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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Step right up! » » Mark Lewis Book - "The Lives of a Showman" (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

WillRoya
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I ordered Mark Lewis’s latest book a couple of months ago and was disappointed that the book shipped from the US and not from him, so I would not be able to have him sign it before it shipped out to me. He did offer to sign a sticker label that I could affix inside the book. This was unacceptable to me and I did not want Ronnie to be bothered with such a trivial matter.

I have almost finished the book and must say that it is a must read for any want to be pitchman / grafter. This book, in addition to the Ron Popeil Biography (which was recommended to me by fellow café member) give great insight into the business of hustling products from two very distinct points of view.

In regards to the “The Lives of a Showman” it is a smorgasbord of stories from the illustrious career of Mr. Mark Lewis. In regards to pitching; I found it very insightful that the characters he worked with had variable styles and approach but were successful in their own way. I think the members of this forum should take it to heart that there is no set in stone way or superior authority on this business, and at the end of the day the only thing that matters is how much money you put in your pocket. Of course you want to do this in the most ethical way possible with the least amount of investment of not only money, but your time and soul (for lack of a better word.) As Lewis describes some of the hustles in his book it is well pointed out that anyone can take peoples money in a borderline legal manner. But to do so with a smile on the mark’s face and having them want to come back for more is a different story.

The only small complaint that I have is that the writing style is very similar to Lewis’s posts on this forum. At times it can be amusing but can become annoying as well because of the rambling and non-linear manner. Lewis would inevitably defend this comment by saying that I am a silly American boy who has no sense of a true literary masterpiece and that American’s in general don’t have any patience for a well told story or explanation (which may be true for some of us.)

Most performers can also relate to the diverse career path that Mr. Lewis has taken. I know I can well relate to it as I have traveled extensively like Lewis has on his various career choices. Where we differ is that I have decided to stay in my home country for the most part (I did have the small advantage of being born the greatest country after all) and the obvious fact that I am much younger, better looking, and overall more successful and far more skilled (tongue in cheek statement of course, but true none the less.)

To conclude I recommend ALL readers of this forum pick up this book immediately. It is a pleasant read and very insightful for anyone who is interested in the business of performing or selling.

###

For people who have been wondering what I have been up to lately; I have been doing some small shows in the South West and spending a lot of time at home with the family and working on various projects. Due to my success last year and the payout of a business investment I will be taking most of the summer off and having my former apprentice and a friend take over my spots. I still have tentative plans to put out a DVD on pitching this fall. I also plan to be personally working the Oregon state fair, the Puyallup fair, possibly the Texas state fair, and a couple of kiosk spots either in Las Vegas or Salt Lake.
*Mark Lewis*
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Roya, my boy. You are being most impertinent. Please do not refer to me as Ronnie. Only people who have known me for a certain period of time are entitled to use that name. And by a certain period of time I mean about 35 years or so at the minimum. I am not sure you were even born then.

You are entitled to say what you think in your review but it should be about ME rather than yourself. May I remind you of the ancient wisdom that "He who loves himself has little competition". I would be happy to advise you on humility and am ready any time to act as a role model in this regard.

And with regard to your rather silly statement in the fifth paragraph you may well be better looking and you are certainly younger but you are NOT more skiled and neither are you more successful than me. I had money coming out of my ears in great quantities when you were breastfeeding.

And alas I see dreadful signs of your recent "success" dissipating very quickly. There are clues in your post that fills me with compassion for your impending decline. The first two clues are in your third paragraph and the third clue rests in your last paragraph. I shall let you discover them for yourself. No point making it too easy.

Oh, and with regard to this last paragraph I don't think a single person here is "wondering what you have been up to". They really don't care, believe me. And it is actually bad business for you if they do care. Think about it.

Now do try to improve yourself. We wouldn't that old misery Don Driver to be proven right would we? If that happens I would consider it to be the end of civilisation as we know it.
WillRoya
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You make some good points Mr. Lewis; I will have to reconsider my lack of moral turpitude if it hurts my pocket too much. Maybe I'm just not cut out for this business.
*Mark Lewis*
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Actually the bit that worries me the most is something that will have passed by most if not all the people who read your review. This expression "the least amount of investment of not only money, but your time and soul"

You may be in serious trouble without knowing it. A catch 22 situation. You may have to make a painful choice. You cannot have your cake and eat it I am afraid. I know. I tried. If you are as talented as you claim (and as I mean as an entertainer) you are in real trouble. Beware and heed the warning of one who knows.

I may explain later or I may not.
WillRoya
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Henderson, NV
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I knew that was one of the parts you meant. Fortunately I am in a situation where I have more options then obligations and choose to rarely perform now unless it is in an optimal setting or am well compensated; I do book my friends out instead and take a cut.

We would be so honored if you would confound us with your explanation at the time of your choosing.
*Mark Lewis*
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My explanation is partially that when the cat is away the mice will play. It is a very dangerous business getting people to work for you or take over your spot. So it is a catch 22 position. You can sweat and do the work yourself and break your intention to invest your "time and soul" or you can get stressed out with all the troubles that will undoubtedly ensue once you get other people involved. And you could end up losing money because of it.

You are doing a wise thing deciding to rarely perform now, not because of a lack of talent as somebody seemed to think I meant when this post was seemingly deleted,(unless I accidentally deleted it myself) but because you cannot have your cake and eat it. Pitching and showbusiness do not mix very well. It is far better to concentrate on one or the other. You cannot succeed at both.

You may well be asking for trouble by taking the whole summer off. Beware and be very careful.
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