how do you get work at colleges?
one, you can cold call colleges and offer your services. you can do some research to see what schools have comedy series, and offer to be a part of it, as an opening act maybe, or if you have a show you want to bring to the school, by yourself or with others, etc. call lots of schools, have DVDs or other promo to send, have a good website, etc.
two, you can get an agent.
how do you get an agent?
one, you can just do comedy long enough and get good enough that agencies start asking you to work with them
two, you can submit yourself to them. most college agencies that exist will generally just work with you when you have a good hour that you can do at colleges, so if you don't have that, then that's the first step. just keep doing comedy (and maybe along the way, number one will happen) until you feel you're ready and then come back and read this again. basically, this answer is similar to the "how do you get work at colleges" one above, wherein you just need to get your act on a DVD and get it to the agencies (some will want to see the full hour, some might want only a shorter amount of time, you can find out who wants what with professional-style inquiries, emails, phone calls, etc.). in my experience, a lot of agencies will look to expand their rosters in the spring, because early summer is when the first NACA submission dates are.
how do i get a NACA showcase? do i need an agent? what's NACA?
one, that's three questions, but i'll take them all at once. NACA is an organization that brings together school bookers and comedians (as well as magicians, musicians, and other things that don't start with "m" and end in "icians").
two, you don't need an agent but it can be costly without it. if you have the money to lay out to join NACA and get a booth, go for it. there are definitely some comics that have done this successfully. check out NACA's website for that information.
three, having an agent can be helpful because they pay most of the money, and potentially lend some legitimacy to your submission. here's the thing, they DO watch a portion of every tape they receive, and having credits doesn't necessarily translate into success in this market, so everyone's got a shot. everyone sends in a tape of 3 minutes of performance. i believe they watch 1.5 minutes, and then for some people who make the cut, they watch the rest of it, and that's how they decide who gets the 15-minute showcase spot, which then determines which schools will book who to come to perform for an hour. so again, i'll reiterate, it's best to undertake this process when you HAVE an hour that you'd be confident performing at colleges (because sure, you can get in with a killer 3 minutes, impress them with a good 15 minutes, but if you don't have the hour once you get to the school, that will hurt you more in the long run than the short-term financial benefits will be able to handle, i imagine).
so, in conclusion, to get college work, you can call colleges and offer to work there, submit yourself to NACA without an agent, or get an agent to do that and more, all starting from the baseline of having an hour-long worthwhile product to provide these people and places.
do college gigs or getting in through NACA pay enough to quit a day job?
you can do a NACA showcase and get a lot of work from it. you can do a NACA showcase and get no work from it. and even if you have an agent, that doesn't guarantee that you'll get a showcase (though good agencies will certainly do their best to get work for you regardless of whether you get showcases, but those showcases are the best shot at getting a lot of work booked at once). thus, if you book a lot of schools at a particular NACA or multiple showcases, then you've got a great shot at paying your bills from comedy and not needing a day job (depending on how extravagant your lifestyle is, which i assume is "very," if you're the average caviar-loving, yacht-traveling comic i've come to know). i personally stopped needing a day job a short time after my first big NACA showcase. but i might not be average (being vegan, i only eat soy caviar substitutes and travel on tofu yachts which cost less).
Permalink | 9/22/2009