Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night;

Acting!!! My favorite play is the “Twelfth Night”. It just always hit me as the most romantic comedy of Shakespeare. From the lips of “Orsino, Duke of Illyria” who has some of great philosophical breaths of literature.

“If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die...”

Need I go on? Oh I must go on. I speak from the mouth of “Feste, a clown, servant to Olivia”. I get to represent lines such as.

“Why, 'some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrown upon them.'”

There is just so much beauty in this piece. I would have loved to play Orsino, though as Feste I get to sing, dance open the play into the mood and close the play. Standing alone on stage my voice is left on an audience listening, laughing, and smiling through what could be an amazing grouping of nights to remember. Most importantly I am working with actors I've grown to respect along with new actors I've never had a chance to work with.

Networking is a big part of why I do most anything. Where are my opportunities in “this” situation, is how my mind works instinctively. Who will I learn to know, meet, befriend, work with in the future. How can I market this event? Better yet, how can I market myself during this event? Even more so, how can I market everyone in this event and add to the rapport of our working relationship? Ah, the love of acting!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Standing in last minute

Standing in last minute;

The power of “NO” has always held me back. I say this knowing I rarely say it when it comes to working within my craft. I say no all the time with business opportunities when I feel there is nothing to gain for either party. When both parties are gaining something from it, I feel greatly confident in my choice to say “YES”. Yes is a beautiful word to those looking for a perpetual quest forward in their life's goals. I could easily say no to those asking me to help, work, or what-have-you, though I've always felt that in my life I get one shot at this whole thing. Besides that, I have a fear of saying no. No mean “nothing”. It means I am forbidding my life gifts.

A gift of experience, a gift of memories. I recently had a conversation with someone about how I should have said no. What did I say no to? Well, two things. I was asked to stand-in on a role for two nights at the end of this month. Though, I didn't get the script when I had asked for it, and there is literally a week and a half left till show time. Oh well, make things happen! The second was for the same show the day after I got the script I was asked to do the stage managing and a small role. I said yes. Should I have said no? Maybe. It was a lot of work to memorize the lines in less than 24 hours and going over the musical cues.

Overall, I knew where she was coming from. And I agreed with her. It makes sense. If I say no, maybe I'd be more appreciated in the fact that I am going out of my way. It is not always I feel as such, and the group made me feel good about doing it. They even thanked me and thought I did an amazing job. In the future, and in some instances I completely agree. The power of no will show a bit more value in what you eventually say yes to. Overall figure the value of the choice. What did I get out of saying yes? Respect? Maybe I got to take that memory with me? Experience? I did get paid! Ultimately, what are you taking out of it?

I got to act, spend time with friends, get paid, market myself a little and practice my craft. Well, I Networked, Marketed and Practiced all in one weekend. That sounds like a win win situation. I am very tired now because of it, but I get to do my third and forth Shakespeare plays this summer because I put some time into networking with this acting troupe. I will get paid for doing something I love as well as acting in “Twelfth Night” and “Macbeth”. Who could ask for more than that? Next year I will be doing “Hamlet”, as Hamlet so I need all the practice I can get. So when you are asked to stand in last minute, weigh the value of you!

Friday, May 18, 2012

I dreamt bigger than I was, now I'm bigger than I dreamt;

Keep your ego in check, be kind and rewind. Working with people will get you further than working against them. It is all about having fun. Everyone wants to be the best at their craft and be more well known than the next person. Remember this; you are an entertainer so have fun. There are times when people will just burst your bubble and take this life way too seriously. First of all you are getting paid to play around. If you are a comedian, musician, or an actor... hell, even a writer, you are getting paid to do what you love. You are not getting up 5 AM to lift crap. You're not waking up to earn $9 an hour doing a job you hate. You're getting paid to do what you love. Enjoy this time.

Alright, I take my job seriously as an entertainer but I also have fun. It is not about ruining an atmosphere, it is about adding to one. Who else gets a chance to do what you do and get paid for it? I mean, I'm saying take your craft seriously, but have enjoy it. You're being more disrespectful if you ignore the fact that you are honoring everyone before you, after you, and people who wish they could be doing what you are doing. If you have a big stiff-upper-lip, you are dishonoring everyone I just mentioned. Put time into being awesome at what you do, that's important. Though, more important, don't take yourself too seriously that you become this douche-bag I am about to mention below.

