from haunting Halloween parties to elegant Holiday parties featuring real bearded Santa Clauses.

Because Robin was also once a Broadway musical performer, she thoroughly understands the business of entertainment, and relates to the world as performing artist. So when she met JayЯ in 2001, she immediately incorporated the mascot into R.T. Clown’s marketing plan. Actually, she even incorporated JayЯ into her life.

“JayЯ has been around the world. He’s been to Antarctica, Mexico, England, France and Germany. He’s even been to the Czech Republic, Austria, Argentina and Chile. Believe it or not, he’s very popular everywhere he goes,” said Robin.

She explained that incorporating a mascot into an event planning business that specializes in entertainment themed parties is really a natural fit.

“If you think about it, mascots are everywhere. They are associated with sporting teams and schools. Who doesn’t love the Geico gecko or the Aflac duck? JayЯ is as big as those mascots, and actually has a celebrity fan page that’s worth checking out. I think he’s got a very bright future,” said Robin.

Read Our Exclusive Interview with “JayЯ”

Ideas to Help You Create the Perfect Holiday Party

R.T. Clown Inc. has been creating, coordinating, and executing holiday corporate events for nearly three decades. Throughout all those years, Robin Charin, CEO of R.T. Clown Inc. has created nearly every kind of holiday event imaginable. Her clients include some of Southern California’s most prestigious organizations: the Center Club of Orange County, Yorba Linda Country Club, Beverly Hills Bentley, and the Westfield Shopping Mall Group.

“Sometimes planning a holiday party can be challenging because there are so many different ideas to explore. Santa’s are great, but there are other things you can do as well,” said Robin. “That’s where R.T. Clown Inc. comes into the picture. We can provide just about any kind of party or corporate event you need during the holidays.”

So, if you need to plan an event for this holiday season, and your head is spinning with confusion, consider these strategies:

When Networking and Mingling are the Priority:

If networking is the main reason for your event, Robin recommends first selecting a space that’s large enough for your group to move around comfortably without having to fight your way through a crowd, and relaxed and engaging, if possible. When networking and mixing are the goal, a traditional cocktail party will do the job, but you can also take it to another level by getting a little bit creative.

International Juggler

One great way to generate interactivity among your guests is to add a live performance to the evening. R.T. Clown has been providing live performances since 1985, and has a roster of Southern California’s greatest professional performers. For example, R.T. Clown uses an internationally famous juggler as a way to add something special to any holiday party. This juggler been featured on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, Hell’s Kitchen on FOX, and the MTV Movie Awards. The act is a great combination of juggling, plate spinning, and comedic antics.

“Clients of all ages love this act,” said Robin.

Amazing Acrobat

Robin also has had great success incorporating a unique, circus style acrobatic act that includes Tight Rope walking and Trapeze flying stunts. The vision of seeing a professional acrobatic body flying through the air with perfect timing and balance always generates immediate conversation among guests during any holiday event.

When Employee Recognition is the Priority:

Sometimes holiday parties are used to simply provide employees a well-deserved pat on the back and lighthearted entertainment. In that case, you will want to think along the line of something a bit more laid back, with the main objective being for your employees to have fun. Here are two quick ideas that R.T. Clown Inc. has used to generate great events during holidays and throughout the year.

Tarot Card Reading

Interactive experiences are always a good option to get employees laughing and bonding. For example, R.T. Clown Inc. loves to use Tarot Card readings which are very interesting and fun. This act is great because it’s interactive, and allows guests to reveal lighthearted insights about themselves that can be shared among other party guests.

Private Comedy Show

Another option? Let them sit back and be entertained with laughter and magic. R.T. Clown Inc. works with professional magicians, and members of the famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. All of R.T. Clown Inc.’s magic acts are excellent examples of professional slide-of-hand and optical illusion techniques.

“The main thing is that all of our performers do a good job of connecting with audiences, and provide any holiday event a layer of entertainment,” said Robin.

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