Thursday, June 25, 2020

Learn about show business success from someone who's done it...


Wooooooohooooooo! FINDING YOUR LIGHT BULB - has been sent off to the publisher and the PRINT version is scheduled to go on sale - July 1, 2020. https://www.renaissancevalleybooks.com/finding-your-lightbu… Thank you to The Art Goddess for "working up" so many drafts that her fingers began to bleed (not really but she was an amazing trouper and we did many many many drafts).

I'd also like to thank my editor Alison McFerrin James (also the editor of The Franklin County Times), who tirelessly went over my run-on sentences, my inability to use any form of correct punctuation and organizing the beehive of conflicting ideas that I brought to the page. Thanks Alison!
But it's done, and I could NOT be more excited.
I really really really wanted to create a book that would help journeymen, journeywomen, or journeypersons have the success in show business that I've had. I believe I've done that, AND I believe the principles that I share will get anyone that's willing to work at it, to where they want to go in this wacky world I inhabit... show business.

The path to that place, runs smack-dab through FINDING YOUR LIGHT BULB. Actually, the path runs through - YOU - finding - YOUR light bulb - and that's EXACTLY what my book is about. Helping you find it.

QUICK BACKSTORY - Several years ago I was asked to create a lecture for my friend Mark Daniel at KAX-KIDABRA in Los Angeles, so I did. It was a terrific experience. I made some AMAZING friends and the lecture came off quite well. There were things that I wasn't able to "drill-down-on" in the lecture and still felt like I had more to say, so along came John Abrams.
John asked me to be a part of his podcast THE VARIETY ARTIST.

So I did. John and I talked for a long time about my FINDING YOUR LIGHT BULB ideas, concepts, and philosophy of show business success. He's a good interviewer and we got to drill down even deeper. He's been kind enough to provide the link to this archived interview. Want to start down the path of show business success? I suggest you start with this interview on The Variety Podcast.

https://podcasts.apple.com/…/variety-artist-jo…/id1364779136

Once my interview with John was concluded, I realized that I needed to put these ideas into book form. I felt that anyone could use the principles and get themselves to where they really wanted to go, so I started writing. I wrote and wrote and wrote.

We finished editing and reediting it yesterday. Yeah... yesterday! I am so excited about this.

If you are a working pro (magician, puppeteer, ventriloquist, clown, artist, juggler, musician, storyteller), I believe my book can help you get more satisfaction out of your career and move you to the next level (if that's what you want). If you're just starting out in show business, this book can help you find your north star... ie... find your light bulb.

Here's a link to the Renaissance Publishing site too. I'm super happy to be partnered with them on this project. The book is going to look good and be a real asset to anyone that wants to build a meaningful career in showbiz.


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Saturday, April 11, 2020

Have children write reverse Santa Letter


by Rockin' Eco Hero - Steve Trash 

Parents – got a house full of kids? Consider giving this “home school” assignment to them.

It works on MANY different levels. It’s a writing, drawing, spelling, art, empathy, civics, social studies, science, research assignment, all rolled into one. Have the kids write and send a “reverse Santa letter.”

Instead of asking Santa for something, they can give something instead.

In this case, it’s a letter of appreciation to a hospital medical staff. Your amazing kid can research, write, edit, draw, address, stamp and then mail a letter of love and appreciation to medical professionals who are on the front lines of the current pandemic.

It’s rough out there right now, and it’s only going to get worse. They need encouragement. They need love. They need us to let them know we support them and love them, and we have their backs.

Doctors, nurses, medical techs and even the custodians and cafeteria workers are seriously in the middle of it right now, and everyone on the front lines will appreciate love from the kids who are thinking about them.

Choose a hometown hospital or send your letters and drawings to a hospital in one of the cities in the USA – we’re all Americans – that have been hardest hit, like NYC, LA, New Orleans, Chicago and Detroit.

My suggestion is to address it this way:
Name of Hospital
Attention: Medical Heroes
Address
City, State
Zip Code

Kids might consider using phrases like, “Thank you heroes” or “You totally rock” or “You are my hero.” Other suggestions might be “You are brave,” “We love you,” “I love you” and “Thank you.”

Your kids can draw pictures of appreciation, write words of thanks, cut and paste their gratitude – whatever. Just let your kid show appreciation and support for the courage our friends all across America are showing.

