Tag Archives: Commericials

Work Ethic…. An Example


SammyCortino

 

Every once in a while I like to recognize at least what I consider someone who is doing everything they can to achieve their dream. Someone who I see constantly striving to be the best they can be and pushing new limits for themselves. This time I am recognizing illusionist Sammy Cortino. Now to be fair, this is only about work ethic. I am not talking about his show as I haven’t seen it other than a few video clips and the one illusion Sammy did for a show of mine last year. This is purely based on how hard I have watched Sammy work over the last four years.

I found out about Sammy Cortino on twitter four years ago and we became social media friends. Since then, Sammy has moved to Nashville, TN and is carving out his niche as a master illusionist around the country. Rarely have I seen someone give so much of themselves to their dream and try so many things to see what worked and what didn’t. Most just stay the same, never trying anything new, not listening to advice and wonder why over the last few years nothing gets any better. It becomes everyone’s fault but their own and the reality it is simply the world didn’t want to buy what you had to offer, at least not in the way it was presented by you. Sammy is becoming so good at learning to change things up and re-branding his image when necessary. He sinks his money back into his career, most importantly in the things he actually needs, not necessarily wants. For those entertainers that complain about travel and how much they have to take, try being an illusionist. Set up and tear down time is much longer and usually 1 – 3 people doing it not 4 – 5 like in a band.

Sammy tries to fusion things that have rarely been done before or are original, another trait lost on many. Keeping a show fresh and something you can sell over and over again to the appropriate talent buyers or promoters is incredibly important and Sammy seems to understand this. This isn’t to say Sammy has figured it all out or is always gigging. He hasn’t and he isn’t, but he is working harder than just about anyone I have ever worked with by far. Sammy is always coming up with new photography, videos, illusions and tons of other content to try and keep himself fresh in the worlds mind. Sammy also understand that image is everything. You can decry it all you like, but it’s the truth. It’s the first thing people see and it determines whether or not they will click anything to check you out.

Whatever you may think of Sammy Cortino’s show or talent is up to you, but what you should take away from this is no matter how talented you are, if you are not working as hard as someone like Sammy is, they will take your spot on the bill or the stage just based on their work ethic alone.

Well done Sammy Cortino. I wish you all the best in your endeavors and success in what ever way you deem it.

Note: The Lowry Agency is in no way affiliated with Sammy Cortino.

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The Difference Between Those That Do Make It and Those That Don’t


Often those of us in the business in any capacity have the opportunity to work with very successful artists or entertainers and those that are still trying to get there. Of course this applies to any type of successful business or entrepreneur but we are talking entertainment here so let’s leave it at that. We get to see and observe things that those that make it do and those that can’t seem to get any traction don’t do. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule and I am sure that there are many things that won’t be listed this blog but here are some things I want to point out to help make it easier for all who read this to hopefully put into action to make everyone’s job easier and make teams stronger and easier to work with.

Successful entertainers surround themselves with positive people and then they take care of them. They don’t look to get them to work as hard as possible for as little as possible. They reward them for their hard work. Any business owner knows you pay your people who are working to make you a success first not the other way around. They don’t bring people on board and then sit there waiting for something to happen. They bring people on board and keep busting their ass to give those people something to work with. They keep working as hard as possible to be able to create the opportunities to make things happen. They listen to advice and feedback from their team and those that the team interacts with and makes changes as needed. They don’t make excuses or avoid making the hard decisions for change. Whether it be personnel changes, style changes, business changes etc. Successful artists give positive feed back to their team. They show up for meetings and are a part of the overall vision and plan. They don’t sit around waiting for everyone to do it for them. They are proactive and constantly push for the next big thing.

