Posts Tagged ‘bookings’

In Tide, Out Tide

March 23, 2014

Saturday March 22nd, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

After being on an extended hot streak with getting bookings for the last three months, the tide has now gone out. That’s how the game works, and it’s a cruel cycle. When the tide is in, I have more than I can handle making sure I get to gigs on time, have clean clothes to wear and all that kind of minutia. I often have to do radio interviews or other promo stuff that sucks up time also.

Everything else gets pushed back, and then when the tide goes out again I’m left with sky high piles of miscellaneous chores that need my attention – but there’s no money to spend on anything because I have no income. The money I earned from all the work I just did is long gone, and here I sit at ground zero waiting for the process to start all over again. This isn’t how I want life to be.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what to do to change it. I need money to survive as everyone does, but when I’m out earning it I don’t have time to concentrate on getting myself out of the cycle of perpetual frustration. I’m going to have to figure it out, as it’s not going to change without effort.

I’ve got all these little poles in the water, hoping to snare a fish that will feed me for a while. It would be a whale if I had my way, but it doesn’t need to be. Just something bigger than a guppy would make life easier. Living hand to mouth like I am is getting more discouraging by the day.

I still have the dream alive to really hit the mother lode, but standup comedy doesn’t have to be the way I hit it. The way it’s looking now, I’m not going to be in the business much longer and it isn’t a bad thing. My needs are different and the business is different, so I’m not going to fight it.

Part of me will be a standup comic forever, and I’m proud of that. I attained a level of skill that very few ever come close to, but it didn’t come without an enormous price. I have earned all that I have, but now it needs to be transferred to another arena for a payoff. That’s where the trick is.

Will I hit it big as a speaker? Maybe, but it won’t be an accident. Will the King of Uranus be a sensation, if even for a short time? That could happen too, and I hope it does. In my mind, that is the kind of thing I was born to do. Struggling to stay afloat like I am just isn’t part of the dream.

Now here comes summer sooner than later, and I am BONE dry for bookings. I have a couple of things between now and June, but not much. Then it’s Death Valley Days after that. I wish my schedule was jammed full of working the top venues for top dollar six or seven nights a week.

It’s not like I couldn’t deliver great shows. I’d blow the roof off a lot of places from theaters to top comedy clubs to auditoriums that never even had comedy shows before. It’s SO frustrating to not be able to pack a room when I know I have the ability. All it would take is one big tour to get my finances in order for life, and then I could really start to do good and help people. I want that.

The tide is out right now, and this is when it’s the hardest to stay positive. I have piles of tasks I can’t stand doing that need doing, and there’s no money to hire anyone to do them. Sometimes I feel I have almost arrived, but others I feel farther away than ever. This is one of the far times.

The tide of life goes in and out. Right now mine is out.

The tide of life goes in and out. Right now mine is out. That’s the hardest time to stay positive.

Better Business Building

February 21, 2014

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.

Just like bodybuilding,  a show business career needs balance.

Just like bodybuilding, a show business career needs balance. Without it, it’s freakish.

Testimonials are not difficult to get, but most entertainers never ask. I am going to change that starting immediately.

Testimonials are not difficult to get, but most entertainers never even think to ask. I am going to change that effective immediately.

Building my business will lead to more income - and that's the whole idea.

Building my business will lead to building more income – and isn’t that the whole idea?