Welcome to Twist & Shout!
Thank you for attending the premier Balloon Twisting event of 2014!

Please read this.
It saves us from making lots of boring announcements.

If you don't understand something or have other questions, please ask any of the friendly T&S Staff.

Convention Basics:

 The registration area opens at 8 am on Wednesday (For Master Class registration only), Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. It will close around 5 pm each day. Go there if you have any questions and they will help you. If you can not find the registration table (or it's closed) look or ask for Patty, Royal, or "J". They are in charge and will be happy to help you. If you are late for registration, don't worry, we know who you are, if there is a problem getting into an event, just come see us!

     

The Jam Room

The Classes

The Vendors

The Figure Competition

 

Private Classes on Sunday

We know that you will have lots of fun at Twist & Shout. Feel free to ask any questions or give us any feedback throughout the convention. Have fun!

Some addition tips from the Fanatic Folks on the BHQ mail List:

Start studying cans of sardines right now to fully realize how many people you can stuff in a room.

Plan on getting precious little sleep during the convention. And whatever you do ... DO NOT FALL ASLEEP in the jam room. Terrible things happen to those that fall asleep surrounded by "twisted" individuals with hundreds of balloons at their nefarious disposal.

Set a realistic budget for what you plan to buy and then trash that realistic budget. There will be brand new DVD's, the latest in pump technology, balloon holders, and more to entice you to spend your kids college fund.

Leave your attitude behind. One thing that has always impressed me about all of the balloon conventions I have been to is the willingness of people to share and to be shared with. I learned some incredible techniques from a newbie in the jam room at last years Twist and Shout, and I myself was able to impress one of the balloon greats with one of my sculptures

 

Don't try to design balloon swimsuits - we've already been there, done that.

DO get a lifetime supply of no-doze - you'll go through it all during the convention.

DO NOT get in the way of the juggling jam at midnight wherever it might be...

A T&S survival guide is listed on the website for T&S. Ask your doctor for a pill you can take for sensory overload! Mere mortals eyes just can not take in everything at once.

Red Bull, BAWLS energy drink, Jolt caffeine gum, MOGO energy mints, all are necessities for this event. You are more than welcome to sleep.... WHEN YOU ARE DEAD! Plan on going to your room to just grab one item and making it there an hour or five after that. You will run into so many people to chat with, learn from and just hang with that you will never make it.

Find a great line of credit before you leave because as someone else mentioned.. your budget will get blown instantly on the first day. YOU WILL RECOUP ALL OF THIS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE YOU GAIN so don't despair. Just get busy when you return home.

Oh, and upon returning home, no one will understand your addiction to latex. Your hands will take on a life of their own and twist in your sleep so you may as well stay up and remember what you are practicing.  Your home will become filled with odd shapes of many colors. You will enjoy that although no one else may.. tough! You will have more fun that you can imagine!

Things I learned from T & S '13 are still popping into my head as if they are just learned! Oh, and as far as where is the closet place to buy anything.... YOU WON'T LEAVE THE HOTEL! Find what you need before you even walk through the doors..... YOU WILL MISS SOMETHING IF YOU BLINK!

I would second everything that all the others have said so far! No, you will not leave the hotel often, no you will not get back to your room often, no you will not get a lot of sleep... But, you will come away in sensory overload!

The best thing I did at T & S this year was luck out and get a great roommate!!! Someone, who had been there before and had great ideas for me!

I brought food with me, because I drove. The more you can have in your hotel room the better!

So, my tip from experience is: if you plan to try to sleep much, be sure that you don't room with mr./ms. sensitive if you make some noise in your sleep. Of course, this twit assured me that he could, "sleep through anything!", so it's 'buyer' beware, or only bunk with folks you know.

Hydration:
RedBull and Mountain Dew are great but you will also need lots of
water. With the lack of sleep, caffeine consumption, and running
wildly from place to place in an attempt to not miss any of the
amazing goings on, dehydration is a very real concern.

Nutrition:
Make friends with vitamins. If you do not take them already start,
you are going to need them. I also recommend finding some really
good protein or other meal replacement bars that you like (most are
awful) and cans of Ensure. Either intentionally or un-intentionally
we all skip meals at these events. A power bar and a protein drink
can keep you from crashing at inopportune moments.

Socializing:
Bring TONS of business cards, smile a lot, and share with everyone.
Twist & Shout is like a big family reunion, and the only thing we
love better than getting together with old family members is meeting new ones. I have met some of my closest friends and even my wife at twisting conventions.