Too often in this business, people rest on their laurels or they have something good happen and they sit back and coast. You cannot do that. You have to keep moving forward. You have to learn how to create opportunities out of what you have everyday. People who truly want to do this for a living find a way to make things happen. The others make excuses. This business is nothing but hard work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no other way. Not everything tried will work but they know that. They make adjustments and keep trying new things. Successful artists don’t take no for answer, they don’t blame everyone else for what isn’t happening for them. They know that they are the product and that it’s a constant work in progress. They know that not everyone will get them, their music or art and they keep trying to find the ones that do.

Unsuccessful entertainers listen to their 30 friends or fans and let that lull them into complacency and think that people aren’t working hard for them. They don’t understand that they have to work just as hard and actually harder than their team. They don’t understand it’s a business. They don’t understand it’s their responsibility to set the bar high. They don’t understand setting goals and working hard to achieve them. They don’t understand cutting out the people that are holding them back.

In most business books your will find examples like “every successful” business trims the bottom 20% of fat every year.” This means they get rid of the things not working, not making them money or holding them back. That could mean clients, marketing, personnel or anything preventing them from reaching their goals. You have to make hard decisions sometimes no matter whom it affects to be able to move forward. It sucks but it’s true.

Most entertainers especially it seems musical ones aren’t business minded and we all know that. They are creative people and in many ways avoid hard work. That is why they are artists or entertainers. They thrive in the creative and not the analytical or structured world. Unfortunately, if you are an entertainer, it is your business and you have to operate in both. There is no one to blame but you when things aren’t getting done and I guarantee you, if things aren’t getting done many times it’s because the entertainer isn’t doing it. They aren’t getting their work done on time. They aren’t showing up for meetings. They aren’t working all the time. The team won’t bust their ass for an artist that isn’t busting theirs.

I recently started working with an artist and we got more done in the first two weeks then we did with any other artist because that artist gets it. They work all day, all night. They have a vision and nothing will stop them from achieving it. They learn what they need to learn to get their career to the next level. They listen to advice, implement it and run with it as fast as they can. This is what people are looking for. Nothing else will do. You want to make a living at this business? You better get your head straight and learn from this artists example.

I know there are many artists that want this dream and work hard to achieve it. I know sometimes they are confused and overwhelmed. The first and best thing to do is to do something. Don’t sit there and do nothing. Learn to get done what needs to get done. Don’t skimp on your career by not investing in your self, your education and learning.  Research your career choice and the things you need to know to get things done. If you don’t have a budget for websites, graphic design, etc… you better learn how to do it. Every business has to do this, not just artists. We all have to do this at times. We all have worked with people that don’t get it done even when paid so sometimes we just have to learn to do it ourselves unfortunately.

This business is so extremely hard. It’s very hard to make money in and it’s very hard to get noticed. Nothing but excellence will do. Do you have it in you?

Get out there and get it done! You can do it if you put your mind to it.

Good luck!


The Lowry Agency vBlog: Photography


The latest entry in my vBlog featuring a few thoughts on the importance of photography in your press kit and online sites. Please share, rate and comment!

Thank you ,

David


The #1 Most Important Social Media Etiquette No One Talks About


By David Lowry

Now I am writing this and I am most definitely sometimes guilty of this myself because I have no patience personally for smart ass musicians on social media that think they have a need to post negative or what they deem to be “funny” comments but really just come across as arrogant or ignorant comments. This also applies to many different situations such as hitting on people who are married especially if you are married yourself, or ripping down someone’s career or event.

When on social media, the most important thing you should always think about is how you would in act in front of the people you are talking with if you were all there in person. If you wouldn’t do this in front of the person whom you are trashing, your wife or husband, friends, quittances or any other person, don’t do it at all. Never treat social media any different than if it were in public.

If you are in a crowd and I am talking with a friend who is promoting something for me to someone standing there with me, are you just going to walk up and say “oh what a waste of time and money, you don’t need that!” Of course you wouldn’t, but we seem to have no problem doing it on social media. When someone is posting about a seminar I am giving, it never fails that someone will get on there and say, “Don’t waste your money!” Who are you to say that and what compels you to? You don’t know me or my work so what experience do you have to give that makes you feel like you need to say that when you wouldn’t in public. In public if you did that, I’d fix you in a hurry. On social media we are much braver and feel invulnerable so we say what we want. Just because something is an open forum doesn’t mean that you “should,” say something just because you “can.”

