Every year around this time, I like to look back at the year and see if I accomplished the things I sat out to do. Comics at my level, have fluctuations in the amount of money they make during the year. It can seem like you are going to have a great year in January and February, but it trails off as the weather gets warmer and you didn’t bother to book shows for the summer time. I will give you some of the things I want to improve upon next year and I will note things that all comics at this level should be trying to achieve as well.
The biggest thing is making sure all of my promo material is up to date. This is an often overlooked part of comedy. I will write a post on it in detail, but I have seen way to many comics that have these outdated packages that have really old head shots and resumes that have clubs on them that no longer exist and a bio that sounds like it was written in the early 90’s. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to update these things. Have you heard the saying, “Fake it til you make it.”? This is an instance where it is extremely important that you do! Even if you haven’t been on a national tour with Jeff Foxworthy or be on the Tonight Show, at least make it look like you could be if only they would let you leave the state.
My headshot is about 5 years old and I want to get a new one. I will start taking head shots in the new year, and I want to see the process from a professional before I start doing it.
Next is communicating with bookers. This is a big strike against me. I am not good at getting in contact with bookers and when I do I don’t keep at it. This is another skill that a lot of good comics do not possess. If you want to get work, you have to let bookers know that you are available to work for them. This may seem cynical, but it is not even really important how good your comedy is just that you have the ability to be seen by bookers. This is really more important than the promo package because if you are in the head of a booker then they will book you without all of the other stuff.
This may seem counterproductive, but I am of the mindset that you have to keep contacting bookers A LOT! An email every couple of months will not do. You want to be booked by these guys then you have to put yourself out there. I am not gonna lie to you. I hate this part of comedy the most. I feel as though all I should HAVE to do is be funny and the bookings will follow, but that is not how it happens. Getting seen and getting heard are two of the best ways to get more work. So get on that.
This one is not that important, but I feel it is necessary in order to advance my career as a comic and that is travel more. This past year I started going over to Seattle just to do open mics and getting in touch with the scene over there and it helped a lot in getting more work. See, you would think in this advance world that we live in that people will see you on social media and YouTube and that would be good enough, but we are social creatures, and even though comics are the least social of them all, they still like to see people in the flesh. That means flying or busing or driving (I wish I could sled to some of these places) to different places and getting in touch with the scene there. If you want to do this as a profession you will have to travel anyway, might as well get a head start. The only problem with this is that it will cost money, and if you are not someone that can take a lot of time off work or are really broke it could be hard, but I was able to make it work on about 200-300 bucks a trip. I got really cheap hotels (you may not even need that if you have friends and family in the area) and drove over. Of course if you are planning to hit up LA or NYC it is gonna cost more, but you may be rewarded with connections that will return that 10 fold.
I also need to make a website. This may seem unnecessary with Facebook and Twitter, but it is as important as ever. Facebook is crowded and Twitter doesn’t allow you to get the point across like a dedicated website. I used to have one that I kept pretty up to date, but I let it lapse and have since not done anything in that space since. This allows people to see all of your stuff in one place. Maybe a fan wants to see when you will be back it town, well there it is right there. Even if you don’t have that much work going on to put up there, you can mark any time you will be on stage. That makes it look like you are doing more than just sitting around.
This is a resolution I make for myself every year and that is to write more. I usually try to write a new half hour every year. That way I can have a new hour of my best stuff in a couple of years. Now, this isn’t a conscious effort on my part. I go up and perform and write and I just turn over the material as soon as it works. If you are not headlining, then this matters little to you, but you should be trying to freshen up your material every so often. I can not tell you how many people are still doing Al Pacino impressions and talking about Bill Clinton. Yes, they are famous, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t seem old to be talking about them like they are relevant right now.
There you have it. The list of things I try to work on. Hopefully this will result in more success as a comedian. At the very least if gives you things to shoot for while you are not on stage. Have a happy new year and I hope all your gigs are well attended and well paid.