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Reflections on the art of selling comedy.

I've spent about 14 hours on a couple of flyers. Designing, tweaking and changing an idea from last week. Im sure if I was paying someone to do it, it would look nothing like this. I imagine it would be far far simpler, maybe even far far better. It probably wouldnt have so many words and I'd probably think it was brilliant as I hand over a few hundred quid and walk away with something Im stuck with. If I was charging myself by the hour, I'd be looking at a small fortune. It feels like its for free. But I see it as an investment of time. And hopefully a little payback will come through the door.. Anyway. you only get one shot at printing a flyer. Once you have a box of 4000 on the doorstep its too late to change anything.

To the trained eye, I imagine the design I reached has loads of flaws that defy convention. But it is eye catching, reflects what is going on at each venue and looks like something I'd go to if it came through my door. I hope, at the very least, they let a lot of people that didnt know, know there is comedy at the venue. One or two may have been regular comedy goers that moved from the city, they will absolutely get it. But I dont expect my ticket page to be swamped, its a slow process. But its even slower if the people that would love it don't even know its on.

Putting on gigs in small pubs leads people to have a low expectation, there are also alot of not-very-good gigs in pubs. You only need to have one or two bad experiences to be put off for good. In many people's mind, a good comedy night should probably be in a purpose built club, art centre or theatre. I imagine the ticket price also puts some people off for similar reasons. Convincing them otherwise is half the battle. So lets try flyers!.

A disproportionate amount of the time was spent on the seemingly simple bits. Like moving small boxes around the page.... up abit, left a bit. back abit. repeat. The choice of words too. 'THE BEST HEADLINERS' no 'THE VERY BEST HEADLINERS' no THE FUNNIEST HEADLINERS' This went round in circles. Im not sure it matters as much as I gave it headspace for. But 'FUNNIEST' seems to be what every punter would be looking for. The images of the acts were black and white on the colour backgrounds. That looked cool for a while. But on reflection they looked like the living dead. The colour brought them back to life. So on it went, click click click .

Printing them will cost about £100. Thats roughly ten ticket sales before I see any return. On the ticket sales page I will add a compulsory tick box asking if they came via facebook/google/ flyer etc. The number of people that see the flyer and know there is a comedy night at the pub will be far more than the tickets it sells. Some of them will be interested, the majority won't. Those that are may be encouraged later down the line when they are reminded on facebook or when they are in the pub and make the connection. I guess you could say it's a long game. Anyone printing flyers expecting the business to explode within a week is likely to be disappointed,

I haven't made a general flyer for a few years, relying on Facebook has worked, but it has become increasingly harder to fill the last ten to twenty chairs. Facebook has it's merits but the reality is there are far more people not using facebook day to day than are using it. Those that use it infrequently will never see my posts because of the mysteries that are the algorhythms. I am also acutely aware that of the many people that do use Facebook as much as I do, a huge number have probably opted to not see my posts. Thats fair enough. Ironically, of all the people, they are probably the one's that need a good comedy night the most.

With the standard of headline comedians I put on in a village pub; Scott Bennett, Mick Ferry, Ian Stone, Mike Gunn, Adam Bloom, Arthur Smith etc, I would expect that any comedy fan in the area that knows a little about stand up comedy would be falling over themselves to get a seat to see them in a tiny Fringe -type room. For the most part, the audience members I attract have no idea who the acts are and just come for a good night out or 'something different'.

The 'something different' groups may never come back again, or it may be over a year before they return. This leaves much work to be done to keep finding new 'something differents' and ' 'I didnt know about its' every month. Fortunately each month or so there are a few 'How did I not know about this sooners' and they come back whenever they can. They also go away and tell friends about it, which has far more impact on a person than any flyer design could achieve

So anyway. FLYERS! The plan is to print 4000 of each design and get them through as many doors and in as many shops and offices as possible.

Then wait.... And while I am waiting I will continue to spam the shit out of facebook groups and forums and keep swearing at the handful of empty chairs each month.

I welcome your thoughts on the design. It's job is to let people know that there is a regular comedy night in a certain pub and it has really good comedians. And if anyone wants to know more about it, it tells them where they can find information and tickets. I think it might work. .




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