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







October 2015
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In this interview, Annie Banannie takes us into her career as a balloon storyteller. She talks about working with children, satisfying clients, and ultimately making a difference in the kids lives.

Annie is a children’s book author who doesn’t just write and sell her books, but also creates “balloon theater” where she uses balloons to tell stories. Her shows are tailored for elementary schools, public libraries, preschools, and family events, and her mission is to help children realize that they have amazing creative ability hidden within themselves.

With her, every balloon has a story.


Kris' Recommendation of the Week

I just finished listening to the audio version of Steve Martin's book Born Standing Up and I get something new out of it every time! If you haven't read it, you should definitely check it out.


Interview with Annie Banannie: Success Mantra

Ship! — Seth Godin If you wait until everything is perfect, you’ll never do it.  


Balloon Theater and Working with Children

• What is balloon theater?

• With kids, laughs per minute isn’t as important as interaction with the humor.

• Never be afraid of straying from your plan.

• Making you volunteer have more fun on stage than anyone else in the audience.

• Working with special needs kids on stage.

• Making a difference on kids lives.

• Having a special needs kid up on stage being successful isn’t only for that kid, but all the other kids in the audience as well, breaking down the barrier between the common kids and the special needs kids.

• Working with the client (teacher, parent, principal, etc.) to achieve their goals.

• Working within the school’s schedule.

• Being reliable.

• Librarians talk about who they hire for entertainment and are brutally honest on how they liked or didn’t like them.

• Pitching your show and educating your prospects  


Other Topics Covered

• Not waiting until things are perfect.

• Selling your product before you make it.

• The importance having a coach and always learning.  


Failure Moment

Tells how she botched a silent act in Japan where she wasn’t prepared enough in front of 2,000 people.  


Favorite Success

Talks about how out of necessity of not having her props. she blew up a bunch of balloons and did a “create your own story” for the audience which turned out being a huge success!  


Parting Advice

Play. Have fun.  


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: Podcasts and audiobooks.  



Purple Cow and The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield


Where can we find Annie Banannie?

Dr. Electric Takes Over the World on Amazon - Buster’s Site




Direct download: SPC_085_Annie_Banannie_-_Balloon_Theater.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am PDT

In this interview, Avner Eisenberg, who performs as Avner the Eccentric, talks about his career and his approach to performing silent comedy. Other topics that come up are creating material appropriate for your character, being easy to work with, and where he finds inspiration.

Avner is a clown, juggler, mime, sleight-of hand artist, and actor. He's been featured on TV and as The Jewel in the Movie Jewel of the Nile. He’s been a featured performer at various comedy, magic, and theater festivals world-wide, where he’s won multiple awards like the Edinburgh Festival’s New Faces award, and special jury awards at many other notable festivals. In 2002 he was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame.

In addition to this, Avner is an instructor in his craft, teaching on physical comedy and silent theater.  


Success Mantra

Always take a nap before a show.  


Avner’s Approach to Comedy

• Fear of not being interesting.

• Performers and Audiences being afraid of each other.

• Be interested, not interesting.

• Contract between the audience and performer is to share the same hallucination.

• Make them love you and then you can do anything. Even card tricks.

• The objective isn’t not to make people laugh.

• Laughs can be an interruption that you have to deal with.

• A performer should never be foolish, but also never be afraid of looking foolish.

• There is no failure, only feedback.



Communicating Without Words

• Keep your mouth shut. :)

• Make what you’re pretending to do more compelling than what you’re really doing.  


Other Topics Covered

• Talks about how he accidentally fell into entertainment.

• Tells about his the structure of his one-man show.

• How he became a silent act.

• Talks about a lucky break he received (a glowing NY Times review) and how things took off.

• How audiences have changed as well as their expectations.

• Keeping his act fresh.

• Putting obstacles in the path of the person trying to accomplish a goal. But they have to be obstacles that you can get around.

• Where he finds inspiration.

• Creating things that fit within your character and killing or modifying things that don’t.

• How his show has evolved over his career.

• Being easy to work with.  


Failure Moment

Getting a woman up on stage with him who was sloshed and couldn’t follow directions, so he let her go back to her seat to get someone else up to help out. She turned out to be just as wasted as the first.  


Favorite Success

A fun and amazing coincidence which only could have happened to Avner. And then in a completely unrelated account, winning a competition he didn’t realize he was competing in.  


What’s worked best in building his career?

Running on Broadway and playing The Jewel in The Jewel of the Nile. Asking for reviews and building his press kit.  


