Judy Carter is a renaissance woman in the comedy world. Her debut Stand-Up Comedy: The Book established her as an authority in comedy. Her sophomore effect The Comedy Bible: From Stand-up to Sitcom–The Comedy Writer’s Ultimate “How To” Guide became the “go-to” book for people who considered comedy as a career. Proving the third time is a charm, Judy released her latest book this month, The Message of You: Turn Your Life Story into a Money-Making Speaking Career.
As a long time reader of Judy’s newsletters from her website, I remember her stories about working in comedy clubs, and the need for comics to start planning for the next stage of their career. Why should you be stuck hunting down the club manager for payment? Corporations are willing to fly you to their engagements and treat you like a true comedy professional! Wouldn’t you prefer to work with people who actually want to hear what you have to say? Those suggestions were enticing to hear, but without a road map or a coach to help you – it seems like an impossible dream… until now!
Judy invites readers into a path of self discovery of their problems and how they resolved them. She explains how everyone is “some type of expert” in a variety of subjects they may not be aware of. Presented as a guideline are a number of “bookable” topics to help you determine where and how to target your efforts. Judy includes several methods to help readers decided how to create their message, and how to differentiate it from others presenting in the same field. The core list considered to be the most relatable to any audience are:
Once you understand the ability to focus those areas, you can target your message to people you want to communicate and engage. I used the techniques explained by Judy to create The Importance Of Comedy Mentorship articles last month.
- Target audience: Comedian who are frustrated with the lack of assistance in their career.
- Core area: Relationships (specifically business relationships in the business)
- My story: How one comedy club owner almost forced me out of performing.
- My message: Mentorship is a privilege, and you have to earn and seek it.
- Action Steps: Learn how to make yourself attractive to people you want to work with, and never give up!
After writing those articles, it helped me realized although I’m a fairly new comedian (anything less than five years in comedy is still considered new), I discovered the ability to discuss issues novice comics frequently encounter. Ironically, it was remarkably easy to write using Judy’s suggestions of writing from my experiences.
Comedians can leverage using The Message of You with their ability to go onstage and perform. Hopefully, we already possess the ability to face an audience and deliver our material. If you’re currently talking about the issues in your life, leaning how to tweak existing material my help you land better paying gigs. And for those who lack the skills on how to market and promote your talent – Judy covers those topics as well.
Although she’s an accomplished speaker, she continues to provide free workshops on occasion. As she discussed in her book, there are times when this is a requirement to build an audience or begin to develop your skills as a presenter. During a recent visit to the DC Comedy Writers Group, she also mentioned the following tips:
- “Corporations don’t hire comedians, they hire speakers.”
- “Use marketing savvy for your comedy – choose your topics wisely.”
- “Give to the audience; learn how to communicate to them.”
- “Keep the entire audience engaged. If you need attention, you won’t make it in this business.”
In the final words of her book, she reminds the readers about booking their first speaking engagement. While continuing to develop my additional speeches, I will present the concept of my speech to upcoming comedy festivals and possibly comedy clubs. The Message of You is a workbook defines understanding the importance of creating stories. As a comedian or comedy writer, it may inspire you to create stories that are relatable to a new audience. Now, I have a new tool in my comedy arsenal to keep me motivated. Sometimes the correct tool is all you need to get the job done.
© 2013 Wayne Manigo