Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Marketing In Motion

March 16, 2014

Saturday March 15th, 2014 – Springfield, IL

Our worst fears came true this weekend, and the turnout has been small at Donnie B’s Comedy Club in Springfield, IL. There’s not a whole lot anyone can do, as Donnie was out there hitting it hard like he usually does. He’s always got a load of posters in his car, and we made the rounds at the local radio stations as is customary when I’m here. For whatever reason, it was a slow week.

It upsets me when promoters lose money, but especially Donnie B. There just aren’t that many club owners that hustle as hard he does to fill his club, but this just isn’t a ripe market. If he had a club in a big city – and I wish he did – I’d be sitting pretty. Still, I enjoy working for him here.

One thing I especially like is that he has his headliners do an hour rather than the customary 45 minutes. It’s a great workout for me, and I enjoy the challenge. He hosts the shows and promotes what he needs to, and then brings up an opener that does maybe twelve minutes tops. I love that.

It’s great practice for me, and the audiences are usually very friendly and receptive here for the most part. Even this weekend when the numbers weren’t big, each one of the four audiences was really into the show and I had a blast. I made up my mind to give them my very best – and I did.

One thing I need to work on is my sales pitch for merchandise. That’s a tricky procedure, but it needs to be done. It can’t be too long and ‘salesy’, but it needs to get the point across that I’ll be available after the show to meet and greet if they want to say hello. I consciously worked on my presentation all four shows, and it worked splendidly. I ended up selling something every show.

I have to credit my friend James Gregory for planting this seed, and he did it years ago. I have been dabbling in it, but I need to jump in with both feet and DO it. There’s a lot that goes into an effective sales campaign, and it all starts with the pitch from the stage. That’s what I worked on.

I also worked on including all things Uranus. I have some funny prototype t-shirts, and there is no reason I shouldn’t start selling them. I’ve had them for a while, but I never tried to push them from the stage. What a yutz I was, as they’re very well made and really funny. This week I threw them out there, and they were a big hit! It made me very excited when I saw them draw interest.

I know this gimmick is a winner. I can feel it. I sold the point that Uranus was discovered this week in 1781, and that I was starting a club called ‘The Uranus Movement’ for Earth inhabitants that were sick of the insanity here and wanted to escape. I didn’t sell the king just yet, but I will.

I have a book mark that says ‘I (heart) URANUS’, with the heart flipped upside down to look like a butt. Those went over like gangbusters, and I gave away a ton. It has my Twitter account listed which is @UranusTweets. Now that I’m giving these out I need to tweet something daily.

This is all part of the marketing game, and I’m making tremendous strides because I’m making it my focus. My shows are already rock solid, and they were again this weekend. I knocked it out of the park, and that’s not bragging. I know what I’m doing on stage. Offstage is the challenge.

That will come in time too, and it will be sooner than later. I will eventually discover where the exact right place in the show is to include my pitch, and it will be seamless. I’ll learn what to say, and when and how to say it to bring in the most sales. I’m already up there, why not sell product?

There’s no crime if someone doesn’t want to buy anything. I’ll still talk to them and be friendly like I always am. People will see that, and it will add to my sales. I need to organize myself as far as my table display goes as well. That’s going to take some work as well, but I’ll get to that too.

I think there should always be something free available for someone to take home with them as both a souvenir and a promo piece to pass out to their friends. The Uranus book marks are great, but I need something for Mr. Lucky and also the “Schlitz Happened!” show. I’ve got work to do.

I also need to come up with a package deal that people can buy that gets the numbers up. I have a one hour DVD shot in HD with three cameras done by my friend film director Mark Gumbinger. I’ve had it for two years now, but haven’t sold it heavily. What am I, an imbecile? In a word – YES.

I’m smartening up in a hurry, mainly because I need money more now than I ever have. I never felt comfortable selling merchandise before, but those days are over by necessity. I’ve got quite a few products to offer, and they’re not junk. The DVD is better than 99% of what I’ve seen others offer, and I shouldn’t feel ashamed to proudly display it after shows. It was hard work to make it.

Dealing with t-shirts is also a learning experience. The Uranus shirts are very well done, so I’m not ashamed to sell those either. They look professional, and the shirts aren’t those super cheapos like I’ve seen that will disintegrate with a single washing. I spent extra to maintain some quality.

I have six different varieties, but I only brought out three this weekend. That was enough, and I had all I could handle with that. I learned a lot, and it was fascinating to watch people’s dynamic as they decided what they wanted to buy. I sat back and shut my mouth so I could observe it all.

