December 30, 2011, 2:25 am
Monthly I am approached by Artists, Performers, and Speakers who are FAR more talented than I could ever be, always asking the same QUESTION: “How do I make MONEY doing what I love?”
I’ll be honest - and you’re not going to like this answer - but a lot of it has to do with what some deem as “luck”, others call blessings from on High, it just seems to happen for some and not others. I truly believe there is a divine hand at play for many, because without the opportunity to do what you love, many of the performers I know wouldn’t be able to survive in the world doing anything else.
Which leads me to my TEN STEPS LIST you can apply to your career path in an effort to qualify yourself to be blessed, to be lucky, and to “make it”.
1. Gift Exploration
2. Perfect Practice Makes…. Better
3. Discovery of Signature Move
4. 10,000 Hours Abbreviated
5. Create A Killer 15-Minute Set
6. Perform & Speak For FREE as Often as Possible
7. Edit, Record, Edit, Repeat!
8. Get in Front of The Right People
9. Never Stop Creating & Adding
1. Gift Exploration
* Try anything and everything that interests you
* Watch, admire, learn and mimic the BEST of the chosen craft you desire to accomplish
* Journal your thoughts, failings, successes and re-read them
* Listen to what most people say, NOT everyone, just remember if a Coach tells you you’re no good at something it’s either his way of letting you know you should give it up or his way of firing you up to prove him wrong. However you decide to react can trigger a new path to self-discovery
* If you love the guitar but don’t play well right away, don’t stop trying, play until your fingers bleed if you love it enough. Once the blisters form you will have pushed through the first great challenge: NOT GIVING UP. Remember, Jimi Hendrix didn’t play like we’ve all heard him play the first time, in fact, I believe he lit his guitar on fire on stage later in his career because that’s what he felt like doing while learning to play that way – his frustration drove him to GREATNESS!
* Recognize, and be honest with yourself, what you excel at and don’t succeed easily with. Once you have closed one door another one always opens if you’re looking for it.
2. Perfect Practice Makes… Better
* Once you have eliminated the things you aren’t amazing at and have found a few things to call your own, it is time to practice.
* Don’t just practice to practice. The way you practice is the way you will perform on stage. If you lazily miss notes on the piano or don’t reach notes as you sing, it will always be that way. Push through it, give it 100% each time you go for it. Once you get on stage your mind goes blank, it is now automatic, however you practiced the most is what will come forth. Think of Olympic Sprinters who don’t jog too much.
* You will fail miserably often, in the confines of your own room, in the dance hall, in front of the mirror retelling your best story. This is a good thing as you will remember how not to do it the next time. Edison didn’t worry about 10,000 failures in making the light bulb shine, he just knew he was one step closer to getting it right.
* No matter how much you practice there will always be someone better than you. Look those people up, pin their image on your wall, and tell yourself you will be better than them someday. Keep a close eye on that person’s career and emulate the best parts, throw out the rest and forge your own path.
* Don’t cut corners, don’t say you’ll do it tomorrow because you’re tired today. If you’ve committed to shooting 1,000 free throws every day before you go to bed you’d better shoot until you pass out or go to sleep having failed for the day.
* When you feel BURN-OUT coming on go for one more practice and then give it a rest for a week. Don’t even touch it. You will come back refreshed and ready to go the next time.
3. Discovery of Signature Move
* What is that one thing you do better than everyone you know?
* What is your GIFT to the world that you believe will change everything for you and will allow you to help others?
* If you can juggle, how can you juggle what no one has dared try before? Bowling pins = cool; Knives = crazy; Bowling Ball eating a Green Apple Machete=totally unique (the Amazing Jeff Civillico). Stand-Up Comedy Observational Humor=Jerry Seinfeld; Storytelling Comedy=Bill Cosby; Twisted Thoughts in One-Liners=Steven Wright…create your voice, your unique and different style.
