In entertainment, it’s a common trend to commit to the hustle and get whatever gig you can to make yourself relevant. With this mindset, everything is a considerable opportunity.
For comics, it’s even more interesting because we are often viewed as the most “flexible” profession. Comics can be producers, actors, hosts, repertoires, roasters, etc., but it’s very difficult to do the reverse.
At the end of the day, we are always comics first. Even when we allow ourselves to adapt, we always come back to that comic lifestyle and way of thinking.
One thing I have noticed with the doubled down commitment is the desire for comics to do EVERYTHING. They want to gain traction as much as possible, but it turns into this never-ending cycle of chasing opportunities while wondering if they are even there or not.
This can turn itself into the quickest route to an unfruitful career.
Here’s what I have learned.
Doing so many things equals less of a focus.
There’s a saying that the quickest road to success is done by focusing on one thing at a time and is relevant to any plan of action.
I met a comic a few years back before starting Comedians on the Loose. I was about a year in; he was a few years longer in comedy but had multiple aspirations. When digging deeper I found out he was not only trying to do stand-up, but was also trying to produce shows, act, sing, and do improv (he really wanted to be on SNL). It made my brain do flips thinking about the time and energy it would take for someone to have all those focuses.
Fast forward to a year ago and he was completely burned out and had gotten nowhere. Do another fast forward to today and he’s moved back to his hometown because he was never really able to get a handle on making his mark in the scene.
I was somewhat sad to see this happen, but also not at all surprised. It’s very easy to overload one’s plate when you’re trying to make it.
Now, I’m not exactly sure what this comic’s ultimate goal was, but the reality is he had no focus. It all comes down to math: divided evenly, only 20% of his allotted energy went to each aspiration. 20% of anything won’t get you anywhere and the more you divide your focus the smaller chance you have to make an impact.
You have to let your passion guide you.
It’s always best to stick to what you are passionate about so you can build a strong foundation. If you are truly passionate about comedy, then building a foundation in that area and growing into other areas of entertainment is the best plan of action.
Even for Comedians on the Loose, we did not start producing until we had time in the scene to understand it better. We are still learning as we go, but the time in comedy before production will always be full of valuable lessons that prepared us to be producers.
Once you have established a footing somewhere then proceed to carve out other aspirations.
This doesn’t mean decline everything else if it’s not your current focus (you never know when a real opportunity will present itself). It just means give whatever your focus is the time it deserves.
You can have it all with a career in entertainment, just know that it shouldn’t come all at once. It’s a gradual climb to being that entertainer. Even if you do manage to do it all, having it all happen at the same type promotes a weak foundation where something will eventually crumble.
Got questions or something to add? Comment below and tell us your thoughts!