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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In this episode, Tom Ameen talks about how he's built a successful career as a classical pianist. Topics include restaurant gigs, getting private parties, and selling albums. He also talks about his new solo piano Star Wars album, which is awesome!

Tom has played piano since he was 12 years old and studied under acclaimed pianist James Tannenbaum at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

He’s gathered a wonderful following around Los Angeles which has afforded him many opportunities to collaborate with some top names like Grammy nominated artist Jim Brickman, performing on many of his albums. Tom even found himself performing as J.J. Abrams’ personal pianist.

He’s recorded many albums with Canadian-based label Somerset Entertainment, some of which are Wal-Mart exclusives, others to be found at theme parks around the country. My favorites are his albums that he’s put out which contain music from the Disney theme parks, and these have charted on the Billboard Top 10! Probably the most exciting of all, Tom has just released his latest album, Journey to the Stars which features renditions of his favorite themes from the Star Wars movies!

 

Show Sponsors:

ManageGigs: ManageGigs helps you keep track of all of your gigs online, without having to resort to spreadsheets. Click here to check them out and sign up for your free seven day trial!

Audible: For Performercast Listeners, Audible is offering a free audiobook download and a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. Click here to check it out!  

 

Interview with Tom Ameen: Success Mantra

Dream big. If you can dream it, you can do it. — Walt Disney  

 

Making it as a Musician

• Why he decided to move from Cleveland to Los Angeles and why he chose LA over New York.

• Dreaming big.

• Working with acclaimed pianist Jim Brickman.

• Talks about how he happened upon and landed a gig at Vitello's the restaurant he’s been at for three years playing four times per week.

• Selling his albums at his restaurant gig.

• Talks about private gigs.

• The power of asking.

• You miss 100% of the shots you never take. — Wayne Gretzky

• How he gets private parties.

• Contacting companies that do weddings and events.

• Tells about how he got a gig performing for JJ Abrams.

• Launching and promoting his albums.

• Getting approval and rights for his covers.

• How CD Baby manages all the details for selling your album on all platforms.

• Getting the word out about his albums.

• Doing interviews on podcasts to promote his music.

• Two of his Disney albums made it into the Top Ten on Billboard’s New Age list.

• Shout out to Randy Crane and Stories of the Magic Podcast for introducing me to Tom.

• Putting his own spin on songs that he covers while still keeping his integrity of the song and not sounding cheesy. He nails it!  

 

Journey to the Stars and Contest

\Journey to the Stars is Tom's solo piano album of him covering his favorite themes from the Star Wars franchise. Tom did a wonderful job with these arrangements and you can check out the album on iTunes or CD Baby.

We’re also giving away a free copy of his album to one lucky listener and here’s how to enter the contest: Go all the way down to the bottom of this page and leave a comment answering this question: If you had a droid that could do anything in the world, what would it do, and what would you call it? Tom and I will pick our favorite and the winner will be announced in the episode breaking February 12.    

 

Failure Moment

Not being true to his calling in music. He wasn’t being true to himself and actually gave up on music for a while and getting a day job. It was one of the most miserable periods in his life.  

 

Favorite Success

Getting on the Billboard Top Ten and putting out his albums like his new Star Wars album.  

 

Parting Advice

Use your fear as fuel to go do what you want to do.  

 

Exclusive Content for Patreon Supporters

The uncut version of this interview is available to Patreon Supporters and includes about 8 minutes of additional content. Please consider supporting me on Patreon.  

In the Patreon-exclusive content you'll find:

• Some fun banter as we talk about our musically inclined families.

• The importance of validation of what you’re doing from people who love your art.  

 

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:

His RSS Reader to keep up with all the news sources and blogs he follows.