* Watch The Masters within your chosen Craft, pick out the best of what they do and tweak it. Sammy Davis, Jr. used to go to every show in Las Vegas and note every opening and closing number (which are generally the strong points of every show), then he would go back and make a show consisting of everyone else’s best numbers to the point that his show was considered unbeatable.
* Go out on a limb, dare to pave a new path. For inspiration I suggest learning the history of modern Music (starting around the 1920’s) and then listen to Louie Armstrong sing and play Jazz, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and Elvis Presley.
* Now pave your own sound and way, define your Signature Move! Michael Jordan shaved his head, stuck out his tongue, and floated on air; Anthony Robbins walked on coals and yelled that you could change your attitude; Michael Jackson had a sequin glove, a fedora, and did the moonwalk. How can someone else “imitate” your Signature Move?
4. 10,000 Hours Abbreviated
* In the excellent book authored by Malcolm Gladwell, “Outliers” (highly suggest reading this), he explains the 10,000 hour rule. In other words, those that are great at what they do generally have spent upwards of 10,000 hours working on their craft.
* How can you cut the corner of 10,000 hours? Not everyone can, but here are some suggestions I recommend if you’ve got a deadline:
- Perform in front of kids (school assemblies)
- Speak to Teachers, CEO’s, and Rotary Clubs
- Perform when and where no one wants to see you (opening for a popular local band when you are a comedian, or vice-versa)
- Perform for close and extended family
- Perform in front of other performers within your field
* All of the above suggestions will make you grow fast, since it will be tougher performing in these settings than in front of 1,000 people that love you. Enjoy this experimental time of your career, even though you will feel as pathetic and small as a fly being swatted from a cow’s butt.
5. Create A Killer 15-Minute Set
* When I met my first employer, Johnny Stewart, Founder of the Las Vegas Legends In Concert (the first impersonator show ever formed in Vegas) I asked him what would make me a success beyond just doing my impression of Ricky Martin. He said, “Create a Killer 15-minute set and you will always work in show business”. I believe he is correct.
* If you can create 15-minutes worth of material, shtick, showmanship that will captivate, entertain, inspire, enlighten, then you can do a 5 minute spot on TV or radio, you can perform on any stage, you can then build upon this and create an entire 45-60 minute show knowing you have 15 amazing minutes.
6. Perform & Speak For FREE as Often as Possible
* This is the LEAST popular suggestion on this list and the one most performers and speakers leave my coaching and say I’m crazy. I never hear from them again. But if there is one BEST way to begin your career I suggest this point beyond anything on this list.
* Other speakers who agree with me: Chad Hymas, Hall of Fame Speaker; Tiffany Berg, Renowned Author. I have yet to find another Artist/Performer who thinks along these lines in my career.
* This point alone helped me open more doors to my career than anything else I’ve done for actual business, referrals, and leads. Example: My Dad suggested I perform at his friend’s birthday party during the 3rd year of my fledgling career. I was ticked to be doing a birthday party, even more ticked to do it for free, and in Montana of all places, where I figured no one would see me. Long story short, that show went well, the birthday boy recommended me to a few different groups that eventually landed me the biggest client I have had to date, over 50 bookings within a span of 4 years, and he is one of my dearest friends now. If someone has your best interest at heart and recommends you perform for free because it could lead to bigger and better things, at least in the beginning of a career, I suggest you take it.
* I performed at least 100 shows for free in the first 3 years of my career, and continue to do so to open doors, and give back, every single year.
7. Edit, Record, Edit, Repeat!
* What is the best way to know exactly how you look, sound, move, interact with the audience? Record yourself, watch it and be surprised you thought it was so much better, and then painfully edit yourself. Helpful to have someone you trust to bounce ideas off of, preferably a brother, business partner, or your wife if you are extremely confident and brave.
* You THINK you sound SO GREAT. Guess what, you just might to the audience, but listening to yourself you will be surprised.
