Successful Performercast by Kris Sheppard | Successful Performer Cast | Weekly Interviews with Professional Entertainers | Show Business, Showbiz, Performer, Magic, Magician, Juggler, Comedian, Musician

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October 2014
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Syndication

In this episode, I talk to CJ Johnson about his career in magic, hypnotism, and being a game show host! He talks about his approach to business and tells us how he found balance between work and family.

CJ Johnson is a magician, mentalist, hypnotist, and a game show host! He’s also author to more than a dozen books and self-hypnosis CD’s which includes his super popular book “More Shows, More Money” which has been credited to helping countless magicians take their passions full-time.

CJ is certainly qualified to teach this, as he maintains a full calendar traveling the country performing his shows as well as managing teams for his six touring "Game Shows to Go.”

When he’s not performing, he enjoys kiteboarding and flying precision stunt kites, but nothing is more important to him than being with his family, just outside of Austin TX.

This guy exudes entertainment and success.  

Success Mantras:

A man is only as good as his word. Work hard, be nice.  

 

Failure Story:

CJ Tells us a story about a mishap he had involving a cell phone and what he thought was a telemarketer that cost him a gig.  

 

Favorite Success:

Relationships. If wealth be measures in friendships, CJ is the richest man in the world!

 

CJ's Thoughts on Business

• Work harder than anyone else.

• Under-promise, over-deliver.

• Figure out how you can make things scaleable.

• Take care of the people that work for you.

• The longer you're in business, the easier things happen.

• Maintain good relationships the people you do business with.

• Call to check in with your business connections (clients and business partners alike) in genuine ways. (Congratulations, birthdays, etc).

• Every one of his "big breaks" has come from a relationship with someone.

• You can get anything you want in life if you'd just help enough people get what they want in life. —Zig Ziglar  

 

How CJ Found Balance Between Work and Family

• How important it is to have a supporting spouse.

• He did what he could to be home for family, even if it meant buying a plane ticket.

• Had an offsite office.

• Ate dinner with family every night he was home and NEVER had the TV on during dinner.

• Capitalized on every opportunity to be with his family.  

 

How Does CJ Differentiate Himself?

Having a clean show and being day to work with.  

 

What's been CJ's Biggest Professional Challenge?

Cash flow.  

 

Parting Advice

• Work hard, be nice.

• Never underestimate what you can learn from other people.

• If you go to a magic convention, don't posture.  

 

More Shows More Money

Proven techniques to succeed in the entertainment business!

This is the book C.J. is known for among magicians, clowns, ventriloquists, mentalists and others who make their living as entreprenurial entertainers.

If you charge people money for shows - or would like to.This book will pay for itself in 30 days or C.J. will give you your money back.

These are real world tools and techniques that C.J. has used to make an exceutives salary for the past 20+ years.

Find out more at www.moreshowsmoremoney.com

Note: I don't get any reward or kickback for recommending this book. I also don't personally own it but have only heard great things about it. 

If you decide to buy it, please be sure to tell CJ you heard about it from the Successful Performercast. 

 

Recommended books and resources:

Note: Many of the links in this section are affiliate links, meaning we earn a small portion of any sales. If you're enjoying our podcast and decide to purchase one of the recommended resources or books, please consider using our affiliate links to help support the work we're doing here at the Successful Performercast. Thanks!  

Resources

Kerry Pollock's Showtech - Wireless Remote Controlled Sound System

Pond5.com - Stock photography and video

Digital Juice - Stock graphics, video, music, and animations.

Flipping Typical - A way to explore the popular typefaces you have on your computer.  

 

Self Development Books

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar

Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins  

 

Magic Books

Device & Illusion by Jim Steinmeyer  

 

Where can we find CJ Johnson?

CJ Johnson's Official Website Facebook | Twitter @hypnotic1  

Direct download: SPC_033_CJ_Johnson-Hypnotist.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PST

I had the wonderful honor of talking with magician Nick Lewin! One of the main things we talked about was corporate magic. We also talked about putting a twist on magic classics and there was was even a little performing advice taken from Billy McComb!

