2010 Comedy Goals Revisited

On January 1st, 2010 I posted my comedy goals for the coming year. Since it’s the last day of the year, it’s time to go through them and see how I did. Black text is the original goal and bold text is how I did.

Performing:

  • Get on stage 450 times this year
    I was on stage 531 times this year
  • Do at least 8 road gigs
    I did 9 road gigs
  • Perform at 3 different colleges
    I performed at one college and did a fundraiser show for a college soccer team (but not at the college)
  • Perform at Rutgers University twice
    I performed at Rutgers twice for stand up and once for my motivational speech
  • Bark only 1-2 nights per week while having spots 6-7 nights a week
    By the end of the year I was averaging barking 0 times per week and doing (non open mic) spots 5-6 nights a week
  • Average 4 spots per weekend night
    I averaged around 2 spots per weekend night
  • Get passed at 2 different clubs in NYC
    I didn’t get “officially passed” at any clubs, but do 2-3 club spots per week
  • Practice my full set at home daily
    I only did this for one week, when I was preparing for a 45 minute set. I would practice new jokes at home before trying them out on stage, but not nearly every day
  • Enter 5 comedy contests, place in 3 contests and win 1
    I applied to 1 comedy contest and was not accepted
  • Enter 5 comedy festivals, get accepted and perform in 2
    I applied to 1 comedy festival and was not accepted
  • Perform in 15 improv shows
    I performed in three real improv shows and went to 15-25 “jam sessions”
  • Perform in 3 sketch shows
    I performed in one sketch show
  • Act in 20 web videos
    I acted in 8 web videos
  • Give my motivational speech 20 times
    I did my talk once
  • Get booked to 2 commercial / modeling gigs
    I did not do any commercial gigs and wound up on one (unpaid) print ad
  • Get a TV / Film credit
    I did not get a TV or Film credit

Producing:

  • Produce my own weekly show where the average attendance is 30 people
    I produced a weekly show for 40 weeks of the year, but the average attendance was much lower than 30 people
  • Start or join an improv group
    I did not start or join an improv group
  • Run a weekly open mic
    I help run a weekly mic, and sometimes run a second one

Writing:

  • Write every morning
    I wrote in a daily journal for the first ten months of the year and then stopped
  • Get up to having 45 solid minutes of stand up
    I did a 50 minute set once this year, but would not say I have anywhere near 45 solid minutes. I have 15-20 of what I consider solid minutes, and another 15-20 of “If you really liked me…” minutes
  • Write 75 blog posts that are not performance critiques
    I wrote 39 non performance critique posts
  • Write a performance critique of every set within a week of the performance
    I more or less kept to this, although I think I was 10-14 days behind most of the time
  • Write 52 sketches
    I wrote 32 sketches
  • Write a spec script
    I did not write a spec script
  • Write a pilot for my original sitcom
    I wrote an original sitcom pilot and co-wrote a second original sitcom pilot

Learning:

  • Take 3 improv classes
    I took 2 improv classes
  • Take 2 film acting classes
    I did not take any film acting classes
  • Take a commercial auditions class
    I took one commercial auditions class and then did some one-on-one commercials coaching

Traffic, Marketing and Finances:

  • Get my facebook fan page up to 1,000 fans
    I’m at 377 fans
  • Get to 200 RSS subscribers
    I’m still at 22 subscribers
  • Get 2,000 unique visitors a month to the blog
    I average about 1,500 unique vistors a month
  • Earn $8,400 from comedy this year
    I didn’t reach this goal, but am still happy with my earnings
  • Find a 20 hour a week job that pays $40 an hour (doesn’t have to be comedy)
    I did not find a consistent job at that hourly rate
  • Have my ebook downloaded 5,000 times
    My eBook has been viewed at least 1,600 times

Overall grade for the year: B-

I had a productive year, but it could’ve gone even better. I fully nailed 10 out of 35 goals, partially achieved another 12 goals, and completely missed on 13 goals.

Out of the 16 goals I’d consider most important, I achieved 10 of them. Next year I will try to limit myself to less goals so I don’t dilute myself too much.

The thing I’m most proud of is the amount of times (530+) I was on stage this year. Exceeding my stage time goal is always my number one goal, and I will up my target number of times for next year.

