Addicted to Comedy by Wayne Manigo: Dig Your ‘Comedy Well’ Before You’re Thirsty
What would it take for you to get off your ‘comedy ass’? How many times have you thought to yourself “I want to submit to my stuff to a comedy festival but…” – and then laziness kicks in. You begin getting more creative coming up with reasons why you aren’t ‘Doing The Work‘ for your career. Harvey Mackey’s book Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need explains how to get your ‘networking ‘ducks in a row’ to advance your career. Those principles can also be applied to the business of comedy.
I’m guilty of having an incomplete EPK (electronic press kit). There were many comedy festivals that I did not submit to because I didn’t have a certain component. Crummy video. Bad head shots. Insert next excuse here. Then I was presented with the opportunity to apply for an artistic grant. There were only 4 days left before the submission deadline, and I had to ‘work like a dog’ to create all of the material required to be accepted:
- Head shots
- Video performances
- Media coverage
- Comedy Resume
- Comedy Bio
While this may seem like a small task to complete, it took a few days to gather these things up. I had a rough drafts of what I was working on, but now I’m competing with hundreds of other artists for the same money. An entire day was spent on Google as I researched my name and the various projects I’ve worked on in comedy. The following day I watched hours of my previous comedy videos, looking for the one was would show my talent in its finest form. Emails were sent to my photographer because I lost my DVD with my headshots. Yeah…when you’re under the gun, time files like nobody’s business! I completed the submission process within minutes of the deadline.
The unexpected benefit of this exercise: I discovered where I am in my comedy career. After seeing my accomplishments in black and white, I was amazed with my growth as a comedian. Each year I create a set of goals for myself, and how I expect to achieve them. When I miss or delay a particular goal, I discovered it was probably due to working with a new or different resource. For example…when I missed ‘stage time’, I was testing new material with my DC Comedy Writers Group or interviewing authors of comedy books. My writing skills were increased, and I’m networking with accomplished professionals. I’ll miss a few minutes on stage anytime to build relationships that will help build my career.
In closing, start getting your resources together now! Do a show for charity and have your local press cover it. Work with bloggers to help spread the word. Invest in quality head shots. Tape your sets and index your best performances. This time next year, you should be looking back and saying “Damn! I did all of that?” And you’ll be proud that you did!
Wayne Manigo is a comedian and co-founder of DC Comedy Writers Group. He is the creator of “Addicted to Comedy,” and the ‘brainchild’ behind the annual comedy conference, Starting Stand Up: A Comic Beginning. He also produces the show, Bellylaughs in Bethesda at Caddies at Cordell.