Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The "Can I Make a Living Doing What I Love?" Experiment (#16: Quick Monthly Update)

by Pam Victor

[The "Can I Make a Living Doing What I Love?" Experiment is my one-year challenge to make a living through creative pursuits. Read all the updates here.]

As I expected, November wasn't the most flush month of The "Can I Make a Living Doing What I Love?" Experiment. If I divide my $16,000 annual goal into twelve chunks, my monthly dollar goal is $1,333. In November, I made $526.50. Ouch. Stepping back a bit, I can see that I'm four months in to the Experiment, that's one-third of the year. And in total I've already made about 38% of my annual goal. All in all, that one down month is not a reason to throw in the towel.

The good news is the Experiment is more than just hitting these dollar goals. It's also about doing what I love as a career. In November, I performed three paid improv gigs, taught three improv workshops and continued to teach two weekly improv classes, and I facilitated two more improv workshops. This week, I'm starting a new
Me and Moe McElligott in The Ha-Ha's show
"Shrink: Where Freud Meets Funny"
at a gig in October.
session of my Zen of Improv Comedy 1 class. And my other session seems to be enjoying our weekly classes so much, they're going to start Zen of Improv Comedy 3 later this month. There is a possibility that by March, I could be teaching three Zen of Improv classes each week. Or maybe four if the class at Greenfield Community College gets enough students to run.

Last month, the first session of The Zen of Improv Comedy for Teens concluded. That weekly class was an interesting learning experience for me as a creator/producer of classes. It was a tough sell, much to my surprise. Despite the fact that pretty much every local high school has an improv troupe and I sent out hard copies and emails of flyers for the class directly to the director of each team, I was barely able to get enough students to make it run. Including my daughter, who just started doing improv again with her high school friends, the tally of students was only eight. But the kids really seemed to love it. It's not often when a couple 13-year-old boys say your class is the highlight of their week. I don't have immediate plans to teach another weekly improv class for teens because it's not financially a good use of my time and teens seem to be really booked already with activities. However, I suspect the benefits of this class may play out in some  yet-unseen way in the future.

A duel during the last day of
The Zen of Improv Comedy for Teens
The whole month was  not devoted exclusively to improv, however. For the fourth year in a role, I volunteered as the Head Czarina of Badassery and Good Will for a fund-raiser for my beloved Roeper School that runs throughout the whole month of November. Challenging but important work. Plus, I was sick for almost the whole month with some horrifying virus that may or may not have caused mild, temporary swelling of my brain (and not in the good way). I'm very glad to be cured of both these issues.

On the whole, the most challenging part about the Experiment these days remains the constant need to put stuff out there. (Forgive me if I have bitched about this "blerg"-inducing element before.) My to-do list is stocked with places to whom I should send class proposals - none of these places know yet that they need me to teach these classes. Hopefully when they receive my cold call email, they will see the gaping void in their class roster that only a Zen of Improv Comedy or Mindfulness Through Laughter class or workshop could fill ...

* * *

Pam Victor is the founding member of The Ha-Ha’s, and she produces The Happier Valley Comedy Show in western Massachusetts. Pam performs  "Geeking Out with: The TALK SHOW," a live version of the written Geeking Out with... interview series, at comedy festivals throughout the land. Pam writes mostly humorous, mostly true essays and reviews of books, movies, and tea on her blog, "My Nephew is a Poodle." Currently, Pam is finishing up work on "Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ and Dave Book" with co-authors TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi. Read all her nonsense at

No comments:

Post a Comment