Thursday February 20th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL
I’ve been getting a lot of bookings of late, and that’s never a bad thing. It almost feels like the old days, as I’m working almost whenever I want to. Almost all of my weekends have been full, and there have been some week nights thrown in as well. This is how I’d prefer it to be always.
Realistically, that just won’t happen forever. Bookings come in waves, and I’m nearing the end of this particular one. All I had booked for this week was a Saturday in Mattoon, IL, but today I got a call to do a show in Ottawa, IL tomorrow night. Someone they had booked had to cancel.
It’s not for great money, but it’s a nonprofit organization and part of the deal is that they write me a letter of recommendation if they like what I do. I’m sure they will, as the lady who booked me has seen me several times before. I’ll make a few bucks, and get a testimonial for my files.
I wish I would have started collecting testimonials years ago, but I didn’t. Few comedians I’ve ever worked with do. We just don’t think about it. I could have had HUNDREDS by now, and it wouldn’t have been very difficult at all. I guess I can go back and salvage a few, but it’s too late to have the stellar list of thoroughly satisfied customers at my fingertips that I easily could have.
This is a big red flag for the future, and I won’t let it happen again. Now that I’m transitioning into being a humorist, I intend to compile a reference list of every single client that ever uses me from now on in any capacity from speaking to training to painting the lines on their parking lot.
This is just smart business, and I’m embarrassed by the fact I never did it before. I don’t have a reason other than nobody else did it either. That’s not acceptable. Nobody ever sold merchandise for years at the comedy club level except for James Gregory, and he was way ahead of his time.
Now almost everyone sells, only because it’s necessary to survive. Gas prices are high, and the pay in comedy clubs is the same or less than it was twenty years ago. Hawking some trinket after the show is not why most entertainers get into the business, but it has come to be expected now.
My business sense is growing rapidly, but I am nowhere near where I should be. I have a thirty year head start on my ‘show’. That’s about 97% of what I focused on all these years, and that has thrown me way off balance. I think it should be as close to 50-50 as possible, but that’s difficult.
I had a friend who was a fanatical bodybuilder, and he talked about how most of them train the ‘beach muscles’ like arms and chest, but neglect the legs. They’re apes above the waist but have bird legs, and that causes a major imbalance that prevents them from winning the big contests.
The same is true with show business. There has to be somewhat equal attention paid to both the show and the business. I’m just now coming around to that formula, but my show needs a whole lot of extra work because of all the years of neglect it has had. That’s what I’m doing this year.
My shows in Ottawa and Mattoon will be solid. I know that before I get there. In fact, I have to believe they’ll be up there with the best performances that Ottawa or Mattoon have seen recently, if not ever. But if my business were better, I’d do the same show in bigger towns for higher pay.
|Like bodybuilding, a show business career desperately needs balance. Without it, it's freakish.|
|Testimonials aren't difficult to get, but most entertainers never even think to ask. I'm changing that effective immediately.|
|Building my business means building my income - and isn't that what it's all about?|