Comedians Wanted!

levity_entertainment_group_logo_smallerEvery once and I while I get an email from someone promoting their event, wondering whether my ‘readers’ will be interested. In most cases it’s a case of someone wanting to reach people for free. I have no problem with that. It’s creative and it means they are doing their job shamelessly promoting their event.

I do my best to vet the event, to make sure it’s not just some “bringer show,” that wants to exploit the students in my classes or my readers, have them bring all the students friends to “their” show and collect “their” door money. Those I DO NOT promote, because there is no mutual benefit for my readers or my students.

Once in a while I receive a great opportunity for up-and-comers to get exposure. I believe this is one of them.

Levity Entertainment is promoting an online comedy competition, where the winner will be able to appear before Levity talent agents for possible representation.

Who Is Levity?

Levity Entertainment is owned by Robert Hartman and Judy Marmel Brown. They are the majority owners of the “Improv” comedy clubs and they are vertically leveraged with a couple of other production companies responsible for specials that appear on HBO, Comedy Central and other channels. They are some pretty heavy hitters in the comedy arena and only positioned to become bigger sluggers. So, in a nutshell, they are GOOD TO KNOW!

Here’s the Deal

All you have to do is submit your stand up comedy video (no more than 5 minutes) and follow the instructions on the page.

Remember to please read all instructions, details and official rules before submitting! Then keep up with the project and maybe you might be luck enough to be chosen for this new comedy project. The great thing about this project is, no matter where you are from, Levity will fly out out to L.A. to be a part of this!

So what are you waiting for? Give it a shot and GOOD LUCK!

Comedian Lessons | How To Install Open Office

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I’m excited at all the comments on my video “How to write Comedy” where I write 15 jokes in 30 minutes (real time). One of the recent comments I received on the blog page was “I’m going to go out and purchase Word so I can do this!”

I was surprised that someone would go to that trouble. But considering that Word is about a $300 software, I thought I could help save this person some money. So I put together this quick video on how to access, download and install Open Office.

Open Office is a open source software. It is FREE and it is a very powerful office suite, much like Microsoft Office, without the high price tag.

I hope you find this video helpful and it helps you get to writing jokes and comedy material faster and more efficiently!

Comedy Videos | Free Video Conversion Software

video cameraVideo is your calling card! As a comedian I like to post my videos online. I also post teaching videos, joke-writing videos, and other comedy video presentations. One of the problems I run into is that I need my video to be a specific format and it always seems like it’s not the right format for the hosting web page I’m trying to post it on.

More recently, the iPad and iPhone revealed that they don’t play flash video! So, if you want iPad and iPod users to be able to watch your videos, then you’re going to have to convert the video to mp4 format. I would recommend it since, in a recent report up to 20 percent of video watchers out there are watching videos on their iPads or iPhones. Considering that 9.1 million people Google the word “comedian” on a monthly basis, that’s just short of 2 million people that can’t see your video! That’s a lot of viewers! Don’t miss out on this demographic. Get your videos seen!

I’ve done some research when it comes to this and I have for you on my blog two video conversion programs that you can download and use for FREE! That’s right bitches, FREE! All you need to do is download it to your computer and start using it to convert your videos to the mp4 format so it’s viewable on Quicktime (Apple’s video format). Why would I take the time and write a blog about FREE video conversion software? Because (Big, hairy, creepy voice) “I love you!”  Here they are:

 

ANY VIDEO CONVERTER

Also, here’s something really cool “Any Video Converter” the screenshot you see below, also has a built-in YouTube video download application! That means you can download YouTube videos to your computer! Cool shit, huh? All you have to do is go to this page and download the the sofware by clicking the orange box that says “Download Free Video Converter.”

 

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HANDBRAKE 

Handbrake is an excellent video conversion software too! It’s fast. It’s easy. And it gets it right when it comes to the right conversion that will work with Apple video. The only shortcoming with Handbrake is that it does not seem to support Windows Media Video files, meaning that if you have a .WMV file, it does not recognize it and therefore won’t convert it. So grab handbrake for FREE and give it a test run. See how easy you can convert your favorite videos. And remember, it’s FREE!

