Saturday Tips: Levels of Paid Achievement Defined
Part 3: Levels of Achievement: Paid Spots
Tip #4 2018
#1 Paid spot outside NYC-
Due to the high volume of pro comedians in NYC, it's usually easier to book paid work outside of the city. It might be a club, fundraiser, restaurant show, birthday party or corporate even (the sky's the limit.) When you get booked, the first thing you need to do is confirm the amount of time you're expected to perform. Once you get there, your set time might change. If the show started late or other comics are going long, you might have your time cut. If other comics don't show up, you might be asked to do a longer set. Whatever you do, don't be the one who goes long and makes the show drag on. That affects the comics, the venue and makes you look unprofessional. Also, don't go too short! That can throw off the timing of the show and make the host and manager scramble to fill time. The other comics on the show might not have enough time to make up for your short set. Make sure you do as close to the time you're hired for, especially if it's your first time at the club. Also, you're being paid, so do the time that you're paid for.
#2 Paid spot in NYC-
Like I previously stated, once you get booked confirm the amount of time you're doing and stick to it. Prepare your set in advance so that it fits the allotted time. Do a nice, tight set and kill it. You never know who's watching and can book you for another spot. Remember, if it's your first time on the show, it's like an audition. Doing well might get you invited back. Getting paid means there's a higher expectation for you to have a strong set. You definitely don't want to experiment and play around with new stuff on these shows.
#3 Paid spot at a major club on a weekday-
Getting booked for a paid spot at a club means you've proven yourself as a strong comic. Bring your A-game. Even if the room is empty, you're still auditioning to be a regular. Don't make the manager or booker regret their choice! If it's a club you want to work at regularly, keep in mind that until you get some strong verbal or email confirmation that you have made it into the regular rotation (consistent spots, asked for availability), you're still auditioning. Major clubs might give a new comic several paid spots and they make the fatal mistake of thinking that they've made it. Then they might get lazy and bomb and realize they're not. Until you're being used on a regular basis on the weekends, you're still unofficially auditioning to get to the next level.
#4 Paid spot at a major club on the weekend-
If a club books you for a spot, or several spots, on the weekends they are either ready to bring you into their regular rotation of comics or they are seriously considering it. Weekend spots at the major NYC clubs are highly-coveted. Even national headliners who have major credits want these spots. It's important to do your best material. Remember, it's still an audition. The good news is that you're close to getting into regular rotation! In fact, this might be your most important audition yet, because the next step is proving that you're ready for a full weekend at the club. That's a HUGE step.
#5 Full weekend at a major club-
If you're booked for multiple weekend spots a club, congrats, you have arrived. You're a pro. The club trusts that you can handle any situation-- tough crowds, all levels of interruptions, a drunk bachelorette party (I've seen it happen several times). You want all of your spots to go well. You should stay in close contact with the manager/owner to get their insight on the shows. That can help you do your work better and lets them know you take things seriously. There might be a table or patron that they warn you about and even advise you on how to deal with them. When you're working the weekend shows, you're on a team. The club owners/ managers want you to do well, so take their advice. Be ready for whatever they suggest. They might say do a lot of crowd work or none at all. They may tell you to do a longer set or cut it short. Be flexible and don't let your ego get in the way. Listen well and deliver what they request. Remember, you want to get booked again.
Takeaways: Always do your time. Always bring your A-game. Until you're booked on multiple weekend shows, you're still auditioning.