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Old 09-30-09, 11:58 PM   #1
andrestarz
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Branson,MO
Posts: 15
Default 10 Things Every Variety Performer MUST Know To Succeed in Today's Economy-Chapter 2,a

CHAPTER 2: Selling Your Act

How long has it been since you updated your promo?

First impressions are key in the entertainment business. Are your pictures and video recent? What’s in your resume? Do you have a commercially printed brochure or is it a homemade promo pack?

You will never have a second chance to make a first impression. Your promotional pack should be designed for one purpose: to make a producer or an agent interested enough to see your act. They are very busy people! If they open your envelope and the beginning of your letter and pictures don’t grab their attention, your DVD is going into an unwatched pile in their office.

Here are some suggestions based on an old marketing formula:

Interrupt Engage Educate Offer

1. INTERRUPT: You need to have the picture of you that will make agents and producers want to stop and look at your letter. The top of your letter must have a headline which makes people ask -- “How do you do that?”

Worlds Best Juggler or Magician or Impersonator is a bad headline because it’s overused and too many mediocre acts claim that title. Try to create a vivid picture in the talent buyer’s mind with your title.

Following are some examples:

Juggles Effortlessly….Blind Folded!

* * * * *

Handstands While Pavarotti Sings



Priscilla Presley Fainted When She Saw My Elvis Impression!

* * * * *

Air Force One Appears Onstage Nightly!

* * * * *

Jay Leno Cried From Laughing at My “Dead Dentist” Routine!


These types of headlines will interest producers enough to read further.

2. ENGAGE: This is the part of your letter (or sub headline) where you continue to say unique things about you or your act.

Juggles Effortlessly….Blind Folded!

Performed Over 500 shows in 2008 with his ‘Flaming Torches’ routine.

* * * * *

Handstands While Pavarotti Sings

“Strong, beautiful, effortless performance!”: that’s what Princess Stephanie of Monaco said about the act.

* * * * *

Priscilla Presley Fainted When She Saw My Elvis Impression!

All the King’s Greatest Songs in ONE Show!


Air Force One Appears Onstage Nightly!

A Multi-million Dollar Illusion! (President Not Included)

* * * * *

Jay Leno Cried From Laughing at My “Dead Dentist” Routine

Headlined in Caesars’ Palace Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas and a Regular on the Comedy Central

You get the idea.

3. EDUCATE: Now it’s time to write all of the great things about yourself. There used to be a time when it was enough to mention the awards and prestigious places you have performed to get hired, but not anymore. Don’t be shy, but be careful not to go overboard. Now you need to be creative in marketing your act. Try thinking about what talent buyers’ needs are and look at your promo through their eyes.

Also, look for things that are common in your genre that other people don’t market. For instance, many jugglers can juggle five clubs, but nobody tells the story about how much effort they put into mastering this trick. How about this:

“It took three years, practicing four hours every day, to learn this trick. After approximately 4,000,000 times picking the clubs up from the floor and throwing them into the air again, did I master the skill.”

This will create a picture in the talent buyer’s mind and justify how hard the trick is.

Some corporate entertainment directors or managers don’t know much about variety performers, so this kind of description can be vital to selling
your skills. Sometimes they don’t know the difference between a mediocre or a great act. All they know is what they’ve seen on stage or on video. Most of them have backgrounds as musicians and dancers or have been promoted from a stage management position. Don’t get me wrong, I personally know many producers who are experts at variety acts despite their backgrounds, but creating a word picture for them such as the one above will always set you apart in their minds.

What entertainers need to know is that they need to educationally and emotionally engage talent buyers and really emphasize how their act is unique and how they will benefit them.

Having testimonials is important! If you don’t have them yet, ask for them. Make sure that you put references on your letter. To say, “References Available Upon Request” is rubbish. First impressions, remember? This is the time to name the famous fellow performers or producers you know.

 ALWAYS ASK PERMISSION FROM YOUR REFERENCES BEFORE PUTTING THEIR NAME IN YOUR PROMO!

4. OFFER: Your video is the most important part of your promo. Without a good video, you don’t stand a chance! It doesn’t matter how good your pictures are or how clever your letter; your video must stand out on its own. In fact, the talent buyers will probably read your letter after watching your video.

Your video needs to be short and irresistible so that talent buyers make that precious call to find out more about you.

Here are some tips for creating a great video:

* Use editing software to make a good quality video. (Editing software is very user-friendly these days.)

* Keep your video under 3 minutes with the first few seconds being really exciting. If someone needs the full video of your act, they will ask you for it.


* Make sure that your unique trick, costume, or personality is featured to grab the producer’s attention.


* Create unique videos for different talent buyers. It is not
recommended to send the same type of video to everyone. Adapting your video to the talent buyer increases your chances of getting hired
dramatically.

Here is an example of a great promo video -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE4GURNBoEM


Producers and agents are like the judges on the TV show 30 Seconds of Fame. They will accept or reject the video before 30 seconds of the footage has passed. This is why it is imperative that you find out what specific talent the buyers want.

One more thing to remember:

 IF SOMEONE TURNS YOU DOWN, ASK WHY. THAT WAY, YOU CAN BE BETTER PREPARED THE NEXT TIME.



Who are their clients and what do they want?

If you can find an answer to that question, you are increasing your chances of being hired. Google the company that you’re sending material. Learn as much as you can about the company’s expertise, mission, goals, past and current projects.

Think about how your act can benefit your talent buyer’s goals and focus your energies there.

One time, a cruise line entertainment director rejected a video of one illusionist who used to headline in Las Vegas simply because the video was
too good. (It was a multi-million dollar production including a disappearing airplane.) The director was convinced that it would be too expensive to hire him without even bothering to call and ask for a price. It wasn’t until an agent was involved and explained that the magician was looking to change his act to be more flexible to different sizes of venues, that he was hired.


What if an agent or producer isn’t looking for new entertainers and they aren’t in a hurry to open an envelope with your promo?...

To be continued
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