Continued from https://newyorkimprovtheater.com/2015/05/21/creating-content-becoming-your-own-boss-as-an-artist/
So yesterday I posted a lot of ideas. Lets start talking about sharing your work. Below are a number of ways showcase yourself.
Remember to ALWAYS BE CREATING… When a band goes on tour, they write songs for the next album.
Don’t just create on one platform. Below are a number of ways to share your work, but the real power is your own cross promotion. Different platforms reach different demographics.
Our success comes from having as good live show. We have a website that promotes our public shows in NYC, touring company, private gigs and educational outreach. Our blog posts allows us to share more up to date information than the relatively stagnant webpages. We create original sketches and share videos of live shows via YOUTUBE, VINE and Instagram. We use social media to share our web pages and blog posts as well as interact with fans. We attract new fans to the live show via our video sketches and funny tweets and instagram photos….
EVERYTHING WE DO is designed to entertain, inform AND promote our other content. LIVE promotes ONLINE and vice versa. Flyers, Business Cards, Magnets, Key Chains, DVDs, T-shirts, Caps and other merchandising promote all. Never mind making money yet. Just start sharing. Social media promotes all…
JUST START SHARING…
We will figure out ways to make a living later. (SOON…) but for now just get up on stage and sharer you talent. TWEET a funny thought. Post a Youtube video of you singing, ranting (VLOG) etc.
WHY CONTENT CREATION
1) ABC – Always Be Creating – Every time you create you turn on the creative juices. The more often you create the more easily you go into creative mode and develop your talents.
2) Get paid – More about this later. While this for many is the ultimate goal, if you start with this you will probably skip some valuable steps.
3) Content Marketing – Creating content helps promote / SELL you, your products or another’s. Maybe you are helping a friend start a business. You create a YOUTUBE video to entertain but create awareness. This blog promotes my live shows, classes and the individual talents of all our artists. Casting Directors find us for projects directly here. Clients hire us for private/corporate events. We find new audiences for public shows and students for classes.
4) Create opportunities for yourself – creating your own content takes your career and life into your own hands.
Everyone has a passion. Everyone knows something about something. BLOG about it. BLOG is also the easiest way to create a website that promotes all that you do. I can update this blog form my phone in seconds. I can create entire posts in minutes. Blogs by nature are content rich and do very well in searches. SEO is the future for all so LEARN IT WHILE YOU ARE YOUNG!!!
START NOW FOR FREE OR CHEAP
As a professional (or wannabe) artist you better have YOURNAME.com. If you do not GO NOW and buy it. $10-20/year on GODADDY. $18/year on WORDPRESS directly. This used to be an $18/year site. I recently upgraded because I needed more power and this site helps generate gigs, ticket sales for public shows, students for classes and allows us to share news, videos and more with our fans.
If you have creative writing to share, put it on a blog. Like performing artists, the world of publishing is hard to crack. You are more likely to get a book deal after surviving a plane crash than getting your original work published as a young genius writer. Try writing a new poem every day. How about 1-page of a new story? Share videos, photos etc. I try to blog daily. I create tutorials about Improv games, upcoming shows, tours, feature artist friends etc.
I hate them but some of the best ways to make money on the internet is to curate information. A museum curator finds art work to display. As a blogger you can curate info on pets, celebrities, politics, fashion, art, music, movies, theater etc.
But even if your curating photos and videos add your own original captions. If you just copy and paste text you actually hurt your blogs reputation with SEO algorithms. And you personal touch.
MAKING BLOGS WORK FOR YOU
Do some research on how to create tags for your blog. There are certain ways to create titles that grab attention. Honestly, do better than I at editing your blogs (I know I have typos, thanks Mom). Take some time to re read before posting. For important info I will share with clients I create in WORD document to harness the better spell and grammar check. After some time you can learn about meta tags. Make it easy for fans / guests to share and follow your blog. I have 100s that follow this blog. They get and email every time I post with highlights and links.
Make the top of your post visually pleasing. Put anything important in the top few lines. Most will never read the words I am typing right now. If you are, THANK YOU.
WHY BLOGS ARE SO POWERFUL
While most will never read these words, these words i am typing right now serve as content marketing. Blogs are TEXT rich. Many artist websites have great videos and photos but very little to actually be found in searches. FLASH is pretty but does ZERO for SEO. 90% of our new clients come from searching on the internet. All other marketing – trade shows, flyers, postcards – barely return on investment. I don’t waste a penny on traditional ads. Social media is free but text rich blogs and websites get us seen.
