THE DIRECTOR'S PAGE
From time to time, this page will feature an article from Jimi on various topics, usually about the Network, but sometimes we may just let him ramble a bit! Take the time to read this, enjoy, comment, etc. -Webmaster.
A WORD ABOUT SHOWCASING, by Jimi Yamagishi
"It's JUST a showcase"
We’ve heard THAT one about a zillion times. What makes it different from a "regular gig"?Same people, same songs, sometimes even the same venue.A real artist understands this. A real artist puts their heart & soul out there on that stage if it’s one or one thousand in the audience. As a singer-songwriter myself, I know how hard it is to get excited about playing to an empty house. But I also know how to avoid that happening. It just takes a lil’ work & a lot of who you are already, using a paradigm shift. (whoa! fancy words!)First, a story.Once, I was at an open mic downtown, & there were just 3 people in the room. Me & two others. So we swapped a few songs, talked about stuff, & the one songwriter that was still a beginner promised to send us demos. The demos were rough, & she had been turned down by our affiliated label. But I saw the potential & helped her get her first CD cut. The project did okay, got airplay overseas & continues to sell on Cdbaby. The other guy that was there became the CEO of a respected Hip-Hop label, & spoke at one of our first Wed. meetings.Bottom line of course, ya never know who might be that ONE person that’ll help ya on your way up. Imagine if any of us saw the poor turnout & said “this sucks” & walked out? You think it would be friendly if our paths ever crossed again?Okay. So Attitude is first.Next is PROMOTION.You’re heard it said there’s no such thing as bad publicity. While that’s not quite true, it is true that the more people see your name, the more they will remember you. Whenever election time rolls around, you see dozens, maybe hundreds of campaign signs plastered everywhere. Sure, it’s annoying, & you may not even know the issues or what a candidate is all about, but you ABSOLUTELY know the names. So when you go to that voting booth, who’s gonna get your vote?Translated to showcasing: You see that Joe is playing every showcase in town. You hear that Joe is @ a lot of events. His email spam is on your computer at least once a week, & he’s also left flyers at the neighborhood grocery store. You’ve never heard him play, & now you see his CD is available on CD Baby. Yes, you will check it out. Maybe even buy it. Or maybe finally make an effort to go to another event ‘cuz you know Joe is gonna be there. And, of course, when you finally meet him, there’s a bit of familiarity… “OH! YOU’RE JOE!”.
A great example of how far promotion can take you is Angelyne. If you’re in LA, you know. If not, check it out! 20 pages of google!PR makes a difference.
Sometimes, a venue barely “makes bar” i.e. sells enough drinks &/or munchies to pay the utilities & help for the night.With only 4 or 5 acts, if each act brings less than 10 people, you won't fill the house, & management may not feel justified in keeping it open. Even our regular 3rd Wednesday showcases, with 15 people playing, we won’t make bar unless you each bring 3 friends. Do you HAVE 3 friends? If not, see the first item. We could charge a cover to make up the diff, but if you can't get people to come see you for FREE, you think they're gonna pay?Many venues will just stroke ya & say "thanks, you're wonderful" & never book you again. We’re in touch with each of you prior to our showcase events so we know your situations & reasons for not promoting. They don't hold water. It's the same internet at a friends house or in Brazil. It's the same phone on the wall in your pocket or in a booth. Crashed computers & no way to call out are easily worked around if you’re career is important. If the head of A&R at Warner sent you an email asking when you were playing next, you sure as heck would find a way to tell ‘em.How do you know that stranger in the audience last week wasn’t that guy? Or the cute redhead in the corner isn’t a Maverick Records scout?Just a showcase? Why are you reading this? Why do you play an instrument? Why do you write songs? Why do you sign up for the chance to play on stage, at our showcases?Either way, passion, paycheck, or a combination of both, it all requires a performer & a listener for any kind of communication or commerce to take place. A showcase is a place where all of that can occur. Back to that paradigm shift. You’re a creative person that wants to communicate.
If something’s good, you’ll tell your friends. All three of’ em. I hope I’m one!