The Shreveport Times Interviewed Josh Ellis of Spinner Entertainment. Here’s what was recorded…
They’re performers whose talents would likely be seen on a variety show or at circus. But they’re being booked for corporate events and festivals.
They’re people whose talents are similar to Josh Ellis, the agency’s 28-year-old founder.
“We’re not a circus company. We’re an entertainment, talent booking agent,” Ellis said.
Ellis is a juggler. Inspired by the TV show “Totally Circus,” which featured kids at a “Circus Smirkus, a touring youth circus, Ellis took up juggling. “I was so impressed and I always wanted to learn. I picked it up one day and now I’ve gotten to where nothing is unjuggable.”
His act consists of gentlemen juggling — a vintage style juggle in which plates and champagne bottles are tossed through the air. He even balances champagne bottles on canes.
But Ellis, who graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in marketing, also is a businessman. He started Spinner Entertainment in 2013.
“This is extremely unique to Shreveport. We’re the only entertainment company in north Louisiana,” he said.
The Times: Briefly tell us about Spinner Entertainment. How did it get started?
Josh Ellis: Spinner Entertainment is an entertainment company specializing in bringing a multitude of different types of performers and acts to the Ark-La-Tex. We have a lot of acts that include circus acts, stilt walkers and fire performers, and we’re just now stepping into the musical territory. I created Spinner Entertainment because I was a local juggler, stilt walker and balloon artist here in Shreveport. Knowing so many performers and knowing so many people looking for entertainment around the Ark-La-Tex, I knew that there wasn’t a centralized location for performers to have someone find gigs for them or their clients can call and ask for their type of talent or entertainment for their event.
TT: How does your background help you help other artists and what they need as performers?
JE: I have done it and I knew people that have not done their first gig, or were thinking about it, I knew I had the experience to talk to them because I had been juggling for 10 years. And so I’ve had the experience to help these other performers get to where they want to be in performing.
TT: What is it about the entertainment market here that made you think this could be a successful business in the Ark-La-Tex?
JE: A long time ago, and we’re talking back in the 1950s, you had this type of entertainment around the streets of Shreveport even. Now, you don’t see that. The only thing that you see very much of is the musical part of entertainment — musical and visual artists. There was not a community of performance artists, as in skills artists for instance — jugglers and stilt walkers. There wasn’t that community. My point was to create a community of performers and entertainers that’s not just necessarily visual artists or musical groups.
TT: How would describe the type of talent that you have?
JE: That’s what we strive on is weird and unique. People would think when they’re looking for entertainment for their event, they’re very limited. They had to go out of Dallas or so bigger city to find these type of performers. And people are starting to think outside of the box. People weren’t thinking OK ‘If I had a band to play that’s enough entertainment.’ Well that’s one thing about my performers and my entertainers, they’re just very unique. They’re hula hoopers, jugglers, there’s not normally what Shreveport-Bossier would think of entertainment here. But they’re very entertaining people. I mean, who doesn’t like a stilt walker, a nine-foot tall human, stuff like that? That’s how we kind of gotten success by having unique and weird.
TT:Who are your clients? Who’s coming to you searching for these type of artists and performers?
JE:We do a lot of the events for festivals here in Shreveport and we like to cater to corporate, private and the festival sector. We don’t necessarily push for children’s birthday-type of events, although that’s something we have done. We cater more towards the corporate side and large bigger events.
TT: How often do you seek out new talent? Do people find you or do you find them?
A: Most of the time when the client comes up with odd requests then I’ll have to find them. (Odd requests would be, for instance, if someone asked for a Superman for their birthday party. You know, I have — there are plenty of Superman type partners in larger cities but I’ve had to locate people who are interested in acting or anything of that sector and pretty much offer then opportunity to put on the suit and they act that part.) I also think an odd request would be a contortionist because there’s absolutely no contortionists here in Shreveport. I’m working with others if they’re interested in knowing contortionists putting them with other contortionists I know that way can be part of my contortion-circus ring. Other times I would have to search. So I gathered all these people in the Ark-La-Tex that do, Dallas, Texas, but the majority of the performers are here in Shreveport.
Source: The Shreveport Times