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Christmas Performers Workshops
Perfecting Your Craft

This is where the "rubber meets the road," where Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the extended Christmas community learns their craft or polishes it to the clarity of a crystal ornament. From many counselors comes great wisdom, so let's start learning from one another.

Our Christmas Community is made up of people with immense talents and vast experiences. The Denver ISC 2018 workshops are designed to capitalize on these characteristics and leverage them by creating interactive experiences. Some of our sessions will be led by discussion moderators, using a panel format, and allow you the opportunity to share ideas and experiences on a variety of subjects and pertinent issues. Other sessions will be “instructional” in format, with Questions and Answers. Both formats should allow those attending these workshops to get the most out of each class. We hope to be able to video tape many sessions (not confirmed at this time) so that our Education Committee can review them and post the better presented workshops for you to be able to review at a later date. Keep in mind, experiencing these discussions first hand is still the best way to learn from these talented presenters.

There will be five one-hour workshops offered twice each morning and again twice in the afternoon each day, for a total of 20 per day and 40 workshops over two days, Friday and Saturday! Time slots are detailed below.

NOTE: Workshop classes are subject to change, without notice. We will strive to keep the website up to date.


Time structure
Morning classes:
Workshop Session 1 & 5: 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM
Break: 15 minutes
Workshop Session 2 & 6: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Afternoon classes:
Workshop Session 3 & 7: 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Break: 15 minutes
Workshop Session 4 & 8: 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM
Breakout Sessions: 4:00 PM (small groups getting together to discuss what they heard in the workshops). Class rooms and other areas can be used for these gatherings.


Workshop Sessions 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be on Friday, and 5, 6, 7, and 8 will be on Saturday.


Workshop Names

NOTE, some classes will be repeated; so stay tuned as we update this page.


Workshops Session #1: Friday from 9:45 - 10:45

  • The Santa Journey: Panel
    Facilitator: Bryan Austin
    Members: Kyle MacSoud, John Chilson, Dieter Schneider
    Session: Open to Public; Small Room
    Description: An honest look at the challenges those new to the Christmas industry can face.


  • Specializing in Special Needs Children: Panel
    Facilitator: Tom Carmody
    Members: Dave Christopherson, Sarah Portillo, Doug Portwood
    Session: Small Room
    Description: Learn some of the nuances of meeting the specific needs of Special Needs children.


  • Lights, Camera, Action!: Lecture
    Facilitator: Leon McBryde
    Session: Large Room
    Description: The technology for performing. Learn the use of available technology (such as sound systems) in your Santa Performance.


  • Puppetry: Panel
    Facilitator: Nora Penny O'Malley
    Members: Spangle the Clown, Bonnie Felten
    Session: Small Room
    Description: Learn how to Use puppets to make your program more interesting, lively and to keep their attention. And, learn the basics of Ventriloquism, the differences in using a soft puppet vs a hard figure, and how it can help you attain more gigs.


  • Hard Truths: Panel
    Facilitator: Santa True
    Members: Michelle McCarty
    Session: Large Room
    Description: Learn ways we can deal with crisis, social media, bad actors, scary-Santas (and much more!) in our community. Learn to network and resource with each other.


Workshops Session #2: Friday from 11:00 - 12:00

  • Creative Aspects of Christmas Performers: Lecture
    Facilitator: Steve Gillham & Leon McBryde
    Session: Large Room
    Description: Using props and magic to enhance your performance value.


  • As White as Snow: Panel
    Facilitator: Tom Carmody
    Members: Trionics, Crysta Frost
    Session: Small Room
    Description: Learn the basics of Beard Care and whitening. Is hair care different for men? Find the best products to keep a real-bearded Santa white and healthy. Learn tips on the best TBS applications.


  • Ethics of Being a Christmas Performer: Panel
    Facilitator: John Williams
    Members: Stephen Arnold, Gordon Bailey, Mark Brenneman, Steve Southard
    Session: Small Room
    Description: What are the ethical constraints of being Santa? Dealing with clients, the public, & other members of the Christmas Community with a proper heart.


  • Entertainer's Profile: International Bookings: Lecture
    Facilitator: Susen Mesco
    Session: Small Room
    Description: Come learn the realities of working in foreign markets and what it takes to be considered for work outside of your home country. The workshop will give information on performance requirements and what types of things that are a part of your contract.


  • Performer’s Agenda - Respect for the Various Roles: Panel
    Facilitator: Bob McMasters
    Members: Santa True, Gordon Bailey, Stephen Gillham, Darla Bicknell
    Session: Small Room
    Description: How to keep all performers on a set coordinated. Planning to be sure expectations are met and everyone's telling the same backstory. Tips to assure respect for all involved.


Workshops Session #3: Friday from 1:30 - 2:30

  • Journey Back in Time with St. Nick: Lecture
    This workshop will be offered twice!
    Facilitator: Bruce Templeton
    Session: #3 and #6; Large Room
    Description: A walk through the history of Saint Nicholas in storyteller fashion.


