Monthly Archives: September 2014

Stop Googling Yourself and Start Google Alerting Instead

Have you ever Googled yourself? Of course you have. Everyone has! But did you know that there’s a way you automatically receive an email every time a website online mentions you? With Google Alerts you can set up a search phrase so every time someone online posts a specific piece of text, such as your name, Google will send you an email telling you what it said with a link to the website.

I have mine setup so whenever someone posts the words “Leif David” it will send me an email. I also have a couple other alerts setup for similar search terms.

A sample notification email looks like this:

googlealert

As you can see there are two mentions of “Leif David” from a local newspaper. Neither of them are hyperlinks to my website so ordinarily I wouldn’t have noticed that they had been posted online. With the alert though I automatically get notified directly in my inbox.

Google alerts are a great way to find out who’s talking about you online. Personally I’ve found stories in the media on me as well as festivals and events including me on their schedule of events. I also have a filter setup in my email so that alerts are diverted to my newsletter folder instead of my inbox to keep everything organized.

How to Setup Your Google Alert:

  1. Visit the Google Alerts page
  2. In the “Create an alert about” search box enter in the words or phrase you want to get email notifications for.
  3. Then click Show Options to customize your notification and search settings.
  4. Click Create Alert.

Did you setup a Google alert because of this article? Let me know in the comments below. As always, don’t forget to share this article with your other magic friends.

That’s Not a Problem – Dealing with Problems at Shows

One of the techniques I use when I’m working at events is having the attitude that nothing is a problem. Sometimes it’s just a small switch in the mental thinking that something isn’t a problem, sometimes it will be demands put on you by the client, and other times it’s actually being able to solve the issue so it’s no longer a problem.

  • There’s going to be audience members sitting at bad angles for the show? Not a problem.
  • The show needs to start later than expected? Not a problem.
  • There’s another performer going on stage immediately following you so the stage needs to be cleared quickly? Not a problem
  • The show is going to be outside instead of inside? Not a problem.
  • The power went out in the venue? Not a problem.
  • That one kid won’t sit down? Not a problem.
  • Nobody was hired to run the rented sound system? Not a problem!

Inevitably there’s going to be things that go wrong and other challenges whenever you’re performing at an event. And as a professional entertainer you need to be able to deal with any difficulties that arise. What separates the amateurs from the professionals is being able to confidently deal with these problems and put the client’s mind at ease. Ideally the client shouldn’t even know that there were any challenges in the first place.

Sometimes these situations are going to be less than ideal, but with the proper knowledge, experience, and preparation I would say that almost all of these problems can be solved. You need to be able to anticipate these challenges by being prepared with additional props, routines, equipment, and knowledge.

I don’t think that there’s any way for me to teach someone how to be able to do this. It’s just something you’re going to have to figure out through experience. But what I can try to explain is that it’s all about a confident attitude you project to your client once you have the experience. I believe that after a while problems that an amateur would have at an event are invisible to the seasoned professional because it all becomes automatic and second nature. You’ll find that with experience you’ll be able to anticipate challenges that an event might have even before you arrive.

The truth is that the show itself is only a very small piece of the puzzle. By being low-maintenance in the eyes of the client it makes your services more desirable. You become a PLEASURE to work with when you can consistently over deliver on your promises to deliver a quality show. I believe that if you put in the hours, put in the work, the results will show. You’ll end up providing higher quality services to your clients so you can keep your schedule full year round. So get out there and perform, perform, perform because there’s no shortcut for experience.

Stay healthy. Pack a lunch.

lunchbagI did something I’m not proud of this summer. Whenever I had a day filled with shows all over town I would quickly stop for a quick bite to eat at a fast food restaurant. Large coke, fries, and a chicken burger. So delicious, but I paid the price for it. I ended up getting sick twice during my heaviest performance schedule ever. Performing that many shows everyday plus lots of travel draining and I wasn’t feeding myself properly.

I ended up adjusting by packing lunches for my day trips rather than eating out. I bought one of those small foil-lined lunch bags. Instead of using an ice pack I would include a frozen bottle of water that kept everything cold all day long. Some of the food items I packed were sandwiches, cut up veggies, crackers, yogurt, trail-mix, hard boiled eggs, fruit, extra water and pop. If I had more self-control it would probably be better if I didn’t include the pop, but having that caffeine to keep me going for the third show in a day helped.

It was also great to have freezing cold water waiting for me in the car after a show on a hot summer day. Summer’s in the Okanagan can get VERY hot, and after performing in a venue without air conditioning, or doing an outdoor show, or even just having to repack the car when it’s really hot out, its great to have cold water to cool off immediately.

Previously if I didn’t have any extra time between shows I would just have to skip a meal and I would be starving by the time I had some free time. Plus I was able to eat better quantities of food since I didn’t have to eat that entire value-combo just because it would go bad in the car between shows. Instead I snack and eat throughout the day in better quantities keeping me full without overeating and feeling gross.

It sounds silly to make a post about something so mundane and ordinary as packing a lunch, but it really did make a difference for me. And judging by the waistlines I’ve seen at magic conventions… we all need a little reminder to eat healthier! If you’re looking for ideas for healthy lunches there’s an endless list on pinterest and other blogs.

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