We all have our own vision and what we expect for ourselves in comedy. Whether it’s as stand-up or a production venture, a clear vision is important for your overall business.
That vision may adjust over time, but there are often elements of a vision that stay intact because it wouldn’t feel right if we changed something completely.
Staying true to a creative vision can be difficult, especially when you take an idea from the scene to the industry. The scene allows for more creative freedom while the industry has corporate interest involved and you have to make sure your brand appeals to other brands and their values.
For some it can be ultimately distressing to have a concept and see it get shredded and formulated into something completely different. This happens all the time in the industry, but it’s up to you to hold true to what you believe.
Here’s some helpful tips to help you power through while maintaining a true vision of your brand.
Understand what isn’t needed
No concept is perfect right out the gate and it often takes months or even years to fine tune something that will ultimately go through more changes to keep up with industry demands.
Think about the process of writing jokes. You test out material at open mics and figure out what works. Over time that joke gets built up and you take it to a club where it kills. If you’re lucky enough, maybe a network producer sees you and tells you they want to offer you a late night spot (obviously this is the dream).
It’s a tremendous offer, but oops! You have to perform a clean set when your material is moderately profane and slightly explicit. You then have to go through a clean up and editing process of your own material to perform certain jokes so they’re television ready.
Making changes almost feels like starting over, but if you look at it in a way of being adaptable it’s more of a fat-cutting process. Maybe all those profanities aren’t needed? Maybe you can say something in another way that isn’t so explicit?
In some ways you have to look at it as meeting in the middle. Even if you have something like a show concept and bring it to a network, it’s highly likely they will assess and tell you what isn’t needed because it is difficult to market. They’ll take what they can market and leave the rest out.
Know what you aren’t willing to change
In conjunction with knowing what isn’t needed, you also need to know what you are not willing to change in your concept.
Maybe a show you created started with a fun vibe of two hosts playing off each other and having a cheeky relationship that made it fun for the audience and then all of a sudden someone says change that and use one host. It would change up the whole concept inevitably.
While other entities have their own limits of what they deem acceptable, you need to have yours as well. If not you will ultimately get pushed around in this industry and have your name on products you aren’t proud of putting out there.
Work with others that will support your vision
The most important thing to understand with creative vision is that it really matters who you work with and like-valued individuals are your best bet. If one entity doesn’t support your ideas it’s always an option to leave and take things elsewhere. It’s virtually impossible to appeal to everyone because what might work for one entity may be completely off brand for another.
Even with stand-up, your brand isn’t going to work with every market. You may be more of a Comedy Central comic versus an NBC comic (neither is a bad thing). That may change over time as concepts and brands are always changing and evolving and demand may change where your brand appeals to a previous entity’s needs.
The main thing to remember is staying true to what you believe in because you never want to give up too much of yourself to fit industry needs. Giving up too much can result in a loss of brand identity which never bodes well.
Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!