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A Magician’s First Television Appearance: 3 Things I Learned about Live TV



I have been very focused for the past two weeks in preparing for my first television appearance.

I had two objectives for the message I wanted to get out:

  1. I wanted to present myself and magic as a sophisticated entertainment product
  2. I wanted promote Trolley Stop Market, the restaurant that pays me every Friday night to perform close-up magic

As for objectives #1 and #2, there is more I would have liked to say that would have better got the message across. I had 3 talking points prepared and I got out 1 of the 3 points. In my opinion it was just important that I speak some rather than only do a magic trick. I had videoed myself delivering the talking points and made an effort to speak quick and with impact.

I had two magic routines prepared, I only had time to do one. I had rehearsed both of these on video and knew that one routine lasts 1 minute and 40 seconds and the other routine was 2 minutes. I did the 1:40 routine but it felt like it flew by.

Sometimes my hands shake when I perform so to avoid this I laid off diet cokes and all caffeine starting 5 days before the spot. I learned this from a magician named Jeff McBride who is a brilliant performer & major thought leader/teacher in the magic community.

I cut back my calories in hope that I might shed a few pounds for the camera. This also helped me stay focused for the shoot.

I watched clips from Live at 9 on their site and noticed that most of the guests don’t lean back in the seat. I wanted to lean back with a relaxed and confident body language. None of the guests call the hosts by their names and I wanted to be sure I used their names.

Finally as you most likely know I had a blog post earlier this week with photos of different outfits and you helped me choose what to wear. I went with your choice, thanks for your help and involvement!

3 Things I Learned

-Muhammad Ali: I learned you have to be very assertive on live TV if you have something to share. You have to be a shameless self-promoter like Muhammad Ali. This isn’t easy for me because I’m naturally a low key person. When the cameras are rolling the hosts are super focused and are not allowing any dead time so you have to speak up if you want to get your message out. This was more true for my spot because I was there in conjunction with the event tied in with the restaurant where I work and I was sharing air time with Scott the other guest.

-Go with the Flow: I had emailed with one of the hosts, but when I got there it turned out she wasn’t even there. When we emailed she said I would have a 2.5 minute spot and asked me to have a second routine ready just in case. Scott, the other guest, thought I was going to be off to the side doing magic for a cutaway shot while he spoke. If they had gone this direction I would have refused to do it. When I got back to the studio they told me to go off to the side and I started to freak out a little but when I finally shut up the girl explained to me that I would be there waving before the commercial break then on the couch. I learned you have to go with the flow because with live TV you have no idea who will be the host or how they will want to play it, even if you have a plan with a host going into it.

-Over Prepare: I’m glad I prepared so much because I would rather have specific points to talk on than to not have something to say or make something up on the fly. Even though I didn’t get everything out, I’m glad I had more available.

It’s a Wrap: Conclusion

It was excellent experience. I wish I were more knowledgable about television studios so I would have known which camera to look into and known how to read the timer so I could better pace myself. I felt like a fish out of water in the studio, it’s a different world.

The fact that I was sharing the spot with Scott made it a little easier for me, there was less responsibility for me to carry the whole spot. That’s nice for a first time TV appearance, but I believe I was prepared and could have carried the whole spot. I will be ready next time.

It was about this time last year when I began a cold call sales approach to restaurants to try and get a weekly magic gig. It took me until March when I finally landed my gig at Trolley Stop Market. Since this past May I have been cold calling restaurants in Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin. I bring this up because although selling close-up magic to restaurants brings with it pain and rejection, it also has taught me to communicate how close-up magic benefits a restaurant efficiently and with impact. Walking in cold to hundreds of restaurants helped me prepare for this TV spot.

If you know of any restaurants in the Nashville, Brentwood, or Franklin, TN areas that might want to try close-up magic, please let me know.

What to Wear

And What Not to Wear…

One thing I like about being a magician is I get to dress in a way that I am not able to in the conservative corporate world of my day job.

I have been invited to make a television appearance this Thursday morning on WREG’s Live at 9 on channel 3 here in Memphis. And yes, that means it will air this Thursday morning at 9am, live.

In preparing for this appearance I have put some thought into what to wear. I have been thinking should I wear something appropriate for Halloween or one of my regular outfits I wear when performing? Here are a few to run by you:

1I like this one, it’s good for Halloween but the fact is I lost some weight since I bought this shirt and I don’t feel it’s a good fit anymore.


2I thought this orange shirt would be great for Halloween, and I guess it is. But this got me thinking, “maybe trying to dress for a holiday isn’t such a good idea.”


3In my mind I was really hoping to wear this one. The purple shirt captures the Halloween spirit without being too obvious and the bolo tie adds a delightful sinister touch.

4I was so hopeful for this one I even tried it with a different vest and pants. But I just don’t think this is the right choice.


5Then I thought maybe this brown herringbone vest will capture the fall spirit but in my opinion is too much of a professorial look.


6Finally I put on one of my regular outfits and felt most at home. I think it will be best to go with one of the outfits I am used to wearing rather than try to dress for Halloween.

I would actually prefer to wear something along these lines but I think I remember that you shouldn’t wear white on TV. Can you confirm this?

UPDATE: Jake suggested I try all black, here is that one:




What do you think I should say “ak ya” or “nish nish” to? What suggestions/opinions/ideas do you have for what I should wear for my first television appearance? Let me know in a comment below…

Marketing to Restaurants

After listening to “Piranha Marketing” by Joe Polish I was more in inspired to create some videos that will market my services to restaurants instead of spending so much time making cold calls.