Comedy Goals for 2010

Since writing down goals worked so well last year, I’m going to do it again. So here are my comedy goals for this coming year.

Side note: I recommend everyone write down their goals (not necessarily comedy) somewhere and not look at them for six months. You’ll be surprised how much of them you’ll have achieved.

Performing:

  • Get on stage 450 times this year
  • Do at least 8 road gigs
  • Perform at 3 different colleges
  • Perform at Rutgers University twice
  • Bark only 1-2 nights per week while having spots 6-7 nights a week
  • Average 4 spots per weekend night
  • Get passed at 2 different clubs in NYC
  • Practice my full set at home daily
  • Enter 5 comedy contests, place in 3 contests and win 1
  • Enter 5 comedy festivals, get accepted and perform in 2
  • Perform in 15 improv shows
  • Perform in 3 sketch shows
  • Act in 20 web videos
  • Give my motivational speech 20 times (details coming soon!)
  • Get booked to 2 commercial / modeling gigs
  • Get a TV / Film credit

Producing:

  • Produce my own weekly show where the average attendance is 30 people
  • Start or join an improv group
  • Run a weekly open mic

Writing:

  • Write every morning
  • Get up to having 45 solid minutes of stand up
  • Write 75 blog posts that are not performance critiques
  • Write a performance critique of every set within a week of the performance
  • Write 52 sketches
  • Write a spec script
  • Write a pilot for my original sitcom

Learning:

  • Take 3 improv classes
  • Take 2 film acting classes
  • Take a commercial auditions class

Traffic, Marketing and Finances:

  • Get my facebook fan page up to 1,000 fans
  • Get to 200 RSS subscribers
  • Get 2,000 unique visitors a month to the blog
  • Earn $8,400 from comedy this year
  • Find a 20 hour a week job that pays $40 an hour (doesn’t have to be comedy)
  • Have my ebook downloaded 5,000 times (details coming soon!)

Holy crap, I just set 35 goals! I can barely count that high. Last year I had 14 goals and achieved 12 of them. Here’s to achieving the same proportion of goals this year!

Comedy Goals 2009: End of Year Review

At the beginning of the year I posted my goals for stand up in 2009 and then I had a mid year review. Well today is the last day of the year, so let’s compare goals with what actually happened. Go public accountability!

BLACK text is my original goal, and BOLD text is my update.

Performing:

  • Get on stage 150 times this year
    I was on stage 271 times this year
  • Submit an entry to 2 comedy festivals / comedy contests this year
    I auditioned and competed in two comedy contests. I didn’t make it out of the preliminary round of either one: I came in third place in one and sixth place in the other. I also submitted to two festivals and wasn’t accepted to either.
  • Perform at 3 college shows
    I produced and performed in exactly three college shows at Caltech before dropping out. The audience turn out was great for all three shows (between 40 and 70 people each time).
  • Do 50 shows in front of a real (people that are not comedians) audience (barking for time counts for this)
    I did 181 shows with real audiences
  • Practice 10 minutes of my material outloud each day, without notes
    I have been practicing 6 days a week on average

Producing:

  • Start producing a recurring show
    I produced a recurring show at Caltech. It only ran three times because I dropped out and moved back east.

Writing:

  • Write 100 blog posts
    I wrote 264 posts this year. However, when I set this goal, I wasn’t planning on doing a performance critique of every set… Not counting performance critiques, I have 44 posts (including this one).
  • Write (something, anything) every day
    I started the year writing 3-4 times a week, I’ve written “morning pages” every day since November 11th and plan on continuing to do this daily for forever
  • Write one spec script
    I did not write a spec script
  • Write 5 short sketches
    I wrote 21 sketches this year. 15 during my three week class and 6 afterwards.

Learning:

  • Take an improv class
    I took five improv classes and taught a weekly workshop for two months

Traffic & Marketing:

  • Get my facebook fan page up to 150 fans
    I’m currently at 196 fans. Please go here to become my fan on facebook and to help me beat my goal by even more :)
  • Get 50 RSS Subscribers
    I’m currently at 23 RSS subscribers. You can subscribe here
  • Have 200 unique visitors a month to the blog
    I averaged 279 unique visitors per month, with a nice uptrend in the last three months

Overall grade for the year: A-

Holy shit, this whole goal setting thing is amazing. When I wrote these goals at the beginning of the year I didn’t think I’d do five of them.

