Wednesday, September 15, 2010

To Compete Or Not To Compete; Of Course Not!

Competition is a collection of inspiring entertainers looking to be seen as the best. What this really translates as; Can you bring the most people to vote for you. You cannot judge art. Any form of entertainment is just another form of art. Like, America's Got Talent. This show is ridiculous. Hundreds of people enter to win a contest. Those entering all have a certain talent that differs from the other. How can you find one winner if there is a voting system based on a singer verse a magician? Now, they are far a part from having any similarities.

Okay, fine, you can judge if they're good at their skill or not. Can they sing, yes/no, can they play their instrument? Fine, those things can be judged. But what if we take people who are skilled at their craft just enough to be able to express it? Now how can you judge these styles. A jazz musician can't be placed together with a metal musician. It just, well doesn't make sense. Worse yet, how can you say this person playing jazz is better or worse than that person playing jazz? It comes down to this. Are you enjoying what is being shown? And if so, are you in front of a group of people who all like that style? What if someone playing jazz is in front of a metal crowd. I'm sure you'll see a metal person win over that crowd easier than an awesome jazz player.

Let's take away how you can't judge talent. We'll look at a more business end of this scam. You're told to invite people, some times sell tickets. In either case it comes down to you bringing more people FOR YOU. Oh, alright. How many rounds are there? Sometimes three rounds. For math, let's just go with three. You bring twenty people who pay twenty dollars each time they see YOU. Now, three rounds of this repeated. That would be four hundred dollars brought in because of you. You do this for each show, three shows, now we are looking at. Twelve hundred dollars ($1,200). Normally you win some money. Say, one hundred dollars. Oh, and a show at some random place. These are small numbers of course, but do the math. You just made them $1,100 and you earned $100 and a show. You basically just paid to play. Think about that for ten minutes.

Nice, you got paid, after three shows, and you got another show. Awesome. You can do free shows anywhere. Now there are people out there who just like doing shows, and have no desire to make a career out of it. This, or any of my writings are for career minded individuals in entertainment. Even America's Got Talent, after all those shows, you win a million dollars plus a year contract in Vegas. That million dollars is really your pay for the year. Maybe we can say it isn't and you get paid for all those gigs afterward. You are still going up against a ton of people and the money that show brings in is about the same percentage you get... $100 Bucks, in comparison.

I want to say this much. Getting paid. This is a wonderful thing. You need this to happen to have some resemblance of a career at hand. Being paid happens for a few reasons. You're either known to a point where clubs want you. Why, because you draw. At this time, you're getting what you ask for to perform. Though you still negotiate before you solidify your event. Just another way you get paid a small amount that doesn't really represent your skill/talent, but, “it is a paying gig” so why complain? You should complain because you're getting screwed over. Finally, you can make things happen on your own. Do your own shows, until you are at that point where people want you to perform at their shows. For a cost of course. After all, this is Entertainment Business.

Peace and hope, until again...
~ Thomas J Bellezza

P.S. You can perform anywhere you want. Paid or unpaid, but in the beginning of your career you will more likely not get paid and won't play anywhere you want. So make things happen by going out there and networking your little butt off. Become vocal. Maybe do smaller shows at those places. But I am a firm believer in honest pay for honest work. Do you think it's fair you are working for a multibillion dollar company, like Walmart and you're only earning $10 an hour? Are you really worth .16 cents a minute? Lunch is $5-$10 a day. Your first five hours is for a weeks worth of lunch. Awesome! Now add gas. We haven't gotten to your bills, let alone much needed leisurely stuff.

How do you make it to a point where you're asked to perform. To get what you want/deserve? Well, maybe together we'll learn while you follow my writings. I am only here to help, not so much complain about a flawed system. Since it is not the system that is flawed, but the person working the system, or in the system. As, you are flawed. Flawed to knowing a correct way to play the game. A game of business in a world of entertainment. It is a tough thing, very tough, be strong. There are too many people starting out and getting thrown a bone covered in crap. Be safe out there and protect, help, and enjoy each other.