* A NOTE on Self-Critiquing: Don’t be so hard on yourself that you quit. That didn’t help anyone. See yourself as a poem still unfinished, a statue being carved from a granite block, that there is GREATNESS there and others see it despite what you believe you are watching and horrified over. After years of critiquing myself I’ve learned I just have to live with how it turns out and accept it for who I am, even if I don’t think it’s enjoyable to watch, and actually painful, the audience always seems to still stand up at the end.
8. Get In Front of the Right People
* This goes along the lines of performing everywhere at every opportunity in order to be seen. If you are sitting at home hoping to be discovered the only thing you’ll discover is that everyone else you’re watching on TV is being discovered.
* While it may seem foolish to perform for a Beauty Pageant, speak at a school, or play the piano at a Church Talent Show, remember that the parents of little girls in Beauty Pageants usually have money because they own businesses, teachers listening to you at the school assembly have spouses that work for companies that have company conferences, and people that go to church are generally cultured, well off, and interested in helping you succeed. You just NEVER know who’s watching.
* Take every opportunity to travel, whether it’s opening for a band that’s put together a grassroots tour, offering the comedy club owner you’ll do the sets for free if he’ll cover expenses, or travel on your own to a designated location and make your way into every show and introduce yourself to the performers, managers, etc.
* Performing, Speaking, all of it is about SELLING YOURSELF. You have to be willing to be malleable to a degree, willing to customize, offer to do things you’re not sure you can do perfectly but can give it a shot. This can lead to new avenues within your talents and career that will keep you working long after your initial talent is old news in your book.
* No matter the audience, sound system, lights, bad or excellent stage, or the perceived importance of an audience, always perform as if it’s your first and final show. It is the first and last time many of those people will ever see you, give them something to remember. If you accomplish this, they will walk away talking about you in order to bring you back for something else.
* Once in front of the right people, deliver.
* Make sure your promotional materials look excellent, not just decent, because everyone’s looks decent nowadays. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube, Google, Promotional videos, books, everything must be branded, consistent, professional, and able to be found. Yes, we’re all working on this. Most important: Your Web Site.
* It’s always smart to have a business card with you in order to give it to the person asking, but it’s smarter to ask for their card so you can follow up right away. If someone approaches you after a performance and sounds interested, act interested in them and say, “I’d love to get your email address, or your number so I can text you right now and make sure I have your info”. In other words, always perform with your phone in your pocket so you can capture leads immediately following, and if you have their email you can contact them instead of waiting and wondering if they’ll ever contact you.
9. Never Stop Creating & Adding
* Resting on your laurels, as they say, is the death of a career and an act. To be honest, I’ve seen this to a degree in my own career. I have been at this 11 years now, my 15-minute set is KILLER, and I still get paid for it, but even though I have a solid hour long show people demand new material in order to have me return year after year. It’s tough to create something new once you’ve got a proven thing that works every time. Unless you’re The Lettermen, who have done the same show for 45 years (because they have Top 10 Hits), it’s going to be tough to not add something new and often.
* If you are a Comedian, it is essential to write, create, and add to your show at least every year a good 10-15 new minutes.
* If you’re a Singer-Songwriter you must create, record, and tour every 3 years to remain relevant.
* If you’re an Actor, Singer, Dancer you must be in plays, auditioning, and taking any and every role you can at least 2 times per year in large productions or you will lose your edge, name, and be passed up by those more interested.
* If you’re a Speaker, you must create new Topics, Expertise, and Interest in your core message throughout your year, every year. One Great Speech can carry you for a good 3-4 years, then it is time to re-vamp it, toss it out, and create a new one or two.
* Continuing Education: to study others like you did back when you were just starting out is a great way to create new material. Also a great idea to go back into your “vault” of material that you have discarded, see if you can re-work it. Best time to write for me is at night when everyone is asleep, I just stay up all night and write, laugh, sing, and even if only 5% of it is still funny in the morning that’s more than I had before the all-nighter session of silliness.
