Posts Tagged ‘NSA’

A Whole New Game

December 10, 2013

Monday December 9th, 2013 – Chicago, IL

My pursuit of marketing excellence begins. This is going to be the majority of my focus for the rest of my life, and I want to put it out there so people call me on it. My natural instincts are to be a performer first and focus all my creative energies there, but that route proved to be a dead end.

It takes plenty of creativity to be a marketer too, it’s just focused in a different direction. I need to consciously divide my waking energy between my actual product(s) and getting word to those I need to have be aware of who I am and what I can do so they can hire me . It’s a balancing act.

Before, all I would focus on was the ‘show’. I loved it and still do, but there was far too little of an effort put into the ‘business’. There was enough work for enough time that I didn’t need to put much effort into chasing it, and in fact it found me. I was competent enough to have bookers line up for my services. What I didn’t realize was, they weren’t ever going to get me to the next level.

Now I know much better, and I need to approach those who can help me advance. They would include network television show talent bookers, national and international media outlets, meeting planners for corporate events and venues I have wanted to work but haven’t for whatever reason.

I can even improve dramatically with places I already work. It would take minimal effort to put together a monthly or even quarterly newsletter of what I’m doing so I can get my name in front of them even more. They already hire me, but even one more booking would be worth my while.

This is just simple business maintenance, but I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t done it. There are zero excuses, and I’m going to change my ways immediately. What needs to get drilled deep into my rock hard skull is that these are sales accounts, and they bring in money. They’re cash cows.

It would be easy to beat myself up now, but that won’t do one bit of good. What will do plenty of good is to look ahead and make dramatic changes for 2014. On the good side, I can’t think of anybody who has paid more dues than I have getting a show together. I’m completely fresh meat to a whole new market, and I have to believe I’ll be able to get hired and establish a stellar name.

I’ll also continue to work the places I already do, but market myself a whole lot better. I’ll stay in much better contact, and I’ll put time and effort into a mailing list to keep my name fresh with booking agents, media and fans. Those are all areas that need to have steady contact maintained.

Another cage I’ve thought for a while about rattling is the National Speakers Association. I’ve heard mixed reviews on whether to join or not, and it’s a significant financial investment that has no guarantee of bringing in speaking work. I have had people I respect tell me to join, and others I respect tell me to avoid it. I’m still on the fence, but I’m going to look into it a lot more closely.

The main reason I am considering it at all is that speakers as a rule are light years ahead of any comedian in the marketing department. James Gregory and Heywood Banks are a pair of shining stars at comedy marketing, while there are too many speakers to count. Todd Hunt is outstanding as is Larry Winget – but so are Dale Irvin, Greg Schwem, Mikki Williams and Steve Olsher. I’ve met all of these people personally and will model their methods. I’m playing a whole new game.

I'm thinking about joining the National Speakers Association. I have heard pro and con, but I'm still deciding.

I’m thinking about joining the National Speakers Association. I have heard pro and con, but I’m still deciding.

Acting Class And Storytelling

April 15, 2010

Tuesday April 13th, 2010 – Oak Park, IL/Milwaukee, WI

I’ve often heard comedians can easily transform themselves into actors as a rule, but for whatever reason I never chose to take that path. It never interested me. I was content with being a comedian, and I still am. The thrill is in that live performance. It never gets old.

Looking back, I wish I would have taken some acting and improv classes along the way. It would have added more texture to what I do on stage, and not hurt me at all. I probably won’t get a sitcom at this point, but it still would have been nice to have at least a couple of acting roles under my belt to round out my resume. I’m just now starting to get into it.

There was a one day seminar today designed to make speakers improve stage presence. It was sponsored by The National Speaker’s Association (NSA) and I heard about it from Steve Olsher, my new friend I met who taught his seminar on reinvention. He invited me to go along with him and I did. It was a chance to network and learn from a professional.

The meeting was at the studios of Ted Sarantos in Oak Park, IL. He’s been teaching for forty years, and I really liked the guy. He gave us techniques and exercises and there were about 40 people there, most of them speakers. My friend Deb DiSandro was there, and we hadn’t seen each other in a while. Like me, Deb is always trying to improve everything.

After the seminar, many of us went out to lunch and visited some more. I got to sit next to Ted and pick his brain about acting and teaching, and he did the same about comedy. It opened me up to a whole new world, even though I really don’t have any desire to go full time into acting. I’d be interested in taking Ted’s class to learn some basic fundamentals.

The main thing about going to seminars is the contacts that can be made. I met Steve at his seminar, then he asked me to go to this one and now I met Ted Sarantos. I see there’s a whole world of people I need to know, not just comedy people. I am behind on all of it.

Maybe I wasn’t ready until now, but I totally feel that I am. I love teaching and I know what I’m doing, but it doesn’t hurt to attend other seminars and watch how others deliver their material. I’ll pick things up here and there and it will make my classes even better.

Tonight I drove up to Milwaukee to participate in a storyteller’s club started by my old friend David Lee Hendrickson. He was a comedian for years, now he’s doing this. People get up and tell stories about their life. Some are sad, others funny. Everyone has a story.

I’m not sure where he’s going with it, and I don’t think he knows yet either. Still, it was fun to watch the people work, and I even got up and told a couple myself. If I have plenty of anything it’s interesting life stories – all of them true. I hope David succeeds with this.

The venue for the storytellers is The Safe House in Milwaukee. That’s a legendary joint everyone should experience. I hadn’t been there in years and forgot how unique and fun it is. Acting lessons by day, storytelling by night. It’s a wonder I have any free time at all.