Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive » You’ve Got To Be There For The Accident


1

I got contacted by the George Stroumboulopoulos show.

Don’t worry, I had no idea who he was either. They wanted me to be on during CMW, i.e. Canadian Music Week, I said no, I wanted to go to lunch with my buddies.

But in making plans for said soiree with Barbara, I let drop that George’s show had contacted me, but she and her buds were more important.

Barbara said I LOVE GEORGE! IF YOU DO THE SHOW CAN I GO?

Then she proceeded to explain that George used to be a veejay on MuchMusic, Canada’s MTV, and he now had a late night interview show everybody watched. Who knew?

Certainly not me.

So I contacted the producer and said yes.

And did the show.

Which never aired as scheduled. It kept getting bounced. And then one day, close to a week later, I turned on my computer and all hell was breaking loose.

They aired my show.

And they aired it a couple of more times.

And when I went into a sushi bar in Toronto years later, the chef said…I SAW YOU ON GEORGE!

And I wasn’t even gonna do it.

2

If you believe in planning, if you like things to run smoothly, go to school and become a doctor or a lawyer. The odds of strange things happening is low. Instead, you’ll plod along and get your boring just reward.

If you want to go into entertainment, throw the plans out the window. You never know what will break you through.

Everybody says they’re waiting for their one big break. Usually, it’s multiple breaks. But they’re all unpredictable. You say to yourself…if only I can get that opening slot. Then you play to a half-filled hall of people who don’t care. Then you say…if I can only get on TV and you play Leno or Letterman and after the buzz of performing wears off…nothing.

Then you’re performing at a charity gig you don’t want to do, playing to fifteen people on a side stage, and it turns out one of them is a powerful agent, and you get signed and are on your way.

Or you’re at dinner with your college buddy catching up and you let drop that you now perform music and it turns out his uncle is a bigwig who takes you under his wing…and you almost forgot to tell your friend about your career travails, you didn’t want it to be one of THOSE dinners.

Yes, most people are selling all the time. But it’s when you stop selling and start living, take off your marketing hat and start doing your act, that the rewards start to flow.

3

Last night I was listening to Radiolab and they told the story of Joe Engressia, Jr., the original Phone Phreaker. Which in case you missed the memo involves replicating telephone tones to make free calls.

He got busted.

And when he did, news stories started to flow. And this united the Phone Phreaking universe. And do you know who was a Phone Phreaker? Steve Wozniak and his buddy Steve Jobs. They sold blue boxes. Inspired by Joe’s story, they knew they were not alone.

Joe thought it was a bad thing to get busted, but it broke his life wide open.

4

I was just listening to Howard Stern interview Andy Cohen of Bravo. Not only did he create “Top Chef” and the “Housewife” shows as head of programming, he now has his own late night show, live, at 11, from Sunday through Thursday, it often beats Conan in the ratings.

But he didn’t plot to be on air. His boss, Laura Zalaznick, suggested it. Well, not at first…

You see he was sending her e-mail, reveling in the antics of participants on “Battle Of The Network Reality Stars”. She told him to turn his musings into a blog. That led to an online show and then hosting some reunion shows on the channel. Eventually, Andy got his own show on the TV network.

But he did fifty online shows. And he wasn’t that good as a host at first.

You go for the ride. You get into the canoe, you paddle a bit, but you’ve got no idea where you’re gonna end up.

Get in the game. Relax your mind.

If you continue to play, you just might have a happy accident, you just might make it.

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