Professional Mascot Performer Training
Any professional mascot performer will tell you that the secret to truly engaging your audience is in performing in a way that is not only appropriate for the character and brand but for your audience as well. That is why Hogtown Mascots provides mascot performer training, in addition to our mascot design and construction services.
What Performers Can Expect to Learn During Mascot Training
Communication is very important with a mascot. But certain kinds of communication work better than others. For example: Mascots should NEVER speak! It ruins the illusion. the human voice sounds distorted and muffled through a mascot head. Also, different performers have different voices which will confuse your audience. If the mascot has an escort, they can use some popular excuses to explain why it is not able to speak.
- He has a sore throat today from all of the singing he did yesterday
- She’s saving her voice for the show later on.
- He was cheering so hard for the team that he lost his voice. Can you show him your favorite cheer?
- She’s a bit shy. Let’s tickle her a bit and see if she laughs.
- He ate way too much peanut butter yesterday and he’s still clearing it out of his throat.
Common Mascot Gestures
Aspiring performers will learn about all of the classic gestures and mascot moves that allow the character to make a connection with the audience – whether children or adults. You will also learn how to express fear, surprise, disappointment and more. All without making a peep!
Waving – Use your entire arm for a big wave in situations that you really need to stand out like a sports game or walking in a parade. Simply open and close your hand when waving to a smaller child in a meet and greet mascot situation.
Laughing – Bring your hands up to the mascot’s mouth and nod the mascot head forward in a rapid motion to signal laughing.
Blowing a kiss – Put your hand to the mascot mouth and then flat out in front of the head with the palm up.
Hugging – Be gentle when hugging. Remember that children may feel shy or intimidated by a gigantic furry presence. Also, if you give a strong forceful hug, especially to an adult or teenager you run the risk of initiating an aggressive or confrontational situation.
I love you! – point to yourself then use both hands to draw a heart in the air and point to the recipient.
I’m scared! – run away, cover your eyes, and shake your knees. Lifting one hand up to peek out can be very comical.
Aww, shucks! – give a little sweeping kick forward while hooking your arm in front of you.
The Hogtown Mascot training program will also teach you how to perform at different events, such as:
Mascots at Sporting Events
Waving – Get the crowd going by starting a wave!
Goals & points – When your team scores make sure to give a big jump and rally the crowd with two big thumbs up. If the other team scores, then give a little sweeping kick forward with an “aww, shucks” kind of feel, then shake the mascot head back and forth while covering your eyes. Just remember to be respectful of the opposing team. After all, it’s in good fun.
Participation – If the mascot is to participate in the game in any way then you need to take the time to make sure you can perform safely and effectively. Start out by practicing without the costume, then try with just the mascot head on, then the hands, and add the feet. Finally, practice in the entire mascot costume. This practice will be worth the effort and will show when the performance actually takes place.
Mascots in Parades
On the Float – Make sure you know your boundaries. You should always try to remain seated on a float but if you have to stand then try to keep your mascot feet planted in one spot. Moving around the float could cause you to lose your boundaries and take a nasty tumble. Remember that your audience is constantly changing as the float moves so movements that seem very repetitive to you are fresh to the people watching you.
Off the Float – If music is playing then it’s a great idea to choreograph a little dance. Keep your movements small as you may have a long way to go. Dancing should be limited mainly to arm movements that you can do while walking. Remember that it can repeat frequently as your audience is constantly changing. Taking the time to learn a little movement will make your float or parade walk look very professional. Feel free to shake a few hands, give a little laugh every now and then, and always be waving to the crowd. Your arms should never just hang by your side!
Meet and Greets Mascots
Different mascots communicate with different gestures. Above all you should let the personality of your mascot be reflected in your actions. Are you shy, boisterous, jokester, tough, etc? Once the personality is established then you can determine what actions should be applied while in the mascot costume. This will ensure that everyone wearing the mascot is portraying the same characteristics. It’s a great idea to keep a written reference of your mascot’s personality and standard gestures with your costume for every performer to read prior to performing. In most situations it is ideal to have an escort with you to keep your back protected and to be your voice.
Adults and Teens – Shake hands, give a big hug, laugh, and even blow a kiss. Most importantly, take notice of adults and teens as soon as they approach you. This will establish a level of authority. Your escort should make eye contact and say something like “Who do we have here?” to initiate a conversation. This type of introduction and interaction with teens and adults can diffuse many potential uncomfortable or even violent encounters.
Children – Keep the movement slower and gentle with children. Remember many kids are afraid and intimidated by mascots. Making large fast movements can be very scary to a child. Hold your hand out and open and close your hand slowly to wave. Let the child feel how soft your hand is. Let them get to know you at their own pace. If a child is scared of you and screams you can do the same by moving away from the child, covering your eyes and shaking your knees to signal that you are also a little nervous. Try to move slowly back towards the child and build a relationship but if they’re still scared, simply move on to the next child and let them observe how friendly you are. They may still come around for a big hug.
Basic Character Rules
No matter the situation, there are common sense rules that every mascot performer should follow. These include:
- Stay in character at all times. Only break character once you are completely away from public view.
- Always be friendly, courteous and animated.
- Never speak or make noises in costume
- Do not remove any part of your costume in public
- Do not smoke, eat or drink while in costume or partially dressed
- Don’t be seen entering/exiting restrooms
- Do not show temper, anger or frustration
- Do not scare or intimidate people
Always stay safe and comfortable when performing! Here are some top mascot safety tips.
If you are an aspiring performer interested in joining our training program, or perhaps you’re interested in hiring one of our professional mascot performers, please contact Hogtown Mascots at 1-877-622-8422 or submit our online form to get started!