If you have a small child they need a birthday party in the same way that they need shoes or food, it just goes without saying right?
So the question is what are you going to about it?
If you’ve never done it before, it can be a bit daunting, especially if you have had limited experience doing it. And even if you have, there still may be lots of problems to face because each child is different. So giving a kid’s birthday party can become a potential problem or a potential bonanza if you can really pull it off well.
I have two daughters, so I am familiar with kids parties, not a lot but I have done my share of transport and cleaning up, decorations etc. One day I suddenly found myself thinking about kid’s parties and for some reason I began to think, yeah giving a kid’s party or any kind of party is a kind of like a film production, and I should know how to do that because after all for the past 35 years I’ve made a living as a film producer.
So I said to myself, Ok so let start by approaching it like any production. Let’s start by asking the right questions.
All The Things You Need (Pre-Production)
People always focus on the production part of a film, but in a film pre-production planning is equally as important as the production itself.
So you start with the questions about any film production. What is the story about? Where is the story set? Who are the characters? Who will the actors be? Who is the star and who are cast and crew? Who is writing the script? Who is providing the music? Who is going to direct the action? Who is doing set design? Who is providing the food for the actors? Who is providing transport? How long with the production take? Who is supervising the clean up crew? How much will it cost and who is providing the money?
Next thing, lets transfer all those film production questions to the kids birthday party scenario.
What is the story? (Will this be a themed party or a free for all) Who is the star? (birthday boy or girl). Where is the party set? (home or rented venue), Who are the cast and crew? (In this case any and everyone who has a hand in helping with the party including family members) Who is writing the script? (As the parent that job fall could fall to you or maybe someone else, could be a party entertainer) Who is providing the music? (home music system, DJ or a live band) Who is directing the action? (A party entertainer or someone else) Who is providing the food? (a caterer or a homemade cake) How long does the production take? (5 hours or 2 hours,) Who is doing set design? (party decorations). Who is providing transport? (parents or others) Who is supervising the clean up crew? (parents or a professional cleaner or the venue) How much will it cost and who is providing the money…what money?
Ok, with all of these questions spinning in the air, for me it came down to the most important question, which was the last question. How much will it cost and who is providing the money? Me! But what if all I had a limited budget and £25.00 was all I had to spend, (which was often the case when my daughters needed parties). And I know all about limited budgets because independent film producing is about nothing if not about limited budgets. So I thought to myself, hey there have to be lots of people out there like me on limited budgets who want to give their kids a great birthday party but don’t have an arm and a leg to spend. So what if I came up with something that could help them so that…. but wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s go back to YOUR party problem.
You need to have this kids party but you are not able to pay lots of money but you still really want a great party, right for your limited budget of £25.00
Making it Happen no matter what.
So now as a low budget film producer you would be thinking, OK, maybe on this occasion I cannot have a Steven Spielberg production but I can certainly have a Roger Corman production, which could still be a memorable occasion that people will remember and talk about for years to come. If you know films you will know that Roger Corman is the world’s best known low budget film producer and is considered the “King of The B Movies”, having produced titles like The St Valentine’s Day Massacre, The Raven, The Man With the X-Ray Eyes, and The Little Shop Of Horrors.
Roger Corman productions are historically known for squeezing a dollar until the eagle screams. For those unfamiliar with American currency, the eagle is the symbol on the dollar bill. This means he gets as much out of the cast and crew as humanly possible and sometimes inhumanly possible , but in the end the films are always made and in many cases some of them have gone on to become classics. Roger Corman has always had a special place in my heart because as a film producer Roger wrote the bible on how to do it right and on a super low budget.
So now you need to start thinking about how to find as many of the things you need that will answers as many questions as possible that will fit within your small budget of £25.00
Ok how about a free for all party with you doing everything from baking the cake to entertaining the kids with stories about..ooh maybe the time you went on holiday and lost your wallet or got bitten by mosquitos in your last camping trip so badly that you had to stay in bed covered with ointment for two days. Ummm, maybe not. Then you think..What kind of music does kids like? Should I use paper plates or plastic or…
Then you think about going online and maybe finding something like a low budget a party package with everything. The internet has everything there must be something like this. Except the closest thing you can find still is costing over £100.00. In fact a lot of them are even charging per guest. No this won’t work for your £25.00 budget.
The Filmmaker Gods intervene: Dumb Luck
Then later that day you are in the supermarket in the checkout queue and eavesdropping (as one does but never admits to doing), on a woman telling the checkout person about something called this strange word “ MajiMuku” and how it is a very affordable party package with all a person needs for a kid’s party including… music, stories, masks (for a themed party ), a cake baking recipe, videos, games, even a video guide telling you a little bit about how to run a kids party.
And you say to the lady at the checkout counter in your most polite and unobtrusive tone, “Er… ah…excuse me, but I couldn’t help but overhearing your conversation about this Magic Muuu..thing you were just talking about, something about a kids party package that you can just download that has all of these things that you would need for a kids party.”
The person tell you that the party package is about magic animals, but that the correct name is in fact Maji Muku and then tells you about how you can find the website on the internet. Then she informs you that it was in fact created by a low budget film producer who loves Roger Corman films and copied his method.
Then you ask about the price. And even before she answers you tell yourself that even though she said it is very affordable, that it has to cost more than £25.00 you have to spend.
Then you have a brilliant thought, possibly your most brilliant thought of the day so far. You start to think in your producer’s mode …think think think…just maybe hum… I wonder if I could buy maybe half of the package, or maybe at a push I could buy two thirds of a package. Or maybe I could even get the package free in exchange for some decorating or gardening work at their London offices. I wonder does this site have an email or maybe you could contact an admin person with who I could negotiate directly.
As an independent filmmaker, negotiating better terms for everything comes as naturally as a bird in flight, it’s just part of the nature of the beast.
But suddenly unexpectedly out of nowhere, your emotions for the kid rushes into your body and fills up your insides and clutches at your heart strings
Now you have no choice, you’ve got to have that package to make the big production work. So you take a deep breath and you take the plunge and ask about the price. Then you find that the price is actually within your limited budget £25.00 budget. It’s £8.99. EUREKA!
Now not only do you have a party package but you have £16.00 extra to spend on food and balloons.
A Successful Party: Post Production
So the big day comes and goes…You had your Maji Muku party. No one had an allergic reaction, no fights broke out, no one was sick and most importantly no lawsuits were threatened. Everyone went home happy. And when you went to bed you said a little prayer thanking the universe for the likes of Roger Corman.