THE SOONER THE BETTER
Like most businesses, websites usually last less than a year. So a website that has existed for 10 plus years – like our primary sites – do very well in Google and other searches. Scam sites never last that long. They are considered trusted and have received positive reviews form 1000s of fans. Every day you wait to start someone else is starting and leaving you in their dust. Anyone that thinks they do not need a website is FOOLISH. There is no better way to let the world know you exist and to control your message and image.
There is no secret to the power of social media. But too many young people see social media platforms purely as entertainment and ways to pass the time. The young folks that learn to harness the power of social media quickly surpass their seniors. Social media, when optimized exponentially expands your personal reach. You can share your videos, photos and blogs posts with all your ever growing network of friends, family and fans. Everything you do LIVE or otherwise should be sending folks to your social media platforms. Photos/Videos go viral when your followers share your content with their followers. Kind of like a pyramid scheme with out all the creepy baggage of AMWAY or bad “Health” pills.
TWITTER – Twitter is probably the most powerful way to share you stuff. Keep your followers up to date. Twitter is one of the few platforms where spam is less likely to lose you followers.
FACEBOOK – Once my favorite I have recently become a more twitter centric guy. Although in tandem with other platforms Facebook is almost like another blog or website. But these days when you post something on facebook, it is not seen by all of your “FRIENDS”. I real friend of mine – and former cast mate in this troupe – was on the plane that almost crashed into the water at LaGuardia this year. He was posting from the plane. I found out three days later. His message was lost among the cat pics and videos. I was pissed. But for every live show you do, post a Facebook Event. Share that event page on Twitter. I have tweets automatically popping up on my FAN PAGE.
NEW to FACEBOOK we have seen in recent months a huge increase in viewership when he host videos directly on facebook. In the past we always hosted on YOUTUBE because we were ultimately hoping to monetize the content. More about the $$$ later but more people on FB see the content if we host there directly. For us content online does more to promote our live show and talents than actually make money from views (which take A LOT online to turn into cash).
VINES / INSTAGRAM
While considered by most to be social media platforms, to me these are content hosting platforms.
Even a series of instagram photos tells a story.
– You are a fun loving party goer that people would love to hang out with.
– You travel and share beautiful places.
– You are adventuresome and have photos doing crazy activities.
VINES and INSTAGRAM videos are entertainment. Creating a 6-second video is not easy. A great VINE has a beginning – middle – end.
EVERYONE should have a VINE and INSTAGRAM account.
Create a new video EVERYDAY and you will find an audience. Develop a following. Develop your talents.
VINE and INSTAGRAM do not generate income they way YOUTUBE can but successful creators do make money making videos promoting products and companies.
Many are getting TV and Commercial deals from their work on VINE. When a movie or other projects gets a green light, investors are looking for proof they can make their money back and then some. A VINE creator with 1,000,000 followers comes with a built in fandom that is more loyal than most big stars can brag.
VINE is possibly now the best way to develop that social media following.
INSTRAGRAM offers a longer video platform AND you can share photos.
Both platforms can help promote other projects.
YOUTUBE, VIMEO etc
If you have a script, try making your own sketches and short films on a shoe string budget. Host online and watch the hit count go up (By sharing around other social media platforms). There are many ways to monetize (MORE TO COME I PROMISE). But more importantly, YOUTUBE is possibly the best way to showcase your talents in 2015.
It takes a lot to get 20 or more see ONE live showcase. One of our videos recently surpasses 500,000 views. Our worst videos have 100+. We get college gigs and sell tickets to live shows from our online video fans.
When a casting director ask “Can you play ____?” I probably have a video to show me playing a similar character.
In 2015 we currently have a project where we are trying to post a YOUTUBE video daily with many of our artists personally uploading a video weekly.
This video has 350,ooo views
If you are a student, you are lucky. Schools are basically a series of rooms that need activities to fill. Budget cuts take arts out every day. Bad tests steal time from valuable learning experiences.
WHO CARES? The old models of arts education do little to prepare you for a career of content creation anyway. Start a club. Poetry, Comedy, One Act plays etc. Do what we do in NYC every day and night. START YOUR OWN SHOW.
At school you can do this for FREE. Schools don’t want to pay for programs but I have worked with parents and teachers that volunteer their time in schools in every county form DC to Boston. They will pay me to show them the basics and then run their own program. But you do not need me. At some point you want me or someone similar to help take your program to the next step.