Biggest Professional Challenge

Playing the Jewel of the Nile  


Interesting Story from the Road

Tells a few stores which involve arriving late to a show and having to setup in front of them, another instance where a young girl wet herself on stage, and yet another instance where he was attacked by a drunk man on stage!  


Parting Advice

Be interested, not interesting. If you can’t succeed every time, learn to fail magnificently.  


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!  



Avner’s Full Tech Documentation  



Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel

Uncommon Therapy: The Psychiatric Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M.D. by Jay Haley

Aikido in Daily Life by Koichi Tohei


Where can we find Avner Eisenberg? 

Direct download: SPC_084_Avner_Eisenberg_-_Comedy_Without_Words.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am PDT

In this episode, magician Jon Armstrong talks about his career so far in magic and why he has no Plan B!

If you’re a magician and don’t know who Jon is, you’re probably new to the club or have been living under a rock. Jon has performed in such notable venues as Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Caesar’s Magical Empire where he headlined. He’s also taken his act around the world performing in over 30 countries.

He’s a sought after director when it comes to producing quality magic acts and has consulted on films and TV shows like The Mentalist and Spider Man 3. This is in addition to many TV appearances, his most recent being a performance on Pen & Teller’s Fool Us.

There’s almost too much to mention about Jon, like his comic series Smoke and Mirrors, his products for magicians, and his involvement in the Academy of Magical Arts. Even this is just scratching the surface!    


Kris' Recommendation of the Week

Chris Ruggiero Podcast - a show where variety entertainer Chris Ruggiero interviews other entertainers he meets in his adventures. In this show you’ll find incredible stories that will leave you intrigued, inspired, and ready to live your own dreams. He’s interviewed entertainers like Justin Flom, Jeff Civillico, Brett Loudermilk, and Barry Friedman.  


Interview with Jon Armstrong: Success Mantra

Having a fallback plan means you can fall back.  


No Plan B

• Talks about his early days.

• Either he hustles or doesn’t eat.

• Talks about some of his lean times.

• Tells about some of the “day jobs” he’s had.

• Gives a brief synopsis of his career up to this point.


Jon’s Time at Walt Disney World (WDW)

• Talks about how he got his gig at Rose & Crown at Epcot.

• What they initially wanted him to do for his act and what he ended up doing.

• Talks a little about the character he developed to Epcot.

• Developing his material, some of which he uses to this day.

• This is where he cut his teeth.

• Reformatting his material out of “the British” character for venues outside of WDW.

• Within a show, you can say anything to anyone as long as you beat yourself up first, and deliver your jab or witty remark to them with a smile on your face.  


Jon’s Time in Vegas

• Talks about his first steps when getting there.

• Connecting with other professional magicians in the area.

• Working with Joey Burton, Apollo Robbins, and Armando Lucero doing strolling magic at Caesar’s Magical Empire.

• Tells how he got lucky and became a featured performer at Caesar’s.

• Why he left Vegas.

• Surrounding yourself with people who are doing what you want to do and will challenge you to further yourself.  


Persistence and Overcoming Challenges

• Dealing with dyslexia and overcoming it in daily dealings.

• Systems he has in place to hep him work around it.

• Why he’d much rather jump on the phone with someone rather than correspond in written form.

• Nobody likes writing, they only like having written. Living and Working in LA

• Performing at the Magic Castle and handing out business cards.

• Engaging and befriending people and getting their cards or contact info.

• Getting people on his email list.

• Looking for creative ways to add value to people’s lives.

• Focusing on his strengths in that he’s a really good people person so he uses that.

• Sending “stuff” to his top clients.

• Personalizing his interactions with his email list and clients.

• Creating cool different ways to keep in front of his clients and prospects.

• Referring other magicians when he’s already booked.  


Failure Moment

Tells about a time very early in his career where he learned about the importance of hygiene. He literally felt like his career was over.  


Favorite Success

Wining Close Up Magician of the Year from the Academy of Magical Arts.


Parting Advice

Go out and make as many friends and genuine connections with people as you can. Make human connections.  


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!  



Show Cues for Keeping Track of your finances  



Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Ken Dyne's Gig Flow


Where can we find Jon Armstrong?

Tiny Plunger

Twitter @cardjon | Facebook | LinkedIn  

Direct download: SPC_083_Jon_Armstrong_-_No_Plan_B.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

In this episode, Ellusionist General Manager Adam Wilber talks about the ins and outs of publishing your own effects to sell. He also tells some of the ways he's drumming up his own business and booking gigs.

