A new course called "The Santa Claus Initiative" is starting Wednesday May 3rd at 7pm CST and the deadline to enroll is fast approaching. I posted all about it on the Facebook Group and the question was rightly asked "What unique insight do you bring to the table?" After all, I haven't been doing this for an entire decade just yet and I'm quite young. But, I tried to answer all the questions they brought up in their comment as honestly as I could.
What unique insight do I bring to the table?
Well... I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer that as my own perception of things is skewed from what I'm actually perceived as. I can tell you that I explained my my take on Santa Claus to someone who wasn't a Christmas performer and they commented that I speak of Santa Claus with reverence. I believe in Christ, but I also believe Santa's behavior and performing shouldn't just be for the Christian world. My take on Santa Claus is very serious, can you believee that?
What things am I planning on covering in the S.C.I. course?
Those who have taken my Santa Video Work Course know how by the book I am and how a passing grade of an A- is expected. I'm trained in video production, and I have developed a trained eye. Unlike some events or trainings where people can merely show up and get a certificate of participation, certificates from The Santa Claus Workshop are awarded to those who have done the groundwork and pushed themselves to a higher level of learning and application.
I do not believe in coddling, especially when being a Santa Claus has so much responsibility. Not everyone is cut out for it. I have the peace of mind knowing that many who attend the courses I offer and successfully complete them really do want to improve, and I'm very pleased when I hear about the difference in quality and instruction.
The S.C.I. is going to cover the mission of Santa Claus, what must happen to improve one's own performance, character development, and understanding. This is not about having the "heart of a Santa" that cannot be taught (it is something personal and achieved individually). This course is full of hard truths which may be uncomfortable to some, but my hope is (since I started the workshop) that by pushing and working harder many seasons of trial and error won't be needed for new comers who can stand on the shoulders of those who have come before them.
My journey as a Santa Claus was one all alone for my first three seasons. I had no mentors. I have built my persona as Santa Claus through trial and experience and have cultivated a rigourous standard I wish to uphold. The S.C.I. is built around the core beliefs, work ethic, and difference between knowing how to be a good Santa Claus v. being humble enough to recognize and take the steps along the path of learning.
What are questions I would like to be asked?
I've been asked so many (hence the blog, videos, and resource page on the website which have amazingly been put to good use). A question I have been asked is "what can I do to improve?" but hardly have I had the joy of seeing improvement implemented, success stories shared, or an attitude adjusted to accomodate a hard truth (usually in the traditional beard world where people move very slowly on the side of caution).
Becoming Santa Claus is about taking risks, gaining confidence, and being smart enough to listen to and admit when one is wrong and can improve. Most of my frustration stems from uneducation and misinformation. My mission for the workshop is to provide videos and a library accessible for years to come. I cannot do that without people wanting to ask questions; and my mission is thwarted by lack of action.
How can we collectively bring Santa into the modern age of kids and families that are perpetually distracted?
I believe all are missing something. Whether you call that the spirit of Christmas or the spirit of Christ I'll let you decide. I believe that being good isn't the natural state of man; it is not of this world. By providing something different - the answer and rest to all this busy-ness - we become beacons of light. We are not the light ourselves, we are merely instruments to bring that joy.
Check the ego at the door, take pride in what has been accomplished, and stop holding back.
The S.C.I. is not for the faint of heart. By holding these courses the website remains up and running. Now with my schedule being more manageable I hope to produce more content where there is a need (fat suit construction, research episodes, additional interviews, and perhaps more theatrical beard stuff if people need it). I won't be surprised if only a handful of people show up, because change is always hard, but we have a duty and a responsibility (which we freely took upon yourselves, no one is forced to wear the suit year after year without consent) to uphold and improve the image of Santa Claus around the world.
And so ended my response. I was so glad for the questions put. I love answering those who ask questions with merit. Thank you, for investigating what makes The Santa Claus Workshop different and the quality of education we have to offer here. Without you, there would be no point to continue making instructional content at the current standard.
You can enroll in five week course "The Santa Claus Initiative" HERE and accept my invitation, and that of our alumni (who may be persuaded to add their take on things in the comments of this post), to come and see what we have to offer.
Yours as always,