Day 2, 2018. Zoom. Here we go. Career-wise, my goals for 2018 include three new shows, and entering a new market. That’s it in a nutshell.
After five years in Chicago, I have begun to establish myself on the preschool circuit, an audience I absolutely love, but there is a strong ebb and flow to those gigs.
I am busiest with preschools June-August, October, and Dec-Feb. The rest of the year I do birthday parties, libraries, and various other family events. But there are some problematic holes in the schedule. Some dips in income which create stress for my family.
So… how to fill those holes? Well, several years back I was performing at the birthday party of a girl whose grandfather approached me after the show. He said he had run summer camps for much of his career, had seen “hundreds” of children’s entertainers, and was impressed with my show.
He said after running camps, they moved into the senior home business and now own a chain of nursing facilities. He suggested that, with some adjustments to the content, my style and presentation could work very well for seniors.
Obviously I’m not going to be doing my “Old MacDonald’s Farm” show for seniors where we sing Wheels on the Bus and use our listening ears to find the cow. But, he felt that the energy, the music, the humor of my shows would translate well to senior entertainment.
That was probably 7 years ago, and I’ve done a few senior shows since then, but never really invested in entering the market. I haven’t given it a sustained effort with shows custom designed for seniors.
But that stuck with me, and I am, at long last, in the final preparations to seriously enter the senior market.
My first offering will by my new “Magic Circus” show, which will be ready to go by March. It will combine puppetry, magic, accordion music, and audience participation into an exciting “trip to the circus” for seniors.
I’ve been outlining and jotting notes for this show since last summer, practicing songs on the accordion. Initially my goal was to have it up and running by fall of 2017, but that didn’t happen. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ oh well.
The most important change I am making (also one of my goals for 2018) is to never again rush a show into production. That is the most stressful part of my business – the constant churn of creating new material.
Having been focused on only one market, I’ve needed to constantly crank out new material month after month, season after season. But, for example, with the circus show, if I have clients in two different markets, I can present that to seniors in the spring, then offer it as my big summer show to preschools.
Boom – two seasons from the same show. Plus, it will work well for birthdays and family events throughout the year. It will get better and better with more performances, and it gives me more time to plan and research and experiment and rehearse the next new show. I can go much further with the work, I can develop my skills more deeply.
So… that’s the plan. I’ve been saying this literally for years, that I want to shift away from the “cute” variety type show I have built my career on, to a deeper, more theatrical style of entertainment. No less entertaining, but with greater skill, more “Wow!” I want people to feel like they’ve been to the theater after seeing one of my shows.
That starts now. Tackling the hard work in 2018.