~~ True story-ish ~~ (names and subject matter has been changed to hide the person, context is the same)

I was in a play where another actor approached me during rehearsal. Mind you, it is rehearsal, we try things out at this point. He decided to let me know my accent I was trying out was stupid, bad, and made no sense.

I said, “I can understand where you're coming from. I'm an adult and should really place some context into this instead of trying to have have fun.”

He says “How can you have fun if you're doing something that makes no sense?”

That was a good point. So I replied “How about when you were about 5, or maybe even 10, playing with G.I. Joe men in your backyard, whereupon you started having them attack each other until you killed a bunch of toy men off? Of course, at 5, or maybe even 10, you have no idea the power of death. You may even notice you lack any grasp on the value in killing another man as a soldier. A soldier, in this situation, who would completely understand his actions much better than a child would, especially in that do or die situation. You just kind of point the gun as a kid and say pow pow, or what have you... So I ask you, what was the point of doing that when you clearly had no true context of what your motivation was as an actor. To me, it seemed you were trying something stupid, bad and it made no sense. Where was the context?”

He said that made no sense because he was just a kid having fun.

I retorted the best I knew how at this point, “How can you have fun if you're doing something that makes no sense?”

He walked away as I continued to be a kid and randomly have fun with acting. For children have the lease restraints as an actor because they make a choice and believe in their actions! Ah, the world of acting.

Look, have fun. You only get one life. Don't be that douche who really takes away from everything. You are acting, you are entertaining, you are doing something many others wish they had the balls to be doing. It is beautiful so be beautiful!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hello, do you know me?

Hello, do you know me?;

Creating a voice, making a statement and keeping your public platforms noticed. How can you become successful if no one knows you? I always ask myself that question when talking with people in the business. This is my line of questions, maybe this will help you...

For those who are entertainers and performers in any field, listen, and let me know what your answers are.

1) How many magazines did you contact about your performance or about doing an interview or review?
2) How many mangers did you contact about your performance or to set up a meeting?
3) How many agencies have you been contacting about your performances and to make a networking contact?
4) How often do you contact people you've met of importance and ask for nothing but to say hi?
5) How many follow ups have you done this week alone or in the past for the above people?
6) How many people came to see you and did you send them thank yous? (maybe that one is a little much?)
7) Did you stand by the front door at the end of the night and say thank you to everyone who was leaving?
8) Did you give them a free something?
9) Did you say hello and goodbye to everyone at the venue where you performed, or anywhere you go?

These are just a few questions you should be asking yourself next time you say “I should be bigger than I am”, or “I'm better than this, why are they famous and I am not”, and of course “If only the right person saw me!!!”... well, be proactive and get people to see you!!!

Today was a short blog, but it is more about getting you to think then really go on about what I learned in the field of being an entertainer... I say that knowing I've already learned to do this for my events. Take the pearls of wisdom and pay it forward.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Comedians need to act like Bands, both need to perform like Actors

Comedians need to act like Bands, both need to perform like Actors;

What I've learned from being in a band, doing stand-up and performing as an actor has changed my life. When I was in a band it was all about the show. Bringing the audience in through my performance. I also cared about the songs, style, and how clean my playing was. Well, up until I started really getting into the “act” of things. I brought something more to the show and turned it into an event. It was all about making the audience enjoy their time watching us play on stage. BUT, let me break it all down. Because bands, on the whole, if they know what they are doing, market themselves like crazy. Stickers, shirts, CDs, you name it. Even in the beginning of the game they are trying to get people to take notice. Some times they even work with other bands to help bring unity to a common ground. That's a smart thing to do.

Comedians, not so much. Unless they are successful, how many local comics do you ever see giving out free stuff? Stickers? CD/DVD of their old performances? Shirts? Other than when you see me of course I mean. I know what they do when something is being done... they hand you a flier for the next show. They have a website that is underdeveloped and was last updated some two months ago. They also go on stage, perform and then get off stage and hide in the back... or leave right away. Now, bands do this too, but we are talking about how to be successful. So, bands that are doing it correctly with merchandising (giving away free stuff) and getting out there in the public/audience to shake hands, laugh a little and connect are growing their personal fan-base. Either by networking very well or incorporating a bit of marketing in there.

