April Smarts Day

Thursday April 1st, 2010 – Vernon Hills, IL

April Fool’s Day is fun until about age nine, and then it gets old. Fast. It’s pretty hard to think up a really good prank that hasn‘t been done to death, but I’m sure many today were consumed with the desire to one up all their friends. Somehow, that never appealed to me.

I did wake up to a few text messages, voice and emails trying to get me to nibble, but it didn’t work. I knew what the date was before I went to bed last night so nobody put a big one over, at least on me anyway. I’m sure lots of ‘jokes’ were pulled off across the globe.

Wait a minute, does anyone else have April Fool’s Day? I’d hate to try pulling off some half baked lame stunt in Saudi Arabia and end up getting my arm cut off. I’m not sure if a laugh from my friends would be worth having to be called ‘Lefty’ for the rest of my life.

Instead of trying to pull one over on anyone else, I decided to uncover all that I’ve been pulling over on myself all these years. I made a conscious decision to make today the first day of my own personal six month reinvention plan. I know what I need to do, and there’s no way around it. The next six months are going to determine a lot for the next few years.

I need to redefine myself. Period. I need to have tangible goals with a well laid out plan as to how I can achieve them. I need to have an ambitious yet realistic schedule designed that allows me to get something done every day on each of the four main projects that I’m choosing to make my focus until October 1st. Then, I want to close the year with a tour.

I’m having hot shows now, it’s just that nobody cares other than me and the people who happen to be in the audience that particular night. Then when the show ends, so does their involvement so I’m the only one left who has any kind of emotion invested in my shows.

I’ve said it before, but it’s true: I have a job in comedy but not a career. BIG difference. I can squeak out a living, but as far as being on anyone’s map of big time comedians, I’m a grease dribble at best. It doesn’t mean I’m not competent, it just means I’m not known.

I couldn’t care less about the actual fame per se, but I do care about people who need to know me knowing who I am. I want to be known in the industry, like a Tom Dreesen for example. He’s done extremely well for himself, and everyone who’s anyone in the comic hierarchy absolutely knows who he is. He’s noticed on the street too, but he’s not Elvis.

He can have a life but also a career in show business. There are many other examples of what I’m aspiring to, but if I don’t readjust my battle plan I’m never going to get past my current lot in life, and I’m not satisfied with that. I know deep inside I can do a lot more.

Maybe it’s not in me to be ‘the next big thing’, but very few of anyone in any field gets to have that title. Steve Martin did it in comedy for a while, and he was around about the same time as Tom Dreesen started. Steve no longer does comedy. Tom is still performing today, not because he needs money but because he loves to be on stage. He has passion.

Well, me too. I’ve always loved doing shows, especially when the audience is into what I’m doing. They’d be a lot more into it if they paid top dollar and knew who I was before I walked on stage, but that also is reserved for only a precious few who manage to capture the fancy of the public in some way. Showmanship helps, but it’s all about the marketing.

My current situation is all over the place, and that needs to change. Six months can have a dramatic impact, and that’s my intention. I need to use it wisely, and that’s why I put my whole head around it today. It’s sure not going to be easy, but it’s time to shake it all up.

The main thing I need to do is make some products to sell. Farmers either grow crops or raise livestock, and then they sell it at the market. I need products to sell in more than one market, and ones that I can sell for the rest of my life. Once crops are sold, they’re gone.

The ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show about Milwaukee is a winner. I can feel it and I will keep working until it’s a viable product. I have decided to write a book of essays instead of just doing a live show and maybe trying to sell a CD or DVD only. I still want to have all that, but I think the book is the way to go so that’s what I’ll do. Now I have to make it happen.

I have some notes about what I want to include in it, but I am going to physically make myself a three ring binder and put the titles of the essays in order as I think of them and a complete list of everything else I want included, like pictures, quotes and chapter titles.

I’m going to do the same with my comedy classes. I have spent a lifetime learning what to do onstage and off, and I think I can put that down in three levels so people who want a head start can avoid the stupid mistakes I made that weren’t necessary. I also have a basic outline for that sketched out, but now I want to record it and put it up on a website to sell.

Once I crank these two projects out, I won’t have to worry about doing it again. They’ll be finished and on the shelf so I can go do other things that make even more money. I can tour if I want, work on Uranus Factory Outlet, or maybe even have a family at some point and feel like I belong on this planet. Right now, struggling to survive is just not cutting it.

I’ll still have the rigors of daily life to deal with, but knowing I have a plan in place that includes a deadline really helps put it all into perspective. If I have no deadline, I’ll never get anything done. I’ll find a way to blow it off, let it rot or worse yet not even start at all.

That’s not acceptable to me, and I am going to DO this and do it right. I have the vision in my head and I’m not going to let anyone else pee in my pool. I’m going to shut myself off from the world and give birth to two things that are on different sides of the spectrum so they can give me streams of income from different sources. I think it’s smart business.

I’ve also got a CD coming out very soon. I have enough in the can to have another one out by October 1st, and that’s the third of my four goals. The fourth is to get myself going in my personal life and get healthy in all ways from physical to mental to spiritual to also unloading anything extra out of my life I’m not using. Six months of work starts today.

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