Turns out I fully achieved 10 of my 14 stated goals, more or less achieved 2 other goals (write everyday and practice every day) and completely missed two goals (RSS subscribers and spec script). I realize that 10 + 2 half credits out of 14 doesn’t make for a 90% but I’m not in school anymore and I achieved the most important goal of performing enough times on stage.

Since this worked so well, my goals for the coming year (which will be posted tomorrow) are going to be WAY more ambitious. Then again, I seriously raised the stakes on my succeeding at comedy this year, so if tomorrow’s goals don’t seem slightly insane, I’m not trying hard enough.

My Comedy Mindset

I try to approach every time on stage as a learning experience and a step towards improving as a comedian. 

I have two metaphors that I try to keep in mind, especially after a bad show. I thought I’d share them as maybe they’ll help someone else get through a tough patch in comedy or any other passion (or job) they have:

  1. Every performance is a brick in the wall of what will eventually become an amazing castle.
  2. I’m in the middle of a dense forest and can’t see around me. I have an axe, and instead of worrying about my situation, I need to just put my head down, get to work, and keep chopping. If I chop for long enough, I’ll get out of the woods. (I’m a huge Rutgers Football fan and I borrowed this metaphor from Coach Schiano.)

As much as I want to kill it at every show, this isn’t realistically possible at this stage of my career (although that’s still my goal every time). Therefore I view each show as a step towards the next one. One bad show won’t make or break my career  — although some shows are much more important than others in this respect. 

Have additional questions on this or other topics? Click here to learn about my mentoring services.

Other Comedy Tips:

  • 10 Steps to Become a Great MC
  • 3 Tips To Planning A Successful Comedy Show
  • Are Any Topics Off Limits?
  • Barking Tips
  • Clayton Fletcher: Auditioning Q&A
  • Clayton’s 7 Tips
  • Clayton: When To Become A Full Time Comedian
  • Comedy Economics
  • Dealing With Hecklers
  • Eleven Observations About The Comedy Business
  • Five Basic Improv Techniques
  • Five Tips For Your Comedy Event To Run Smoothly
  • Free Comedy Content Economics
  • Hi-Tech Comedy Interviews
  • How To Make Money In Comedy
  • How To Put Together A Great College Comedy Show
  • How To Record Your Own Comedy Album
  • How To Self Publish A Book Through Kickstarter
  • Interview with John Vorhaus
  • Intro to Improv
  • My Comedy Mindset
  • My Writing Process
  • Not Connecting With The Audience?
  • Organizing Jokes
  • Overcoming Stage Fright
  • Producing a Show: Getting Audience
  • Producing a Show: Running The Show
  • Producing a Show: The Comics
  • Producing a Show: The Venue
  • Road Work Tips from Danny Browning
  • Stealing Jokes – Ben's Thoughts
  • Ten Tips To Succeed During a Check Spot
  • The 8 Different Types of Comedy Audiences
  • The Pecking Order
  • Treat It Like a Job
  • Types of Shows for Beginners
  • Types of Spots
  • What To Do When Nobody Laughs
  • Why I Won’t Be a Pro Snowboarder
  • Your First Stand Up Performance
  • Comedy Goals for 2009

    This past summer I tried writing down goals for the first time ever. I didn’t look at the list until a few days ago, and realized that I had managed to complete, or come close to completing, ALL of the goals I wrote down. I think it was in Finding Your North Star that the author wrote something like “There is something magical about writing down your goals. It’s as if by comitting it to paper, you’re much more likely to achieve them.” Since I’m more likely to lose paper than blog postings, without further ado, here are my comedy goals for 2009:

    Performing:

    • Get on stage 150 times this year
    • Submit an entry to 2 comedy festivals / comedy contests this year
    • Perform at 3 college shows
    • Do 50 shows in front of a real (people that are not comedians) audience (barking for time counts for this)
    • Practice 10 minutes of my material outloud each day, without notes

    Producing:

    • Start producing a recurring show

    Writing:

    • Write 100 blog posts
    • Write (something, anything) every day
    • Write one spec script
    • Write 5 short sketches

    Learning:

    • Take an improv class

    Traffic & Marketing:

    • Get my facebook fan page up to 150 fans
    • Get 50 RSS Subscribers
    • Have 200 unique visitors a month to the blog