  • Doing Charitable Work as Santa (or Mrs. Claus or other Christmas Charters): Panel
    Facilitator: Keith Carson
    Members: Dan Gallagher
    Session: Small Room
    Description: Do you do a lot of charitable work as Santa, Mrs. Claus or an Elf? Is it something you are considering? Is forming your own 501 (C) (3) organization right for you? Find out everything you need to know to be able to make the right decisions when it comes to charitable work.


  • The Art of Performing: Lecture
    This workshop will be offered twice!
    Facilitator: Santa True
    Session: #3 and #6 ; Large Room
    Description: Learn skills to become a great Christmas performer with such skills as storytelling, singing, improvisation, and more. Learn to hone such skills as using your voice, physicality, and research to really enhance your performance.


  • Manager/Handler Skills: Lecture
    Facilitator: Cat Ellen
    Session: Small Room
    Description: The value in a personal assistant to help keep you organized. Learn how to cross-coordinate your calendar & paperwork. Learn what to expect from your manager/handler and some tips on how to do it yourself (if you insist).


  • Your Character on the Inside: Lecture
    Facilitator: Deanna Golden
    Members: Michelle McCarty, Judi Broderick
    Session: Small Room
    Description: Bring your pen and plan to WORK in this interactive class designed to help you develop your back-story. Learn to tap into the life experiences, values, and inner qualities to best portray YOUR character. Design your North Pole resume and learn tips to communicate when working with someone else.


Workshops Session #4: Friday from 2:45 - 3:45

  • Reindeer 101: Lecture
    This workshop will be offered twice!
    Facilitator: Bill Lee
    Session: #4 and #8; Small Room (and Outside)
    Description: Learn EVERYTHING you need to know about Santa's reindeer and their care. Bring your camera because we will have LIVE reindeer for photo ops!


  • The Camera: Panel
    Facilitator: Michelle McCarty
    Members:
    Session: Large Room
    Description: Is the camera your friend? Or public enemy #1? Learn tips to be aware that you are ALWAYS on "film". Learn tips to protect yourself from bad shots and frivolous lawsuits. Learn tips from photographers. Also get tips on your OWN photo shoot and working with posting video on social media. Maybe add a bit on touch-ups/GIMP.


  • Santa 101 - Marketing: Panel
    Facilitator: Dan Greenleaf
    Members: Bryan Austin, John Chilson, Stephen Arnold
    Session: Large Room
    Description: How to use Social Media and other forms of marketing to market yourself. Finding and keeping clients.


  • Unique Endeavors: Panel
    Facilitator: Santa True
    Members: Ed Taylor, Larry McIntire
    Session: Small Room
    Description: What are some of the unique ways to get your foot in the door? What are some things you need to know about working on trains, planes, helicopters? What are the challenges of being a skiing Santa or Motorcycle Santa? Come to this workshop to learn more!


  • The Business (Taxes) of Santa - Beginners Class: Panel
    Facilitator: George Grassic
    Members: Dan Greenleaf, Lawyer, Mike Gerlick
    Session: Large Room
    Description: How to make the most money out of making your money.


Workshops Session #5: Saturday from 9:45 - 10:45

  • Diversity in the Christmas Community: Panel
    Facilitator: Deanna Golden & Larry Jefferson
    Members: Travis Smith, Mark Tidd
    Session: Small Room
    Description: Awareness of the challenges of not fitting into the traditional definition of Santa, and ways members have successfully overcome obstacles.


  • Rock Solid Santa: Lecture
    Facilitator: Santa True & Steve Eastis
    Session: Large Room
    Description: The art and science of being a Marathon Performer with extended days and an elongated season. How do you prepare mentally, physically, and logistically for the long haul?


  • The Business (Taxes) of Santa - Advanced Class: Panel
    Facilitator: George Grassic
    Members: Dan Greenleaf, Lawyer, Mike Gerlick
    Session: Small Room
    Description: How to make the most money out of making your money.


  • Magical Props: Lecture
    Facilitator: Steve Gillham & Leon McBryde
    Session: Large Room
    Description: From smart Santa props to magic, learn how to use music & blue tooth technology, tablets, and more! to enhance your performances.


  • What’s in a Face?: Lecture
    Facilitator: Michelle McCarty
    Session: Small Room
    Description: How to use makeup to enhance your character and keep you looking your best (and not shiny) on camera. Whether you're looking for a healthy glow, something glamorous, or in need of full theatrical, we'll have experts here ready to share their secret tips with you.


Workshops Session #6: Saturday from 11:00 - 12:00

  • Basics for ASL Christmas: Lecture
    Facilitator: Dave Christopherson
    Members: Karen Churnoff, Spangle the Clown
    Session: Small Room
    Description: Learn some basic signs to open communication with hearing impaired children.


