In 2002 I presented my very first performance at a public library. Prior to that time I was a teacher in public schools here in Texas and did some magic shows at birthday parties and such on the weekends. My first show was "The Wild West Reading Show" and in it I taught the audience about the value of reading while also covering some basic points in Texas History.
The result was that both I and my wife would stop working as school teachers and devote our full time to our performance business within just a few months.
From the 75 or so library programs that I delivered my first summer in the business I began getting phone calls from school librarians, principals, PTA/PTO leaders, and other school officials who wanted to bring me into the public schools to motivate, educate, and inspire their students.
From there it was like an atomic chain reaction.
I got approval from my principal to take a few days off and do these three schools who wanted me to work for them. But at the end of each of those days, there were two, three, sometimes FIVE messages from other schools who had heard about me from the officials at the school where I was that day and they wanted to book me for THEIR school.
I went back to my principal and talked to him about it and asked if it was okay for me to use a few more of my sick days to help these other schools.
"They are your sick days. You use them however you want." He told me.
So I always arranged my own substitute in advance and went and did these additional shows. But each of them led to several others and before long my sick days were gone (I had 40 at the beginning of the year saved up from previous years), and I was still getting calls to the tune of one or two a week wanting to book me.
My business has continued to explode every year since then and I still end up booking shows 12 - 24 months in advance, almost all of it as a direct result of the word of mouth of my loyal customers and clients.
That's how the summer reading club of 2002 "Read Across Texas" changed my life.
Over the next few days I'll post about how the other years' have also altered my life. In the meantime, if you want to check out the shows that I wrote for each one of these year's programs, visit my Library School Assembly Programs page.