TOAST’s Web “Thing”

126. Tell stories (busk) for money. Make $1,000 doing it.

Full description:  Busk by reading from novels, and children’s books.  Do this in a good busking zone (Pitt Street Mall or others), and keep going until I’ve made $1,000 in donations, and have finished one novel and three sessions of children’s books.  No microphones, amplifiers etc.

About this goal:I once saw someone doing this at a market.  An old guy reading children’s stories (mostly novels).  Truly engaging.  I never gave it a second thought for many years, then for some reason, it popped into my head (porbably while inspirationally drunk one Saturday night).  Since then, the thought has been stuck in my head.  Now, it’s at least on a list.

I plan to do this after I’ve completed an MGSM subject entitled “public performance for managers”, more on that some other time, but it’s taught by possibly the most talented person in the world in this field, Lynda Spillane.  The rumour is that she got poached by George W Bush to be his personal speech coach, him saying “name your own price”.  Another rumour is that she won’t be teaching very much longer.  I e-mailed her directly and she told me that she’ll be teaching at least once or twice in 2007.

I’m sure there will be some great personal development benefits to doing this, but that’s not the reason why I’m doing it.  It’s just something that’s been stuck in my head for a long time.  And yes, I’m just a little anxious and nervious about doing this. 

The “money” there is just a yardstick to measure that I’m actually doing OK.  I could donate it to charity or something, but I’m currently not that way inclined.  If I end up enjoying the result, I might continue with it.

I also plan to develop a name / persona for doing this.  Just enough that I can be referenced (“That dude who wears a Dr. Who scarf who reads books out loud in the Pitt Street Mall”)

Latest Developments:

2006-12-08: Am currently thinking Jules Verne’s “20,000 leagues under the sea”.  It’s bound to be in the public domain, easily available, and “rated G for a general audience”.  Possibly with some A.B. Patterson as a warm up, or old children’s stories (possibly illustrated).  Also, maybe one of Daniel Dafoe’s (though the style of those is tricky, might need a modern update edition).  Maybe “Around the world in 80 days”.

Am trying to get a feel for timing at the moment, I think I’m at around 90 words per minute, in the style of voice I’m after.  That would make 20KLUS  So, in Pitt Street Mall, that’s a “season”,

Question(s) I have.  Should I stick 100.00% to the text?  Should I add the occasional adjustment?  Should I adjust for the audience?  Throw in the occasional well placed, well timed comment? Offer conversions of weights, currencies etc?  Give a small commentry before and after a session?  Should I stand on a box?

2006-12-08: Some thoughts on timing.  20KLUS is in two parts, for a total of 47 chapters.  Almost exactly 140,000 words.  ~3,000 words per chapter.  At 90WMP, that’s about 33 minutes per chapter.  Or at an hour per weekday, between 4 and 5 weeks.  Big job, but it can be done.

2006-12-08: Ooh ! Seems that amazon.com has text statistics !  Let’s have a browse:

20KLUS = 99,000 words ?  is it the same edition ?  I downloaded the Gutenberg text and WCed it.  (It’s a mass market edition).  That helps bring the time down to 18 hours.  Nice.

Robinson Caruso – 110,000 words

Swiss Family Robinson – 103,000 words.

Moby Disk – 200,000 words

War and peace – 560,000 words

Atlas Shrugged – 565,000 words (I’ve read this one.  It’s LONG.  Took about 3 months @ an hour a weekday on trains)

A Suitable Boy – 591,000 words

Remeberance of things past by Proust – 1,500,000 words, more than “an hour every weekday for a year”

 OOH ! Found a great one !  Around the world in 80 days is only 66,000 characters long !  12 hours !  Might be able to jam it into a fortnight of lunch hours !  (Theoretically, I should be able to read this without reciting it in an afternoon !)

That’s enough for now, but I think I’ve now picked my book !

Next Action(s):

  • Choose a book
  • Try a couple of copies of that book (large print, regular, online and printed out).
  • Learn some techniques!
  • Practice, Practice, PRACTICE
  • Figure out timings
  • Determine what to wear, what to call myself
  • Determine if I want a sign or anything.
  • Get busking permit.
  • Research about busking
  • Get out and do it!

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