Posts Tagged ‘Mark Filwett’

All IN

January 8, 2014

Tuesday January 7th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

All in – or not in at all. That’s my attitude for turning my business around this year, and I’m on a mission to get it done – or at least lay the solid foundation. I don’t think it’s ever ‘done’, at least as long as there’s breath left in one’s lungs. When the list of things to do runs out, life has ended.

What I’m preparing myself to do is finally START living. I have mostly just existed until now, with a few highlights sprinkled in to keep a bullet out of my mouth. I’ve plugged into a far better vibe now, and feel a whole new me getting ready to emerge. It’s the me that I always imagined.

It’s all showing up much later in life than I thought, but that’s not the point. It’s happening, and that’s all that matters. Now it becomes a race against the clock to squeeze as much as I can out of all my experiences and use my knowledge to help as many as humanly possible. It’s my purpose.

I’m throwing everything I have right now into establishing a monthly newsletter. I put an entire day’s work into it today, and I’m sure there will be many more. It’s something I’ve needed to get to for several years, but the timing is finally right and I feel it. This will be a major step forward.

I did have a monthly newsletter for several years in the early 2000s. It was well received, and it was put out by my former business partner who ended up embezzling money which stopped it on a moment’s notice. That was a really unpleasant situation, but I have to say I’m glad it happened.

It’s taken literally years to get back to a point of relaunch, and they were shaky ones at that. I’d not recommend anyone else go through their educational process quite that way, but I know I am by far not the only one who has been stolen from. That was a bad situation, but it didn’t kill me.

I was more than a little bitter about it at the time, and looking back I think I had the right to be. That’s not a good reason though, and it only hurt me and put me farther behind. Whatever he did he did, and it won’t ever change. He lost more than I did, and I don’t wish him anything hurtful.

There are too many other good things to focus on, and that’s what I’m choosing to do. Getting this together is going to be a major outlay of time and effort, and it will cost at least some money too. That’s an investment, and one I’m prepared to make because it will pay off and then some.

Quality contacts are the most important part of anyone’s life, and I intend to be in the very top .0001 percentile on the planet of maintaining my list. I was looking over my list today, and there are some outstanding people on it I haven’t had interaction with in years. There’s no excuse for it and starting immediately I won’t let it continue. I am going to keep working at this until I croak.

And when that happens, if there indeed is a next life hopefully I’ll have a solid foundation laid to be already connected when I get there. This is truly the path to wealth, and I finally realize that after all these years. I’m going to treat my contact list like gold, and I know it will do it in return.

I sorted every one of my email list into people I want to keep in contact with, and those I don’t. I’m going to weed out a few weenies, because they’re energy suckers and I don’t want to have to endure that anymore. Hopefully they won’t even realize they’ve been trimmed, but if so too bad.

Again, life is a giant numbers game. We all have a limited amount of time to do as much as we can with it. Life’s clock is constantly ticking for everyone. I for one vehemently refuse to tolerate idiots gaining unlimited access to my inner circle thereby robbing myself and others of our time.

I looked up the exact estimated population of the Earth and as of this writing it’s 7,139,249,500 and rising by the second. Even if the seven BILLION number were taken away, there would still be more people than any one person could handle in a lifetime. We need to choose contacts well.

After compiling my personal master list of email addresses and business cards of people I like and respect, my grand total is around 1000. That’s an inaccurate number right now, as some have multiple entries and I’m not sure what their current contact info is. That’s all part of the process.

I’m sure it will take a few months to work the bugs out of even sending something out in larger quantity. My pit crew Eric is working on getting the process going, and I’m terrible at that sort of thing so I know I need help. I’m sure my web guy Mark Filwett of Lake County Geeks will help as well. Mark is fantastic, and if you need web help he’s reasonable.

Between the three of us, we’ll fart around with it until we find a system that works. Then, I plan on making this as much a part of every month as paying bills and/or changing underwear. That’s obviously a joke. I don’t pay bills every month. But I’m not joking about polishing my contacts.

EVERY business needs to be on top of this, but I’m sure most aren’t. Who has time to do all of this petty little sorting of emails and writing content and deciding on templates, blah blah blah? It isn’t the most exciting project I’ve ever taken on – at least not yet. But I fully realize what I’ll get by doing it correctly so that keeps me going. I’m willing to suffer through it now for the payoff.

