(Photo: Second magic show performed August 2011)
I officially started my career as a children's entertainer originally part time around 7 years ago. (2010) I had high expectations but I didn't expect that it would turn into a full time career so quickly. Trying to handle the business aspect of it plus finding time to rehearse, create new shows, studying, and working on new material was becoming way too much for just a part time career.
There's no doubt it was a big risk for me quitting my full time job as owner and operator of a painting company, but with the support of my wife Bonnie, I grabbed the bull by both horns as they say, and I've been making a go at it ever since. I feel blessed that I was able to quit my full time job to pursue my life dream of being a performer. I realize that many are not able to do that, but for me it was the right time and the right place where all the stars aligned.
I thrive on challenges, and love friendly competition. I believe competition is good for the soul. It keeps me on my toes and helps motivate me to continue growing and improving as a performer. It also keeps me from feeling too comfortable and stagnant. It also helps create new challenges for me to face.
I have a great amount of passion for what I do, and I strongly believe that one must have a great passion for their dream if they want to be successful at it. It has to be something that you want so bad that you breath it, eat it, and think about all the time. You have to be willing to work on it 24/7. It must have your undivided attention, almost to the point it consumes you. Yes, it must even be an obsession. A good obsession though. Not one that takes away time from family and other life responsibilities. You have to know what your priorities are, and not compromise them. I've always been the believer that the more you put into something, the more you get out of it.
There is so much involved in being a children's entertainer. First, you need to know who you are, who you want to be, and what exactly you want to achieve from it. You need to set goals that are relevant to what you want to do and what you want to accomplish. You must have a sincere interest in children, and a good understanding of what children like and find entertaining.
There's also the business aspect of it all. Having some good knowledge of marketing, advertising and promotions is an asset since much of the business side of it has to do with how you market yourself. Having good sales skills is also another asset since you have to sell yourself to potential clients. You have to be creative, and have an above average imagination. The greater the imagination, the better. You have to be diverse, unique. I believe being original is key for any good performer. I also believe having or taking theater or acting lessons is very important. I know some children entertainers never seek to acquire those skills, nor do they think it's important.
Then there is the show itself. It's too easy to just buy a prop or routine and perform it the exact way the instructions say, but one should be able to make it their own by adding in their own personality and creative idea's. This sometimes takes actual experience first, but I think it's a worthy goal to aim for. It's part of being unique from every other performer around you.
The show should obviously be entertaining. You must engage with the children and keep them engaged. Improvisation skills are very beneficial, especially when conversing and interacting with the children. Of course this is just a few of the basics of what a show should be. A further break down would be discussing what types of routines work best, formatting a show, arranging the music and sound effects, tying the show together, adding in funny gags, getting a certain amount of laughs per minute, etc. All this takes a lot of learning, studying, and planning, never mind just the time it takes to learn the tricks or other skills, such as puppetry and ventriloquism for example.
I like to believe I work very hard at my craft, spending hours upon hours researching, studying, learning, rehearsing and creating new idea's and routines. I am always trying to better myself and provide the best entertainment I can. It's been an ongoing process, and I still have much to learn.
I've been so blessed with where my career has taken me in such a short time, and I have learned and grown tremendously. The exciting part is that there is still so much more to learn, and so much more room for improvements. It's a journey that never quite comes to an end. Well, until I pass away that is. But, I don't plan on leaving this earth anytime soon.
With a background in child development, and working with children, I've always had a special place in my heart for our youth. It's why I also became a Scout leader and created an anti-bullying school assembly educational program. With my love for theater, and my desire to be an entertainer, becoming a children's entertainer was a perfect marriage.
I've been creating my own routines and themed shows for holiday events and festivals for a couple of years now. I recently created a routine that I shared with other children magicians who liked it so much they wanted me to sell it to them. I was extremely flattered by that. It wasn't one of my goals to become a magic creator, but it's a really good feeling knowing that I created something that other children magicians will be using in their shows.
In November, I will be celebrating 5 years as a full time children's entertainer. As I look back I reminisce of my humble beginnings, and those who have helped me on my journey so far. My biggest support has been my wife. She has been my encouragement, as well as my partner. She also works behind the scenes as my music and sound effect technician. I wouldn't be doing what I love to do if it wasn't for the sacrifices and commitment she has made for me. I also have my children to thank for being my guinea pigs with every new routine I come up with. They are not only brutally honest, but also very supportive of their dad.
I also owe gratitude and thanks to some of the other local magicians in the Province who have been open and excepting of me since I arrived here in Saskatchewan from Alberta 12 years ago.
We formed a small group, (14 members) of Saskatchewan magicians that meet together whenever our schedules allow it. We also have a closed Facebook Group where we keep in touch online. I think there are benefits of being part of a group of like minded performers and magicians where you can discuss related topics, share stories, idea's, experiences, and sometimes just have some fun and laugh together.
And of course, a great big thank you to all the children and clients throughout Saskatchewan who have helped make my dreams come true. Here's to the next 5 years, and all it will bring me