Art has an audience, you'll find yours. Not everyone is a political comedian/musician. Not everyone is a ballerina, and not everyone likes the color red. If there are groups out there who enjoy wrapping themselves up in saran-wrap and poop on themselves. I'm sure someone will enjoy your joke or song. There is an audience for every style of entertainment. 

Lesson over... 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Giving up; Why waste your time

Welcome to the end. There's a thing some of us value that shall never happen. The end. It comes out of nowhere; it fills up your soul in a most toxic way. The end. There comes a point in everyone's career, or venture, when they must reevaluate what has been, what will be, and where they are in life. Sadly, this comes too quickly for most entertainers. Once it becomes evident how much effort it takes. That there's no other way to realize you have to make sacrifices. It is a painful thing to realize. It can push your passion to a halt.

During Metallica's “Black Album” recording and tour time, for three plus years, all of them started out married and three of them ended up divorced. It's tough. What's your sacrifice worth? Is it worth the passion of your soul screaming out to express? Is it the love of being in that spotlight? Is it a joy of performing, interacting, being a part of that scene? What makes it work it?

For me, I love creating and performing. I'm a slave to that stage. Be it comedy, music, or acting, I love being on stage. Not for others to watch, but because I feel at home there. I feel I have something to say. Even if it's not important, my heart still needs to have a moment to express things. From there, I'm always shaking with ideas. In one day I could go from drawing, to writing, to music, to comedy, and still feel like there is so much more.

This may be the separation of artist/hobbyist versus a career driven individual. An artist must create but not really know, or care about that business end of it. If they're painting in their garage, or creating music to play at some rundown bar, they don't care. Just as long as they are doing it.

A career driven individual never stops. They never find a reason to give up. This is their life, what they want, where they want to be. Giving up chances of redundant moments in life for a once in a life time opportunity. That's desire, motivation, dedication. It flows through someone's will to be. It gives them an understand of air. So much so that if they couldn't breathe, as long as they could create they'd be fine with it.

I am a rare individual who is divided into two parts. One part artist, one part career driven. I love to create, it is my life. I feel dead when I can't put my mind to use. If I'm just sitting around I feel wasted. Even now I am writing something. This became an effort to sever boredom from my daily life. After this, I am going to work on jokes, maybe music, may eat. Either way, I will always be creating.

This does not have anything to do with my second side. My career. The career side always makes things happen in me. What opportunity can I get from this, or better yet... What opportunity can I make happen through this act? Every day, I do a little advertising, no matter what I at least advertise. When I go out, I also network and constantly have merchandise on me. Not to sell, but to help expose my name by giving it out to anyone that wants it. It is free, for I just want people to know there is someone out there.

I love my life, behind the scenes or on that stage, I am happy with that part of my life. To be a careered driven entertainer you have to remember to give everything you are to it. Until you can finally relax. Make things happen by doing things. Don't wait for something to happen. It will never happen, unless you are doing things to make that “chance” happen.

I am far from over. I am far from giving up. But every day I see at least one person give up. This world was not advanced by those willing to sit down and give up on an idea. Ideas move us further in a world that can only become greater with time. So what if we have been on the moon, we're still just a large planet populated by tribal wars. I'm sure one day we'll start using our brains in guiding our expressions to another level. I'm just saying... Don't give up, ask for help, be helpful, and remember to always have fun.

Peace and hope, until again...
~ Thomas J Bellezza

P.S. Do this for yourself first and foremost. If you don't you will never find Reason. Reason is inside you. Your heart, soul, passion, are things you need to bring out of you. Others can't induce this in a pure sense. It would be only a small burst of inspiration. Driven only by those around you. Be your inspiration, be your effort, be your success. People change around you, you are always the there.

Oh, and don't forget, you never know who someone is or knows. With that said, don't be a douche-bag to them, then find out they know something you don't know only to become all friendly with them. Not cool, not professional.