The Disney Parks Blog—To keep up on Disney news  

 

Books:

The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel by Garth Stein

Homer's Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned about Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat by Gwen Cooper 

 

Where can we find Tom Ameen?

tomameenmusic.com

iTunes | Google Play | Amazon | CD Baby

Twitter @tomameen | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

Vitello’s Restaurant

Direct download: SPC_092_Tom_Ameen_-_Pianist.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am PST

I've invited back onto my show Jay Alexander and Christian Cagigal because they have been putting together a four-day festival of magic up in San Francisco called the Fog City Magic Fest and I wanted to get them on to talk to them about how they’re putting it together. They take us behind the scenes and talk about the nuts and bolts of how they're going about putting together this four-day festival of magic.  

 

Show Sponsors:

ManageGigs: ManageGigs helps you keep track of all of your gigs online, without having to resort to spreadsheets. Click here to check them out and sign up for your free seven day trial!

Audible: For Performercast Listeners, Audible is offering a free audiobook download and a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. Click here to check it out!  

 

Fog City Magic Fest

Here are some of the topics Jay and Christian touch upon during this interview.

• They talk about the genesis of this project.

• How they're marketing and promoting it.

• How they've decided on the performers.

• They talk about some of the challenges they've faced.

• How they've decided on their venue?  

 

Jay Alexander's Free Business/Marketing Videos

  Jay has been creating some great business/marketing videos that you can have access to for free. Click here for more details.  

 

Where can we find out more about Fog City Magic Fest?

Feb 10-13 at Exit Theater

fogcitymagicfest.com

Facebook | Twitter @FogCityMagic | Instagram  

Direct download: SPC_Bonus_Jan_2016_-_Fog_City_Magic_Fest.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am PST

Last week I interviewed Mario the Magician. Katie is his wife and other half. She works with Mario as a team and handles all the business and marketing aspects of their business. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s essential for your spouse to be onboard and supportive of your entrepreneurial efforts, and this week, we’re diving into that very perspective!  

 

Show Sponsors:

ManageGigs: ManageGigs helps you keep track of all of your gigs online, without having to resort to spreadsheets. Click here to check them out and sign up for your free seven day trial!

Audible: For Performercast Listeners, Audible is offering a free audiobook download and a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. Click here to check it out!  

 

Interview with Katie Marchese: Success Mantra

Define your normal.  

 

Katie’s Take on Their Business

• How children change the dynamics of things, even in business.

• Gives her take on how they built their business and took it full time.

• Going for things 100%.

• Talks about initial marketing efforts, how they’ve changed and how they look now.

• Dealing with rejection.

• Letting go of things that don’t work in favor of giving new things a chance.

• Being diverse vs niche-ing down.

• Knowing what you’re strong at and not trying to be “everything to everyone."

• The stigma of children’s performers.

• Connecting with both kids and adults.  

 

Katie’s Business Responsibilities

• Takes care of booking inquiries.

• Running social media, scheduling posts.

• Reaching out to various outlets and possible venues.

• She does all she can so he can focus on his performing.  

 

Thoughts on Social Media

• Talks about how things have changed with social media and how now they’re trying to engage people in their story. Business and personal life are now connected.

• People want to know “your story."

• People do business with their friends and social media helps proper to know their business connections better.

• People also want to feel like they’re supporting something. If they feel like they’re connecting with you on a personal level, when they do business with you they have a stronger feeling of supporting you.  

 

Challenges & Blessings of Working with Spouse in Business

• Hard to turn things off when the work day is “done."

• Not having specific business hours.

• Scheduling “work" conversations.

• It brings them closer together because they’re working as a team.

• Possibility of including their kids in the business in the future.

• They try to expose the kids with the family business as much as possible while still being sensitive of their needs and desires.

• Disconnecting from business at the end of the day.

• Having a schedule that helps them to have routine and then unwind.

• Not taking things personally.

• Celebrating together.

• Getting to work with someone you love.  

 

Failure Moment

Talks about a tour they planned that flopped spectacularly! Learned not to force things but to let things happen smartly and organically. Katie shares how they might go about that today.  

