Potawatomi Payback

Wednesday June 23rd, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

I’ve been flapping off a lot lately about how much I need to establish a workable system for staying booked, and I’m finally starting to implement it. The main objective is to have top of mind awareness with as many booking agents as possible, so they think of me first.

It’s very difficult to stay in everyone’s face without being a pest. There are probably too many comedians all trying for the extremely finite amount of work available, and it’s like an online game of musical chairs to get a booking almost anywhere these days. It’s tough.

It was a different kind of tough in the old days, but the numbers game was different too. Back then the hard part was getting a booker on the phone. Once you did though, it could mean a whole chunk of your year was booked, as several bookers had many full weeks of work to pass out. Plus, there weren’t as many people as now all trying for the same work.

There was no internet back then, and that really ended up changing the whole process of booking when it eventually hit. I know I sound like a senile toothless old grand pappy, but it’s true. The internet has turned the booking process into a game of who can answer back an email the fastest when a booker offers open dates. It’s very hard to stay on top of it all.

Also, the amount of work that each booker has to offer has shrunk dramatically so that’s all the more times I have to worry about finding a match. If I could hook up twelve weeks of work with one email, I wouldn’t need to make that many contacts. That’s not how it is anymore, so I have to constantly keep trolling my emails for one week or even one night.

The smart way to do it would be to make a list of every single booker I work for and put together a list of avails and send it to them so they can know when I’m open. That’s not a bad idea nor a complicated one, so one would think I’d have made it a regular part of my life by now, but I just haven’t. There’s no excuse for it, and I’m ashamed I’ve been so lax.

I’ve decided I can’t fix it in one fell swoop, and I can’t. It’s going to take some work to lay a foundation first and build and rebuild relationships with bookers. There are the ones who call me, but they’re not the ones I need to impress. It’s the ones I don’t work for on a regular basis, if at all. They’re the ones I need to let know I’m available without pestering.

A perfect example was the booker of the Northern Lights Theatre at Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee who called me today. I sent him my avails when we had our schedule glitch a few weeks ago and I ended up getting bumped. I wasn’t angry, and just sent him my list of avails and asked him politely to keep me in mind if he had any fallouts. They do occur.

Today I got the call asking me to fill in this Saturday because of a last minute change in someone else’s schedule. Bingo! I lost a week unexpectedly, but I got it right back in just a few weeks simply by letting the booker know I was open. Why don’t I do this with each and every booker I’ve ever worked for? That sounds like a great idea, I should have been doing it years ago. One of these days I’m going to finally get smart. When I do, look out.

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