Lesson over... 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Comedy Scene; Never changes... The Pyramid

I've been involved in entertainment for over 15 years of my life. In that time I have noticed one thing. People involved in the performing side of our scene don't get it. They flow through different levels of egotistical arrogance shaped by an inner mislead “Plan”. It feels as if no one believes “working together” is important. When you are still at your “none career” stage help is help. Earth is a huge place where everyone has great things in their brain.

It's like any sign of talent in another person, or chance of talent, they are pushed aside out of a mentality of “They must die, so that I get MY chance!” Which is not the case young ones. To clear things up, you don't have a career in entertainment if you are living off of welfare, get paid sporadically, or are unknown outside your “home base”. Give it up, stop acting like you are better than sliced bread, because you really are not. What was your name again? Remember that next time you give anyone a slanted nose into the air.

It's all over lower level venues where that environment is covered in disdain. People do it repeatedly. Absent of respect for their community, they walk around with this feeling of superiority. Despite them knowing a lot of work is still apparent, these performers look down on those starting out “or not up to standards”. They feel deserving of a chance beyond all others therefore making these “peons”, simply put, an inconveniences to their well “deserved” accomplishments.

It's comedy, remember that? It is about fun, having fun, turning a sour vibe into a FUN vibe. Even for those who are not doing well, or just can't “hack” it... if they are having fun, what is the big deal? Enjoy it with them. We all start out, some of us just stay in the beginning stages a little longer than others. HAVE FUN...!

Remember when you were starting out asking around for help, or advice. What happen when you didn't get any? Did you think “What the hell?” It feels the same when you are in that position and you could help those beginning. Don't treat them as if they can't be there to waste your time. You are a nobody; you will always be a nobody until you make yourself a somebody. A somebody is a person that has a career in entertainment and allows themselves to be open to help others. --- Again to clear things up, you don't have a career in entertainment if you are living off of welfare, get paid sporadically, or are unknown outside your “home base”. ---

Let's play a game. Name a famous person who doesn't work with their friends. Name a famous person that didn't help a friend, or was helped by a friend while making their way up through different stages of their career. Now, think about successful groups of people who work well together. Think about how they are constantly working with friends they had, and gained.

Now, if you can name a person that does it all on their own. I want you to think about how long they've been sustaining their status verse how much they're liked in the business. One person in example of being aware of their community of entertainers... Adam Sandler. I'm sure Adam Sandler gets away with a lot of chances since he helps everybody he grew up being around. Plus he is a nice person. 

This world is not about you, it is about us as a whole. If you can't work in a community of people, then you are just wasting your time, and everyone else’s time. Work with people in the business. Also, I think people who suck at their craft still deserve your attention. Because that person might be starting out. Who knows, with any guidance they might find their voice. Your help could lead to their help for you. 

The Pyramid...

I once had a person come up to me and say “Make me famous!” only after finding out who I am, what I know, and who I know. I looked at this person to explain that I couldn't make them famous. They'd have to do it. Since my knowledge has to be utilized through self actions, what could I do past getting them started? Don't get me wrong, if this person was willing to pay me a bunch of money I would devour my days until fame flourished over them. I would have done it, for a price. BUT, the idea of fame doesn't last by accomplishment alone. This person didn't, and doesn't have what it takes to sustain a famous status. There is a lot of work involved. If you were so famous only to decide you wanted anonymity you need only walk away. At that point stop exploiting your name.

Other than Advertisement, Exposure, and Networking, there is a fourth skill needed to sustain your success. I call it a skill, because that is what they are. You must learn these skills. That fourth rung of your success ladder is... the Pyramid. 

Imagine you were stuck standing before an entry level position. You can't, no matter how hard you try, get through that damn door. But, you have everything it takes to make it through that level two door. You can easily make it pass that second level. Along comes your friend, or a person you networked well with, and this person can easily get through that door. For whatever reason, they are a master of passing through an entry level situation. Sadly, they have no idea what it takes to make it through that second door. They don't understand what it takes to get to that next level. But, YOU DO!!! So now they help you get in, then you fly through that second door only to be stopped head on against a third door. What to do? You again have no idea, you've never heard of these rules. Your friend, who knew how to get through entry level easily, knows this third door very well. Their uncle taught them everything about this third door. So, they get through... and so on.