 

Favorite Success

Their Kickstarter campaign that got funded and raised $36,000 allowing them to do a featured length documentary telling Mario’s story which is now playing at film festivals. Talks about how they approached their Kickstarter campaign.

• Reached out to local supporters.

• Outreaching to people in the different communities they’re a part of.

• Talks about some of the rewards they did for backers.  

 

Biggest Professional Challenge

Letting go and delegating.  

 

Is there anything they would have done differently?

Getting to the point they’re at right now faster.  

 

Parting Advice

Don’t make decisions based on what others think you should do but based on your own research and convictions.    

 

Exclusive Content for Patreon Supporters

This weeks episode is the full interview, but often times I go longer than an hour and therefore have to cut the interviews down to be an hour or less. Patron supporters get access to the full uncut versions of these interviews and often times, a few days before the official episode is released. If this interests you, please consider supporting me on Patreon.  

 

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:

Her iPhone in general. She’s able to do business from her phone.  

 

Books:

The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne 

 

Where can we find Katie and Mario?

MarioTheMagician.com Building Magic Kickstarter BuildingMagicDoc.com Facebook | Twitter @mariomagician | Instagram | Youtube

Direct download: SPC_091_Katie_Marchese_-_Wife_to_Mario_the_Magician.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am PST

In this episode, Mario the Magician talks about how he makes all of his own props. He also talks about generosity and gratefulness and how those play a part in his business. Mario is a magician who performs primarily on the East Coast entertaining children and their families. The thing that really makes him stand out is that he’s a creator and inventor, making all of his own props for his show including fun, educational robotics. He’s an advocate for the Maker Movement, STEAM/STEM educational initiatives, and can be seen on a recent episode of Sesame Street. He’s Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin for the modern age.  

Show Sponsors:

ManageGigs: ManageGigs helps you keep track of all of your gigs online, without having to resort to spreadsheets. Click here to check them out and sign up for your free seven day trial! Audible: For Performercast Listeners, Audible is offering a free audiobook download and a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. Click here to check it out!  

 

Interview with Mario the Magician: Success Mantra

Casting your bread upon the waters and not being afraid of what that bread is.  

 

Generosity

• The reason we’re here is to help someone else.

• People remember forgiveness and generosity.

• Generosity is more valuable than money.

• If you help enough other people get hat they want in life, you’ll get everything you want in life. — an offshoot of Zig Ziglar’s quote.

• When you give, it makes you aware of what you have.

• Keep giving back to the world.  

 

Making His Own Props

• Everything today is built to break, where as old vintage stuff, you can open up and take apart. There is no more art in things that we buy anymore.

• 3D prints a lot of things.

• Talks about how things don’t always work out with what he’s working on.

• Understanding when to stop.

• Talks about programming a robotic monkey to do things at different points in his show.    

 

Other Topics Covered

• Being aware of what the world is telling you.

• Talks about his journey to where he is now.

• The stigma of kids performers.

• How he works together with his wife in business.

• Being grateful.

• Life in Nyack

• Being a good example for his kids.

• Finding a balance between working on his projects and family time.

• Understanding who your shows are really for.

• Bring fully present in your performances.

• Adults are really just four and five year olds and love going back in time.

• Playing for the adults as well as the kids. Like a Disney or Pixar movie.

• Talks about his experience on Sesame Street.

• Talks about how his wife believes in him and fully supports what he’s doing.  

 

Parting Advice

Be generous. Help others and make a difference in people’s lives. Find your art.

 

 

Videos Mentioned

Building Magic (Short)

Mario on Sesame Street 

 

Exclusive Content for Patreon Supporters

This weeks episode is the full interview, but often times I go longer than an hour and therefore have to cut the interviews down to be an hour or less. Patron supporters get access to the full uncut versions of these interviews and often times, a few days before the official episode is released. If this interests you, please consider supporting me on Patreon.     

 

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:

People. Get around the right people.