Alright actors. What have I learned from actors that comedians and bands should be doing? Well this brings me back to the beginning. Everything changed when I started to perform on stage during the band days! I mean, performing, putting on an act on stage. Not just me up there with a guitar. I mean dressing the part, being the part and walking around as the part. It all adds up. Actors also do what comedians do, they perform, get off stage, hide in the back and leave right away. What happened to handing out stickers? Shirts? Information to get to their website? Does it make sense to let people leave with something to remember you by outside their bad memories of your performance? Heck, if anything, mingle a little with them. The more face time you give them, the more their long term memory will take effect because of the emotional connection you gave them.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How many people ARE in your musical project

How many people ARE in your musical project;

The excuse that nothing is getting done because you're the only one doing anything. I've always loved this. It is one of the major reasons I left my first band. 6 to 7 people in one band (depending on the incarnation) and yet nothing really ever got done that was suppose to. I was wrong. I blamed everyone else for not getting things done. I found out the best way I could. I started my own projected called “Altayon”. By myself I got to a great spot on the metal charts, radio air play, plenty of downloads, exposure and press. All on my own. So what was the issue when I was in a band of 6 to 7 people (depending on the incarnation)?

Excuses, that's what the issue was. I casually push “Altayon” and I've done so much with them in such a little time. It took me about a month and half to get to number 2 on the charts out of something like 60+ thousand. I've been there for over 2 years now (give or take a few months). On top of that, my web pages attached to the “Altayon” brand do the job themselves. Having tons of activity. I've played a few shows but nothing too big. Nor did I really put any time into them. I get friends, and other great musicians to stand in live when I need them for a show, and when I don't I just sit in my office and record albums.

I am content with where “Altayon” is. I am sure if I really cared I could do more. My goal is to continue growing my company until it is a monster all itself. If you really want to make it, and nothing is getting done. Look to yourself for the change. Make things happen by making things happen. Hell, at the least, if you are doing it and no one else is you are both A) getting things done, and B) leading by example. OH, and C) to boot, it has to get done whether they help or not, it must get done above all needs. Do, Do, Do... I am not singing, I am explaining! Though I like singing... I think I will go sing, because it must get done!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why I started recording my performances

Why I started recording my performances;

Practice makes perfect, analyzing makes a career. That sums it up. That was an interesting blog, wasn't it?

How about we get down to what matters? Recording your performance has so many advantages to it. Why I do it? I like to go back and see my performance in general. How I was standing, acting, reacting, moving around and my overall ability from a good look away. That's just to start. Now I want to see how people were reacting to my performance. Were they into it, when did they get more into it. Maybe I should rearrange my set list, maybe I should act differently. These are all things you should be studying when you are an entertainer.

I also like to have a copy of the show. Maybe I did an amazing job one night and I caught it on tape. Now I can see how to work that performance into every show. You can hear what you are doing and why you are doing it. Analyzing your craft is what makes you better. Practice is one thing, but watching what you're doing is another. You can take notes to compare them with what you “thought” was going on at that time. Maybe where you thought you did or did not hear a good reaction is clarified through recording your event. Mostly I prefer to video tape it. There are times when I am doing stand up comedy that I rather just audio tape it.

What's the major difference? Audio recording is easy, but at least I am recording it in one way or another. I would much rather be video taped, though some places don't allow that. So I just place the recorder in my pocket, on the chair, or have a friend hold it. Either way, this is a needed advantage to growing in your craft. Even when I act, or play with my band, I try to record as many performances as I can. Again, sometimes you are FOR-BID-DEN!!! Other times they don't care. As long as you're not using it for resale. That makes sense and I can understand that all the way! I almost agree. Though, I do own the copyrights, except in a play.

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's the economy

It's the economy;

“I don't have the money right” is what I hear people saying. So I ask, “Why not?”, it's the economy. First off, if you spend money the economy starts to grow which in turn creates money, jobs and the such. Second of all... let's think this all through. I deal with people all the time that say “they can't pay me”, “I don't have the money for that”, etc. Well... if you don't have the money to pay me, or for whatever “that” is, then why are you spending money on wasted things? Surely you know what I am getting at. Think about where you are while I get into some interesting “think subjects”. They idea is to get your brain into the storm of things. The more you looking inward, around, outside and up/down, the better you'll be able to make of your situation(s).

