Back In The Saddle Again

(Written in late 2001…)

The last professional show (where I was paid to be there) I did was probably about 1987. That was the year I decided I’d rather be a programmer than a performer. So I packed all my props away and found a job as a computer programmer.

I loved programming — in fact, I still do. It’s so cool to start with nothing and then when you’re done you have something to show people. Hmmm…sounds kind of like magic…produce a dove or produce a program.

Over the years I’d dabble with magic for a few weeks at a time and then put it away again. When Copperfield would hit a city I was living in I’d go see the show, I’d always watch magic shows on TV, etc. And about once every couple years I’d end up doing a little show for the company I worked for.

I’ve missed performing on a regular basis. I didn’t remember how much until March, 2001. I was asked by my church to do a little juggling for a benefit dinner they were having. Instead, I asked them if I could do a 25-minute show. They were thrilled and all of the sudden I had to come up with a show.

It was weird. I started putting together a show and things started falling into place. At times it felt like it hadn’t actually been more than a decade since my last real show. The show went very well, and since I taped it, I was, for the first time in my life, able to watch one of my shows. (No, in all the years I performed full-time in the 80’s I never taped a show.)

It was enlightening. I knew I put on a good show, but seeing it from the audience viewpoint was so cool. And it sparked something in me.

Right after that show someone asked me if I’d come to a church in a nearby town for a kids carnival. I said, “No, I don’t perform anymore.” But then for some strange reason I told them to give me a call next week and I’d see if I had time.

So they called, and I said yes. And I tweaked the show I’d done — dropped a couple things and added a couple more. And did another 25-minute show about a month later.

And I was hooked.

So, I’ve thought about it for the last week, talked it over with my wife, and have decided to dive back into performing. Well, I’m going to dive into the shallow end of the pool. There’s no way I can start out making enough to pay the mortgage, truck payment, etc. The plan is to get into it part-time starting this Christmas working the “company party” circuit. Then book a few spring school shows, some summer company picnics, and then evaluate where I am.

At some point if it looks like I can bring in $6000 per month (average) on a continuous basis, I’ll decide at that time whether to ditch programming and come home to performing full time. If not, I’ll still stay in it on a part-time basis.

So, what’s this web site all about? It’s going to be a step-by-step diary of my attempts to get back into performing. I’m going to talk about how I’m putting my shows together, what kind of marketing I’m doing (what works and what doesn’t), how I’m booking my first shows, etc.

It’s ALL going to be here.

I think it’ll help me stay focused on what I want and will give me a place to brainstorm. And I think there are probably other people out there like me — they’ve fallen by the wayside and miss the good old days. And they wonder whether they can ever get it back again. So maybe if they see one person’s journey it will inspire them to start their own journey…

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