HackADay.com

Make Magazine  

 

Books:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Mark Wilson’s Course in Magic 

 

Where can we find Mario the Magician?

MarioTheMagician.com

Facebook | Twitter @mariomagician | Instagram | Youtube  

Direct download: SPC_090_Mario_the_Magician_-_Creating_his_own_props.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am PST

In this episode, voice actor and musician Laura Dickinson brings us insight into how she’s made it as a voice actor for Disney Animation and how good old fashioned hustle can really take you the distance.

Laura makes her living as a full-time musician, contracting for Disney providing singing voices for animated characters on Phineas & Ferb, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, and Sofia the First. Essentially, “your nine-year old daughter’s favorite singer.” You’ve also heard her voice on Pitch Perfect, Modern Family, and Supernatural.

When she’s not bringing her character acting talent, she’s also a frequent live performer fronting her own 17 piece big band and opening for names like Tony Bennett and Lyle Lovett.

She’s also recently released her debut album, One for My Baby – To Frank Sinatra With Love, which is a beautifully done and wonderfully arranged homage to Ol’ Blue Eyes.  

Show Sponsors:

ManageGigs: ManageGigs helps you keep track of all of your gigs online, without having to resort to spreadsheets. 

Click here to check them out and sign up for your free seven day trial!

 

Audible: For Performercast Listeners, Audible is offering a free audiobook download and a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. 

Click here to check it out!  

 

Interview with Laura Dickinson: Success Mantra

Happy to be here, easy to work with.  

 

Voice Acting

• Talks about how she got involved working with Disney animation and voice acting.

• What it’s like collaborating with musicians and producers and being able to anticipate needs, etc.

• If you can find someone you can count on and work easy with, you’ll work with them forever.

• Challenges of singing in the voice of a fictional, cartoon character.

• Always tries to ask a lot of smart questions.

• Adaptability and flexibility are her biggest takeaways from working with Disney.

• Working on people’s “babies.” Creative pieces that their creators care about.  

 

Failure Moment

Talks about how early in her career, not being as socially adept as she is now, she started talking trash about the show director and the casting director just as they walked in.  

 

Favorite Success

Being a part of Phinneas & Ferb which opened up a lot of doors for her.  

 

Other Topics Covered

• Working with other musicians who have different schedules

• Filling in for other musicians (it’s kind of like an understudy kind of thing)

• How she got her real education performing for Disney in their theme parks.

• Talks about how she “moved up the ranks” for Disney and started performing.

• Find what you really love doing and find a way to make a living at it.

• Always being the best representation if yourself.  

 

Exclusive Content for Patreon Supporters

The uncut version of this interview is available to Patreon Supporters and includes about 10 minutes of additional content. 

Please consider supporting me on Patreon.   

 

In the Patreon-exclusive content you'll find:

• Talks about first band she had a part in and how she decided she wanted to become a professional performer.

• Talks about some of the things she did to start drumming up business in performing full time.

• You have to be ready to be told “no” all the time. Rejection is a big part of show business.

• Talks about why and how she formed her current band.

• Talks about some of the many factors that goes into booking a performance with her band.    

 

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:

The Internet. It's amazing how helpful the internet can be for your business. Plus, make sure you have all your media in order on the internet so it’s easy for people to find and hire you.

The Voiceover Resource Guide  

 

Books:

The Real Books for Musicians 

 

Laura's New Album!

Check out Laura's new album, One for My Baby, to Frank Sinatra with Love!

If you're a Sinatra fan, you're absolutely going to love Laura's take on some of his most famous songs. I know covering Sinatra is gutsy undertaking, but Laura absolutely nails it!  

 

Where can we find Laura Dickinson?

lauradickinson.com

Facebook | Twitter @elsielaura | Instagram | Spotify | Pandora | Youtube

Direct download: SPC_089_Laura_Dickinson_-_Voice_Actor_Singer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am PST

In this interview, Kenton Knepper talks all about nonverbal communication as well as the real power of words when it pertains to performing and doing business.

