Friday, March 6, 2015

The "Can I Make a Living Doing What I Love?" Experiment (#20: I MET MY $$$ GOAL!)

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.]

Drumroll please ...

On the surface, this experiment is all about my goal to make $16,000 doing what I love between August 1, 2014 and August 1, 2015. I'm now at the halfway mark, and I'm happy/shocked/grateful to announce that as of this week, I have officially met my financial goal for The "Can I Make a Living Doing What I Love?" Experiment!


Thank you to any of you who made this possible by taking my classes, coming to a show, and letting me know that I have your support. More than you can ever imagine, those small comments - the thumbs-up FB post or the moments at a comedy festival when someone takes the time to say to me, "Hey, I really think it's great what you're doing" - mean the world to me and put gas in my tank to keep me going.

This Experiment is not over. Not by a long shot.

It is not and never was about making that ridiculously small yet impossibly large amount of money through improvisation. The "Can I Make a Living Doing What I Love?" Experiment continues officially until August 1, 2015 as I gift myself the opportunity to continue exploring where this journey is taking me.

I'll take a few seconds to jot down what I've shared so far in the last six months:
    Constantly on the run doing what I love
    [Photo credit: John A. Loos]
  • This shit take work, people. A lot of fucking work. I have worked every single day of the last six months. Not always full time every day, but pretty close. For the next six weeks, I am teaching four classes a week. I spend pretty much all day long doing the behind-the-scenes work (lesson planning, publicizing classes/shows/the book, processing registrations and payments, emailing, everything that goes into producing shows, arranging space rental, writing, beating the bushes for more teaching/performing/writing opportunities ...) Then usually after dinner, I drive out into the dark, cold night to teach or perform. I get home around 10pm or so. Some weekend nights are the same too.
  • Managing stress is crucial. I am never done with the job. The to-do list never ends. Never ever ends. (Right now, I have three to-do lists going ... I keep making new, shorter ones with only the tasks for the next day or two, just so I don't feel like I'm drowning.) The whole idea is that I'm doing what I love. And once I'm in the classroom, on stage, or actually writing, I do love it. And sometimes I have to remind myself to take the moment to arrive and be grateful. I am starting to think about taking some days off
    Interviewing Laura Hall and Rick Hall (BCAF 2014)
    too - though the stress of the work waiting for me often feels like more than the stress of working. When I interviewed Rick Hall at the Boston Comedy Arts Festival last year, he said that getting the acting jobs is work, but once he's on the job in front of the camera, that's his play. I get that now.
  • Listen and respond. I apply improv tenets to my life, so I try to take life "one little step at a time," as David Pasquesi advices we improvise. There are many forks in the road, and it's hard to decide what is the best decision to do next. So I try to key into what intuitively feels right, what feels most "fun," what feels most "ease-ful," and then I take that path. In that way, all the paths are the right one. (Hopefully.)
  • Listen to the yeses. Ignore the nos. Inertia is a strong li'l sucker. People don't like change, and they'll say "NO" a lot to your new ideas. Those are not the people I listen to. (And by "people," I also mean the little people who talk to me in my head.) I listen to the people who say yes. I do not give my energy to the no people. Does your idea seem impossible but you feel drawn to do it? Do it anyway.
  • Delude yourself and fly. As those two or three loyal readers know, there are two women who have given me my mantras of braveness: Tina Fey and Susan Messing. I know I've posted these many times before, but tough titties. I'm posting them again.

  • Trust your angels. Yeah, I'm getting a little woo-woo here, but I do believe that we deserve all the joy and success in the world. And the Universe - or whatever you care to call or not call it - would like to provide us with opportunities for joy and success. When I look and listen carefully, I can see the people who are opening doors for me. I try to have faith that those are good doorways to walk through.

Thanks again to those of you who have gotten me to this milestone in ways both large and small. If you could hang in there with me for six more months, in ways both large and small, I'd be most grateful for your company.
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Pam Victor is a full time professional improviser! She is the founder of Happier Valley ComedyThe Happier Valley Comedy Show, The Ha-Ha'sThe Zen of Improv curriculum, and the "Through Laughter" Program, which brings personal and professional growth through improvisation. 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." She also writes about the meeting of Zen thinking and improvisation in the Zen of Improv written series. Along with TJ Jagodowski and David Pasquesi, Pam is the co-author of "Improvisation at the Speed of Life: The TJ & Dave Book."  Read all her nonsense at

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