Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Business of Show (and tell)

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on what’s going on in the stand-up comedy portion of my life. If you track this blog, you have probably noticed that additions to the public appearances section have been slow in coming. This is in no small measure due the difficulties that arise when one tries to strike a balance between a civilian and a comedic life. I am not the first person to encounter this issue, of course. At the beginning of any new endeavor, which this most certainly is, both sides of my life deserve and demand most of my attention. But the truth is that establishing (or in my case, re-establishing) a name for myself in comedy is demanding the one thing which I seem to lack; and that is time.

 There is also the part of me that is torn between making a living, and doing the thing I love most in life, which is making people laugh, either on stage or in this blog. The feedback I’ve gotten on the latter has so far has been very positive. And from what the people that know way more about these things than I do tell me, it is successful. For that I am grateful to all of you who take the time out of your own time-challenged lives to read it. I can tell you that for me, having the opportunity to write regularly again has been a joy which has been long-missing from my life.

When I began Julia Scotti-Inside and Out at the beginning of December (can it only be a month?), it was with the hope that this would be a collection of essays which chronicled the trials and tribulations of an older, transgendered woman who once was a stand-up comic and who was ready to resume that part of her life. My goal was (and still is) to bridge that gap between mainstream America and the Transgendered community; to show the world that yes, we are different, but more importantly, that we share more similarities than differences. I think that humor, laughter, and life should be served ‘family style’, where the bowl is passed around the table and we each serve ourselves; we may not like some of what’s offered, or we might pass on certain dishes. Some of us might even take more than others of a particular dish. But in the end, we all still share the same meal.

As you can plainly see, not all of the posts have been about being transgendered, being a comic, or the trials and tribulations attached to those things. Many of the essays are totally unrelated to those topics simply because my life (and yours) veers and sidetracks in many directions. Also, not all of the entries are funny (like this one) because I believe that humor happens not by force, but organically. When I feel funny, I’ll write funny; when I don’t, I won’t. I just want this to be a conversation, you know? I don’t want to be a harpy, or a one trick pony, that is just too damned dull! Remember, it’s a family-style dinner!

So, I started out by telling you that I wanted to update you on what’s going on in my stand-up. Now would be a good time to bring you up to speed and tell you what my plans are for the coming year.

After looking over the state of the current comedy scene, I realize that in order to make this work, I am faced with a two-fold situation. First, I need to get more stage time, at least over the next six to eight months so that I can develop enough material for my ultimate goal; a one-woman show. This is the second part.

I don’t mean to sound pretentious here, thinking that I’m better than my peers and that the three-person format is beneath me. That is definitely not the case. The comics that are out there night after night, year after year, working their asses off have my deepest respect.  However, the situation in which I find myself is rather unique. If I am to make a successful go of this, I need to do so in a way that allows me more control over the presentation aspects of myself as a comic, and thus, a product. I cannot do that in the three-person format. It just doesn’t lend itself to what I have in mind.

The ‘product’ aspect of this is the second part of the plan. I hate the sound of that word ‘product’, but I can tell you that in show business, just like sports or any other job in which the person is the attraction, that performer IS a product because that is what is being sold. I, the product, produce something that you, the consumers like and agree to purchase. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love what I do, or that I don’t love the people for whom I do it. It just means that in order for me to continue to keep at it, I need to operate it as a business. Marketing is critical; and not paying attention to it was a HUGE mistake I made the first time around. Anyone who loves to create for a living will tell you that on the whole, the business aspect of show business is the most important, but also the most distasteful part of what they do. That is why God created agents and managers. However, I am not yet ready for the latter and the former don’t know me well enough yet to be interested. This is a business that exists for the next big thing. The problem is that there is no Cavalcade of Next Big Things. New attractions are not rolled out with great fanfare each year like car models. Instead, this is a business that thrives on Buzz. The more you can generate, the quicker your ascendancy into the ears of those that can move and shake. I get that now in a way that I never did before. My only hope is that it isn’t too late; and I don’t believe it is, or I wouldn’t be doing this in the first place. I believe that my product is unique and that there is a market for it. All I need to do now is create the Buzz for it. And for that I need you.

All of this might seem like a pie-in-sky sort of thing to some of you and it very well might be. But here’s the thing; if this life is all I have and I am going through it only once, then I would rather focus on what could be than to sit around in my old age and complain about what could have been. I don’t want my last breath or thought to have one single, solitary ounce of regret laced into them. Being transgendered is only a handicap IF I let it become one, and I sure as hell don’t plan on that. The only thing that can keep me from doing what I want and what I believe I was meant to do is me. And that goes for everyone, transgendered or not. Just believe in yourself.

So, if you like what you read here, tell people! Hell, tell me! I like to hear from you, and it helps me to write this thing. If there’s something you’d like addressed in this blog, email me. There’s a little 'comment' thing at the bottom that allows you to do so. There is so much to laugh at in this world, especially these days. Sometimes you just need a place to kvetch, laugh, and vent. This is mine; I hope it is yours as well!

That’s it. I’m done bitching. Everybody hug, everybody eat. Abbondanza!    

1 comment:

  1. Hey, where the hell is the funny stuff? You think I read this blog for life lessons? What the hell? OK, Ok, maybe a little. In other words folks, the old broad wants feedback and I'm here showing you how easy it is. Now Jules, I listened to the bitchin' but I'll pass on the hugs, so where's the food you mention? Abbondanza!