* Clients want their favorites back year after year if they can deliver the goods each time. A client has been won over by your preparation, all of the incredibly hard work you have done over a lifetime, and they want to bring you back. If you have one show, one speech, one thing to offer you are a one-time Jack and can’t return for at least 3-5 years, depending on the company. I am in the process of this re-creation currently, I hope you’ll join me.
* One of the craziest yet smartest artists out there right now is Lady Gaga. She consistently outdoes herself. Watch her closely, she’s a very smart business woman. Re-invention is the name of the game, with her look, her sound, her writing, her collaborations. Dare I say it? Follow Lady Gaga’s example…in this instance.
* The Great Ones never stop growing, exploring the depths of their career and abilities. One of my favorite examples of this is Steve Martin. Started out as a sideshow performer at Knotsberry Farm, then made it to the main stage in the comedy troupe, then on to comedy clubs, suffering through horrendous gigs that shaped him forever. His act was nuts but he stuck to his guns: a banjo, faces, odd comedy, parody, a one-man show that led to appearances on Saturday Night Live, then sold-out performances at The Coliseum, then movies. Then he writes the movies, writes music, writes amazing books on all subjects. Now he is older, wiser, he tours with his band as a banjo virtuoso, hosts the Academy Awards, makes special appearances. Steve Martin never stops creating, growing, re-inventing himself, while still remaining the same, just discovering new levels of his talent.
* If your goal is to conquer the corporate market, you must become great at one thing, then another, then another. Be so good they can’t NOT hire you. This applies to all aspects of show business! My goal has become 1. Do My Show, Standing Ovation. 2. Be invited back next year as Master of Ceremonies for Multiple Day conference, Standing Ovation. 3. Be invited back next year as Keynote Speaker and Break-Out Session Leader. 4. Be a resource to help client find excellent Performers, Speakers, MC’s, and be a partner with their event so they need me forever, Formation of Talent Agency, etc etc.
* Be The Lynchpin, as Seth Godin would say. Be Invaluable, as Dave Crenshaw would say.
Always re-invent what you offer and what you’re incredible at and you will work for a long time doing what you love. If you do these things, “luck” will somehow find you.
December 15, 2011, 2:25 am
What an amazing year 2011 has been!
This has been JHewlett Event’s first official year of business in the booking and referral industry and we are here to stay. Our Artists continue to receive rave reviews and standing ovations from satisfied clients. As these happy clients return year after year to utilize our successful referral system we are thrilled to provide you with the best artist rates, eliminate the hassle of finding quality entertainment, and ensure secure bookings through a professional booking company.
Here are some comments we receive from our clients:
“I am surprised I had never heard of (ARTIST) prior to hiring him off of Jason Hewlett’s strong recommendation that the show would go over well with our audience. When he received a standing ovation I realized that even if the artist has a promotional video that isn’t perfect I trust Jason’s suggestions for our company, as he has our best interest at heart and knows talent.”
“We are grateful for the service of JHE. We have used them 5 years running and I am always confident we will receive an incredible performer who will WOW our audience.”
– Swire Coca~Cola
“I trust Jason Hewlett’s recommendations with my most important events. Somehow he tops it every year. We will continue using his great resources as long as I work here.”
-- Deseret Power
The challenge most companies have in finding the right entertainment is:
Quality – There are many performers for hire out there. Too many. Yet most have a secret: They scream “family-friendly” but either toe the line or cross it to disappoint buyer’s expecting a G-Rating. This has led to many bookers and event planners feeling the need to return to one trusted source to refer the best performers another person has already seen, instead of just randomly choosing from an agency site full of so many decisions. Quality must NEVER be compromised, yet often is, and lower the fee here, cut a corner there, next thing you know you’ve booked a performer that is being asked to leave the stage mid-show. Never pretty.
