Last week I congratulated you for becoming a capitalist. I appreciate you coming back for more.
I know the majority of comedy writers are namby-pamby left-leaning do-gooders and you probably didn’t take kindly to being labelled as wannabezos with giant warehouses packed full of cheap shoddy merchandise stuck together by slave labour and brought to your door by minimum-waged operatives.
Business is changing. This isn’t one of those gleeful leftist rants that capitalism is in crisis and a socialist utopia is just round the corner – it’s a fact. Don’t take my word for it, read Kevin Kelly, the former Wired journalist and technovisionary who has called the future correctly many times.
The internet has taught us that we love to share. A funny video emailed to friends, retweeting jokes on Twitter, giving up our own for free, this website, these blogs, this is what Kelly calls “digital socialism.”
“When masses of people who own the means of production work towards a common goal and share their products in common, when they contribute the labour without wages and enjoy the fruits free of charge,” Kelly says, “it’s not unreasonable to call that socialism.”
There’s a catch, of course, which is that while we own the means, the owners of the platforms are not giving that stuff up too easily. Last time I checked Netflix and Spotify were still taking direct debits from my online bank account, and I’ve yet to notice a significant contribution from either of them towards royalties for the many shows I have on those platforms.
I’m not getting paid for writing these blogs. But they are part of my investment towards a future income. I’m hoping the work I do here will feed into the books and courses that can help comedy writers months or years from now. I am, whether I like it or not, investing in the business of selling my knowledge.
And that’s exactly what you need to be doing. Now. Not selling my knowledge, I mean you’re welcome to. But if you want a career in comedy you need to think about selling yourself.
Most of you are acting like entrepreneurs even if you don’t realise it.
1 You’re investing time
That brilliant script I mentioned last week that’s a minimum entry requirement into the business isn’t going to write itself. You’re already investing hours of your free time into the promise of future earnings.
2 You’re investing money
Some of you are paying money for courses, classes, books, podcasts. James and I are incredibly grateful to all of you who sponsor us via Patreon, which is also giving us the space and time to develop our expertise through blogs and podcasts.
But even if that’s not the case think about what you could be doing this minute that would be more financially productive than writing a script. A paper round for instance.
3 You’re a brand
Sadly for your bank balance not Russell, Jo or Katy, but as we’re always telling you, you have a unique selling point, which is you.
No one else has lived your life, experienced emotions the way you have, met or lived with exactly the same people as you. This doesn’t count for much if you want to be an epidemiologist or a tree surgeon but if you want to write comedy it is probably the most important aspect.
4 You have a strategy, even if you don’t realise it
You want to be a successful comedy writer, and you’re trying to write a script. For most of you, that’s it.
But there’s so much more you could be doing. So many possibilities, ways in which you can not only start to make progress but also chart that progress weekly, monthly and yearly.
Next week we’ll be looking at how to develop that strategy.