Nick Lewin is a magician, comedian, actor, host, and keynote speaker from Austin Texas, originally from London.

He's certainly run the gamut, being featured on countless TV shows as both a magician and actor, he’s performed for English royalty, presidents, hollywood celebrities, and fortune 500 companies. Companies like Apple, AMD, AT&T, Bank of America, Coca Cola, General Electric, and Nutrasweet. He’s also been featured in top showrooms around the country including Vegas with his One Man Show and has also performed on every premium cruise line.

In addition to this, he also finds time to create products for and teach the magic industry, contributing his thoughts to multiple outlets, on the industry, performance, and business.

Entertainment Today says “Lewin blends impeccable sleight of hand with a razor sharp British wit.”  

 

Success Mantra:

Work a lot! To be a successful performer, you need to perform.  

 

Failure Story:

During a show, one of his props got moved and as a result, he wash't able to perform that routine. He learned to always have a backup ready for anything.  

 

Favorite Success:

Meeting and performing for the man who invented the MP4 codec.  

 

Corporate Magic!

• Customizing or personalizing your show for your client.

• Making the company president look good.

• It's possible to expand things and make the show bigger, e.g.. Hire other acts or close-up workers.

• Producing larger shows.

• How to pitch the client.

• How Nick uses a card trick to instantly change the atmosphere of a client meeting and tip things in his favor.

• Going down into the crowd after performing an after dinner show to do close-up magic and mingle with the audience. Just like Jay Alexander talked about!

• Getting repeat bookings.

• Be a "mentalist" at client meetings. (This advice and a little more corporate advice shows up at the end of the show.)  

 

Biggest Professional Challenge

Keeping his act fresh. He talks about what Bob Dylan does to make each show different.

 

Parting Advice

Know what you do, know what your client wants, and be there to fill their need.

 

Other Topics Covered

• Talks about how he created the concept for an afternoon family magic show in Vegas.

• Putting a twist on classics of magic and gves an example how how he uses a different approach to the Newspaper Tear (a variation on Elmsley's version). • Connecting with the audience.

• Some advice he received from Billy McComb: Don't waste anything up front. Do enough to get your audience's attention, then wow them with the good stuff!

• Don't finish your show with anyone up on stage with you.  

 

Recommended books and resources:

Note: Many of the links in this section are affiliate links, meaning we earn a small portion of any sales. If you're enjoying our podcast and decide to purchase one of the recommended resources or books, please consider using our affiliate links to help support the work we're doing here at the Successful Performercast. Thanks!  

Resources

Pinboard iOS App - a digital cork board that helps you organize your thoughts.  

Magic Books

Tales from the Uncanny Scot by Ron Wilson

McComb's Magic: 25 Years Wiser by Billy McComb

Vanish Magazine: A free magic magazine put out by Paul Romhany    

 

Where can we find Nick Lewin?

Nick Lewin's Official Site

Lewin Enterprises

Remarkable Magic - Nick's Writings on magic, performance, and business  

Direct download: SPC_032_Nick_Lewin-Magician.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PST

In this episode I talk to magician Jay Alexander! We talk all about various methods that Jay uses to market his business, encourage word of mouth, build relationships with his clients, and customize his shows!

Jay Alexander is one of the top corporate and society entertainers in the country and one of the highest paid magical performers in the industry. Jay started his career early performing for the patrons of his parent’s shoe store. At the age of 14 he won the Society of American Magicians Gold Medal of Honor.

He now creates customized shows for Fortune 500 companies. Some of his corporate clients include Apple, Cisco, Lucas Films, Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, Coca Cola, and Chrysler. He’s also performed at private parties and events for the likes of Robin Williams, The Rolling Stones, and Duran Duran.

In the words of Ron Wood from the Rolling Stones, “Jay is the best magician I have ever seen!"  

Success Mantra:

Under-promise and over-deliver.  

Failure Story:

Tells about not quite understanding the market he was targeting and how he created a very specific character called "Moishe the All-Kosher Magician" which didn't work at all for his target market. He learned a very important lesson of knowing your market.  

