My name is Jonathan Jones
(Before I get started, the video pictured above was filmed & edited by me as well as my coordinator at the time. The first "Grinch" in the video that you see, is performed by me. The second Grinch is someone else.)
I am a mascot & costumed character performer as a main part of my profession. However in this work field, situations often become very bleak.
Before I start on why money will help the goal, I will tell you a bit of why I do what I do.
Having worked for some very big named Theme Parks in Florida, I can ask you the question of, "Have you ever had a special moment with any of the Disney Friends or characters that live within the parks, or watched your children interact with them?" For some families out there, you have witnessed some touching moments with these characters. Positive moments that leave great memories with both the parents and the child.
When I was a child, I never got to experience any of this in person, except for what I watched on the Disney Channel. Our family was pretty well to do, but I knew that a trip to Disney would never be on our list of scheduled "To Dos" anytime soon in my lifetime. However that didn't stop me from dreaming about it. Costumes were intriguing to me as a kid. In the back of my mind, I knew it was fiction, but I wanted those characters to be real. It's the same as wanting Santa Clause to be real when you were a kid. Things like the turtles from "TMNT The Movie" were just fascinating to me.
I never thought that when I grew up, I'd ever be doing this very thing, putting on costumes to bring various characters to life for the general public.
Over the years this has evolved from small businesses, companies, Theme Parks, to now a non-profit mascot for the Jacksonville Giants, "Mr. Biggs". Mr. Biggs is a professional mascot for the ABA basketball team, and because he is non-profit in his events and charity campaigns, that means when I work for the team performing him, I don't get paid a single dime for my time.
Some people ask, "Why is putting on a costume so important to you? Why do you want to be a mascot?" Well, it does sound silly. Wearing these costumes is no easy task for starters, and very uncomfortable. You get sweat in your eyes, you extinguish a lot of your energy/oxygen, and you have to be able to constantly move and animate so you aren't 'a boring person in a costume'. Becoming a cartoon may look easy, until you get inside the costume yourself. This is why being a mascot is important to me, because I don't think about any of those problems, instead I focus on energy and reactions I get from other people and I live for that again and again. Seeing someone smile, laugh, and get excited when I am around is remarkable, and having a child talk to me as if I were their teddy bear come to life creates a feeling I can't quite explain in words.
This is the feeling I live for again and again, but the problem is.. I am about to lose it all. Having been struggling with the mascot profession for about 8 years now in Florida, having moved away from my parents in North Carolina to gain independence whilst focusing my efforts on mascot work, I have finally found myself in desperate times.
Mascot work is seemingly starting to dry up. I JUST started working with the Jacksonville Giants as Mr. Biggs recently, and while I love to focus my time with them and work children's school and charity events, there is no money coming to me and I am slowly reaching the point of having to leave Jacksonville and leave my 8 years of effort behind to run back home to NC.
I don't want to do that, I want to be able to stay and continue building Mr. Biggs into something special for this community. So I ask for help from the public to help me be able to stick around just a little longer to help get myself back on my feet.
I'm looking to raise around $700, which should give just enough to provide me with time to help get back to where I need to be.
I appreciate it sincerely.
The money is to help keep me (Jonathan Jones) from having to leave all my efforts and dreams of continuing mascot work and forfeit my life here in Florida. The money will help buy me time to keep myself living stable and to help my situation.