Tuesday February 11th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL
At 9am sharp on the second Tuesday of the past several months, I have been participating in an interactive conference call called Midwest Entertainment Entrepreneurs Mastermind. It’s exactly what I need to be doing, and I wish it would have existed years ago. I am getting a lot out of it.
The idea was hatched by my friend Jeremy Danley aka “The Mighty Jer Dog”, and it’s limited to only a select few others that he has carefully chosen to be part of the conversation. Everybody gets to introduce some marketing ideas each month, and then they are discussed one at a time.
We’re all out there slugging in the trenches to make a living, and everyone is on the same page even if we’re not necessarily doing the same things in the same venues. Jer Dog has an excellent flair for business, even though he looks like he just crawled off the Cheech and Chong tour bus.
That’s no insult whatsoever mind you, as that is the audience he’s going for. He is famous for going into smaller towns and finding some road house somewhere and setting up comedy shows where they’ve never done one before. He enjoys the bar crowd, and usually does extremely well in those situations. I on the other hand can’t stand that environment, even though I’m a veteran.
I’ve worked for Jer Dog quite a bit in the last couple of years, and I really like what he’s doing. He’s carving out his own niche, and going around a lot of the ‘traditional’ bookers that could not care any less about the talent they exploit. That’s not a tradition either one of us care to continue.
Quite a few of those bookers want nothing to do with Jer Dog, as he’s a threat to their territory – or perceived territory. Nobody owns any particular area or town, but bookers often think they do. There are strict parameters of where comedians can and can’t work, and none of us like that.
It wouldn’t be so bad if there was even a little loyalty shown our way once in a while, but that rarely if ever happens. The bookers can cancel us a week out for no particular reason, but if any of us happen to need to switch a date there is hell to pay. But we have no leverage, so we take it.
Some of us have decided not to take it, and that’s why I love this group. There’s a BIG country out there, and a lot of places to work that aren’t in the ‘traditional’ venues. Most of those are not paying a living wage because they don’t have to. There is a big supply with very limited demand.
The places we’re focusing on have not been strip mined by anyone else. That comes with an all new set of challenges, but we in the group realize it and that’s what much of our discussion leans toward. It has opened up a whole new arena for me, and I’m thrilled to be asked to be included.
Not all booking agents are scumbags, but enough of them are to make this conference call exist in the first place. Had they treated us even a little more fairly, we’d have shut up and taken all of their abuse. Their lack of professionalism is coming back to haunt them, and I’m not sad about it.
I’m not looking to do road houses and honky tonks like Jer Dog does. I want to do theatres and auditoriums and even churches in smaller towns. Clean comedy really sells in those places, and I can do a solid show without swearing once. Now I just have to promote myself to those venues.
|Does THIS look like someone who is a master marketer?|
|Actually, he is. Jeremy Danley aka "The Mighty Jer Dog" is a razor sharp businessman. Much respect. Check him out. www.jerdogondemand.wordpress.com.|