This is all time well spent, but it’s still time that needs to be spent. I have been pounding away at my computer for hours at a time until my back and neck hurts, but that’s how to get it done. If I’d been smart enough to pick right back up after my ex partner pulled his little stunt, I wouldn’t have to jump start it from absolute zero. I didn’t do that, so here I sit. I’m behind, and I know it.

The good thing is, I can feel the positive energy flow as I get this going. I look at the list of all the good people I’ve been out of touch with, and I know most if not all will be delighted to hear from me. Hopefully they’ll be in as good a mental space as I am now, and we’ll be able to either continue where we left off or better yet build something better. I’m looking forward to reconnect.

I’m also looking forward to building lots of new contacts and keeping them for life. There’s an outstanding book by Harvey Mackay I once read called “The Harvey Mackay Rolodex Network Builder” that really had some helpful ideas. I think I still have it, and if not I’ll go find it again.

I also plan on modeling myself after the best networkers I have encountered. Without a doubt, I have to say Tom Dreesen is the best networker in the standup comedy game. He knows everyone who is anyone, and I can’t think of anyone that doesn’t like and respect him. He’s so on top of it.

If I can be half as connected as what Tom Dreesen and Harvey Mackay are, I will do more than alright. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m not backing down. I said I was all in, and I am.

Harvey Mackay wrote a great book about networking. I read it years ago, but it's time to read it again.

Harvey Mackay wrote a great book about networking. I read it years ago, but it’s time to read it again.

If there's anyone better at networking in the standup comedy world than Tom Dreesen, I have yet to meet that person. Plus, he's a super nice person.

If there’s anyone better at networking in the standup comedy world than Tom Dreesen, I have yet to meet that person. Plus, he’s a super nice person.

Eric Feinendegen is an accomplished speaker in his own right, and my 'pit crew' in relaunching my monthly newsletter. He knows if he embezzles from me he might not have all those nice teeth of his, so we're on the same page.

Eric Feinendegen is an accomplished speaker in his own right, and my ‘pit crew’ in relaunching my monthly newsletter. He knows if he embezzles from me he might not have all those nice teeth of his, so we’re on the same page.

Mark Filwett does amazing work if you happen to need anything web related. He's my go to geek. If you need one, look him up and tell him I sent you!

Mark Filwett does amazing work if you happen to need anything web related. He’s my go to geek. If you need one, look him up and tell him I sent you! He’s reasonable, reliable and I get no referral fee.

I'm making plenty of room for her in my network. I hope she's aware of it.

I’m making plenty of room for her on my monthly contact list. In fact, I may have to clear two spaces. That’s ok. I’ll handle it.


Radio Rage

September 21, 2013

Friday September 20th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

I had breakfast with my web designer Mark Filwett today. He did outstanding work on my site and he’s about to redesign my personal site as well. If you know of anyone that needs web help, contact him at

Mark is nothing short of brilliant in his creativity, and he and I have developed a solid synergy since we’ve been working together on web projects. I must admit I was a bit reluctant to hire him at first, as we were friends from having worked together in radio for years. That can be a minus.

I have often found it’s best to hire a total stranger, as then if there’s a problem sugarcoating it is not an issue. Doing business with friends can be very delicate, but we’ve had no problems and I don’t foresee any. I’ve paid up front to date, and even though it’s not as much as I’d like to be able to pay he gets it and has done stellar work in my opinion. I’m very satisfied with everything.

What neither of us is satisfied with is how poorly the radio business operates and why we have to do other jobs to scrape together a living in the first place. We both have paid our radio dues in full, and have roamed all time zones in America learning our craft in strange cities and towns we likely never would have set foot in had we not had the sick inner compulsion to be on the radio.

There are only a few ‘naturals’ I’ve ever heard on the air, and Mark is one of them. He’s full of both talent and passion for the business, and I always saw him as a big market personality had he chosen to do that. If I owned a radio station, he’d be one of the first people I’d hire to be on air.

Mark put more effort into his shifts than anyone I’ve ever seen. Once in a while I’d be hanging around the station doing something when he’d ask me to be a caller or help him put together a bit of some sort. That always impressed me, and it still does. The guy loves to be on the radio, and it shows. The sad part is there are a lot of Mark Filwett types who aren’t working, while idiots are.

