New Year, New Attempt

It’s been 6.5 years since I said, “I miss performing, I’m going for it once again!” — but nothing happened. No performing, no practicing up. Bleah.

I *think* the main reason I never got back into it was mainly financial. I was self-employed and we had some personal problems hit about that time which meant there just wasn’t any free time for anything other than just getting by. But now the kids have grown and flown the coop (mostly) and I gave up the self-employed thing for a real 40-hour a week job (plus another 11-13 hours a week commuting, argh!), which means I have time for a “hobby.” I’d planned on continuing doing game development, but apparently I’m kind of burned out on that and the only no-work stuff I’ve been doing has been magic. Woot!

So here’s my new plan — unlike previous attempts, this time I’m not shooting for doing so many shows I could switch back to it full-time. Instead, I’ll remain a full-time IT guy and just do shows when I can. However, instead of just being a hobbyist, I’ll attempt to become a semi-professional performer — getting paid for my shows, but not making a living doing it.

What Kind of Shows?

While I’ve done mind-reading tricks as part of a magic act before, the “people who know” say mentalists can command much more per show than a magician. That, plus the fact that I’m more interested in mentalism than sleight of hand, etc., makes me want to try my hand at a mind-reading act.

I’m going to do my mentalism performing under a pseudonym, but to get back into the swing of things I’m going to do some magic shows under my own name, and just throw some of the mentalism routines into the act to try them out. My intention is to put my alter-ego to work in Q4 of this year (2017) which gives me a good 9 months to get ready.

I’m not sure if my plan will work because I want the first show my pseudonym will do to be a paid show, and hopefully very well paid. I’m hoping to transition from Jay the magician to the unnamed mentalist all at once, using the testimonials from my magic shows to get the corporate work.

And that’s what I’m going to be shooting for — focusing on corporate banquets, parties, etc. And aiming for $1,500 per 45-minute show in December, 2017, and moving up to $2,500 per show in December of 2018. I intend to turn down shows that don’t meet a certain minimum and only do higher-priced shows.

Weekly Theatre Show

What I’d like to end up with is a weekly show at a hotel in Anchorage, doing about 90 minutes and charging somewhere around $35 a ticket. In the summer it would cater to the tourists and in the winter it would give locals something to do. Something like the Mind Tripping Show in Indianapolis. Not sure whether Anchorage is big enough to support something like that on a weekly basis when the tourists aren’t here.

What I’m Doing Now

Number one thing I’m doing is spending too much money on books, videos, etc. On the other hand, those things I’ve purchased have given me some good ideas for tweaking some of the older routines in books I’ve carried around for the past 30 years.

In general, I’m diving into mentalism and reading as much as I can about the subject while starting to work on things that can be done impromptu. Then I’ll start working on a few “parlor-sized” effects so the next time there’s a family gathering I can do something (it’s been a while since that’s happened).

I’m hoping to start doing some magic shows by late spring and the results of those will help me figure out whether my timeline is doable or not.

How Many Times Can You Start Again?

Short version: I dropped out of school after the 8th grade to perform full time. Until sometime in my early 20s that’s how I made my living. Then I got into computer programming and dropped performing. Except I’ve always missed it, so 20-some years later I’m thinking I need to jump back into performing and see what happens.

However, I’ve had those thoughts before and nothing has ever come of them.

Long version: Take a couple minutes and read this page:

http://jayjennings.com/magic/?page_id=5

That’s what I wrote in late 2001 and while I’m sure I meant it at the time, I never followed through. Shortly after that is when we adopted our kids, moved (a couple times), and life just generally got very busy.

At least, that’s what I think happened. I don’t have any recollection of deciding NOT to get back into performing, it just never happened.

So here I am in mid-2010 and wishing I were a performer instead of a programmer. I have “stuff” — I’ve hauled along a box of props and books even when we decided to live on the road and moved into a 208 square foot trailer. I just need to decide to DO it.

Embarrassing Disclosure

After sitting on my can for about 25 years with typing as my most strenuous activity, I’ve become quite a large guy. (Some would say “large” is an understatement.) While I do know there are fat performers, it’s not something I’m happy about and it gives me a reason not to pursue my dream. And it’s not just “emotional” it’s practical — do you know how much it costs to buy performing clothes in XXXXXXXXXL size?

(Okay, maybe I put one or two extra Xs in there. Maybe.)

Yeah, I can lose weight (“It’s easy!” says all the skinny people.) and I’ve started on that, but it’s not something that will happen anytime soon. But I’m not willing to keep putting off my new beginning so I’m going to look for some opportunities where dressing casual will be just fine.

Those will probably be free shows, but I don’t have a problem doing some of those initially just to get some testimonials that can be used later.

Anyway, there’s my story. One time performer who wants that life again.

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