Or What It Is Like Being A Professional Entertainer

Many people think that it is really cool being a professonal entertainer. The image seems to be that we only work a couple of hours a week, have our fans around us, and get to enjoy a lot of travel. However, there is an old saying, "show business" is two words, and "business" is a bigger word than "show".

Being a working entertainer requires much hard work. Putting the act together can take a very long period of time. Developing the concept, the approach,scripting, rehearsing, securing the props and equipment, re-writing, refining the presentation and timing can all take months. The act which may seem spontaneous is usually the result of much research and thought. While I am performing, part of my head is judging the feedback from the audience and constantly making small changes in order to get the best response, along with paying attention to what is actually going on. One of the best compliments I've had is when someone said what I do seems so easy. That's great! I'm glad to hear that! I work very hard to make it look easy!

There is a whole other side to performing besides the show. Most entertainers spend the majority of their time not on stage, but booking the show. There are sales pieces to be designed and printed, mailing lists to make up, phone calls to make, contracts. Planning on the unsteady financial situation when there are "dry" periods through the year can be a challenge. The expenses for equipment, sound systems, and travel can be huge.

The time invested in performing is much more than most people take into consideration. It is not unusual for me to drive two hours to work, do four shows, hauling equipment, setting it up and tearing it down in four different locations each day, and then driving two hours home. Ten and eleven hour days are not uncommon. When the distance is too far to drive back and forth from home, I need to stay in hotels. About half the year is spent on the road. While we are with audiences during the day, we go back to a small hotel room in a strange town where we don't know anyone, hoping there is a good movie on TV after the paper work and phone calls are finished. Keeping friendships back home is nearly impossible when you are not there, either. Not too glamorous, huh.

So, why do we keep doing it?

We love the shows. We love the audiences, the chance to perform, and yes, the applause. My school shows teaching safety to young kids have been credited with saving a life and keeping a child from getting into a car with a stranger, which puts a whole different spin on those programs. We also know that, no matter what show it is, for those few minutes we are taking the audience away from their problems and allowing them to enjoy themselves. Laughter is a very special gift to share, and we are fortunate to be able to give it to you. That is why we do it. Not just for us, but for you, too.


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