On my blogs, I usually get very positive responses and feed back is ok even if I don’t agree with it, but post feedback on the blogs message board, not on the link of the person promoting it for me or whomever. It just makes you look like an ass when you have something smart to say. If you have a negative comment about something post it in YOUR own timeline. Not in the timeline of the person who is trying to do something nice.

Recently an article was written about one of my artists, and a former member of the original band started a negative rant on my clients article for no reason what so ever. It was completely and utterly ridiculous. A person’s need to take the spotlight away from someone else to showcase him or herself is so narcissistic it’s not even funny. It was a very well written article that a journalist put a lot of time and attention into writing and some “very nice person” decides to start a rant on it. Not only is it an insult to the person in the article, it is to the writer as well. As a professional or wannabe professional, keep your negative comments to yourself. There is no room for it in this business. You need to separate yourselves from the rest of the flotsam and jetsam out there.

One last thing, when someone on Facebook is showcasing another person’s link on THEIR timeline, don’t ruin it by posting your link on it too. That link wasn’t for you. I don’t care if you know the person, think its funny or for what ever lame reason you are going to give. That is the equivalent of you putting your concert poster over their concert poster. All of you in bands know how much that angers us and it is childish. You wouldn’t do it in front of me so don’t do it on Facebook either. If you want someone to post for you or get your name out there for you, develop a relationship with that person and if they like you and your music, movie (insert form of entertainment here) then maybe they will do it for you.

Quit all the stupid comments, bashing, trashing or anything else you may be thinking that is negative towards someone. Unless you are the greatest thing on the planet with a ton of success, you have no right, experience or clout to trash anyone else.

P.S. It’s usually the ones who have no success or success from WAY back in the day who do this.

Good luck!


Endorsement Deals – How do you get them?


 By David Lowry

One of the most exciting things about being a musician is getting that endorsement deal! Playing that guitar or amp you love or maybe banging that drum kit you have been salivating over for years and it’s finally in your hands. It’s a great feeling! The questions are how do you get one? Who deserves one? What are you going to do with it once you get it? What are your responsibilities once you get one?

I find that like most aspects of the music business the artist completely doesn’t get it when it comes to endorsement deals. They all want them when they have absolutely nothing to offer the endorsement company. Bands want everything handed to them. They want someone to book all their shows because they don’t want to do it. They want management to make things happen because they don’t know how and they want free gear, clothes or what ever else they can get for free and giving nothing in return.

Endorsement deals have to be a win-win situation for both parties involved. Sometimes as musicians we forget that it takes money to make anything happen and that these companies need to make money for them to be able to endorse or sponsor artists. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the artist asking for the endorsement has nothing to offer the company whose product they are asking an endorsement for. Granted there are always exceptions to the rule in any given situation but for the most part this is the way it is and you would do well to act professional and always give yourselves the best chance possible.

So what does an artist need to bring to the table before asking for an endorsement deal? Well number one it’s all about the exposure for the endorsee. How many shows are you playing a year? How many people per average show? How good is your social media campaign? How good are your photos and videos? How influential are you among your peers and people who look up to you as a musician? Do you understand marketing and branding?  Usually these questions are answered within the first 30 seconds of reading the artists email and looking at their press kits.

