There are some businesses you want to do well, because they offer such great services; some businesses you want to do well, because the owners are such great people; and some businesses succeed because they possess both of these qualities!
When you talk to Chris Burch of Twisted Dog Productions, you instantly feel like you’ve known him for years, and his wit and creativity make it clear that he was meant to entertain. When asked how he got into this business, he gleefully tells you, with an impish grin, “The judge gave me a choice, either this or jail.” Luckily, he found his niche with Twisted Dog Productions. “It got its start thanks to a high school teacher, a random clown in elementary school and a family friend when I was seven years old,” said Chris. “The family friend taught me my first magic trick. He showed it to me, then let me figure out how it was done, I was hooked. A few years later, and a clown during career day showed me how to make a couple of basic balloon creations, and it stuck with me. Finally, in high school, I had the most awesome theater teacher, Miss Lou Smith, and she inadvertently unleashed me on the world. She taught me how to take the threads of what I had and weave them into a clown character I named Tater the Clown. Now, fast forward several years, I was now married, tired of clown make-up and realizing I could do all the funny and ridiculous clown stuff without the makeup.”
Not long after, what would become Twisted Dog Productions was born. “My wife decided to give up practicing law to join me, and my little business became a family affair,” said Chris. “She took over the day-to-day operations and bookings and, suddenly, I was very busy. Then, she decided she wanted to play some as well, so I taught her how to face paint. As we grew, we continued to branch out, offering several different types of entertainment and getting into other mediums, such as stage and film production. It was time once again to grow, and we needed a name to encompass everything that we were doing, and planned to do. ‘Twisted Dog Productions’ seemed the natural evolution for this next step in our development. It was a name that could encompass our entertainment business, as well as our stage and film productions. Since then, we have continued to grow, pushing the limits of balloon art, magic, face painting and interactive storytelling.” He says, with that impish look again, that they also offer tiki doll polishing and lunar real estate sales. “Although I am proud of everything we offer, I am extremely happy with our interactive storytelling show. We take magic, balloon art, comedy, storytelling, and audience participation and roll it up into one giant burrito of amazing fun.”
Twisted Dog Productions is a great option for school events, birthday parties and corporate shows. “Hands down, though, my favorite events are the shows where we touch lives, the shows where we can show kids that it is fun to read, that it is fun to learn, that it is okay to be different and it is okay to laugh,” said Chris. “We pride ourselves on our customer service. Our approach to quoting our customers is also unique, offering our no-hidden-fees, one-price quotes. Once we know what they need, we try to make sure our clients have nothing else to worry about. I also take a lot of pride in offering balloon sculpting like most have never seen. I often hear from individuals, groups, and occasionally the voices in my head, that my balloon designs are some of the best they have ever seen. I know there are better out there than me, but it makes me swell with pride to know that folks do appreciate the things I do.”
While Chris and his team have considered other additions to the business, such as “synchronized dog walking” and “gerbil sitting,” they will surely continue to grow through the years and may even incorporate their son in the near future!
When asked what else he wanted Forsyth Magazine readers to know, that now familiar devilish grin came back. “That’s easy, I love onion rings, but I can’t stand raw onions. Really, I can’t stand them raw, but I will devour good cooked onions.” From a more serious side, he said “If you hire someone for your event, make sure they know what they are doing. If you are hiring them for face painting, ask them about their face paints, see what they know about what they use, where they are manufactured and about things like sensitive skin testing, etc. If they are real professionals, they should be able to answer these questions easily without asking to call you back after they find out. Ask them about insurance. A real business owner should carry at least liability for the protection of both of you.”
For more information about Twisted Dog Productions, e-mail laurie@twisteddogproductions, call 336.453.8885 or visit the website at www.twisteddogproductions.com. Chris also suggests contacting through “mental telepathy,” but admits this method is the least likely to work!