Making Dreams Come True for Comics and Speakers since 1984
  Judy Carter's Comedy Workshops  

How to Get Discovered

Hey comics!  If you think that someone is going to discover you -- then according to Patton Oswalt -- you are old school.  Oswalt really hit the nail on the head when he admitted during his keynote for the Just For Laughs Comedy Conference in Montreal that everything he knew about "succeeding as a comedian is worthless now."

He said that in the old days, "You went on Carson, you killed, you got called over to the couch, and the next day you had your sitcom and your mansion, and you're made... The days about luck and being given [job opps] are about to end and I couldn't be happier."

It was so good to hear Oswalt say out loud what I've known for awhile: that we need to create our own opportunities and stop giving away our power to the "gatekeepers" of fame.  Now we no longer have to be "given" an opportunity to show our stuff. 

Even if you're not a comic (or a speaker), we all often designate someone as the gatekeeper and give them the power to decide how much money we make, how much success we have, and whether or not we work.  But the whole notion has become a falsehood; the real gatekeeper is between our two ears.

If you truly want a TV show -- you can create it yourself.

I'm in the process now of pitching a web series to Yahoo.  But here's the thing: if Yahoo decides they don't want it -- I'm going to do it anyway.  Matter of fact, I've already converted my garage into a studio, complete with professional diffused lighting, green screen, and even a teleprompter.  (Total cost: $300 from eBay.)  Now, every day is pilot season in my garage.

If I were an agent, I would be really worried about my job, because the Internet is making agents obsolete.  Most of the TV producers I know cast from YouTube, where you don't have to be signed by William Morris to be seen.

As entertainers become more marketing savvy (see last week's blog Marketing for Comics), they don't have to wait around and hope to be discovered.  If you want to get discovered ... then discover yourself.  Get really good at what you do, and then put it out there.  The only person telling you can't do it might be the person looking back at you in the mirror.

The gatekeeper at the door of fame is gone.  You can make your own luck.  You can give yourself the opportunity.

First get good.  Then get great.  And then get yourself out there.  If you need help, call me.  I'm here to help you be the best you can be.

You can read Oswalt's keynote here.

What do you think about Oswalt's keynote?  I love to read your comments! 


Jon Champion said...

Thank you. Needed a good old fashioned kick in the pants today. You are so correct. We live in a world where a successful entertainer has no limits. Hustle and market.

Fred More said...

Too true, too true!

There are so many things out there that will teach us all about the "show" part of show business, but not too much on the "business" part.

"Good things come to those that hustle while they wait"
-Ashton Kutcher (yeah, I know!)

Phil Johnson said...

I liked Patton's speech. I think a larger part of the problem isn't just having the gumption to do a project ourselves, but having to learn all the skills that go along with it. Now we're lighting and sound techs, video editors, and everything else. But we do it, so there it is. :)

I'd love to know what kind of equipment you bought for your studio Judy.

LaRoice said...

Phil, I would agree that it would be too high of a mountian to climb if we decided the way we we are going to make things work in this new reality is to do all aspects of developing works as a one person operation, take it from me, one person _cannot_ do it all. There are people who are looking for opportunities to work as a sound engineer, photographer, and any number of other roles to make a work complete, we all only have to ask people to be a part of something. Some of these people can be found at a college in your area. You would be surprised at the level of equipment and talent students are working with. I am saying all of these things from experience. Having been a photography student I spent 4+ hours shooting any number of projects for artists trying to make it. There was also all of the time I spent planning the shoot, editing, and printing the images and I love every minute of it. So if you have an idea and need a crew you only have to ask.

Good luck in your pursuits,

Anonymous said...

I love You Judy! Yes- I agree - I just produced and stared in my own - short film - now we are going to make it a web series! I feel many more opportunities coming my way because I am making it happen!

Anonymous said...

Loved the speeches, both Patton's and yours - but your last lines also say truth. Yes, I know many comics and artists who have produced themselves but they did NOT take the time to get good or get great. They wanted the perk without doin' da work. And when you can get do-it-yourself notoriety, why put in all bother and time it takes to become better than average? Those gatekeepers are guarding that gate as well.

James Lui said...

Great advice, Judy! (as always) Looking forward to seeing what you do with all that shoot-it-yourself stuff!

mavmediator said...

Great advice from Oswalt, and from you, Judy-thanks for sharing! I have just figured that out for myself, too, and have started taking my own steps ( I was waiting for someone else to see the value in my ideas but realized it's me that sees the value in them already, and I just have had to find the courage to take the actions needed to bring it out into the world.

mavmediator said...

Great advice from Oswalt, and from you, Judy-thanks for sharing! I have just figured that out for myself, too, and have started taking my own steps ( I was waiting for someone else to see the value in my ideas but realized it's me that sees the value in them already, and I just have had to find the courage to take the actions needed to bring it out into the world.

Tony Brent said...


I would love to hear details of how you set up your garage studio and the items you bought with the $300.

Tony Brent

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