Radio is the one industry I’ve ever seen where the biggest non talents can keep their job for far too long. In comedy, if someone stinks it’s very evident by the consistent silence from audiences. If it’s not working – everyone knows it. In radio, people can sit in a room and not have to see the audience as it’s scattered all over. One may think he or she is doing well when in fact they aren’t.

Any entertainment field is full of insecurity, but radio is the cake taker. I’ve never seen such an insane bunch of self important backstabbing liars, but often they’re the ones that are able to keep their job for twenty years while fresh creative talents get shown the door. Why? They’re a threat.

I could name a long list of dolts, but I won’t. Mark and I listed quite a few at breakfast, and we were both nauseated to the point we could barely finish eating. The only talent these snakes have at all is managing to keep their jobs as long as they do. It’s not right, but it’s common in radio.

There’s no reason Mark or I shouldn’t land a solid job at a major market station other than both of us are more concerned about doing a quality broadcast than impressing an idiot nipple tweaker in charge who has two first names like ‘Mike Michaels’ or ‘Steve Stevens’ and couldn’t produce an original creative idea with a funnel and a magnet. Bitter? A smidge, but we’ve earned a right.

Need computer help? Call Mark Filwett. He's not half as geeky as his logo.

Need computer help? Call Mark Filwett. He’s not half as geeky as his logo.

A Team Scheme

May 1, 2013

Tuesday April 30th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I haven’t been able to stop thinking about ‘Schlitz Happened!’ since Saturday night. I thought I could let it sit until fall, but that’s not going to be the case at all. There are too many details to be looked after, and even though I won’t do any performances for a while I still need to improve on every aspect of it on stage and off. I’m not going to let myself flub this project like I have others.

   There was a very nice build throughout the entire month of April, but I guarantee the next time it runs I’ll have it at a much higher level in every facet. I have some good people on my team that I know will have input I can use to keep polishing this chunk of raw coal into a shiny diamond.

   In addition to the people I already thanked, I forgot to mention others like Todd Hunt who was kind enough to offer to listen to the recordings of my first shows and make notes. Todd’s insights are always welcomed, and I’m sure his input will take root immediately. That’s just one source.

   Art Hinty came out to the final show this last Saturday, and he’s as sharp as they come when it comes to tweaking and punching up existing ideas. He’s a newspaper reporter by trade, and he’s been a great source of ideas and realistic input on most of the stunts I’ve tried to pull off of late.

   Art has a real grasp of the real world, and he’s another one I listen to with reverence. He’ll put a heaping ladle full of solid ideas into the stew pot, and he already has. We went out to eat after the last show, and he gave me the thumbs up as far as a show concept but also loaded me down with some useful structure details from a writer’s viewpoint and he was dead on with his notes.

   Mark Fenske is another friend that took time to come up from Chicago to see the show. He has lived in L.A. for years, and did some acting as well as standup comedy. He went to school to be a director, and he sat through two shows and made some notes as well. I’ll take all I can from all of these sources, and also keep making my own notes as I go. I already feel a lot of positive growth.

   Then there’s the off stage side of it. I need to keep working with Mark Filwett on website stuff, as content creation is always crucial. I’ll need to create products too, and also keep reading up on all things older Milwaukee so I can expand what I already have going. This will also take work.

   I don’t mind working, but my question is what’s the right work to be doing at a given time? It’s always a time management issue, and I don’t want to waste a second this late into the game. I am always biting off more than I can chew, so I’ll either need to start chewing or spit something out.

   I also need to start delegating a whole lot more or I’ll never get anywhere with anything. I just can’t do everything, and I’m proving that every day. Making myself the project leader of several teams is the way to go, and that’s what I’m going to do. There’s no way I can do it all by myself.

   As of now, ‘Team Schlitz’ is operating pretty smoothly. I have the people I need in place to get what I need for the immediate future, and I have a clear idea of who I need to engage after that to keep things moving. If I didn’t have so much other stuff going, I’m sure I’d be able to pull it off.

