In this article, The Business of Stand-Up Comedy: Promotional Kit – Part 2, I’ll show the elements which need to be included in a promo kit. In my previous article, The Business of Stand-Up Comedy: Promotional Kit – Part 1, I discussed the differences of the online and physical promo kits.
You now have an epresskitz account and ready to purchase the supplies to create a physical press kit, here’s the first things you need to include.
This is your first handshake, which should invite the Booker to browse the rest of your materials and ultimately hire you. Cover letters can make or break a promo kit. Spend some time composing your cover letter, don’t just jot down some quick thoughts and send it. This is your business, so spend the time.
An email is the equivalent to a cover page. It should cover the same information, plus links to your website, facebook, and epresskitz.
Here are some helpful hints for both:
Remind the Booker Who You Are
Put a little reminder at the first of the letter to help the Booker remember you’ve already had personal contact. Pick something memorable from your conversation, like, “I’m the one from Monkey Eyebrow, Kentucky.” Or whatever will make your conversation easy to recall.
Put Your Name at Top and Your Contact Information at the Bottom
The first thing the Booker is going to want to know is who the letter is from, so put your name in large letters at the top of the page. Make sure you are easy to contact. Put your phone number, fax, address, e-mail, etc., on everything, but especially make it easy to find at the bottom of your cover letter. If there is any hassle at all, he’ll move on to a promo kit with a letter that makes his job easy.
Keep it Short
If a Booker glances at your cover letter and it’s a full page or more, he may pass it up for a kit with a letter with just a few sentences. Put yourself in the Booker’s position: there are several kits a day to look over, and whichever kit is easiest to review is the one he will spend the time on. Rewrite your cover letter or email several times to make sure it’s clear and to the point.
Check Spelling and Grammar
Have someone else proofread it for you — there is nothing more annoying than a letter filled with spelling and grammatical errors that make it difficult to read. It also reflects on the kind of person you are. Send it to friends on the Internet to get feedback and suggestions. A professional letter states you’re a professional.
Include Your Avails
Avails is a comedy biz term for the dates you’re available for work. There’s nothing more frustrating to a Booker than to go through your promo kit, watch the video, and then call you only to discover you aren’t available for the dates he has open. If your avails are in the letter or email, it makes you appear professional. This saves the booker time and will pay off in an easy booking. Remember, calling and booking comics is a great deal of boring work, so the easier you make it for the Booker, the more likely he is to use you.
Clearly State the Name of the Person Who Recommended You
Recommendations are the building blocks of a successful comedy career. Short of doing a guest spot, this is the most reliable way a Booker gets good comics to fill his calendar. If someone the Booker trusts recommends you, then your chances of getting booked are much better.
Mention That You Will Do a Follow-up Call in a Week
This lets the Booker off the hook because he won’t have to remember to get back to you. You’ve stated you’ll take responsibility and get back to him. Be sure to call when you say you are going to call. Consistency is the key.
Refrain from Writing a Letter Filled with Jokes
This is a business letter, not a comedic essay. I recommend you keep the body of the letter straight business. Then, if you want to write something funny, put it at the end as a quote or as a P.S… This will end the letter with a laugh after business has been taken care of.
Remind the Booker Your Materials were Requested
Bookers speak with dozens of new comics each week. If you mention you called and spoke with him, and he asked for your promo kit, this will make him curious as to who you are. Your cover letter should make him want to look at your picture, resume and view your DVD.
Here is a Sample of an Email or Cover Letter
Your Name in Header
Dear Mr./Ms. Booker’s Last Name, Date:
I’m writing to request a Feature spot in your club. I’m being recommended to you by Name of Famous Comic (link to comic’s website). As requested, my promotional materials on epresskitz.com/URL and my avails.
Avails for the next quarter:
Jan. 15 – Jan 30 (available)
Feb. 1 – Feb. 28 (available)
Mar. 3 – 7 (booked)
Mar. 9 – Mar. 30 (available)
Apr. 1 – Apr. 20 (available)
Apr. 22 – Apr. 30 (booked)
I will call to follow up on day and date. Looking forward to working with you. Thank you for your consideration.
Address • Phone • Email (hyperlinked) • Website (hyperlinked) • Epresskitz (hyperlinked)
In my next article, The Business of Stand-Up Comedy: Promotional Kit – Part 3, I’ll continue with an effective promo kit headshot.