Here is what I have so far:

Here is what I still need that I not yet sure about: a delivery system.

I could email the video to restaurant owners and I plan to do so. But I believe it will be much more effective if a restaurant owner were to receive this video from someone they respect and/or trust. A referral.

I had the idea to offer a referral bonus to anyone who referred me to a restaurant gig. At first I thought of offering an $800 bonus. Then I thought it’s more realistic to offer $600. Finally I decided on $500 because that is a nice bonus for someone and still gives me some wiggle room. I am able to offer this because:

  1. I have a day job so I have a steady flow of income, I’m not immediately relying on the income from the restaurant to live on
  2. The person who refers me would get their payout after I have been at the restaurant for 6 weeks, so 1) I will have made their payout from working at the restaurant and 2) if I’ve been there 6 weeks I will feel relatively certain I will be there many weeks after
  3. If I just book one party from the restaurant I will have more than justified the referral bonus

My plan was to put up an intro video on a landing page that I would blast out to the world telling people how they can easily make $500 cash if they help me out. I would have a form where they fill in their email then I would send them to another page with another video that teaches & motivates them how to get a high quality referral. I’ve already got the first draft of the video done, I just need to reshoot a few parts and edit it. Here are my concerns about offering a referral bonus:

  1. Because I’m in sales, I am motivated by this type of program, but my fear is that most people are not and would even be turned off by such a blatant bribe-like offering of cash
  2. I’m not sure if I want to blast out to the world a video where I might appear so loose with a lot of cash, what kind of impression does this give? Or if I keep it professional will it stay classy?
  3. Some people are literally crazy about money. Am I sure I want to put market myself as someone who gives out a generous bonus when there are a lot of crazy people in the world?

To further clarify, I hope to get 3 additional restaurants, this would mean I’m giving out $1,500 dollars. As a part of the program I explain that if one person gets me 3 restaurants, I will give that one person an additional $500, a total of $2,000 payout.

Goals for October 2013

This month I am keeping my goals to just a few and very specific so I can really focus in on them and get them done.

  1. Roll out a permission marketing campaign to get some new restaurant gigs
  2. Make my first television appearance
  3. Put together a new 4 minute piece that will be in my stand up magic show
  4. Perform one bizarre ritual type piece for this month in my restaurant close-up repertoire
  5. Put together one new routine involving rubber bands melting through each other

I know the marketing campaign and the television appearance will take a lot of attention. If all goes as planned the tv appearance will happen at the beginning of the month on October 10th so once that is done I will be able to focus more on everything else.


Progess on Goals for September 2013

I have to say I didn’t get near as much on done on my goals this month as I had hoped. I will share my reasons why at the end of this post, but first, my report:

  1. Develop an 8 minute segment that will eventually be a part of a 30 minute stand-up magic show that willplay for up to about 100 people. Practice, rehearse and be able to perform it by the end of September. I didn’t get this done, I need to construct two gimmicks that will help with the tricks I won’t to do and I didn’t even do that. Continue reading

How to Never Get Discouraged

Never Get Discouraged

Never Get Discouraged

What do you do on those days when nothing seems to work out? When bad things happen? How do you get motivated to work towards your dream when you feel exhausted and just want to be left alone?

If you have ever felt this way I understand how you feel because I have been there too. Here is what I found that helps me.

I refocus on these two universal truths:

  1. Life is short
  2. Life is full of disappointments

This may not sound like a positive outlook but hear me out and I believe these two truths will empower you to gain leverage on any feelings of discouragement. Read this and you will deny discouragement from taking the wind from your sails.

1. Life is short


Josh Fielder, thanks for being a great friend, I miss you

We never know when our time will be up. You might live another 40 years or you might get one more day, who knows? We’re all born with the weight of death on our shoulders.

This hit home with me this time last year when the life of my friend Josh Fielder ended. He was diagnosed with cancer and about 6 months later he was gone. He was 34 years old and at the time I was 33 years old. That’s a wake up call. Life is short, how am I using my time?

With the reality that your time is finite and very limited, whatever caused you to feel discouraged suddenly becomes insignificant.


2. Life is full of disappointments

Hold up, finish reading before you label me Mr Negative. Sure, life is full of good times and I’m grateful for them. But if you live long enough, you will have some tough times and some heavy duty disappointments. This is good news.

Because your good times contrast that much more in comparison to the disappointments. It makes your joyful times that much richer and enables you to feel and express a depth of gratitude. You even become grateful for your disappointments because they led you to a new level of maturity.



Here is how I apply these two universal truths as I work towards my dream of performing magic as a full time pro. A potential discouraging event presents itself, a rejection, or maybe I’m just feeling in a funk on the way to a gig.

I remind myself “life is short and full of disappointments, but when I perform magic, I’m doing what I love most, I am making the best use of my very limited time and am doing one sure thing that for me leads to joy, not disappointments.”

That is how I “system override” discouraging thoughts and feelings. When you are working towards your dream, you can count on push back, so it’s imperative you program yourself with a system override against the push back.

How do you keep from getting discouraged?

2013 Business Plan

In line with my other business related post this week, I wanted to go ahead and post my business plan for 2013. I’m keeping it simple and focused with only two goals because there’s not much time left in 2013, but if I can accomplish what’s laid out in this plan, I will have put myself in a great position for 2014.

Business Plan

Continue reading