Sizes are always a part of shirt sales. I had two moms buy shirts for their teenagers, and wanted mediums. I only have XL, and even though that wasn’t what they wanted they bought because of the Uranus gimmick. Another guy wanted a 2XL, and I didn’t have that either. For the future I’m going to have to figure it out, but I will. Even getting it this far was a victory. I’ll keep working.

Price is another issue that’s going to take work. I charged $15 each for the shirts and DVDs, or both for $25. That’s a lot of money in my book, and I have to get that out of my mind as quickly as possible. I would always sell my CDs for $10, but I’ve seen people sell theirs for $15 and $20.

That extra money adds up, and I forced myself to smile and say the price rather than add “ But I’ll give them to you both for $10”. I have to learn to value myself and my products, and I’m on my way to doing that. In a very short time I can see myself having a system in place that works.

This weekend was a flop attendance wise, but a raging success in the fact that I was able to put a marketing plan into action and still give those that did show up hot shows. Thumbs up Uranus!

The great James Gregory may be trying to look crazy in this picture, but he's hands down THE best comedian marketer I have ever seen.

The great James Gregory may be trying to look crazy in this picture, but he’s hands down THE best comedian marketer I have ever seen.

His fans adore him, and I can see why. He's all about them, and gives them what they want. He's the king. www.funniestman.com.

His fans adore him, and I can see why. He’s all about them, and gives them what they want. He’s the real king. http://www.funniestman.com.

Heywood Banks runs a close second. Despite the cultivated crazy look, there's a razor sharp mind in there.

Heywood Banks runs a close second. Despite the cultivated crazy look, there’s a razor sharp mind in there. He gets it.

His CDs are hilarious, and he's got other stuff too. Check him out at www.heywoodbanks.com.

His CDs are hilarious, and he’s got other stuff too. Find him at http://www.heywoodbanks.com.

I'm modeling my own marketing after the best. I'm working on my cultivated crazy look.

I’m modeling my own marketing after the best. I’m working on my cultivated crazy look, and a varied product line is to follow.

Want a free book mark? Send me a mailing address and I'll send you as many as you like.

Want a free book mark? Send me a mailing address and I’ll send you as many as you can handle. Get BEHIND The Uranus MOVEMENT!

Cyber Slavery

October 4, 2013

Wednesday October 2nd, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

I would really like to know who if anyone is able to hover anywhere even close to current with everything that’s going on in life these days. Show me even one example, and I’ll shut my mouth and admit the fault lies within me. But as it appears now, it’s nobody’s fault. We’re all swamped.

Life is getting way too complex for my tastes, but there doesn’t seem to be any relief coming in the near future. The internet was the best thing that has happened to human communication since the printing press, but also the worst. We are now chained to it and are a society of cyber slaves.

Just as one new doo dad is able to be figured out, three more pop up and it’s maddening. I can’t come close to getting it under control, and I feel helpless and overwhelmed. I used to laugh at my grandparents for their lack of getting hip to “high tech” items like calculators and cassette tapes.

I can’t imagine what they’d be like today. Gramps tried to stay with his times, and was as good at it as anyone I knew of. He was constantly trying to stay well read and informed, but he worked at it throughout his life. He was always going to the library, watching TV news and checking out the latest trends whenever he could. He’d read newspapers all the way through every single day.

That adds up over years, and he could carry on intelligent conversation with just about anyone he would meet because he was prepared. Who can do that now? With the depth of knowledge to acquire on so many subjects, there just isn’t time to do it all. Something somewhere gets left out.

Fantasy football is a great example. Gramps was a big football fan, but I can’t picture him with enough time to do the research it takes to know all the players that deeply to be able to wheel and deal every week trying to outsmart an opponent. It becomes a full time job to learn it that deeply.

And if one does, everything else gets ignored. There’s no choice. There are only 24 hours in all of our days, and we can only put so much effort into so many topics. Then it becomes a decision of wanting to know a little about a lot of things or a lot about a little. Nobody can manage it all.

Then there was my grandmother who chose not to evolve at all. She never drove a car, rode on an airplane or even listened to FM radio. Her favorite polka show and Paul Harvey were on AM. She didn’t need anything else and didn’t want it. She had her black and white TV and enjoyed it.

Today I find myself somewhere between Gramps and Grandma, but I can’t say exactly where. I try to keep up with as much as I can, but my point of need for more was reached long time ago. Myspace was good enough for me, but that faded away and Facebook became the new standard.

That was fine too, but then Twitter showed up. Then LinkedIn. Now I’m getting notices for all kinds of things I haven’t heard of, and they tell me I have ‘followers’ and ‘friends’ I don’t know. Those I do know I can call on the phone or email. I don’t need to be in another online cyber cult.