Favorite Success:

The time he made a young girl smile who hadn't shown a smile in at least eight years while performing magic at a school for autistic children.  

What's worked well for Jay's business?

Having a great show, word of mouth, and having something easy for the audience to remember about his show. (Ammar's adage: KISS - Keep It Slogan Simple)  

Interesting Story from the Road

Listen to a fun story involving Jay at the Fillmore with the Rolling Stones, and Card on the Ceiling.  

Biggest Professional Challenge

Staying relevant as he's becoming "The Old Guy."  

What would Jay have done differently?

Collaborated with more people and got more advice early on.  

Parting Advice

Learn how to manage your money.

Other Topics Covered

• You get ahead by working harder than everyone else.

• The magic isn't about you, or even your audience. It's about the Guest of Honor, or the person that hired you. It's your job to make them look great!

• Every moment from the time the client calls to the moment Jay sends the thank you card is planned and intentional. It's all part of the Jay Alexander experience.

• Going out into the audience right after his show to spend time with them, take pictures and do a little closeup magic.

• How he follows up with contacts even if he doesn't get their business.

• Word of mouth and getting video testimonials.

• Customizing his shows for his clients: Facebook is your friend!

• Getting your audience to remember you.

• Getting inspiration by watching bands and how they structure their concerts.  

 

Recommended books and resources:

Note: Many of the links in this section are affiliate links, meaning we earn a small portion of any sales. If you're enjoying our podcast and decide to purchase one of the recommended resources or books, please consider using our affiliate links to help support the work we're doing here at the Successful Performercast. Thanks!  

Resources

Siri: Jay does a great deal through Siri.

Also, make sure you have with you at every show, a toothbrush, prop list, color-coded cue sheet, and intro card. Pro tip: If you laminate the prop list, cue sheet, and intro card, you'll always get them back!  

Magic Books

Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber  

Stage Performance by Livingston Taylor  

Business Books  

Million Dollar Speaking: The Professional's Guide to Building Your Platform by Alan Weiss  

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi  

Where can we find Jay Alexander?

JayAlexander.com   Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter @JAlexanderMagic | Google+ | Youtube  

Direct download: SPC_031_Jay_Alexander-Magician.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PST

In this episode, I talk to paranormal magician Joe Diamond. We go into detail on publicity stunts and how to get the press to notice! We also have an interesting discussion on "Pay What You Want" pricing structures and he mentions an awesome resource that you probably already have but just aren't using! Joe Diamond is a paranormal magician from Chicago Illinois. Just in his twenties, Joe has been able to turn his fascination for the paranormal into a full time career and has an amazing understanding into the workings of the strange & bizarre, often defying the boundaries between what we assume can and can't be done. He was the youngest First Place winner of the “Close Up Magic Classic,” an award given in Colon Michigan, the Magic Capital of the World and now performs his paranormal magic all over the country for private parties, corporations, and theaters. Four years ago, Joe performed the world’s largest mind reading demonstration: completing a 33 acre cornfield maze while blindfolded, finishing in less than three hours. In fact, with his public demonstrations, Joe has been able to get more attention from the press lately than a good old fashioned Hollywood scandal. Magician Jay Sankey says it best” "Joe has great skill, a marvelous sense of humor and more energy than any other four magicians combined! What more could you want?"  

Success Mantra:

Dream like you'll live forever, live like you'll die today. — James Dean  

Failure Story:

Joe tells us about a specific "hell gig" story that he had to endure where he was getting paid too little for too much, and was generally just a horrible experience.  

Favorite Success:

Solving the world's largest corn field maze blindfolded!  

Publicity!!!

• Talks about his first venture into getting publicity. • Tips where he got his idea for the blindfold corn maze walk. Hint: It's Corinda's! • Putting different spins or angles on otherwise "classic stunts." • If you fail a stunt, the only people that will know are you and the reporter. And you can always find another reporter! • Getting the word out about your stunt. • Getting the photos and videos of your stunt. • Be safe! Do your due diligence. You don't have to do something dangerous. Joe has never done anything dangerous in his stunts.  