There we have it folks a subject plot. You're in entertainment and you think “I need to have X to make an impact on the world”. Well okay. Do the math. Money must be spent on something that makes sense. At the beginning of any career, you are not selling a thing to make money. You cannot make money and I'll tell you way. To make money you have to exceed the amount of money you put into the sale. So, for example; If you have a CD record (and you are a band), it will easily cost you $5 grand just to get it recorded. Now, artwork, duplication, distribution and so on. Oh, your one album will get you signed? Or you'll wait till after you are signed to worry about that because the label will pay for it?

Alright, now you have to wait till you pay back the label before you see any money. Thus, exceeding the amount of money you put into the sale. Let us say you really want to make that album. Now, how many fans do you have that will buy it at your insane cost? Insane as in, you'll need to sell it for anywhere from $10 to $15 dollars to make your money back. Keep in mind you also have to claim sales-tax on those sales or pay a fine. You have how many fans? We will include your friends and family for this one. You will sell about 40 CDs, maybe 300 if we are being nice about it. 300 x $15 = $4,500. You won't even make back the money it cost to record the CD. We still have not even included all the time and money wasted on marketing the CD.

Wasted time on marketing the CD? let's look at it this way! Why market a CD? Why marketing a show? If you want to take full advantage of your budget, and get your name out there you have to place all your money into Networking and Marketing. Into what you ask? Into your brand. Into your name. If you are a musician, comedian, actor, business (Everyone is a business!; it's the entertainment business!), you must get your name out there. You spend $5 grand on a disc, another $3 grand on duplication, marketing and artwork... okay, that's $8,000. Image you placed that money into marketing your brand, your name? I am not talking Shirts. Shirts cost about $1,500 for a gross of shirts (144). You are not buying to sell anything right now.

You are buying to market and network! It's your own economy, so make the best of it. Get Ads going, stickers are a great cheap way to start. Business cards, posters, money into going to conventions with a booth. Maybe even a single, but keep the money low in each choice and the choice high in each give away. $36 for a 100 postcards? $130 for 500 stickers... come on, there are so many things you can be doing out there. Make your economy work for you. Budget your life, and career. Get yourself going. It works for me, and most everyone else out there who has become successful at what they do. If you don't believe me, ask them. If they're busy, look into researching their lives and how they got where they are!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The business of music

The business of music;

“I want to be the most successful band in the world!” How is that working out for you? The secret to success has always been these 3 wonderful things; Networking, Marketing, and Practicing! You must talk with people and cultivate new relationships in this industry. With other bands, clubs, booking agents, A&R people, if they are in the business of music you should say hello and build that relationship. This is where success starts. Networking is not marketing, it is relationship growing. Once you ask them to come to a show or buy something they are now a client, and that is marketing. Create events where you are simply growing relationships with people. Hold parties, or go to parties, or even industry events. Spend money on bringing these people out to your shows, or mail them thank you post cards. Something... You want to build relationships with people so that you can utilize a beautiful working situation in the business of music.

On the other hand, without marketing you'll never get your name out there. A band needs two major things, the ability to network, and the ability to marketing. Marketing starts with saying your name to another person. Get people talking about your band. Getting people spreading the word. You may say “I am in a band with 4 people and no one does anything.” Well, if you have been networking your new friends might help you. And if you create such a voice that your marketing has made you fans that willing spread the word on their own. Getting the name out there takes time, action and dedication. Each day you should be doing something to get your name out there. You being the most awesome band in the world doesn't help as much as telling people you are the most awesomeness band in the world. Spreading your name is a great start in the business of music.

Finally you see I wrote practice. Well, let me put it this way. Knowing your craft is important BUT not as important as practicing how to network and market. These are both skills in themselves. Learning how to talk with people changes everything for you. Learning how to create a voice also takes some time. That is why there are marketing companies out there. Name one successful group or person who does not have a PR/Marketing company behind them? The reason they pay people to do this is because it takes a lot of work to get your name out there. Of course, you should be working on these three things yourself, even if you hire a company. Because you still need to understand their importance so you grow correctly as a company... that's right, you are a company. You need to act as such. No label will take a chance on a failing company. So practice working as a team, hiring people to get your name out there and in the business of music blow up!!!