That is the Pyramid of success. HELP ONE ANOTHER, for you never know who someone is, or knows. Being aware of reality helps guide your will to success. You are no better than your peers. Anything you learn can only help you if you do it, and are willing to do it for others too. No one can make you successful. A person who says this, or implies this... “If only”... the dream doesn't come, we have to make the dream become.

Peace and hope, until again...
~ Thomas J Bellezza

PS... Don't judge those performing around you. They're most likely judging you too, and that is just a nasty cycle of events. If you see someone falling short of motivation, or confidence, go up to them and give them a pep talk. Inspire. That is what we do as performers. We inspire the impossible. No matter which media you create, everything makes our minds move. “I want that talent, to move colors with paints, or words or sound... or laughter.” 

Don't waste your time on ass-pirates who think they are the shit. Not that I have to say it, since those arrogant poop-suckers will weed themselves out through natural selection, this is a rough business. It would be less tough if people band together to helped one another.

Comedians inspire laughter, what could be better than that? Laughter is joy. Imagine an audience knew that this inspiration for a laughter filled joy was just a ruse. A ploy behind a person just trying to destroy, or watch gleefully, the failings of others before them. Just picture how funny that really would be.

Lesson over...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Heckler; A word that means douche bag

“Dear heckler could you remember that you're not working this stage right now? It appears you're just distracting people's reality. That's right, you just brought people out of the fun zone. Where are they now? Welcome to the truth zone of your inability to have a social life without being a drunk.”

Comedy, it is inevitable that you'll encounter a, or more, hecklers in one's comedic career. It's never okay for YOU to heckle, lord douche bag heckler. It is a person's art form, job, expression, even a way of keeping from going postal on society. You've become evidence for us wanting to killing dumb people. It's as though they're not aware of their outbursts.

I mean, yeah, if planned, then sure it's a part of the show. But when a heckler says something only to be greeted by silence coming over that audience, it's not your cue to try another failing comment. There really is nothing they can say to help a show. If anything they take away from a show. If a comedian is being taken in another direction then that show has been destroyed. Okay, maybe that comedian doesn't get laughs or this heckler gave that comedian a laughable reaction, but how's that comedian going to learn from their mistakes?

Which brings me to my point.

Some comedians are seasoned comics, but others are not. A season comedian can handle hecklers, or whatever form of distraction come their way. At an open mic night there is no need to heckle anyone, because even if a seasoned comedian is getting heckled, the first timers are listening, deterring their efforts to that stage. It's hard enough to find a way up there, on that very lonely stage, let alone having some Douche Bag making dumb-ass comments. This action causes a sense of nerves to take over, only making it harder to entertain.

Comedy is an art form of expression that needs to be worked on from the inside out. A person needs to first feel comfortable in their own skin. Strong in their words and confidence in their presentation. After that comes into play now they have to write material that will ensure a laugh, or some form of orchestrated reactions. Once you have synergism between you and all your hard work, now you have to memorize your works to perform it as if completely natural.

With a hope you don't get a heckler to talk over your set-up or punch-line, you get up on that stage. You worked very hard to be where you are. Now some douche bag is trying to be a center of it all. Great, thanks buddy pants, learn to defend that show by being able to shut that douche bag up.

Basically, please don't heckle unless you really have no other purpose in life. At that point, we'll understand where you're coming from. But please let us know in advance so we can give you the official Douche Bag card.

Peace and hope, until again...
~ Thomas J Bellezza

PS There is one thing, taking an underground comedian's jokes, but to take a professional's routine to only duplicate on stage, is not cool. Yeah, great, you sound like that person, the jokes are said with perfect impersonation. Hell, the audience is laughing. You did your job... You, good person, are a douche bag as well... Plus, don't steel underground comedian's jokes either.

So today we learned one thing... Being a Douche Bag stinks... stop being a douche bag and work hard at writing your own jokes. Hecklers, stay home.

Lesson over...