I learned Improv watching WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY. I learned piano plunking out notes after watching STAR WARS as a kid. I learned to tap dance watching YANKEE DOODLE DANDY with my mother as a kid. I learned Guitar watching my father play around the house. At some point I did take classes. I learned technique. But for every hour with a teacher there were years of self exploration in the arts. By the age of 10 I was playing trumpet with my father at the local community band. I hated in school band playing three blind mice because every Friday night – and for 30-40 gigs/year – we were playing Sousa marches, Broadway tunes, jazz and even Rock n’ Roll classics.
I have nothing against school and teachers, but they are worthless without a student that wants to learn and discover. SIDE BAR – perhaps this is the problem with the new world of TESTING.
Success is not going to come from a great school or teacher. SUCCESS comes from one that wants to succeed and finally gets smart enough to want to listen and learn from ALL around.
TAKE ADVANTAGE of the tools you have at your disposal.
Turn a class room into an open mic after / before school (Or at lunch). Find other musicians, poets, comics that need a place to showcase and practice performing in front of others.
Find 4-5 friends and create your own comedy team – improv and/or sketch.
You may need a teacher or parent to serve as “Sponsor”. Most schools require an adult to chaperon. Parents do this for free. I have yet to meet a principal to turn down FREE resources. (Well there was one with EGO so big… never mind… but that was ONE out of 1000s.. in that case change schools) MOST Administrations are desperate to replace program that have been ripped away by politicians.
Once in college you can do all of this w/o adult supervision.
IF NOT IN SCHOOL or you cannot get school to help, go to your local library, community center, church/temple, etc. Find a place you feel safe that cost you ZERO!
Find a more public venue. Retirement homes always love free entertainment. Libraries have public spaces for performance. Coffee shops will give you a chance to play. If 18/21+ there are plenty of bars. Many arts complexes have co-op deals – free or reduces space for new/young artists.
Get creative. It is not easy getting paid jobs at comedy clubs. For every paid job in theater and music there are 100s and 1000s of aspiring young artists. As a result I bet there are 1000+ non-traditional performance spaces in NYC’s 5 boros alone being used to showcase talent.
Getting some audiences, try asking for $5/guest. Or maybe ask venue for $50 to hosts a show and bring them business. At a bar/restaurant maybe get a percentage of the bar.
I ran THE EAST VILLAGE SHORT FILM FESTIVAL in 2004. At a venue called Fusion on A, we screen 2-3 hours of videos. By simply putting an ad on craigslist we got hundreds of submissions. Our Improv team served as opening act. We did a 45 minute set before playing the first film. “FILMS” ranged from artistic works to sketch comedy videos to documentary. One the pieces had a film maker going into china to uncover horrible conditions for some residents. Amazing footage. Another was a mockumentary about karate dojo starring Uma Thurman’s brother. The winner of the entire festival was some interesting footage of Italian beaches set to some music. Simple and Elegant.
FREE TO ATTEND, the restaurant gave me 10% of the bar and food sales. I made about $150/night. I paid the winner a $200 prize. the rest covered my costs to market (flyers etc).
While running shows at the NY Improv in 2005, we started to sell tickets on the street of Times Square. We were getting 20 or so guests just handing out flyers. Around April 2005 we started selling out on Sunday night. By that summer we were running 6-8 shows/week. And anyone that sold tickets made $50-200/show. Our part time showcase efforts (originally to find an agent and get on stage) become a full time business. Three of us left our day jobs. We were getting 120-140 guests on Sunday and Monday (8 & 10pm show in a 70-seat room).
Self-Producing artists are making a name for themselves all over town and many are supplementing their income and / or supporting themselves from small stages.
You no longer have to “FIND A PRODUCER” ( A term I am shocked to hear these days but still do daily). Like any business (Watch Shark Tank?) every time you bring in someone to help, you are splitting the pie. Too often artists split that pie because they are lazy or simply snobs (ARTEESTS). If bringing on a partner or employee or consultant will actually bring in a benefit by all means proceed. But 90% of the time in this business, we give away too much too soon. Jobs we can do our selves with some hustle, some research,by truing and falling our faces a few times to learn for ourselves… Don’t sell yourself too short.
Eventually the paid gigs will come. But these days venues are paying less and less. I make more producing my own shows than I would in most theater setting, with the exception of Broadway / Broadway Tour. But I do not have to re audition for another job every 3-6 months either. CHEERS to sleeping in while others wait on line at NYC studios at 5am…
AND FINALLY LETS MAKE MONEY CREATING CONTENT…
To be continued