Company’s really only want artists or bands that love and use their product, not people looking for any deal they can get. You should be passionate about what you are playing or using before you approach a company for an endorsement deal. Send an email and ask what information they would like to see but most importantly why you think you are a good fit for this company.  Highlight to your prospective endorsement company with the appropriate information such as your fan base size, social media coverage and plan, professional electronic press kit with professional photography and not just a one-line email with your Reverbnation link. The key here is to make sure the company is seeing how many fans you have. Facebook fan pages are great because then they can also see what your fans are saying about you. Make sure you state how many shows a year you play on average and average crowd size per show as well. Mention your touring and media plans for the upcoming year this why having a marketing plan is imperative. Have past calendars available if possible to prove you how busy you are. You need to make sure that your exposure coverage is worth it to a company before they give you any of their gear.  It’s also good sometimes to mention what products of theirs you may have purchased in the past and are currently using. Remember here that not every artist-relations person is the same so this may alter slightly.

Make sure you understand that if you get a deal you will have to put their logos on all you concert posters, your websites with hyperlinks attached and you should mention and thank them regularly in your social media campaign. You have a responsibility to growing their brand. That is why they gave you the deal in first place. Most musicians are horrible about doing this. Also please realize that just because you get a deal doesn’t mean you are going to get a ton of exposure from them. You may or may not be listed on their website or at least not prominently until you are a big enough artist to really influence the average buyer. You really want to be building a long-term business relationship with these companies so work hard at giving this the proper attention.

Most companies are not giving full endorsement deals anymore so please don’t ask for a deal if you have no money to at least pay cost on the equipment you are asking for. Make sure you are prepared to be professional with them at all times and represent them to the best of your ability.

Last but not least please don’t be “Horshack” from “Welcome Back Kotter” with your arm up squealing ooh! Ooh! Me! Me! Me! Especially after a friend or a band you know gets a deal so you run to Facebook and spam their page asking for a deal too. Remember there is a reason they got the deal. It wasn’t just handed to them.

Remember these blogs are here to help you become more professional and help you stand out from the crowd. Head the advice and you should see greater results.

Good luck!


Where Do You Find The Strength?


This is for all of the entertainers and business people out there who feel like they are doing this all alone. When you believe in yourself but you feel overwhelmed or life is trying to beat you down, how do you find the strength to keep chasing the dream? When you have no real support system or someone to drive you or believe in you, how do you keep going? These are things that many of us have to struggle with everyday, even if we aren’t alone, but for those that are, it can seem insurmountable.  For many their religion may be a big support here but I don’t want to get into that debate for this blog although a persons faith should play a big part.

I am a firm believer that activity breeds’ activity and it’s that activity that can really give you the boost you need when things seem hard. Activity keeps things happening and popping up on your radar, which helps to keep the excitement and productivity there. But what happens when you hit a slow patch or the money just isn’t coming in? How do you cope when you feel like you are doing this all alone, month after month or year after year? When you can’t pay your bills or even afford to take the next step in your career?

For those of you like me that don’t have a family or loved ones to support you or your best friends aren’t anywhere near you, let me suggest trying to really stay focused on your goals. When life’s problems creep up on us, if we do nothing it will just get worse so we have to do something. Setting your goals and meditating on them daily can really help you stay motivated through the hard times.  Keep taking those little steps everyday to make something happen and be diligent. Don’t let things fall through the cracks and let the momentum grow to carry you through.

Many times you can’t rely on anyone else and you have to be able and willing to push yourself hard enough to get through anything. Making lists of tasks to get done no matter how small can really help boost your mood and help develop good working habits and discipline. It’s usually a lack or break down of this discipline that gets us into trouble or never allows us to really get the footing we need to make things happen.

Ultimately it’s only you that can make the necessary change. In this business you have to want it more than anything sometimes to force yourself through the dire straits of life. Develop good working habits and also develop an accountability partner you can call on if you are at all able to. Other than that, focus on your goals daily, performs your tasks and do all the things your career needs to have done, not just the easy things or the ones you are good at. Part of not dropping the ball is doing the tasks that you hate doing. It’s here you will find the most success usually. Once you get things moving again, the weight lifts and your productivity increases. Now it’s just a matter of not falling in a rut again so keep the discipline up. Some times even finding another artist going through what you are going through and encouraging them will do the same for you. Give it a try!