Be sure to have your child sign it but only use their first name. That’s enough.
Then go mail that “care package.” Do it today. You’ll be glad you did.

by Rockin' Eco Hero - Steve Trash 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Baseball has been good to me


by Rockin' Eco Hero - Steve Trash

I've loved baseball ever since I was a kid. It's in my blood.

It's in my family blood. My dad was a crazy fast pitcher – Southpaw, as we used to say, meaning left handed pitcher – and he would hit the ball out of the park on a very regular basis. He's been gone since 1977, but I can still see his swing – and subsequent launch of the ball into the stratosphere – in my mind.

It's an easy memory to recall. It was magic. It makes me smile just to think of it.

My love of him and of "ball" runs deep. To this day the only two movies that can consistently make me cry like a little baby are “The Natural” and "Field of Dreams.”

Baseball taught me many things: Individualism. Hard work. Teamwork. Courage. Cleverness. Sportsmanship. Strategy. Grit.
 
I actually see "being American" much like I see the game of baseball. There is no game unless you stand at bat, all by yourself, with no one to help. You gotta do your part.  Hit the ball. Run the bases. Score runs as often as possible.

But the "rugged individualism" of being "the batter" is only half the game. The other half is being in the field, working together with teammates. It's teamwork.  No one person can win a baseball game alone. It's impossible!  Can you imagine one person trying to pitch, then catch, then field, then chase the runner around the bases to get them out? No – of course not. It's a silly thought.

It's silly because half the game is working with the team.

In baseball you have to think, work together, anticipate the needs of other players. You have to be a team and work together or you cannot win.

This sometimes takes sacrifice. You can’t selfishly “showboat” and expect to win. It just won’t work. 

Winning takes both halves.

Baseball is THE American game because it’s how America wins. Sometimes we are individuals at bat. Other times we are working with the team.
 
Sometimes we are cooperating. Other times we think of nothing but ourselves.

Sometimes we put our ego aside to win. Other times we are totally selfishly focused on what we want to do.

It takes both to win the game.

Baseball’s popularity has been surpassed in recent years by football and basketball, but it's still the American game because the game of baseball is how the "game of life" is played in America.

The game is the game, and to win you have to do both – stand alone and work as a team.

Sometimes we Americans forget this.

Sometimes we forget half the game is played in the field, working together with our teammates.  Maybe this is because the “at bat” is so lonely and scary. There seems to be no one to help us.  There is no safety net. No one helps.

We become so self-involved that we forget what is actually making the game possible. It’s the team. 
Right now, we are Team America, and we have to work together. We have to work as a team to get through this thing.

Think of others. Reduce the risk of infecting others. Stop arguing with your teammates. Help others when you can. Try to anticipate the needs of your teammates. Focus on winning. 

Focus on the team.

Also – try to stay well yourself. We are in this game to win. We are in this game together.

Team America... we got this.



By Rockin' Eco Hero Steve Trash

Monday, April 6, 2020

Stop those lily pads from doubling


by Rockin' Eco Hero - Steve Trash 

I’ve decided I’m going do a future episode of STEVE TRASH SCIENCE – my PBS kids science show – on exponential growth. It’s a math concept, and it’s become obvious to me that many people don’t really understand it. 

The reason amusement parks have closed, NCAA March Madness has been cancelled, Disney is shuttered, universities have closed, lots of major sports events have been mothballed and all our local schools are going virtual through the end of the school year – is exponential growth. 

As far as we know, this virus – which has no cure as of yet and can range from mild to deadly – can be transmitted only person to person, and it seems to be highly contagious.

Well ... so what?

Math, that’s what. Exponential growth math is what. 


Imagine a pond. If lily pads – representing new virus cases – in the pond double in number every day, and it takes 24 days to fill the pond, what day would the pond be half full? 

What day? 

Yeah, you don’t hardly even see the lily pads taking over the pond for 22 whole days. Even at day 18, the pond doesn’t look that covered up with lily pads. 

Did you get that? On day 23, it’s only half full – plenty of time. But no – it’s doubling everyday.
 That means on day 24 the pond is covered with lily pads. 

The quicker you stop the lily pads from doubling, the fewer lily pads will fill the pond.

