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Magic Performing

Still Not Performing *sigh*

For some reason, time has NOT stood still the way it ought, and here we are five years after that “This time I mean it!” post.

And no, I still haven’t done any performing. I *have* made notes on possible stuff to do, but if that’s all I have to show for five years, something’s wrong. I hate to say it, but I think the problem is mostly just inertia. It takes a lot of oomph to completely switch gears this late in life. And a decent chunk of money, too, since getting enough paying gigs right off the bat is hard/impossible.

I guess a person could just do it on the side — but I’ve never been good at that. I tend to dive head first into the things I want to do. And mostly it’s worked out, so that should give me the “permission” I need to dive back into the pool. But that thought is scary. And, I do like what I’m doing now and don’t want to just toss it by the wayside.

I probably need to figure out a way to have a hobby and just make performing my hobby. Hmmm…

 

Categories
Magic Performing

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.

Categories
Magic Performing

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…