If you are doing competitions and festivals, then you should be ready to do more than compete. You should also be ready to rub nipples (I don’t think that’s the right term, but whateves) with the other comedians. This is the surest way to get more work. How do I know this? Most of my work this past year has been a result of doing the Seattle comedy competition and meeting a lot of different comedians from all over the world.
There are some things you have to take into account though. You have to remember than these are people. Not NPCs (non playable characters) in a video game that are just there for you to use. No one wants to feel used so don’t just take all the booker information you can get from people and don’t give them anything in return. If you have a club or a regular show in your area, let them know. That way if they are coming through town, or they are trying to stitch together a little tour, they can maybe line that up. Every little thing helps. I thought that the information that I had was not enough for these guys that live in the big city, but it turned out that it helped some comedians add days that they would have otherwise be sleeping in their cars, instead of making money.
I am not the best with just walking up to people and starting a conversation so my comedy does the speaking for me. A lot of times I will get done with a set and someone will come up to me and that is how I became friends with them. If you are more extroverted then me, then it will be even easier to hook up with different comedians and get more shows out of it. I have gotten all kinds of cool info from comedians that just liked what I was doing.
Another big thing you have to remember is that this business is about reputations. If you are known to stiff people and do messed up things at shows, it doesn’t matter how much info you have, a lot of comedians will stay away from you. I guess what I’m saying is: Don’t be an asshole. No one is gonna stick their neck out for you if they know you have a reputation for touching the bar staff or taking dookies on stage.
This is an important aspect of being a comedian, and if you can master this part, you will see your shows, and hopefully your bank account, grow.