Monday, December 09, 2019

How I Became a Professional Magician

Texas Author and professional magician, Julian Franklin
In Texas I'm known primarily as a magician who does author visit assembly shows at elementary schools and public libraries. But it all started WAY back at the turn of the millenium....[cue the wavy sound effects that indicate a flash-back scene]

Before I had ever done a motivational school assembly show; before I had ever done a magic show at a public library to promote their summer reading club; before my writer's resume contained anything other than about a dozen published magazine articles and not even a single published book; way back before I had a cell phone or GPS, but still had a little bit of hair on my head and a copy of "The Y2K Survival Manual" on my bookshelf waiting for the immenent collapse of society; I was a school teacher.

Kids, these were a dark time, now referred to by historians as "The Late Nineteen Nineties" and I was just getting started with a side hustle to help make ends meet as a newlywed trying to survive on a teacher's salary. My particular side hustle was performing magic shows for children's birthday parties, much like my friend who does birthday party magic shows in San Antonio, Mr. Magico.

This "side hustle" eventually led me to doing motivational magic shows for summer library programs in Texas (since I had my summers off anyway as a school teacher), and the work I did in public libraries ultimately led me to become a motivational school show presenter using magic and puppets as teaching tools.

The reason I mention this is because one of my birthday party clients from WAY back, still had my name and contact information. So when her neighbor asked for a reference last month she gave out my name. I haven't marketing birthday parties since my seventeen-year-old daughter was just six years old. To tell you the truth, I MISSED it! I legitimately miss sitting on the floor with a small group of kids just doing, simple, silly, magic tricks.

No motivational message.

No educational content.

No school schedule to keep.

Just the unbridled laughter of children and the gasps of amazement from their parents in the back of the room.

So, I dusted off my box of birthday party magic and went out to where it all began: the living room floor of a house with a child celebrating their birthday. In this case, his name was Sam and he turned five on Sunday. This morning I got an email from Sam's mom. This is what it said:

Just wanted to tell you how much fun EVERYONE- kids, parents, and grandparents had today.  Everyone was talking afterwards how great you were.  How is it possible to keep 4-5 year olds so focused for an hour?!!!  And you kept them all in line and made sure each and every child who wanted to participate, did so!  You gave us your time prior to the party, warming up Sam and his friends, and time after, without rushing out and abruptly leaving the party.

Sam was going around his bedroom tonight, as we were putting him to bed, blowing his magic breath all around his room, giving magic life to everything!  He loved that “special” gift that only the birthday boy was able to make happen!

Thank you for making us feel so proud of a beautiful birthday party to honor Sam!

You are TERRIFIC!!

Monday, December 02, 2019

The Best Texas Summer Reading Program Artwork I Could Find

"The Storyteller"©Scott Gustafson; all rights reserved
As I try to create the best, fun, magic puppet show, artwork is an important consideration. I'm a magician and a motivational speaker, but my ability to draw is quite limited. I recently contracted with an amazing artist to license his artwork titled “The Storyteller” for my show this summer. Like the artwork commissioned by the CSLP Collaborative Summer Library Program, Scott Gustafson's artwork includes imagery of a native American. Unlike the CLSP artwork controversy, however, Scott's imagery carries no religious significance, but is rather a wonderful inclusive design element that I find to be brilliantly executed and fantastically rendered.

I hope that you get a chance to have my show at your library this summer. Our license of Scott's amazing artwork includes the printing and distribution of full-size, full-color posters to help promote the show in your school or library. While we can't sell the posters, we are able to give 3 of them, at no charge, to any organization that books our program this summer. I'm almost as excited about Scott's amazing artwork as I am about the hilarious, elementary school magic puppet show assembly program we've created. Of course, like all of our shows for public library programs we will be offering an educational version beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. This will be one of the 15+ elementary school assembly shows we offer.