Emails, voicemails, tweets and calls keep me busy enough. What about actual face to face time with real humans? Who has time for that? We’re all too busy drowning in our sea of cyber clutter and it’s past the point of being out of hand. Podcasts? You Tube? What’s next? I’m afraid to ask.

The 21st Century slave master to us all.

The 21st Century slave master to us all.

More Rejection Please!

September 21, 2013

Wednesday September 18th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

As crazy as it may sound, I need to have more rejection in my life. LOTS more. It’s no secret I haven’t been doing my due diligence as far as handling my bookings goes, and there’s absolutely no reason for it other than I can’t stand that part of the business and have focused on other things.

That’s going to have to change in a hurry, and it has already started. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this is of ultimate importance, and if I ever want to achieve any real success at what I’ve spent so much time and energy on already I’m going to have to learn to like it or hire someone.

Some parts of life just flat out rot, even for the most glamorous of occupations. I’m sure being an astronaut has its fun parts, but crapping in a space suit doesn’t sound like one of them. Life is often a tradeoff, and we have to make sacrifices of things we don’t like to achieve things we do.

I still enjoy being a comedian, and if I want to continue I need to find a way to stay booked on a regular basis where I can make a living. There are more comedians out there looking to get the same bookings I am than ever before, so I’m going to have to step it up a few notches to survive.

The painful truth is, 99.999% of humanity doesn’t know I exist. That’s true for most everyone, but it’s especially bad for politicians and entertainers. If I am ever going to have a career instead of just a job in this business, I need to overhaul my methods and do it right. It’s been a weakness.

Getting rejected is unfortunately a major part of this game, and I’ve had a heaping helping of it for decades onstage and off. Sometimes I’ve handled it well, and other times beyond poorly. The onstage rejection I’ve learned to completely ignore. I have leathery thick skin, and have tanked it so many times it doesn’t affect me at all. Off stage is where I need to improve greatly, and I am.

Nobody likes being told they’re not good enough or worse yet totally blown off altogether, but that’s what happens on a daily basis as we try to procure work from people most of us wouldn’t choose to have personal contact with in any way if we didn’t need what they have. It’s insincere in my opinion, but also necessary. If we want work, we have to be known by those who have it.

I’ve always preferred to work for people I like and respect, but times dictate that is not always possible. Work is harder to come by than ever before, and nobody can afford to blow off possible bookings just because of a personal jag. Fortunately, I’ve already had my fallings out with most of the top flaming weasels in the business, and/or they have excommunicated me from their fold.

My big mouth has gotten me into trouble, and I’m not going to deny it. I tend to say what’s on my mind, and often it hasn’t been popular with the powers that be. It wasn’t necessarily smart to be that way coming up the ranks, although I still find it refreshing to know I had the guts to do it.

Guts are one thing, but smart business practices are another. I could’ve just as easily kept quiet and gotten a lot more bookings over the years than speak out and burn bridges like I did. It’s too late to change those particular situations now, but it isn’t too late to change how I handle myself. There are all kinds of bookers I’ve never worked for before, and I have a totally clean slate with all of them. Most if not all have no idea who I am, and it’s up to me to sell them on my ability.

I’ve said it before and it’s true more than ever – my true profession is now sales and marketing. It always was, I was just too stupid to see it. I was busy trying to be the ‘artiste’, but that’s never where the real money is. Art is fine, but that pesky word “starving” is all too often in front of it.

I’m not a fan of living like a cockroach, even though I’ve grown very accustomed to it over the years. I don’t mind a frugal existence, but I want it on my terms. Ramen noodles and Spam don’t taste that bad, but they’d taste even better if I had a million dollars in the bank. Just knowing that I could have filet mignon any time I wanted would do me fine most of the time. I’d like security.

So, is that “selling out”? I’m sure depending on the person being asked that term would pop up immediately, but so what? I’m sure had I been asked the question twenty years ago it would have made me flip out and go off on a tangent about staying true to one’s artistic vision and all of that.

I’m still very much into artistic vision, but there has to be business acumen along with it or it’s a dead end street with no way out. I know a lot of talented people who have sold themselves far too short – or worse yet not at all. If nobody knows I’m out here, how can I ever expect a career?

This is often a Catch 22 for most performers. Going to New York or L.A. was traditionally the main way to “get seen”, but that’s not where the pay is. Comedians or bands needed to get out on the road to pay the bills, and that’s the trap I fell into at an early age. It’s great to cut one’s chops on the road, but at some point there needs to be a payoff. I am now ready to get in line for mine.

