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‘Since 2001…”

2010-02-01Where in the world am I today?: North Vancouver, BC, Canada

Back in the Fall of 2001 I performed with my friend Iori Mikumo at the Shizuoka Diadogei Festival in Shizouoka, Japan. I wanted to see if a story-telling show in the genre of  ‘Sak Theatre‘ or ‘Men in Tights‘ would fly in Japan as I’d never seen it attempted. We took the Japanese Children’s Story “Momotaro” and used members of the audience to play key roles in the story. Great fun and over the course of the five-days we performed the show actually ended up looking like a show and the audiences in Japan ‘got’ the format. It was pretty cool!

As part of the build for the show I threw together the logo that accompanies this post and added the tag “Since 2001″ to the logo as a semi-joke because usually ‘since such and such a year’ is supposed to imply a certain longevity in business… That we were saying we’d been around since earlier that same year seemed to be both ironic and comedic all at the same time.

There is something to the notion that being in business a long time as it implies a certain success rate that new clients can derive a certain comfort in. The trick seem to be to imply longevity, but a spirit of innovation and growth that doesn’t make you look stagnant. I sometimes kick myself because I haven’t had a chance to update my promotional videos in years… The look and content is a bit dated and I know I really should update things, but I’ve had no shortage of excuses for not getting to this project, but I digress…

The point I’m trying to make is that this notion of longevity if used properly in your marketing materials can be an excellent benefit to promote to prospective clients. It’s why collecting letters of reference and newspaper articles to include in a promo kit helps sell you. If you’re show has stood the test of time it provides a certain credibility to your claims of being the greatest thing since sliced bread!

I remember watching a video that Willie Tyler uses at the beginning of his cruise ship performances which is more or less a slide-show of some of the moments from his career. Pictures of him as a kid with the very first Lester, shots of him working with Sammy Davis Jr., Shots of him working on Laugh In, Shots of him with Richard Pryor… Not only was it really cool to see some of the legends of show business that he’d worked with, it gave a really nice build to the moment that he stepped out on stage. You were given a glimpse of his incredible history which then made you appreciate his performance even more.

The whole process of selling one’s show requires you to provide evidence to a client that will convince them to hire you over some other act. A successful history in the business can be a very powerful element to this equation – be clever about how you use it and you will definitely glean the benefits!

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