Good luck!


Jani Lane – A Tribute


Granted, I come from the 80’s hair metal world. I grew up playing all the songs in cover bands and wanting to be the next guitar hero like Steve Vai, Richie Kotzen, Nuno Bettencourt or Paul Gilbert, so I have an affinity for some of the music of that era. The 80’s bands were known for their excess and being over the top with their image. While this is true, it’s exactly what being a “rock star” is all about, being larger than life and attaining the seemingly unobtainable “superstardom.” You can say what you want about the 80’s music scene, but all I can tell you is there has never been a more fun time in music and the entertainment factor then was much bigger and stronger than it has ever been. I will never be embarrassed by the 80’s as many of today’s musicians miss everything when it comes to knowing how to entertain. Big hair, make-up, spandex it’s all good with me as long as you can entertain. Jani Lane knew this about the music business and pursued his dream with everything he had.

Jani was one of the most prolific songwriter’s of this era. His song “Cherry Pie” is still famous and used in commercials to this day and he didn’t even like it. It took him 15 minutes to write as a last minute single at the request of his label. Jani had the ability to take everyday common phrases and turn it into a hit song, which is the sign of a true hit songwriter. Jani was able to say what we were all feeling and wanted to say to the ones we love in his songs in the most simple way that we could all relate to with out being to wordy. The hit song “Heaven” is a perfect example of this; as we all played this for our sweet hearts back in High School or for me barely out of high school. Songwriting genius comes in many forms and Jani had it in spades but thankfully in a way that us everyday people could access and relate to emotionally, deeply and personally which is exactly why Warrant’s songs did so well on the charts.

Songs like “Blind Faith” is the kind of song I have always wanted to be able to say to the woman I love. In its simplicity are the strongest words and emotions that are evoked when I think about what I desire with someone I love. Jani had songs like “I Saw Red”, “Stronger Now” and “Bitter Pill” that all reached us where it hurt most often. Whether it is the pain of losing we love, being cheated on or thankful that someone stuck with us when we were at our worst. Jani had a way of relating that in song and we loved it, we felt it and it stuck in our hearts and has never gone away.

Jani wrote other incredible songs like “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, “Down Boys” and “Machine Gun” which were just great rock songs and made you want to pump your fist in the air.  His talent was far reaching and unfortunately ended way to early. To write one hit song in your career is an outstanding feat and most are very lucky to do it once let alone mutltiple times. Jani Lane wrote “Heaven” which peaked at #2 and “Cherry Pie” which topped out at #5. Jani had 9 songs that placed in the Billboard Top 100, a pretty hefty accomplishment for any songwriter and most would kill to have that kind of success. To not recognize his talent and ability is a crime and honestly no matter what his personal problems were, his talent was undeniable.

I remember reading interviews and being at concerts where Jani said he was embarrassed about some of the slow songs he wrote. Jani was trying to be heavier and cool with the new music regime. I was also at shows where he was beaming with pride and so thankful to his audience for making his songs so huge. Jani fought demons many of us will never know or understand, but in the end Jani was proud of his music as should we all be.

Any songwriter, musician or entertainer can learn a lot from Jani Lane. He was a true entertainer and was given a gift most of us spend years chasing down. Take the time to get to know his music and talent. Forget the genre or big hair and just listen to what he had to say and how he did it. You will be a better musician and songwriter for it.

Jani Lane struggled with many of the trappings of a “rock star” lifestyle as most in the business do and especially what seems to be the loneliness that truly follows you when you are alone in your hotel room but don’t let that cloud your judgment of his talent. Don’t let the back and forth with the band Warrant affect your opinion of his music. No matter what Jani’s personal issues were, in the end Jani was one very talented musician and songwriter and his songs defined a generation. There is no bigger statement or compliment than that.

Jani, from us to you, thank you for what you have given us. We will miss you and we love you. Rest in peace my friend.