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Old 09-29-09, 09:26 PM   #1
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Default "10 Thing a Variety Performer Must Know to Succeed In Today Economy"

Ten Things a Variety Performer
MUST know to Succeed in Today’s Economy

An E-Book by Andrei Soumiatin

With sincere appreciation to variety performers’ talent and hard work….with great hopes to help and inspire them!

CHAPTER 1: Are You a Purple Cow?

I’ve been an entertainer for 30 years and I know the ups and downs of the life of a variety act performer. Competition was tough out there when I got started; it must be brutal now. I started with helping talented people in mind; and realized that maybe I could go one step further in sharing what I know. That’s why I sat down to write this. I have found much advice and guidance within the pages of books, and so it seemed natural to put what I have to share into print, as well. One book that I recently read is entitled Purple Cow by Seth Godin on the modern approach to marketing. The principles it teaches are invaluable to a performer!

Let me share an excerpt from Purple Cow:

“Cows, after you’ve seen them for awhile, are boring. They may be well-bred cows, Six Sigma cows, or cows lit by a beautiful light, but they are still boring. A Purple Cow, though: now, that would really stand out! The essence of the Purple Cow -- the reason it would shine among a crowd of perfectly competent, even undeniably excellent cows -- is that it would be remarkable. Something remarkable is worth talking about, worth paying attention to. Boring stuff quickly becomes invisible.”

This is very true in entertainment! Every variety performer needs to ask themselves these questions:

“What is unique and different about my act that separates me from other performers?” This leads us to the next question: “Is my act really competitive today?” Be honest with yourself. If the answer to this question is “No”-- you are in BIG TROUBLE!

In today’s economy, the availability of jobs for variety performers is shrinking due to budget cuts within entertainment worldwide. Don’t let this discourage you! Turn this into a challenge for yourself. Use it as an opportunity! You could broaden your horizons by using the time to grow within your act while you await your next gig. Inspire yourself with new ideas for unusual costumes or innovative tricks for your act or show instead. Sometimes all it takes to spark your creativity is renaming your act. Try watching unusual videos on YouTube for ideas, especially the old vaudeville acts like this one:


When you create something unique and original, make sure that every agent and producer knows about it! Let them know that your act has an exclusive feature that no one else has. Make sure that you take advantage of your
original ideas early on; because eventually others will catch on and copy your material.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to protect yourself from these people. It’s really hard and expensive to copyright or trademark a trick or an act. The legal process of stopping people from using your ideas will make your attorney rich…not you. However, in the case of very unusual ideas, the process might be worthwhile. Ian Veniamin was able to copyright his creation, ‘The Human Slinky’, and successfully protected his rights to the costume.

When people steal from you (shame on them!), here are your choices:

You can complain - you can write them letters or emails threatening to “break their legs” or you can take legal action and eventually become a very bitter person and feel pity for yourself and your fragile creation. Or…


Don’t waste your time and energy on plagiarists, just ignore them. You have already established yourself as the original creator of the idea. All the producers, agents (they have your video, right?) and your fellow performers know that! Instead, stay positive and innovative and you will always be a step ahead of everybody else. Here is what my friend and very talented director/producer Nikolai Chelnokov (original creator of many unusual acts including “Icarus in the Net” for Cirque du Soleil) says when people take his stuff: “Good luck, make it better than the original!” He does not waste time worrying about people stealing his ideas. Instead, he focuses on creating new props, acts, and shows.


Francis Brunn, a great “sport juggler”, was proclaimed by the ringmaster in his American debut as “the greatest juggler of all time, greater than Rastelli and ten times faster!”. His speed and skills were sensational, but the shadow of Enrico Rastelli was over him. Inspired by the famous flamenco dancer Antonio Ruiz, he incorporated flamenco dance elements into his routine and changed his silk “sport” costume to a close-fitting black bodysuit. Reinventing his act earned him appearances on the best TV shows and he was repeatedly invited to appear alongside big movie stars and singers such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Hope, George Burns, Liberace, and many others. Even today, 50 years after creating his flamenco act, it is an inspiration to jugglers around the world.
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Old 09-30-09, 12:46 AM   #2
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Default gracias


thank you so much for posting this. I greatly anticipate reading the other chapters.

-Aaron Bonk
Thinking Big and Walking Tall.
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Old 10-01-09, 12:01 AM   #3
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Here it comes the chapter 2,a
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entertainers manual, gigs, inspiration, self improvement, variety perfromers

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