  • Thinking Like a Child: Lecture
    Facilitator: Jeff McMullen
    Session: Small Room
    Description: Ways to expand your thought process to gain perspective from a child's point of view.


  • The Art of Performing: Lecture
    This workshop will be offered twice!
    Facilitator: Santa True
    Session: #3 and #6 ; Large Room
    Description: Learn skills to become a great Christmas performer with such skills as storytelling, singing, improvisation, and more. Learn to hone such skills as using your voice, physicality, and research to really enhance your performance.


  • Journey Back in Time with St. Nick: Lecture
    This workshop will be offered twice!
    Facilitator: Bruce Templeton
    Session: #3 and #6; Large Room
    Description: A walk through the history of Saint Nicholas in storyteller fashion.


  • Story Reading for Christmas Performers: Lecture
    Facilitator: Shirley Wenner
    Session: Small Room
    Description: Reading to a group can present challenges, especially during the holidays. How can Santa make this brief opportunity a memorable experience?

    Participants will be introduced to tried and true strategies to get and keep children’s attention: making children active, rather than passive listeners, and projecting the enthusiasm that fosters a love of books and reading.

Workshops Session #7: Saturday from 1:30 - 2:30

  • Meet the Board: Panel
    Members: IBRBS Board
    Session: small Room
    Description: This is your opportunity to meet the members of the IBRBS board. Discuss any questions or concerns you might have. Learn what it takes to be a board member and many other aspects of the organization.


  • Active Shooter...Do You Have A Plan?": Lecture
    Facilitator: John Davis Williams
    Session: Large Room
    Description: Learn what to do if you're in a location that encounters an active shooter. Get tips on what to do in case of an emergency. Learn how to prepare yourself for a better chance of safety and survival, for you and each participant, in an active shooter situation.


  • The Art of Balloon Twisting: Panel
    Facilitator: Spangle the Clown
    Members: Gordon Bailey, Nora Penny O'Malley, Santa Detriot
    Session: Large Room
    Description: Learn how to add balloon tying to your tool chest and add value to your performances.


  • Social Media Marketing 101: Panel
    Facilitator: Michelle McCarty
    Session: Small Room
    Description: Learn the basics of using Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to set-up and grow your business. Get plenty of "how-to's" and learn about important etiquette in general and specific for Christmas performers.


  • Marketing Yourself as the Mrs.: Panel
    Facilitator: Deanna Golden
    Members: Round Table Discussion for all who attend
    Session: Small Room
    Description: As the role of Mrs. Claus evolves in the Christmas Community, you may find yourself doing solo performances without your Mr. Learn how to market yourself as a solo act and a bit on the practicum such as pricing and contracts.


Workshops Session #8: Saturday from 2:45 - 3:45

  • Maximize Your Income & Impact: Lecture
    Facilitator: Santa Ed Taylor
    Session: Large Room
    Description: Learn 7 Proven Tips you can use now to eanr more money, increase your impact and have more fun portraying Santa or Mrs. Claus this year.

    While most of us don’t portray Santa or Mrs. Claus “for the money”, we do want to be fairly compensated, especially when doing work that has a “commercial” purpose; like ads. Many of us would also like to increase our overall income doing this work we love so much. With proven tips and examples you can use to increase your bookings, increase your rates, expand the types of work you do and receive answers to questions you have about building your unique business.


  • Voice Training: Healthy Vocal Techniques: Lecture
    Facilitator: Johnathan Burton
    Session: Large Room
    Description: Explore the importance of healthy vocal technique with classically trained vocalist and international coach, Santa Johnathan Burton. Get an overview on simple techniques to keep your voice healthy and strong throughout the season, tips on what do to if you experience vocal fatigue, and how to maximize your events with a bit of music. Learn to better avoid adding unneeded stress and tension as you project your voice. Enjoy this fun workshop while learning to take care of one of your most important assets...your voice!


  • The Art of Accessorizing: Panel
    Facilitator: Judi Broderick
    Members: Margie Wolzcak, Michelle McCarty
    Session: Small Room
    Description: A great workshop for Mrs. Claus and Elves too. Are you looking good? Or looking GREAT? Learn how to cater to the venue/occasion in your wardrobe while still integrating your personal style. Get ideas for on and off season.


  • Reindeer 101: Lecture
    This workshop will be offered twice!
    Facilitator: Bill Lee
    Session: #4 and #8; Small Room (and Outside)
    Description: Learn EVERYTHING you need to know about Santa's reindeer and their care. Bring your camera because we will have LIVE reindeer for photo ops!


  • Santa’s Wellness: Panel
    Facilitator: Dr. Patrick Ray
    Members: Tom Carmody
    Session: Small Room
    Description: Learn ways to stay healthy while dealing with germ exposure and in general. Learn the expectations when performing in hospitals and care facilities.