Time Takes Time
Not too long ago I was called on a piece I wrote called Getting a Vegas Show. I said you need years of experience. Can you get a headlining gig here in Vegas without years of experience? Yes, it happens rarely, but sometimes. Will your show stay open? It probably will not. I have seen everything from small one man shows to multi-million dollar productions open and close here in Vegas in less than a month. Most of what closes these shows is a lack of experience.
The first thing years of experience will teach you is consistency, the ability to put on a quality show night after night after night. Whether it is a great crowd, weak crowd, amazing cast, or any other variable experience allows you to shine every night. It is difficult to wash off the feeling of a rough show or to release the high of a great night, but experience lets you do just that. Without that experience it is very hard to maintain a consistently strong performance.
Real honest experience also answers the hard question: Is your show any good? Do audience members want to come back regularly and do they want to send others to see you. It doesn’t matter what things you like in your show. It matters what does the audience like and respond to. Even hundred million dollar movies have test screenings before they are released to the general audience. You show is no different. Then moving the show to a Vegas style market where you are up against 150+ shows nightly is another level. People have to leave your show feeling like it was worth their vacation time and a better show than anything else out there.
Experience also teaches you the business side. Vegas will have no compassion. Vegas will not give gamblers back their money. They also didn’t give it back to producers either. Years of experience teaches you who to work with, why to work with them and who to walk away from. Every deal isn’t a good deal. Ego will tell you to take things experience won’t. You are going to get burned by somebody at some time. It is better to learn that lesson for a couple hundred bucks instead of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In my situation I spent years touring colleges, corporate shows, comedy clubs and events of every shape and size. I had to learn what each audience expected out of a show so I could exceed that. I had to learn what a reputable agent/venue was. I had to learn who to avoid doing business with. I had to learn not to make the same mistakes twice.
If you ever use the phrase: “I know they messed over all these other people but I won’t get treated like that”, yes you will. You learn to see patterns in other business models and it teaches you who you want to work with. There are still agents who can get me for under my market value because of how fair and honestly they treated me on my way up.
I worked with incredible people on my journey. If it hadn’t been for Michael Johns guiding me through the business side I wouldn’t have lasted a year in Vegas. Mentors have the experience and knowledge you need to succeed. Learn from the right people and take their guidance. It will help you along. Be thankful for those people who are honest with you. You will not always get the answers you want, but you will get the answers you need to hear.
Go out there and get the experience. Nothing feels better then when you are operating at the top of your market and you start making inroads to another market. Treasure the experience and the lessons you learn. Those lessons are what will get you to your dream, whatever it may be. Best of all, with the right experience, you will keep your dream once it comes.
All the best in YOUR dreams,