Party FAQs

Who is a guest?

A guest is any child who will participate in the movie-making or theater party, including the birthday kid. This number also includes siblings. Any siblings or relatives significantly younger than the birthday party kid will need an adult to stay with them for their safety, as our parties are very active!

When do I pay for the party?

A non-refundable $100 deposit is due upon booking a party. You have the option to pay the full amount upfront; otherwise, the balance is 14 days before your party date.

Can you really do the party in my house!? How?

If you have any room and electricity, we can bring this party to your house! For movie-making parties, we bring our green screen, green screen stand, light kit, and camera, all of which fits easily into two travel tubs. For theater parties, all we need is a room or outdoor space with space to move around. To give you an idea of what's possible, we have done parties in the following places: a park, a garage, a livingroom with furniture pushed to the sides, the corner of Maggiano's private dining room, a rec room, a backyard, a basement, a dining room, a Chicago Park District space, a rented theater, and more!

Besides my home, where else can I have the party?

You can host your party at Prop Thtr at 3502 N Elston, Chicago, IL 60618. Or, we will gladly come to any location of your choice that you book independently. We have traveled to a variety of spaces, several of which are listed above. For parties outside the city of Chicago, there is a flat $50 additional fee.

Do you provide goody bags?

We do not provide goody bags. You are welcome to bring your own.

Should I tip the teaching artists?

Tips are always appreciated, but not required.

Do you provide food and beverage or paper products?

We do not provide food and beverage or paper products; however we do have some extra emergency party supplies on-hand if needed.

Do you have props and costumes?

No. We have a couple of special-effect pieces to use with the green screen, but we do not have additional costumes or props. We invite you to have your guests come in costume if you have a specific concept for the movie or theatre party prior to the day of the event. At some parties, families have doubled a prop as the goody bag: a funny hat or big pair of sunglasses for each kid, or inflatable instruments. You should remind your guests not to wear any green to a movie-making party (unless you want them to be a mysterious floating head as their clothing will disappear into the green screen).

What song can I pick for the music video party?

The guest of honor should pick one song for the actual music video and one song for the credits. No restrictions!

How do I know what party is right for my kid and their friends?

It depends! The main difference between our parties is whether you want a movie at the end of it. In terms of party duration, typically younger kids do better with a shorter party, and then duration goes up from there. For some events, the guest of honor has even come up with a script or outline that we shoot for the whole 3 hours. Everything is customizable, so if you have other specific questions,email or call us for suggestions based on our experience facilitating.

My kid and/or some of my guests can be shy sometimes. Will they have a good time at the party?

We haven't lost one yet! All Brain Surgeon artist-educators are experienced with all kinds of kids, grownups, and groups. After a few minutes of warm-up games to get our creative juices flowing, you'll find that participants with many different personalities and experience levels feel safe sharing their ideas and expressing themselves. The structure of a creative theatre or movie-making party is often just the scaffolding a quieter participant needs to have a great time.

How do you make the movies?

All movie projects are shot with a SLR high-definition camera and professional Zoom recorder on a large green screen background for special effects. Once the footage has been created and filmed at your party, one of our film artists takes the footage and edits it using Final Cut Pro X and AfterEffects. Editing is very detail-oriented and we work with very detail-oriented artists, so you can expect them to create a rough cut of your film for your approval within 14 days of filming. Once approved and any changes are made, you'll get a private URL linking to your final project to share with whomever you like!

How will I get my movie to my guests?

Your final project will be uploaded to the Brain Surgeon Theater website on a webpage only you have the URL to. We'll send you the link, and you send it to whomever you want to see your amazing performance! Please note that we do not archive footage, so you should download your movie from the URL and save the file to your desktop or an external hard drive. The URL will be live on our website for 1 year for guests, friends, and family to stream and download; after a year we will remove the link to make room for new movies.

What can I expect from the Brain Surgeon Theater teaching artists?