Boasting clients like CBS, NatGeo, SyFy, C|Net, and Discovery Channel, Adam spends his time in the corporate arena giving his clients “entertainment that doesn’t suck” with both close up and stage magic. Not only that, but Adam is also the General Manager for Ellusionist internet magic shop and has also created a number of products in their catalog including Pyro, which allows you to shot fire from your hands, and The Working Man, a video which takes you through some business strategy to help you start making money performing magic.  


Success Mantra

Purposely stay busy.

Don't get too tied up comparing yourself with others because there's always going to be somebody far greater than you and somebody far less than you.

Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle.  



• Talks about his role as GM for Ellusionist.

• What is Ellusionist looking for when adding something to their catalog?

• Who to talk to in order to pitch a product to Ellusionist and what to send.

• Do your due diligence

• How earnings are split between the creator and Ellusionist.

• Talks about his first trick he submitted to Ellusionist.

• It also needs to fit Ellusionist.

• They should me times point you in e direction of a different online magic dealer.

• Talks about some of the bad submissions he gets.

• Take a look at some of the other new tricks out and see what they are and what some of the best selling products are.    


Failure Moment

Tells about a failed emailing he did that went out to 400 emails where there was a very unfortunate typo.


Favorite Success

His role at Ellusionist.

Bigget Professional Challenge

Organization, keeping track of and in touch with his clients.

What Would He Have Done Differently?

He would have "dressed up" a bit more for his Instagram videos so he could use them as promo videos on his website.

Other Topics Covered

• Having a destination or goal for what you're working towards.

• Mentions the miracle morning book.

• Talks about how he got involved with Ellusionist.

• Talks about what he's doing right now to start marketing himself in Boston having just moved there.

• Contacting a company in a creative way using magic to break the ice.

• Unique selling point

• Defining who you want to work for, and going after them.

• The magic isn't about you (the magician), it's about your client, the guest of honor, the product your selling, etc.


Parting Advice

Stay busy with a purpose.  


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!  




Seth's Popup Creator for Squarespace




Miracle Morning

Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz

Maximum Entertainment  


Where can we find Adam Wilber? Ellusionist Items Instagram Videos

Direct download: SPC_082_Adam_Wilber_-_Ellusionist.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am PDT

In the second half of this series, Josh London goes in-depth on how to setup a Google Adwords campaign, what to have on your landing page, and specific strategies to help you get results from your internet marketing efforts.  


Google Adwords Overview

• This is the main platform to do paid advertising.

• Differences between ads and organic search listings.

• Have your website in order first.

• Advantages of using paid traffic vs organic traffic.  


Settings for Google Adwords

• Creating a campaign, and which type of campaign to use.

• Start small, then expand your search parameters.

• Choosing networks to display your ads on.

• Choosing geographical locations and using it’s advanced features.

• Setting up your bid strategy.

• Setting up your daily budget. (Generally between $10–20 per day)

• Delivery method.

• Wading through advanced settings.  


Creating the Ad

• Knowing your target audience and taking that into account.

• Know your end goal and work backwards.

• Look at your competition and do something that stands out. Something different and unique. for ideas.

• Make sure it matches your landing page.

• Headlines and description lines.

• Split testing ads.  



• Start with Google’s planner tool, but know that you’ll have to do a lot of tinkering.

• Types of keywords: broad match, phrase match, and exact match.

• Negative keywords.

• Let data drive your decisions.

• Longtail Pro is a good service to help you with picking keywords.

• Keep in mind: Everything is setup for Google to make money.

• How to tweak and adjust things as you have your ad running.

• Tips to finding keywords you should use.


Landing Pages

• What should your landing page have?

• It should complete your goal.

• Call to Action

• Have an opt-in incentive to get them to give you their email address. Something like a price sheet. This is often more effective than a contact form.

Mailchimp is a great service to use for this.

• Everything needs to line up from the landing page, to the ad, to the search terms they originally used to see your ad.

• Make it as easy as possible for your client to get in touch with you and get your prices.

• Begin to build a relationship with your prospect.

• Building your list is the best way for you to make sales online.

• Create dedicated landing pages for each ad group that you have.

• Don’t have ads point to your home page.

Unbounce and Lead Pages help you to split test your landing pages.

• Your landing page is the most important part of your online marketing campaign because, that’s where the conversions are made.  


Where can we find Josh London?

Flying Solo

Direct download: SPC_081_Josh_London_-_Internet_Marketing_Part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am PDT