Thursday, February 18, 2010

One Hand Giveth, The Other Hand Slappeth in the Face

It’s amazing how the universe can screw with your expectations. I mean that in both the good and bad sense. My business partner and I, Graham Elwood, have been working on our company for the last three years or so. Or as my wife calls it: a "hobby". Not full time of course, as Graham tours with Doug Benson and I have been working on my book and taking care of our youngest. We’ve slowly been increasing the business. Sales go up and down, but mostly an upward trend and traffic on the site has increased.

Sure, we've had setbacks like the site going down for four months and not being able to pay bills, the site not working, knowing nothing about HTML or online shopping carts, the garage getting to cold to work in, even in Los Angeles, etc. We bought a space heater. Anyhoo, it's been both fun and challenging, and I really enjoy it.

So we started doing live shows in Los Angeles, a cool mix of comedians and filmmakers and screening funny short films like a mini film festival with comics talking about movies. And no one came.

So we rebooted. Hit the internet. Twitter, Facebook, started a Newsletter, etc. OK, maybe the next show would be better.

But then we did something we should have done two years ago. We started a podcast. Out of my garage, where we would meet once a week and schedule it around the baby/wife/neighbor filling in as nanny. Tough, but we did it. We record every other week and in three months we were number 15 in comedy on ITunes and 81 overall of all podcasts. We have thousands of listeners now. You can subscribe here, if you’re so inclined.

So we scheduled our next live show. All those people listening, how could a few of them not come out to see us live?

Then, we get to the show and expect tons of people there. I’m really happy and excited. They are going to have to turn people away! So we waited. And we waited some more. Then some more. The sound guy starts asking us if and when we’re going to start. After counting my wife, my friend, and the four people one of the filmmakers brought, two other people showed up. And two of the four people the filmmaker brought hated the show and didn’t laugh once.

So for about four months in a row the live show not only cost us money but hit us a little in the ego/gut. We had done everything right this time, and still no one came. But then we got home after the show and bitched to each other on the cell phone like whiny babies. But then we checked the internet and realized while no one had come to our live show, over a thousand more people had subscribed to the podcast. And we hadn’t done a thing.

So thinking like a business person and promoter and not a comedian/artist (for once) it made perfect sense to focus all of our energy on what was working and table what isn’t, at least for now. Now we’re looking into selling advertising on the podcast. That’s right, we’re selling out, and we can’t do it quick enough. The podcast numbers and listeners are growing at an amazing rate. We are very thankful, and realize we just may never see any of them in person. We can live with that.


JeffScape said...

Sell out. Do it!

Great quote from a film producer (whose name escapes me): "Amateurs do it for the art; professionals do it for the money."

Suzy said...

"If I had been playing for money I would have complained a long time ago that I was underpaid."
~Michael Jordan

In other words, sell out although I don't think that quote is apropos but I just like it.

Badass Geek said...

There's nothing wrong with getting paid to do something if you're good at it. At least that's what I've heard.

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