Kenton Knepper is a mentalist who specializes in nonverbal communication, suggestion, and NLP. He’s one of the most prolific creators in the world of magic and mentalism, and has influenced notable names in the industry like Banachek, David Blaine, Derren Brown, Richard Osterlind, and the living legend Johnny Thompson, just to name a few.

Through his company Wonder Wizards, he teaches his methods through seemingly countless products, courses, and private coaching sessions. A couple of his more widely known products are his Wonder Words course, and one of my favorites, Kolossal Killer.

In my opinion, Kenton is the closest thing you’ll find to a modern day Jedi.  

 

Show Sponsors:

ManageGigs: ManageGigs helps you keep track of all of your gigs online, without having to resort to spreadsheets. Click here to check them out and sign up for your free seven day trial!

Audible: For Performercast Listeners, Audible is offering a free audiobook download and a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out their service. Click here to check it out!  

 

Interview with Kenton Knepper: Success Mantra

Keep going, keep doing! One thing that people who fail always do is they stop doing what they were doing.  

 

The Power of Words and Nonverbal Communication

• The importance of words.

• Gives examples of phrases that can help to make our presentations more impressive.

• Reversing what people say to change the meaning.

• Changing a word or two in certain phrases to change how people react to what you’re saying.

• How being authentic helps your nonverbal communication.

• Learning principles that help you to integrate nonverbal tactics.

• Helps to amplify what you already are.

• Connecting with your audience and leaving them better off than they were before they met you.

• Communicating on multiple levels, double entendres, etc.

• Building people up with what you say.

• Shining the spotlight on the people you’re interacting with rather than yourself.

• Connecting other people with each other.

• "Do your good where it does the most.” - Wavy Gravy

• Having a set of tools or principles to be able to use in the right instances.

• Having an “out” for when things don’t go as planned.

• How to “read people” and better connect with them.

• How nonverbal can help out in business situations.

• Best place to start learning nonverbal communication is Kenton’s Wonder Words.  

 

Failure Moment

Talks about a close-call underwater escape attempt. He learned the importance of rehearsing in the actual setting you’ll be performing in.  

 

Other Topics Covered

• Talks about his journey and how he took his passion full time.

• Some of the other things he does other than magic, like music and meditation.

• Being really good at all the aspects he was working on.

• Talks about how working restaurants really helps him to get seen and get gigs.

• Talks about what’s going on at Wonder Wizards.

• Talks about the Inner Sanctum which is a monthly subscription to Kenton’s services.

• He also does one-on-one consulting.  

 

Exclusive Content for Patreon Supporters

The uncut version of this interview is available to Patreon Supporters and includes about 10 minutes of additional content. Please consider supporting me on Patreon. 

• Hear a story from Kenton that involves JC Wagner and Bob Sheets, and a lesson he learned from them that effects how he performs to this very day!  

 

Parting Advice

Be authentic. Be who you really are. Keep going, the only way to really fail is to stop.

 

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:

The voice memo feature on his iPhone  

 

Books: 

Art and Magic by SH Sharpe 

Mind Games by Masters & Houston 

 

Help Kenton Out

I wanted to bring to your attention something that happened after my interview with Kenton. many of you have already heard about this, but right after his birthday, his home was broken into and many important, valuable items were stolen from him. First of all, Kenton and his family are all okay and nobody was harmed, but some of the notable things stolen from him were a brand new computer that hadn’t even made it out of the box, and a number of guitars and other musical instruments that he uses for his music and meditation work.

So, if you are a friend of Kenton, or his work has helped you in any way, please consider helping him out with a donation of any size. It would mean the world to both Kenton and myself. If you are able, please be sure to mention that the Successful Performercast sent you. Click Here to Help Out  

 

Where can we find Kenton Knepper?

wonderwizards.com  

Direct download: SPC_088_Kenton_Knepper_-_Magician.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am PST

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