Other Topics Covered

• Always being ready. "What would I do if I had to do it tomorrow night?" • Touch on Joe's venture into a "Pay What You Want" pricing structure.  

Publicity Consulting

Joe offers consulting on publicity and publicity stunts. Shoot him an email for more info.  

Recommended books and resources:

Note: Many of the links in this section are affiliate links, meaning we earn a small portion of any sales. If you're enjoying our podcast and decide to purchase one of the recommended resources or books, please consider using our affiliate links to help support the work we're doing here at the Successful Performercast. Thanks!   Resources Use your camera phone to get video of your show and video testimonials. "Do you mind if we record this next trick?" "Would you mind if I get a quick 10–20 second review of my magic?"   Business Books Buzzmarketing by Mark Hughes Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer Thinker Toys by Michael Michalko   Magic Books Magic by Design by John Carney The Shiels Effect by Tony Shiels The Jinx by Theodore Annemann The Phoenix  

Where can we find Joe Diamond?

Joe's Website Youtube  

Direct download: SPC_030_Joe_Diamond-Paranormal_Magician.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PST

In this episode, I talk to casino magic and comedy act Mark Kornhauser. We talk about his career in magic, what it takes to perform in casino showrooms, his successes, challenges, and how hard work really pays off.   Mark Kornhauser is one of the most successful comedy acts in the world boasting 25 years plus, consistently performing in and producing shows in the most prestigious casinos in Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Atlantic City. We’re talkin’ Harrahs, Planet Hollywood, Mandalay Bay, Flamingo, Tropicana, and Hilton, just to name a few.   He’s opened for more than a few top name entertainers like Tom Jones, Elvis Costello, Frankie Valli, Terry Fator, David Letterman, and Tim Allen.   He’s also been featured on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Masters of Illusion, NBC, FOX, Comedy Central, and HBO.      

Success Mantra:

Hard work, clean living.    

Working in Casinos:

• Fitting into a time slot   • How the casino venue has changed: catering more toward headliners than variety entertainers   • How he stays in the game: develops and grows new material   • Mistakes he sees people make in the casino market   • What he sees as the future of performing in casinos    

Failure Moment:

Did a Le Pétomane (flatulence) act that initially bombed.    

Favorite Success:

His current act with his dog Zsa Zsa.    

How Does Mark Differentiate Himself?

Makes his act vastly different from anyone else.    

What's Worked Well for Mark's Business?

Maintaining relationships with clients.    

Interesting Story from His Career

Listen in to what happened when Mark ran into James Brown at a bathroom sink.    

What's Been Mark's Biggest Professional Challenge?

Staying through the difficult times    

Other Topics Covered

• Success and how it's different for each person.   • Talks about how Doug Henning played a part in his journey.   • Listening to your audience.   • Talks about his inspiration and creative process.   • Gives us his take on magic on TV.   • You can no longer be an "expensive act," but you can be a "cheap show."   • Tells about his column in Magic Magazine.    

Parting advice:

Hard work, clean living. And courage.    

Recommended books and resources:

Note: Many of the links in this section are affiliate links, meaning we earn a small portion of any sales. If you're enjoying our podcast and decide to purchase one of the recommended resources or books, please consider using our affiliate links to help support the work we're doing here at the Successful Performercast. Thanks!       Resources   Have a place to collect your thoughts.   Also, keep a lookout for a compilation of all of his articles from Magic Magazine.       Magic Books   Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear by Jim Steinmeyer   The Glorious Deception: The Double Life of William Robinson, Aka Chung Ling Soo by Jim Steinmeyer   The Last Greatest Magician in the World: Howard Thurston Versus Houdini & the Battles of the American Wizards by Jim Steinmeyer   Our Magic by Nevil Maskelyne       Other Books Whack to the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech   Kick to the Seat of the Pants by Roger von Oech   Whack Pack by Roger von Oech   The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron    

Where can we find Mark Kornhauser?

Mark's Website

Direct download: SPC_029_Mark_Kornhauser-Casino_Magic_Comedy_Act.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PST

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