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I hope this helps you to get your video up online. Keep your eyes open for more information when it comes to video and how to shoot it, get it online and get it recognized so that people will find it.

Comedy News | Obama Speech Writer Turns Exec. Producer

lovett_jon

Jon Lovett, a former speech writer for President Barack Obama, who left the administration over the summer to pursue a writing career in Hollywood, has made good on his goal. NBC has given a put-pilot commitment on a new 30-minute single-camera, half-hour comedy, "1600 Penn."

It will focus on the lighter side of a fictional president’s dysfunctional family living at the most famous address in the world. (Imagine what the swing-set in the backyard looks like…"Hey kids, whatever you do, don’t press that red button!").

This is the first comedy about The White House and the president to reach one of the major networks. Prime time had some success with NBC’s "West Wing" and ABC’s "Commander in Chief," and Comedy Central had a short-lived series that featured a ‘Dubya’ look-alike called "That’s My Bush," which lampooned a sitting president while UPN did a conceptualized comedy set in the era of Abraham Lincoln when they did "The Secret Life of Desmond Pfeiffer." But this is the first 30-minute sit-comJason Winer of Comedy hit Modern Family.

This is a pretty significant event in the television world for a couple of reasons. One is mentioned just above, but NBC has only given out a handful of put-pilot commitments for the 2012-13 season, which shows the faith NBC has in previously untested Lovett.

Lovett will be on the comedy project as executive producer and will be joined by Modern Family director, Jason Winer and "The Book of Mormon" star Josh Gad also as executive producers.

From a comedy perspective, I’m interested to see how this will play out and if it can support a substantial enough television audience to keep it on the air. In my view it would need really solid writing that focuses on the family’s struggles, (ala the Huxtables in "The Cosby Show" or The Baxters in "Family Ties"), because it won’t float on the concept alone.

Another Comedy Clinic Student Signs with Agent

Chris Rubeiz

Chris Rubeiz came to The Stand Up Comedy Clinic as a talented actor and a writer who had done some improv and had some acting jobs. He had also written and shot some sketches and shorts. But he had never done stand up and always wanted to.

In the first couple of weeks Chris struggled with material. His act was all about taking a sh*t at work…(not in the office but in the restroom), all while his boss was in the other stall. Could be funny, but I let him know the limitations of having an all ‘scat’ set.

Well Chris did what few people do…he really went to work. In 8 short weeks, Chris wrote and developed a brand new 7-minute comedy set that had teeth and and definite laugh points and best of all structure. I emphasized that it is the structure in your comedy that will set you apart from other comedians and it will give you definite, crisp laugh points.

After he performed his culmination set in The Belly Room at the world famous Comedy Store, he was asked back to perform in the Main Room. Now I’m under no illusions as to why he was asked to return. Despite the fact that his set was solid, he brought a bunch of people to the club that night and the booker wanted him to repeat that feat and bring more to the Mainroom. After all, it is a “bringer” show.

I try not to knock another man’s hustle and I get the game. I didn’t come up through the trenches of comedy participating in bringer shows and I have no qualms sharing my feelings about them.

In my classes I teach at my comedy studio, I try to be as transparent as possible about what a bringer show is and how it works. I want my students to have no illusions about this business—both the positives and negatives. I suggest to my students to use the ‘bringers’ to their advantage and only participate when they can benefit from them. (I.E.: If an agent is coming or a manager or casting director, or if there is a chance to get a great tape).

So Chris called and asked my advice. He said he wanted to try the Mainroom once and the booker had told him that an agent was going to be present. I’m not going to mention his name, but I know the booker and he has a good reputation and is a very talented comedian himself, (that should narrow down the choices, huh?). The gig fit the criteria we discussed so Chris did the Mainroom.

Low and behold, the booker once again exceeded his reputation and the agent was in the room. Chris brought his people, rocked his set and the agent asked him for a meeting. Chris signed with Jamie Ferrar of JFA this week.

Navigating this business requires good instincts and a thoughtful approach. Chris is one of those guys who is not only creative and talented but also a thinker. He approached this with thought and good instincts and it paid off. His talent, work ethic and drive will continue to take him down the road of success and I’m glad to be a part of it! Congratulations Chris! Jamie is getting the better end of the deal.