   The trick now is to get all the teams running like this, but I’m not there by a long shot. I have a lot of scattered and half baked projects that could be working smoothly but just aren’t because of my admitted lack of focus. I do believe this is all doable though, and it’s a matter of creating one big master plan with a lot of little mini plans woven in. It won’t be easy, but what in life ever is?

Roll The Credits

April 29, 2013

Saturday April 27th, 2013 – Milwaukee, WI

   It’s been four weeks, eight shows and one fantastic experience, but “Schlitz Happened! An Old Milwaukee Blatz from the Pabst” is coming to an end – at least for this run. I had a fantastic time with every aspect of the experience, but now all I can see is a big empty summer calendar to fill.

   Before I delicately tiptoe in that unpleasant direction, I have a very long list of super people to thank for helping make this month run so smoothly. By all accounts, it was a big success and will be back again for another run. That’s all I could hope for going in, and it happened. I’m thrilled!

   Everyone at Potawatomi was an absolute pleasure to work with, and I do mean EVERYONE. I felt welcomed from the start, and I felt like I was part of a team rather than an outsider booked to do my job and then leave. It’s common to be treated that way in comedy clubs, and this is better.

   From the top, Entertainment Director Bob Rech actually came out to see the show and talked to me like a human being rather than boss to employee. He gets the concept, and sees it as a product that can be developed over time to everyone’s benefit. This is the perfect location for this show.

   Kim Mitschke was also on top of it. She’s the media contact person, and set up the sneak peek preview show that went extremely well. Everything was handled in a professional manner, and it was a joy to see it unfold. I never doubted for a second this would be a big hit, and I was correct.

   There’s no way I could have pulled this off myself, and I know it. There was a video billboard on the freeway for Potawatomi that had me in rotation for the month, and I got all kinds of email and calls from Milwaukee friends telling me they saw it. I never could have afforded that myself.

   Then there was the actual staff at the Northern Lights Theatre. Steve in charge has always been a fan and supporter, and he had nothing but nice things to say about the show. Another Steve is a security person and he’s also seen me before. I feel at home in that facility whenever I show up.

   Mark Filwett did an outstanding job on the website He put together a collage of old Milwaukee stuff on the homepage that flat out kicks ass. It’s perfect for what the show is, and I know we’ll build the site as the show itself builds. I need to keep creating content.

   Jewel Olson was beyond helpful as my right hand person the whole time. She really was a help on many levels, and I’d equate her to a pit crew for a NASCAR driver. She had my back the four weeks, and made my life much easier. Every penny she cost was worth it, as was Jeff Lampton’s time to video record the final six shows. He and his brother Chris were also easy to work with.

   Mark Heleniak was also a huge help by putting together the recording of old media jingles that were played before the shows. Seeing heads snap back with recognition as something played was exactly the result I was looking for and I got it. The right people all came together for this project to succeed and it absolutely did. It went better than many expected, but everyone seems satisfied.

   Then there were all the people who showed up from family to friends from all areas of my past to strangers who showed up to see a show. I had overwhelmingly positive reaction from all of the above, and if someone didn’t enjoy it they surely didn’t tell me. I felt nothing but positive energy the entire eight shows, and even though I know I have a long way to go I’d still call this run a big success. I also thank Joe San Felippo of Bonkerz Comedy Club, and anyone else I failed to list.

Stepping In Schlitz

January 17, 2013

Wednesday January 16th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I can’t let the recent problems I’ve been having take me out of the game for 2013. This can still be my greatest year ever, even if it’s starting out a bit shaky. I’m doing the best I can with what I have been given, and I have to constantly reassess my position and make choices that will put me in a position to win. They might not be the most pleasant choices, but I know what I need to do.

Today I needed to get myself some bookings. As much as I am growing tired of the road, that’s what I know how to do and for the immediate future that will be paying my bills. I need to keep a steady income coming in, even while I’m working on all the big hopes and dreams on my plate.

It’s a challenge to do both, but I don’t have much choice. If I don’t work, I don’t eat. Period. If I don’t eat, I can’t stay in the game to make the big dreams come true. Today I was able to secure some work for February and March that will at least keep my bills paid. That’s an excellent start.