Integrity – You would think most performers would realize their integrity is everything. After all, they are in business for themselves. Yet all too often the honesty they began with succumbs to the need for bookings, the need to change the act when their performance doesn’t go well, and revert to humor or material that isn’t appropriate. Worst of all, you will find performers who flat out lie within the negotiation of the booking regarding their abilities, and once it’s too late, the client is stuck with a dud. Artists not showing up on time, charging more last minute for undisclosed needs, even faking sick or injury. It happens and it’s not good.
Adaptability – Let’s be real, most “Artists” are primadonnas. You agree the show starts at 8:15 PM during the initial contracting phase and at the event your dinner or speaker or awards go long, next thing you know you’re asking the artist to start at 9…the artist gives you the cold shoulder, says he goes on at 8:15 or he’s going home, and you’re faced with an enormous problem. Artists, Speakers, Master of Ceremonies, and those you book should be willing to go with the flow. If the client is abusive that is one thing. If artist has a flight to catch that can be an issue too. But in most circumstances the Artist must do all he can to conform to all of the client’s needs.
Delivery – You have paid a good chunk of money to have an incredible performance. Not only have you taken a chance on someone you have never met in person, never seen perform all the way through, but you have chosen this show to be the best one it can be for your great audience. You expect it to be awesome! And that you should! If the artist doesn’t, or can’t deliver, your job can be on the line. The boss could excuse you from working there because of an artist not delivering as promised in front of his employees.
Decisions – It all comes down to sound decisions. Your ability to sift through the options, find someone you can trust to be great and deliver as expected, an artist that doesn’t act like an artist off stage but as a professional and is adaptable. You are hoping for at the very least a decent performance. If you’re lucky the audience might even enjoy it. If you’re a miracle worker your performer will receive a standing ovation. If all the stars align your boss will call you the best decision maker in the company and give you a bonus and ask you how you’re going to top that next year.
These things can and do happen.
At JHE we expect greatness from the few performers we have hand-selected. Proven in their ability, integrity, adaptability, delivery, and you will look like the smart one for your great work.
Let us help you with the daunting process of selection, pricing, contracting, details, and making sure all aspects of a flawless event are covered. We not only refer performers, we also have some of the best Speakers in the world on our roster. We also have a listing of our preferred vendors in the different needs you will have such as Audio Visual, Catering, Venue, Printing, Transportation, etc. We are here to help either as a full event planning team or simply as a trusted resource to give you suggestions. We are on your side. We look forward to assisting you with the best event you’ve ever put together, and then topping it again next year.
August 10, 2011, 4:38 pm
Thank you for visiting JHewlett Events and utilizing the great tools we have to offer. Our clients are finding we offer much more than just world class entertainment, we have Speakers that will knock over even the toughest-to-please groups. Please read what the State Office of Utah Education had to say about National Coach of the Year, Tony Ingle, from his closing keynote speech in June: View Letter Here
We look forward to serving you on your next event and thank you for trusting our referrals and resources.
February 11, 2011, 1:20 am
Welcome to the JHewlett Events blog and our new web site! We hope you enjoy it.
In October 2010 we had a Showcase featuring some JHE Artists and it was a great success. Here is the flier, the Artists showcased, and what we plan on doing in the future: (please don't have a link here, just grab the image and paste in the blog)
In large part due to the October showcase, in December 2010 we assisted many clients with their events to rave reviews. The need to provide clean entertainment to companies nationwide is the original reason we started the JHE concept years ago, and today our theme has grown into full fledged event planning and has been working well.
We will have other showcases in the near future, in the Utah area primarily and hopefully to extend into other States as the need continues, and hope you can be present for these fun showcases. Please sign up for our Newsletter to receive updates on industry trends, best deals in venues, entertainment, our Highlight of the Week summary, and many other relevant topics for planning a great event.
We appreciate your relationship with us. We look forward to working with you on your next important event.