Creating company vision and strategy takes more than a launch of a website. in order to make lofty goals a reality. While I’m proud to announce Stage Left Entertainment LLC finally has a new home on the interweb, still there is far more work to be done in order to say we’ve accomplished our end goal. Let me just start by saying, the plan to redesign and deploy a new website has been in the works for a very long time. I had every intention of overhauling the extremely outdated site that once was housed at www.stageleftcomedy.com. So what took me so long to finally get it done? It was realizing it wasn’t just the site that needed a complete overhaul, but the business startup itself.
I’ll be honest, when this all started several years back, after I took the company over, I didn’t have a vision of what I truly wanted to accomplish with Stage Left. I just wanted to book comedians into my rooms, help them get paid more for their shows, and make some side money for myself. I also wanted to bring in the kind of comedians I really enjoy. After more than 25 years of creating art through spoken word, it is a hard pill to swallow, having to admit there was a true lack of creative direction. I have no excuse either; I was lazily putting it all together, but still making it work.
I had always struggled with taking on the identity as a booker, I still do. I certainly want my body of work and all of my accomplishments to come from my career in stand-up comedy, not from being a booker. Anyone who truly has a passion for this art form is going to want that first. There is this other side to comedy though, a bleak and desperate side, and most of us who have the hungry passion for comedy despise that end of it. We want it fixed. Here is a part of the problem; unless stand-up comedy is being produced on the big arena level, the average person has a negative view of it. That issue, along with several other major factors tarnishing our beloved art, made me feel it was my duty to try and fix it.
Eventually I began taking the booking side seriously, finally realizing how necessary it would be to restructure, organize and define a realistic path for Stage Left. It became evident it was more important to restructure the entire business model, not just our online identity. I still struggle with the choice to commit to the role of booker vs that of a full-time touring stand-up comedian, but I want to help redefine our industry just as much, if not more.
Today is a big day for me. Believe me, I’m extremely thrilled about the launch of our new site. I’ve put a lot of hard work and thousands of hours into making this day a reality. Trust me, there is reason for celebration, because this has been a long and rocky journey, but I’m realistic about the hard work we still have ahead of us. We’ve only set up base camp at the foothills of a Gigantic undertaking. I’d be an idiot to think the launching of this site is the missing link to make this day a game changer.
In order to make all of this come together, there needs to be a real plan of action, one with a concrete strategy. Aside from that, there needs to be collaboration among colleagues, as well as experts who know how to help paint the vision I have in mind. Those already helping, we share the same vision, and this has been an amazing team effort in putting it all together.
THE PLAN LAID OUT:
- Produce outstanding comedy shows that make everyone happy with the results. Accomplishing this means committing ourselves to a set way of doing things on the production side.
- The result is a continually evolving document laying out a step-by-step guide to putting on a successful show in the form of a comedy production handbook. It is available for any venue interested in having comedy at their location. Find it here
- We want to help comedians become better at conducting themselves with more professionalism, taking their front-facing business more seriously. If comedians have that issue resolved, than they can focus more on what they do best, which is writing well-crafted material, and making people laugh.
- Accomplishing this means teaming up with trusted partners that will assist them in putting together professionally packaged promotional kits. These kits should include quality filmed video reels and professional looking headshots.
- In addition to having the resources necessary to provide comedians with press kits, we want to also roll out online features that become a set of tools comedians can use to streamline their day-to-day tasks, whatever they may be.
- If we want this industry to evolve to where we can demand more compensation for our craft, we have to start doing a better job of packaging ourselves. The reason this so vital is because, as comedians, we are the product.
- We want to help small businesses get more return on their investment. It can’t be done by just using a poorly designed sign that reads, “Comedy Tonight!”
- We must arm our clients with their own set of offline and online tools. For example: A resource of educational documents, hands-on training, their own websites with event calendars, branding and communication platforms such as newsletters already built in.
- Assist them in building an online presence and a way to reach out to their customer base. We want to help our clients understand how to best market an event so eventually they are promoting comedy nights themselves. Why that is so important is because their audience wants to hear from them, not us. This form of engagement will always be more successful in the long run, and it is our job to educate them.
Staging comedy from the ground up became our mantra because that is exactly what it is going to take in order to change the industry. Today’s launch is all about setting the stage for our agency to accomplish these goals. Today’s launch puts in place a platform for both comedians and venues to depend on in order to make their shows better. For the first time ever, we will have the ability to work together as a team, stepping away from the old ways of doing things, which up until now has been this “It is us against them” mentality.
I want to thank everyone who has helped me make this a reality, one that is finally heading in the right direction. Stage Left LLC has a clear vision for our path forward. This is a big day, not just for me but for everyone involved, because we have all put in a lot of hard work to accomplish this momentous step. It really is only just a step though, phase one on what is going to be a long and exciting journey.
Comedian Lonnie Bruhn is the owner and Chief of Daily Operations of Stage Left LLC