From the comedy Guru – Judy Carter:
A female comic recently came to me for a consultation. She had been working the clubs for a long time; she had great material and a unique persona, but she hadn’t been able to get out of the grind of low paying gigs. She said, “I want to be famous. I want my own TV show. How do I get there?”
I actually knew the answer to that — and not in vague terms either. I knew EXACTLY what she had to do achieve the kind of fame she wanted, and it would take lot of effort and some cash as well.
I also knew that she would NEVER do what I suggested, even though it would lead to what she wanted, when she remarked, “Wow, that’s a lot of work!”
In my 15 years of working with comics, speakers, and ambitious corporate types, my #1 most frequently asked question has always been “How can I become rich and famous?” This thought comes up for everyone who has ever picked up an open mic, as well as the stand-up purists who are in it for the “art.” We seek it and want it, even though we constantly see proof that being famous causes more problems than it solves. But, in the words of my friend, the late comic Lotus Weinstock, “I just want to be rich and famous so I can say ‘Being rich and famous wasn’t IT!’”
(By the way, I know this seems like a setup to sell you a miraculous product that will give you the fame and fortune you think you want, but there’s nothing for sale in this blog. Sorry. J)
I hear so many people say, “I would LOVE to write a book, get on TV, get paid to speak, and make a living being funny. Tell me Judy, how did YOU get to do these things?”
Answer: With a lot hard, boring work that most normal people would prefer to avoid.
So, you want to write a book? Really? You REALLY want to spend nine hours a day writing? You really want to give up a year of your life, not going to parties and having fun because you have to sit on your ass ALL day trying to figure out how to string a sentence together so it doesn’t sound like a complete moron wrote it.
You want your own TV show? Really? Are you willing to thoroughly research the commercial viability of your idea and then spend every dime of your hard earned money shooting and editing a sizzle reel instead of buying that new 52” HD TV you’ve been eyeing?
When interviewing the comics in my book The Comedy Bible, all the successful performers, comics, and speakers viewed their careers as real businesses, complete with R&D (Research and Development) and calculations of ROI (Return On Investment). Some even use project management software to track their progress and keep them on task. If your business goal is to become successful in showbiz, then writing material, doing open mics, and networking certainly need to be PART of your business plan, but it’s not the whole plan itself.
You can have the fame you want – IF you are willing to do the work and pay the price. Not everyone can.
Do you have what it takes to achieve fame and fortune? Take The Fame Test and find out.
THE FAME TEST
Do you have what it takes to obtain fame and fortune?
Rate your ability to fully commit to the below on a scale of 1 to 5 (1=No, don’t give a sh*t; 5=Yes, I’ll do anything and everything!)
- Are you willing to work on your creative project for 8 hours a day for an entire year with no financial results?
- Are you willing, at your own expense, to create top quality videos, press releases, and sizzle reels that show off you or your product in a professional and impressive way?
- Are you willing to do the massive research required on how to achieve your goals? Who is similar to you? What was their career path? What did they do that worked, and what didn’t work? You might find exciting and enlightening tips on things you can add to your own business plan.
- Are you constantly creating new material? If you get famous and just have 1-hour and nothing else, you might get an HBO special, win Last Comic Standing, play a few clubs, and… then never be heard from again. All that work to make $100,000 only to have it end leaves many comics shell shocked from lack of planning.
- Are you willing to spend time and money developing and growing your online presence through social networking? At minimum, you must work the mainstream social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to the max. Here is a link to wiki’s list of global social networking sites.
- Are you willing to drop the fantasy that “Someday my Prince/agent will come with my big meeting”? You have to be the one to manage your career and know what’s going on in your industry and who you should be talking to. Do you know the names of the major behind-the-scenes players in your field?
- Are you willing to open up your career to different audiences? For instance, if you study how many female comics became successful you’ll find that most of them got their start by performing for gay male audiences. Who were the early fans of the performer you most identify with?
Add up your points:
33+ : You’re On Your Way.
32-28: Half-Assed — Sh*T Or Get Off The Pot
Below 28: Only In Your Dreams.