Stopping the spread is going to be very economically painful for tons of folks, myself included, but it’s smart.
So many of my excellent journeyman entertainer friends and gig economy friends – who work their butts off – as well as restaurants, hardware stores and more are really going be hurt by this. 

Seriously, I believe America doesn’t understand how close all these hard–working Americans – musicians, magicians, comics and frankly all “gig” economy folks – are to the edge of the financial cliff, and this is going to be dang hard on them, but there’s NO choice. 

We’ve got to stop the lily pads from doubling. It’s math. 

PS: I suggest you not get your information about this disease from social media. The best sources will be https://www.cdc.gov/  or https://www.nih.gov

Hunker down. Don’t spread it. Don’t get infected. Don’t panic.

Send love and support to the front-line healthcare workers doing the work. To my mind, this is heroic work. Let’s nip this thing and come out the other side.


This is America. When the chips are down – we come through.


Much love to you all. 


Steve :)

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Pulling me back from the ledge... Thanks Art Goddess!



by Rockin' Eco Hero - Steve Trash 

Thanks to the ART GODDESS for... once again...."pulling me back from the ledge". If you're a JOURNEYMAN ENTERTAINER, you know how many many many things can go wrong on the DAY OF SHOW. Beginners don't know these things. They haven't experienced them yet, but Journeyman and Journeywomen HAVE. We know that (at some point) every thing that CAN go wrong WILL eventually go wrong. AND it will go wrong during the tiniest window you can image... LOAD IN and SET UP time. Most (non-show-people) don't know this but, there is an invisible CLOCK that hangs in the sky. It's huge. It's menacing. It's monstrous... and it starts the moment you arrive at a venue (school, home, theatre, fair). It's weird, but all sorts of things can get the in way of a proper/ontime/successful showtime start. To start late is unprofessional and unnerving and can seriously throw you off your game... so you work like crazy to NOT let this stuff get in your way. Experience teaches you that ANTICIPATED PROBLEMS are not good, but can be solved. UNANTICIPATED PROBLEMS can be catastrophic. So the Journeyman/woman works like crazy to proactively solve problems that MIGHT show up. The list includes: no help loading in, no electricity, broken props, stairs, wireless microphone does not work, very long distance to performance space, no one knew you were coming, huge distance between audience and stage, a backdrop that won't stay up. The list is endless. I'm sweating, just THINKING about this list. Which leads me to THE ART GODDESS. I have a super portable backdrop. I LOVE this backdrop. Looks good. Transports easily. Packs small. Over the past decade of performing the mechanisms that keep it in the air and keep it portable have worn-away. No matter how I try, I have not been able repair these. Buying a new one is out. Builder is unavailable. I've spent days (months actually) trying to solve the problems associated with this backdrop, and then coming back and realizing the problem is not solved. No big deal you say? Yes. It is a big deal. I am paid to be VERY GOOD. I'm paid to be VERY GOOD every time. That is the Journeyman's job. We are not famous, but we are very good EVERY TIME. The backdrop must stand up correctly and look good every time. NOW... add to this... a complex of related issues... the solve to the problem cannot 1. take-up ANY more space in my van (I travel with 5 shows already). There is LITERALLY no where to put anything else. AND... 2. I have a very small window of time for set-up. I can't afford to spend 30 minutes of my 60 minute load in time setting up a backdrop. It must set up in less than 10 minutes, because load in must include rolling cases, setting up sound, setting up tricks, etc. Each segment of set up has allocated amount of time and this backdrop problem is NOT BEING SOLVED. So... I'm totally FREAKING OUT because this backdrop won't stay up. All my solutions take up too much room in the van or too much time to set up. So... The ART GODDESS says... "let me help". She creates an elegant solution and works tirelessly (I counted five hours) helping make the solve work. Sewing, measuring, cutting, suggesting materials, she pulls me back from the ledge.

So...

1. Thank you Art Goddess! You rock!
2. I hope you have an Art Goddess in your life (or you ARE an Art Goddess).
3. I'm possibly the Luckiest Man Alive.... Journeyman... that is.