Networking:
Bring TONS of business cards, smile alot, and share with everyone.
Unbeknownst to even some seasoned Twist & Shout attendees, there is a lot of recruiting going on. Qualatex, Bettalatex, Twist & Shout, and Diamond Jam are always on the lookout for new instructors for their events, and many featured artists and Spotlight artists for Balloon Magic magazine are discovered at Twist & Shout.

But even more importantly, some of your fellow attendees are
recruiting talent. There are a number of your fellow twisters who
book large events, corporate functions, and parties outside of their
immediate geographic area. These people are also scouting the
convention, looking for people who they can either book out or refer
work to.

Competition:
If you are going to compete, take it seriously, but not too seriously. Give it your best effort, but don't miss the entire convention. If you do have an especially ambitions creation, come a couple days early to start it so that you still have time for the fun stuff. Plus competition, when pursued with a healthy attitude, is good for you. It makes you push yourself harder and push your own limits. And if you win, it is always nice to be able to put "Award Winning" on your website and promotional materials. It is also a great way to get the attention of others in the industry if that is your goal (see Networking). Oh yeah, wear something nice to the Awards Banquet in case you win.

Learning:
Bring your camera, video camera, and audio recording device. Some
instructors allow video and audio, some do not, but it does not hurt
to have them just in case. You will definitely want lots of photos,
so make sure your camera has lots of film or lots of memory and keep it hand at all times. You never know when or where you will find down other ideas you get along the way (great lines, business ideas, costuming or balloon bag ideas, etc).

Schedule:
Twist & Shout is really good at planning classes so that you do not
have to miss one for another. But you will also want to attend all
of the social functions (opening night,  Dress/costume competition,

stage competition, awards banquet),

and most importantly spend lots of time
in the jam room. So unless you are planning to do it before or
after the convention, skip the sight seeing and stick to the hotel.

Another rookie mistake is leaving too soon. The post convention
socializing and private classes on Sunday are a highlight for many
people. Take the latest flight you can on Sunday, or stay until
Monday if possible.

Here's another T&S tip - if you plan on rooming with an unfamiliar person, you may want to think twice about it if only for the sake of getting proper rest. It's very important to get a good night's sleep at these conventions and an unfamiliar roommate with an insanely loud snoring problem certainly will disrupt that. With T&S only happening once a year, it's just not worth it to save a few bucks only to have to suffer through a convention's worth of sleepless nights due to a roommate's snoring that resembles the unyielding rumbling of a slowly dying Bantha. But that's just one man's opinion....

Some quick details to remember....

If you insist on slacking... slack on the small talk.... You're at a balloon
convention... talk balloons, twisting, entertainment.... my wife and kids are great... so are yours... and if they ain't.. it doesn't matter 'cause this convention is not a popportunity (pun intended) to bring people DOWN! Be happy!

Sleep is optional.... Sharing in the jam room is ESSENTIAL!!! If you newbies are intimidated by the bigger names, you won't twist in the jam room.....and THEN whose material will I steal from?!?!?!??? HOLMES or CALDWELL???? No thanks..I ALREADY stole their stuff 3 conventions ago... I need new blood!!!!!!

On a side note... I have BEEN in the jam room at 3 am - With me was a few newbies at the time, John Holmes, and Don Caldwell. The KAWFEE! flowed and the newbies learned concepts in balloon twisting and balloon entertainment the likes of which they never got at a lecture.... My point? Let time stand still.  Ignore the clock on the wall and soak it in. ALL OF IT! During moments like that other things happen too...things that you DON'T get from the lectures. You get the STORIES! We break bread, bang KAWFEE! cups and share war stories on the world of entertaining - advice flows from these conversations that can save many a newbie and expert alike time and effort and TRAGIC MISTAKES!!!

What I've never revealed before - when I'm in the jam room - I don't twist much balloons... the reason isn't that I don't want to or am intimidated - I like to look and listen. There's much to be said for the jam room or the lobby if you're an observant person. Some of my greatest lessons in entertainment have come from the restaurant during a meal with Bidou, Todd Neufeld, Don Caldwell, Ken Stillman, Royal Sorrel, etc. the list goes on.
I once drove 2.5 hours to another state just to see Royal Sorrel and have lunch with him while he was lecturing at a clown convention - I don't think either of us twisted a single balloon - but there was much taught and learned through conversation - see past the "learn by twisting" method and see into the art of conversation and observation. My greatest growth as a performer has come from these two methods.

and while I'm there? TALK TO ME!!!! Ask me questions!!! Ask EVERYONE questions!!! We all want to share and if you think DON Caldwell is so good that you're afraid to talk to him, then you're foolish... he gets his balloons from the very same places you do - and whether you believe it or not... he goes to these conventions to learn too.