I have been paying extra attention to this part of the process of late, and today I took part in an online seminar talking about marketing skills for entrepreneurs of all kinds. It was a solid hour of interesting tips and hints to make everyone’s online presence better, since that’s so crucial now.

I’ve got Facebook and Twitter accounts for both my comedy and ‘Schlitz Happened!’, but I’ve not taken them very seriously quite honestly. The seminar today had three ‘experts’ I never heard of preaching how important it was to grow and maintain relationships with social media contacts.

They made a lot of sense, and that’s just for ‘regular’ people with ‘regular’ businesses. I should be ten times ahead of the curve if I’m in the entertainment business, and that lit a fire in my pants to get out there and DO it. I need to be seen by more people, but that comes with more rejection.

Too bad. I chose to be in this racket, so I’m only cheating myself if I don’t put myself out there to EVERY SINGLE PERSON that could possibly book me for a show, and make myself readily available to get hired when an opening occurs. It’s a numbers game, and if I’m not out there with everyone else how can I ever expect to move ahead? This is a simple truth, but I haven’t done it.

The good news is, I can and will change it immediately. I already have a proven act, now I just need to let more people know it’s available for hire – and at reasonable rates to boot. I’m sure I’ll get rejected a lot in the process, but I’ll also get more work too. I’ll make that trade in a second.

If you aren’t my Twitter friend, would you please connect with me? I’m @dentedcandobie and @schlitzhappened. I also have a King of Uranus @UranusTweets. I’ve got Facebook accounts at http://www.facebook.com/dobiemaxwell and http://www.facebook.com/SchlitzHappened. I do appreciate it.

Viva Tom Wilson!

May 12, 2013

Saturday May 11th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   Sometimes the briefest words of encouragement can really make a difference. Today I received an email from Tom Wilson, and it really cheered me up. Tom is a hilarious comedian and also an outstanding actor. Unfortunately, most people only know him as ‘Biff Tannen’ of the Back to the Future movies. While that was a tremendous career break, it is by far not all of what Tom does.

   I had a chance to work with him several years ago at Zanies in Chicago, and he was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He wasn’t pretentious or aloof or anything other than a fellow comic out there trying to make a living. He was very approachable, and we enjoyed our week together.

   Whenever I’ve been around ‘celebrity types’, I have always gone out of my way to not jump in their face and try to buddy up to them and be their false friend. I’m sure they get that to the point of nausea, so I try to keep my distance and if they want to talk I let them take the lead. I’m sure it isn’t the smartest business move, but to me they’re people first. That’s how I’d like to be treated.

   As the week with Tom went on, I felt we were hitting it off pretty well so I decided to bring up the whole Back to the Future experience. I imagined (correctly as it turns out) that he’s as sick as sick can be of talking about it, so I brought it up very delicately. I politely asked if he would care to talk about it, and if he didn’t want to I would totally understand. He graciously said he would.

   His is a situation that’s very unique. He was a comedian in the ‘80s during the boom years, and landed a hefty role in a movie. Not only that, it was one of the biggest movies not of the year but the decade. Not only that, there were not one but two successful sequels. On paper, it would be a dream come true for any comedian of that era – of which I was one too. In reality, not so much.

   The first thing everyone assumes dead wrongly is that because a person is in a film he or she is automatically rich forever. Not true. Yes, Tom was paid for his role but that money is long gone and there isn’t an endless supply of royalty checks that show up in his mailbox. He was an actor.

   He didn’t write or direct any of the films, and was basically an employee like a ball player is an employee of the team he plays for. They get paid too, but it’s the same thing. When the money is gone – it’s gone. Baseball players from 1985 are not still getting paid for games they played then.

   The other thing Tom has had to deal with is the uniqueness of the iconic character he played. It was a fantastic role and he totally nailed it, but he said every day of his life no matter where he is he has to hear “Hellooo, McFLY” from 99.9% of everyone he meets. After a while it gets to be a pain in the Flux Capacitor, and I totally understand. I can see where it would be a hideous curse.

   To his credit, Tom is such a class guy he says he feels he owes fans of the movie their moment with him so he plays along whenever he can. I consider myself very accommodating to fans that approach me, but Tom is at a whole other level. He gets it every single day of his life and has for decades. No matter how nice anyone is, I can see it becoming pure torture. Tom handles it well.

   If you’ve never seen Tom’s comedy act, I urge you to do so. He has an outstanding way to deal with the whole Biff thing by doing a funny song about it right up front. It explains everything to the audience, and then he’s free to just be funny – which he totally is. www.tomwilsonusa.com is his website and you can follow him on Twitter @TomWilsonUSA. He’s much more than his role as Biff Tannen- even though it was a stellar one. People like Tom make me proud to be a comic.