Friday, February 3, 2012

"Staying Just Ahead of the Curve"

This is why I'm tired this week.

I've been putting together a small video on DVD for a group of 150 children's librarians.

Children's librarians from around Northern California come together once a year and hold a showcase to look at acts. Libraries hire a lot of entertainment over a year's time. Children's entertainment in libraries is big business. I mean when you mulitiply it all together. Show by show, they pay about the same as all my shows.

But, I'm a huge fan of libraries. I focus a lot of love and energy on them. I love that libraries have changed with the times. Libraries have become a community center of information, they are heavily used. I hardly walk into a library where 3 people aren't waiting to check things out and there are 3 or 4 people at each table. They obviously know what they're doing.

I only get to show off every 4 years on this showcase. There are enough acts coming in they have to rotate. There are plenty of acts that are just there because it's a market. I'm not real fond of that. I spend a lot of time analyzing my character and performance, I have chosen to focus on children's entertainment. It's not a market to me, it's just what's so. Some actors only do stage, others do movies.

I feel like the old man of comedy...get off my lawn!

Over the years, promotional material gets better and better. There was a time, a color business card was really impressive. I used to hand out brochures and people would say "oh this is too expensive, just give me a business card" And yes, they were expensive but I want to reflect this is my job, I want to present myself as a professional.

Then people started making videos. Then DVDs, youtube etc. etc.

I thought about it last year and decided, I'm going to make a DVD for these folks.

And of course, I put it off and put it off and put it off.

When I started on Monday, I couldn't find video clips I was sure I had. My computer is making all my pictures blurry for some reason. I edit in a professional program called Final Cut. Now it's unhappy. You get the point.

The video I made is of me, just being funny in front of the camera then cutting into clips. My first shot was terrible, the light was bad. The next shot was good but if I had started 3 weeks ago, I would shoot it again but it's funny.

The good part of this, it's really good to be forced to look at yourself. I generally pick on myself, I'm never happy with a show, I think of things I could have done better. I was forced to sift through, nearly 300 very nice quotes of appreciation. I used the quotes from librarians and I came up with about 10 pages of quotes. I was surprised and a bit overwhelmed.

I was forced to look at my performance and I said, I'm very loveable. I hadn't seen myself like that.

But here's the realization. To get better, you have to work and do the hard choices. I have spent a lot of unpleasant hours in front of a camera being not good. I got good like an athlete practices. I chose to give away a DVD because people follow the herd, I will be one of the few that has one. I'm about 99% sure I will be the only one that specifically made a DVD just for these 150 folks.

That's staying ahead of the curve.

This is in no way about my ego. My ego is a bit shot this week. I just was thinking, I'm creative, I love video production, in the end this project will cost maybe $50 but looks like a million. Staying ahead of the curve means pushing through doubts, fears and not following the pack.

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