How to end the line continued?

by John Gordon

Some further hints & tips to help face painters stop working!

At some events, ending the line can be tough. However expert you become, > there is no guarantee that the same techniques will work at your next gig. It's pretty easy to just say "No", but I don't want to be seen as that kinda person. I have been delivering fun, pleasure and love and
can't suddenly turn into an ogre. I want to end the line without complaints. As we know, children push and press, start shouting or crying. It can be  a bigger problem if some irate parent complains. Your client doesn't care what's fair. I still find it very hard to say "No, I'm closed" to a four-year-old kid with big, tear-filled eyes. I guess that's why I have been seen working 30 minutes past contract time! Stopping is a frustrating part of face painting but it can be resolved.

Several of the methods I use are 'standard' and are well known and others obviously find that they work too. I often use a combination of things to make the point:

#1 If you are booked by the clock, you MUST let them know that not everyone will get painted. It's useful to have some good lines at your disposal, like: "It's my turn to feed the penguins at the zoo, and I can't be late". "I've gotta be at The XYZVenue at 6.00 because some customers have arrived"! This makes the point whilst staying 'in character'. I'm sure you'll come up with your own!
#2 The big 'no-no' is letting a person pester you into painting "just one more". If you do "just one more" you could be there for hours. If I get
someone who just won't give up, then I have to remind them that I am going to another event and how would they like it if an entertainer was late for them!
#3 Tell the people every 15 minutes of the last hour and every 5 minutes for the last 15 minutes that you will be leaving at such and such a time. Also tell them "There may be people in the queue who might not be getting painted." This allows some parents to choose to not wait, thereby
reducing the line and also reducing the chances of problems.

#1 A card with a long shoelace attached to the top corners so it can be looped over a person's head saying "Sorry, I am the end of the queue" is OK but not at every event and not with every kid. I have lost a few of these over the years!
#2 Tell the one designated as the ‘last person’ that they also get some kind of Prize. This may be anything. BUT…….they won't if they allow somebody else after them. This motivates them to keep others away and also not pass the sign on! But I find it somewhat unfair on that person, and they don't always wanna be the bad guy. They can get very overworked and stressed and are only a guest like everyone else. They let people join in front (as they have to be at the end!) or others join behind and they pass the 'flag' back!
#3 Numbers 1 through 10  on business cards limits your final line, and they leave with your info knowing you play fair! Obviously use bookers cards with your name on where appropriate.
#4 Once you have established that you are into the last, say,  8….don’t allow the queue (line) to go away from your station. Instead, bend it U shaped so the end is near you and now nobody can join on! Neat huh?

#1  I give an uninflated balloon to each person remaining in line as their "ticket" to insure they get painted, then loudly announcing every few minutes that the line is closed and unless you have an uninflated balloon in your hand, no amount of begging, pleading , groveling (maybe bribery!) will get you a balloon, as I have another show to go to. If a parent insists at this point, it is too late.
#2  Sometimes, when down to the last two or so, I have painted them all at the same time! I progress each one a bit and go back and forth. This looks good and perks me up for the final 10 minutes.
#3 Switch to very simple faces at the end. Announce that, after that person,  they will get painted but it will be something (perhaps do the same quickie design for everyone.

#1 Do you have things you give to those who are too young for being painted? If so, use these as a give away in these situations. It helps if the kid doesn't walk away empty handed. A lot of times the parent thank you because they understand and you did something special to make their kid happy.
#2 I give my business card to those who I just cannot get to. I ask them to keep the card and show it to me next time they see me and it will put them to the front of the queue. Now they keep the card! Give them special treatment, it may pay off.

#1 Try to get someone else to be the bad guy. Have an official from the event turn people away. Explain to them that, as the entertainer, you can't say "no" without hurting their feelings, but people are very understanding when someone else intervenes on your behalf. Get a security guy or other volunteer to show up at specific times and stand at the end of the line and tell people the line is closed. It also, of course, highlights to them how popular you were right up to the end of the gig!
#2 Have it in your contract that the company that hires you is responsible for closing the line on time. If they don't, then charge double time for every 15 minutes you stay beyond the agreed ending time.
#3 Have the event organizer conduct a draw for something. Could be a big balloon sculpture or something of theirs. This gives you a chance to pack up and actually be gone by the time the draw is over.

#1 A colleague does this: Fall over dramatically from exhaustion. It usually gets a laugh and sometimes free drinks!

#1 You really have to make definite rules and be firm about them. People will still get mad, but at least you've been fair. To persisters "it will not be fair to the many people we have sent away. They will return very angry if they see me painting you." And that's it. Here's hoping that next time you have hundreds waiting for their work of art, at least you have a few more solutions at your disposal to getting away on time.

(c) John Gordon / FaceMagic 2000 .

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