We work with a large number of Chicago-based artists and artist-educators. Every party is staffed with at least two artist-educators. Depending on the type of party you book, you may get teachers who are filmmakers, theatre artists, musicians, costume designers, or all of the above. At the party, the teaching artists will lead the creative process, make sure everyone is having fun, and make sure everyone is safe. If you are having an in-home party, the teaching artists will start packing up after the party is over. If you are having the party at the Prop Thtr or another rented space, the teaching artists will help with the last fifteen minutes of the party with any food and beverage you are serving.

I'm not sure how many guests will show up. What should I do?

Book for as many guests as you invite. Once there are more than 20 guests, we need to book a third teaching artist; this cost remains the same if you end up with less than 20 as our teaching artists book out weeks in advance. (Yes, they're that good!) No refunds are available if guests don't come to the party, as the cost to have 3 teaching artists is the same.

Woah, that party was amazing. Do you do these kinds of events for grownups?

You betcha! Book the same way you would for a kid's party. We've created movie and theatre parties with groups of adults in the style of music videos, E-True Hollywood stories, fake biopics, fictional horror movies, murder mystery plays, and pretty much anything else you can think of. You can pick any of the parties listed above and we'll customize it for you and your friends. We've also done music video shoots as part of larger events, like retirement parties, anniversaries, birthdays, and family reunions. Hilarious!

Camp FAQs

My child doesn't have a lot of experience with theatre or music. Is Brain Arts Summer Camp right for them?

Absolutely. Brain Arts Camp is ideal for kids who want to explore the arts in a fun, creative, positive environment. Everyone creates their own roles and projects, and there are no high-stakes auditions or extreme feats of memorization. Brain Arts Camp is modeled after what we as arts professionals find to be the most important components of the performing arts: collaboration, a space that welcomes a diverse array of voices and ideas, and believing in what you've created. If this philosophy makes sense to you, then we think Brain Arts Camp will be a good fit!

My child has a lot of experience with theatre and music. Is Brain Arts Summer Camp right for them?

Absolutely. Brain Arts Camp meets every artist where they are, and if that's somewhere that's extremely experienced, that's awesome. Every kid writes their own roles and leads their own projects, so if you've got an ambitious thespian or Carnegie Hall-bound musician, please send them our way! We don't just teach theatre and music, we're theatre artists and musicians, and we think of all our young artists as collaborators.

I noticed that some of your summer camps are for all ages. Why is that?

Brain Arts Summer Camp works like a one-room schoolhouse. We love having a mix of campers of different ages, skill levels, abilities, and interests. Since the beginning, we've had a broad range of ages in our camps, and we've found that it allows younger artists to rise to the occasion and older artists to take on leadership roles. Also, siblings are usually in the same group, which is pretty cool, believe it or not. Because our summer camps are small (20 campers or less), we are able to customize our curriculum. This level of individual attention means that everyone has a chance to excel.

What does a typical day at camp look like?

At 8:45, we start check-in in the lobby of the theater. Once you've signed in your camper with the staff (don't forget to bring a lunch!), be on your merry way. Summer campers hang out in the theater reviewing lines and getting ready for the day until 9 am. We typically start the day with a vocal and physical warm-up, theatre games, and a review of what we'll be working on. From there, our artist-educators dive in to the writing, performing, filming, or rehearsing they've planned. We break for lunch a little before noon and head to the park and playground right next to the theater to get some fresh summer air, eat a picnic-style lunch, run around, and play games. At 1 pm, we head back and spend the rest of the day in a skill-building workshop. Pickup begins at 2:55 pm and goes until 3:15 pm.

What is your refund and exchange policy for tuition?

Brain Arts Productions has the right to cancel a camp one week prior to the start date; full refunds will be processed if a camp is cancelled. (This almost never happens, but we have to put something about it here.) If the purchaser (you) cancels registration for a camp session, a full refund is available up until March 1, 2017. After March 1, 2017, there is a $50 administrative fee for any cancellations or switching between summer camp sessions. This is because we have a strict limit of campers per session, so late drop outs mean that someone else missed out. :( No refunds are available after May 1, 2017.

Is summer camp peanut/tree nut free?

It depends. If your session needs to be peanut/tree nut free, we will let you know well in advance.
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Brain Arts Productions | Offices in Chicago • Consulting Everywhere