Podcast - June 2011
The Royal Rogue Guest Essay
Go Ahead and FAIL
Faces Behind The Fur
Jean Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Phillie Phanatic Mascot Tips
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Found this short 3 min video on the Phillie Phanatic, which is a tour de force on how to be a mascot. I think its a great tool for any mascot to watch. Told by the long time "best friend" of the Phillie Phanatic,Tom Burgoyne.
The video starts with a character summary and backstory, showcasing the value of starting at the beginning and being able to tell fans how and why this big green monster is their mascot.
Tom on the value of not being over-rehearsed: "When he's out dancing with fans in the crowd or spilling popcorn on somebody, none of that's rehearsed, that's just the Phanatic being himself". I will say after watching the Phanatic a couple years ago as the featured entertainment at a Reading Fightins game, it was the spontaneous crowd interactions that really elevated him. He was just so funny and engaging with the fans and players pregame, it actually overshadowed his more scripted inning-break material. It really showed that you don't need a time out to captivate the crowd.
Tom is able to verbalize his ethos by saying the Phantic represents the Phillie Sports Fan: "He's passionate about his Phillies." He shares how the character shares the same emotions and the same faith as the loyal fan base. I think that's so important, since it allows the character to have a full range of emotions, sharing the ups and downs with the fans.
Tom also notes how the team has created some simple guidelines, then tries to let him to his thing. Such a great tip for game directors and teams on how to set your mascot up with some creative license, while giving the performer some framework.
The Team's guidelines to the Phanatic:
- Go do your thing, without too many limitations
- Don't interfere with the play and don't interfere with the game.
- Don't be rude, don't be crude.
Those are pretty simple rules, but they give the performer a nice framework from where to start.
Great example of the rules in execution are letting the character engage with the players before the game, but then respecting the game once it starts and backing off a bit.
Finally he summarizes a great part of the Phanatic that is so critical for any mascot's success. Here's Tom:
"What's really cool about the Phanatic is no matter if the team's winning or losing, there's still a real live energy around the Phanatic. People still get excited when the Phanatic comes barreling down the steps and into their section or maybe does something out on the field that's funny....if people are laughing even if the Phillies are losing 10 to nothing then he's done his job."
He notes that baseball is perfect for mascots, since they are uniquely qualified to fill those lulls with energy and fun.
Tom closes with the idea that people are just always excited to be around the Phanatic, which is a great test for success for any mascot and performer.
Additional Links on the Phanatic and Mascot Performance on Gameops.com:
- David Raymond on Life as a Mascot
- Dominic Latkovski on Birdzerk!
- Interview with Santa (Stewart Scott)
- Mascot Programs with Erin Blank
- The Coyote on Creating a Celebrity
- The Famous Chicken Talks Mascotting
- Zach Lowe Interview
- YoJo: An Interview with Bromley Lowe
- Mascot Resources
Best of the Decade Audio Roundtable
James Phillips on "Behind the Mascot"
Static Clean Bumper Sticker