Twist & Shout Survival Guide
Welcome to Twist & Shout!
Thank you for attending the premier Balloon Twisting event!!
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 7:30am on Wednesday (For Master Class registration only), Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. It will close around 4 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, J Hubbard or Laurie Straus. They are in charge and will be happy to help you. There will also be T&S Ambassadors around, wearing a Red Sash
If you are late for registration, don't worry, we know who you are, if there is a problem getting into an event, just ask our security to find us!!
Please wear your name tag/badges at all times. If you do not have it, you will be asked to get it. You will not be allowed into any Twist & Shout events without it. If you do happen to lose it a $10 fee will be charged for replacement. The only exception is the Vendor's Room, which is open to anyone with money ( but you must get a shopping pass from registration).
We will have security staff on hand to check badges, if you do not have yours on, you will be asked to leave the area (class, jam room, etc) until you can return with it.
Please do not lose your banquet coupons. They are in your registration badge. You will need to give them to the staff at the banquet in order to eat. If you have a special meal request (Vegetarian, Vegan or kids meal) a special slip MUST be given to the server at your table.
Also in your registration envelope are several voting ballots. Please do not lose them. You will not be able to replace them.
Please respect the teachers, speakers, performers, and hotel facilities. No heckling, no interrupting with your own views unless asked. No rocket balloons during the presentations.And please silence all phones, pagers, etc.
Please be aware that there are quite a few children (real kids, they are under 18) attending this convention. Please keep it all "family oriented" and keep an eye on these balloon prodigies. We'll all be working for them someday! This is important for competition pieces, dress & costume competition as well. Please, no "adult" theming for anything.
Lost and Found is at the registration desk.
The Jam Room The Jam Room will be available and open "23" hours a day. Please twist and hang out there. Betallic and Gemar are generously donating products for use within the room. Please take this opportunity to try out their full line of balloons and give them feedback. We will however be closing the Jam room during the Thursday dress competition, Friday Stage Competition, and Saturday night banquet. There have been a few uninvited guests sneaking in and helping themselves while the rest of us are involved elsewhere. No un-inflated product will be allowed out of this room, Please do NOT make this a chance to fill up your apron for free. Also, please remember this is your fun room, please take time to clean up your mess (IE all broken balloons, snacks, bottles, glasses, etc.).
Hotel rules: Alcohol should not be brought in to the Jam room. *If you remembered your twist & shout "water" bottle, use it* The Jam room will be closed for cleaning during the evening events ( Reception, Dress/Costume, Stage Competition, and Awards Banquet). We will be blocking off a section for a "no touch zone" so the staff will not take your projects. We once again ask you to clean up after yourself. Please be considerate of your fellow twisters, food, glasses, trash all over the floor in unacceptable, as many people will be using this room. Since the jam room is open during the entire convention (except as noted above) feel free to build your competition pieces there. Members of T&S photography team will be in the jam room taking pictures, so feel free to strut your stuff.
The Classes The T & S organizers choose a balance of professional instructors to reflect the varied interests of the balloon community. Please take this opportunity to expand your repertoire. Some classes will be lecture style. Others will be hands-on. Each instructor has their own style. Feel free to ask them anything about their classes during jamming or when you see them in the halls. No video/audio taping unless specifically authorized by the instructors. There is a class schedule in your registration envelope. Please find it and follow it. If you need more information than is posted about the classes please ask around. Any onsite changes, will be posted at the registration desk area.
The Vendors The organizers invited some of the leading suppliers of balloons and balloon twisting accessories. Please buy lots of products. You do not have to be a convention attendee to shop, but if you are not registered at the convention, you must get a shopping pass (free) at the registration table. ( please remember to return it when your are done spending your money)
The Figure Competition The balloon competitions are a highlight of the convention. It is a formal opportunity to display your best work to the Balloon Community. Everyone is encouraged to enter. Only full-registered attendees can participate in the competitions. That means that you can both enter the competitions and vote. Your ballot is in your registration envelope. You are not required to compete or to vote, but you are forbidden from giving your ballot to anyone else. You may build your competition pieces at any time and in any place. You must bring your LARGE entries to the competition room between 8am and 12 noon on Friday. The entry room will close at 12 noon promptly.
SMALL, MEDIUM, UNINFLATED will be accepted between 1 & 5 pm on Friday. Room will close promptly at 5pm. No exceptions. No whining. Please bring your entries to the competition room and receive a numbered tag. The convention staff member will verify the size category. A T&S photographer will be moving your entry to take a picture of it, and finally, you will be instructed to place the entry in the proper section of the room. Please do not take your own photos at this time. You will be allowed once the room is open for voting. Once an entry has been placed, you will no longer be able to touch it (even if it tips over) so build it well! Sculpture voting will take place Friday after the stage competition for 1 hour only, and Saturday 9am to 3:30pm SHARP!. Your votes must be written legibly. If we can't read it the vote gets tossed. Also, the voting will close on Saturday at 3pm. If you have not voted by the time the doors are closed, you will not be able to vote. There are four categories in the figure competition: Small, Medium, Large & uninflated. Here are the dimensions: SMALL: Must fit the measurments of 12"x12"x12" (30.5 cm) each. No squishing. MEDIUM: Must fit the measurments of 36"x36"x36" (91.44 cm)each. No squishing.
LARGE: Must fit the measurments of 8' x 8'x 10'high (aprox 2.4 meters x 2.4meters x 3 meters). Minimal squishing allowed, you can bring seperate peices into the room and assemble them there between 8 & 12 on Friday if you need too.
UNINFLATED: uninflated balloons and "puffed" balloons only - 1 category, any size (if the latex is stretched by air inside, it will be placed in one of the above categories - if you have not entered another sculpture in that category) You may only enter one figure per category. All awards will be announced at the banquet Saturday night. Please do not remove or touch the entries until after the banquet on saturday night. We will attempt to open the room then, for any competitor to remove their sculpture, should they want to keep it. T&S can not be held responsible for the safety of your sculpture after the banquet saturday night.. Please do not take someone else's entry afterwards because they might want to keep it.
Private Classes on Sunday The convention is officially over Sunday morning After the continental breakfast. However, due to the enormous talent of the participants at the convention private classes will be available. To sign up to teach a private class you must fill out a form (a sign-up sheet) at the registration desk. Please then give it to a staff member as soon as possible. As we get the sign-up sheets we will post them along a large area in the foyer. To attend a private class, please visit the big listing in the foyer and sign up for the classes of your choice. Please check the foyer frequently because the class offerings will change. Classes will be held all over the hotel. The sign-up sheets will give you all of the information that you need: Teacher, instructor, price, location, class description, prerequisites, size, times, etc.
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 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 BUSTER BALLOON???? 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 Buster Balloon. 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, Buster Balloon, Ken Stillman, Royal Sorell, etc. the list goes on. I once drove 2.5 hours to another state just to see Royal Sorell (yes, we all miss him alot ) 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.
TALK TO ME!!!! Ask me questions!!! Ask EVERYONE questions!!! We all want to share and if you think Buster Balloon 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!