In a perfect world, I’d have gigs lined up the whole year. That would let me breathe easier and venture out on more daring projects, but I don’t have that luxury right now. I’d love to be putting finishing touches on the King of Uranus website and making personal appearances, but until I am able to make my monthly nut I can’t be goofing around with projects that don’t bring in money.

I have to really watch what I spend time on, and make sure I get the most important stuff done before I venture off into the Ralph Kramden/Lucy get rich quick mode. I’ve got all I can manage just staying afloat these days, so I can’t afford to waste any time or money. Times are very tight.

Some very positive news that I’m thrilled about is that it looks like I’ll get my chance to do my ‘Schlitz Happened!’ one man show about Milwaukee four times in April. I don’t want to jinx the deal so I won’t give any more details just yet, but I think I’ve got a shot to make it a big winner.

It would be in a fantastic location, and that’s a big part of the deal right there. I know it will be a hit with people who grew up in Milwaukee, and hopefully will be an escape from all the harsh unpleasant stories that permeate the news these days. I want to offer an escape to a simpler time.

I think the timing is perfect for a show like this. I will bring it from my heart, and I know how to entertain an audience – especially those who grew up in Milwaukee. It will be for people like the ones I entertained in Minnesota last weekend. They weren’t comedy club regulars, but I was able to make them laugh for more than an hour an afterward they lined up to say they loved it.

I see the same thing happening with the Schlitz Happened show. It will be clean and funny for an audience that doesn’t want filth as a rule, and stays away from comedy shows for exactly that reason. This is a theatre show, and those who will love it will hopefully become long time fans.

I had breakfast with Mark Filwett of Lake County Geeks Web Design to nail down the website, and hope to be up and running with a functioning site if these shows in fact do take place which I think they will. Mark is available for hire at He’ll make you proud.

Talking Schlitz

December 21, 2012

Monday December 17th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Clue phone, line one. I have to get something lucrative or at least somewhat profitable going in 2013, or it’s going to be an even longer and harder year than 2012. The thought of that scares the fuzz off my fanny – and also gets said fanny in gear to do something about it. I have zero choices.

I had plenty of choices early on, and every one of them lumped together has placed me exactly where I am today. That doesn’t say a lot about my ability to choose, but it really could be MUCH worse and I realize that every day. I admit I made some rotten choices, but I made good ones too.

Now I have to keep making more good ones and stop making so many bad ones and see if that won’t help change my standing in life. Right now, I’m struggling to just barely scrape by month to month. Hell, it’s been week to week more often than not recently and sometimes day to day.

I’ve been hovering at that level for most of my life except for a few short periods of prosperity over the years when I had a double income coming in from comedy and radio. Those times were fantastic, even though I didn’t have two free seconds for myself. Why would I care? I was doing exactly what I love to do day and night, and I can’t think of any better lifestyle to be into 100%.

I had plenty of money during those times, and I made it go a long way. My standards are about as low as standards get, so it didn’t take much to make me feel like a big star. It won’t take much for it to happen again, but it needs to be steady and hopefully a little more long lasting this time.

My radio jobs came and went so fast, it was hard to keep track of them all. Just when I’d begin to settle in somewhere and start socking away some scratch, I’d get blown out the door and have to start all over again someplace else – usually halfway across the country. That’s no way to live.

Comedy was a nice way to fill in the holes between radio gigs, but there’s no future in it except doing the same thing over and over week after week. There’s no residual income, and unless one can pack big theatres it’s little more than stop gap money. It pays a few bills but that’s about all.

It’s time to step it up, and that’s what I’m focusing on. I have to look at all my projects I’ve got in various stages of completion, and see how I can make them pay off as soon as possible. I need some income right now, and multiple streams of it would be just what the doctor ordered. I could use a period of security after a lifetime of taking risks and having everything blow up in my face.

Today I had lunch with Mark Filwett who is my webmaster for the Schlitz Happened show. He really gets it, and I’m impressed with his work. His website is and he is available for hire for anyone who needs quality web design. I hope to have a site up in the next few weeks and start promoting live shows in the Milwaukee area. It’s a product totally my own.

If done correctly, I can create a brand that’s known locally and have steady income for years to come. It might be with a limited audience, but those people are loyal and if I can capture them it will be well worth the effort. If I don’t, I’ll be driving a school bus. I can’t see myself liking that.