- Steve
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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

TONS and TONS of red cars


by Rockin' Eco Hero - Steve Trash

Have you ever purchased something beautiful, awesome, unique, amazing, fantastic… like a new car? It was red. It was beautiful. You TOTALLY loved that car. But as you drove around town you started to notice that there were were TONS and TONS of beautiful red cars (just like yours) on the road? Obviously, there were no more red cars on the road AFTER you purchased yours than BEFORE . What happened? I know the answer because I am a full-time, working, professional MAGICIAN and I think about this stuff a lot. Here's what happened. By purchasing a red car, you sent a signal to your mind that red cars were important to you, so your mind - unconsciously - began looking for red cars. And because your mind began LOOKING for them, you began SEEING them. Seeing and processing takes mental energy, so we prime our minds to SEE what we expect to see. It's just easier. It takes less mental energy/work. Our minds are designed this way. Bias, preconceived ideas, prejudices, can make us ACTUALLY SEE THINGS that are misrepresentations of the truth. Our mind is seeking to confirm our bias for an idea. Remember there were no more red cars... we just began noticing them because we told our minds red cars were important. We see what we have told our mind to see, but we DON'T REALIZE THIS. So... take it from a magician... it's a very good idea to occasionally question your picture of the world. This applies to politics, business, family, happiness, world-view… everything. You and I may be seeing ONLY what we expect to see... rather than the truth. It’s your mind. Make informed and wise use of it. 

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Sunday, November 3, 2019

Art is JUST as important as Science. Here's why...


by Rockin' Eco Hero - Steve Trash

I am a big fan of science.

Science is the study of how the natural world works, through observation and experimentation. Seriously – I’m a big fan.

I am, however, not a scientist; I’m an entertainer, a communicator and, on my best days, an educator.

I actually love science and STEM so much, I created a PBS KIDS TV science show – STEVE TRASH SCIENCE – to showcase various aspects of it.

By the way, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. I love all of these disciplines, but to me, there’s something missing. STEM lacks power. It lacks steam.

That’s it! It lacks “A”— STEAM. It lacks the Arts.

Now I, admittedly, am biased toward the arts, but not to the exclusion of science – not at all. Like I said, I love science, but I think STEM alone is missing out on an opportunity. It’s missing a direction – you might even say it’s missing the “energy” (see what I did there?) to really go the places we should be going.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art – of all kinds – and Math. Art helps us choose the right direction for the science.

STEM projects are all about solving problems. How does the planet work? How fast is the Earth moving around the sun? How teeny-tiny-itty-bitty can we make a computer chip? How intelligent can we make a robot? How mega-tall can we build a building?
These are all really cool questions to ask and problems to solve. They really are!

Here’s the deal, though. The value of the arts – all arts, whether drama, painting, literature, sculpture, theatre, music, high art, low art or folk art – is the stories.

The stories we choose create our meaning.

We say, “We need to create energy that makes no pollution and is renewable.” That’s a story. We say, “We need to treat each other with respect and dignity.” That’s a story. We say, “We need to build devices that will save lives all over the world.” That’s a story.
That’s why art belongs in STEM – transforming it into STEAM – because stories matter.

Consequently, stories inform all sorts of decisions we make. Stories determine who we will or won’t be friends with. Stories determine what church we’ll attend. Stories determine what goals we set for ourselves and believe we can achieve. Stories determine what we think is good or bad. Stories, literally, determine who we think are the good guys or bad guys. Stories are powerful.

Stories matter. Art tries to deliver good, truthful, real, illuminating stories; sometimes it misses, but that’s the goal. Art is about seeing the unseeable and knowing the unknowable. In some ways, it’s kind of like spirituality: Art is trying to make understandable something that’s hidden but is real.

Art is important. Stories are important.

Without good stories, it’s possible we choose unwise directions to take our science, technology, engineering and math. It’s art that gives STEM a North Star – a direction. Art is about thinking through the story. We say, “Hey, that’s important … So, let’s go there.”

They really matter.

Art and science are not mutually exclusive, either, as some might think at first. After all, look at Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Carl Sagan. Together their brains would be larger than the entire planet of Mars (just kidding). They are not just amazing scientists but also artists of communication. They understand not only the importance of stories but the important stories to tell.

At its best, art shows us the best of what we humans can be and how we can keep getting better. The “how” is science. The “what” is art. The “what” should guide the “how.” The “what” should help us choose our North Star.

The how is science: “How do we get this done?” The what is art: “What should we be working on?”

STEM needs Art.

STEM deserves Art.

Thus, it transforms into STEAM, creating our best-possible human story.

by Rockin' Eco Hero - Steve Trash