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Comediennes Standing-Up on a Social Media Stage featuring Brittany Furlan

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photo1Having your friends see your stand-up comedy shows is awesome! But now it’s time to start making more fans! Create a name for yourself so that bookers and clubs will be confident in the fact that they can fill up the audience simply by putting your name on the flyer (or even better, the marquee).

So how do you do it? How can you use social media platforms to build your fan base? (I want to know too! So I set out to find some answers!)

As comedians, we are responsible for promoting ourselves. From my research, the general consensus is that social networking and social media apps are excellent marketing tools for us because they offer us another platform or “stage” upon which to perform. Yay! More stage time!

No matter which social media “stage” you choose, most people agree that you need to:

Be Funny! If they enjoy your sense of humor they will stick around to hear more. If they really like your funny, they will share your funny.

Don’t be spammy or over-promote! Of course you want to let your fans and followers know when they can see you live on stage, but don’t have your entire feed be filled with show flyers and ads for your comedy album. Nobody wants to follow a spammer, but almost everyone loves to follow people that truly make them laugh.

Interact with your audience. If people are replying or leaving a comment, reply to them and never underestimate the power of a “thank you”.

There are many social media stages to perform on. You may not have time to play on all of the stages all of the time but it doesn’t hurt to try them all out and discover which one is the best stage for your particular funny. I’m not going to go into great detail about these apps because they are easy to find and most likely you are already using them (you just may not be using them to your advantage as a “stage” yet). My social media presence is a mess. It’s full of photos of my meals, random poetry, arts and crafts, lovesick rants and every so often a joke. Don’t be me.

Twitter is great for one-liners whether they be topical or personal. Use hashtags so people that aren’t following you can find your profile while they’re exploring. If you love to write and your sense of humor comes across nicely through the written word and you need more than 140 characters to express your funny…try writing a blog on Tumblr. If you express yourself through observational humor, maybe use Instagram to share photos of funny things you observe out in the world. Add in a one liner in the description and then share it via Twitter and/or Facebook. Don’t forget the hashtags! And…consider making a Facebook fan page unless you never post anything “personal” to your “personal” Facebook profile.

My fave app is a new-ish one: Vine! Vine lets you record videos up to six seconds long on your phone and then share them. It’s a great social media stage for comedians because we are not only thinkers and writers, we are also performers. On Vine, your audience can see you, hear you and hopefully laugh with you! Some jokes don’t really come alive until you see them in person (or on video). Your inflection, your gestures, your twitches, and maybe even the way you look…are all part of your funny! Vine is a great way to share our “product” in a non-spammy way. Yes, Instagram now has a video feature as well…but, eh. And yes, you can also share video on YouTube — but in most cases making a Vine is faster and cheaper. (Plus, we’re going to talk more about YouTube, vlogs and webseries in a future post).

I have yet to use Vine to it’s full potential so I asked Vine celebrity, actress, and sketch comedienne Brittany Furlan a few questions. Brittany is currently the most popular female on Vine. If Ellen Degenerous was to create a Vine account today, she would probably get tons of followers just for joining. But Brittany wasn’t a household name when she joined Vine a few months ago. She gathered her 1.6 million followers from scratch.

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 by David Zayas Jr.

So….Brittany!! How has being Vine famous affected other areas of your career?
Let’s just say life has changed for the better. I no longer have time to do my own laundry (which is kind of great because I hate laundry), but nothing compares to the support I receive from my fans; without them, I would be nothing. I will be forever indebted to them.

I noticed that you’re in the “top 5000” on IMDb. Is that related to your Vine stardom?
Wow I didn’t even check until you just told me. So what does that mean? I get a date with Johnny Depp? I’ll take it! 😉 It has to be related to Vine because I don’t think my Tumblr with pictures of hedgehogs in pajamas is active anymore.

Why have you chosen not to have an “official website”?
I bought the domain name but I haven’t decided what my website should be yet. I don’t want to just have this gratuitous page about myself with 3,000 of my best glamor shots. I would want it to be something more than that…Like pictures of puppies in bandanas… That’d be pretty deep; that would move people.

What is your main career goal? Or what is your dream?
Geeze, now you sound like my parents. Haha. I mean, if I could get to have a career like Kristen Wiig or Melissa McCarthy then that would be it for me. I couldn’t possibly want anything more than that. I want to be able to repay my family for everything they’ve done for me and support them. And if that doesn’t work out then I’d settle for being Tina Fey’s footstool. Do you know if they’re hiring?

Besides consistently producing fabulous content, do you have any other tips or advice for someone trying to gain popularity on Vine?
Aw, so sweet of you to say. My advice for someone trying to gain popularity on Vine is to be yourself. Just like in life, if you do what you love and what you’re good at; the success will follow. If you’re good at comedy, then do comedy, if you’re good at stop-motion, then do stop-motion, if you’re good at painting, then paint, if you’re good at erotic asphyxiation, then do erotic asphyxiation (Okay, maybe not that last one). I know Vine has mostly been taken over by comedy but there are a lot of people on there who are great at so many other things and they are just as fun to watch (in my opinion).

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photo by David Zayas Jr.

 

Do you dream about Vine videos? Do you think in six second videos?
Haha, no I do not dream about Vine videos. My sleep is probably the only time that I don’t think about making Vines. And actually, it’s funny that you ask me if I think in six second videos because I actually think in the exact opposite. Whenever I come up with a Vine it always starts too long and then I have to chop it up and narrow it down so it can fit into six seconds. I am actually pretty excited to start making longer videos on Youtube because it will actually give me the chance to express my FULL creativity without being stifled in any way. However, I love Vine, and will continue to make Vines as long as Vine is around.

In general, how spontaneous are your Vines?
Almost all of my Vines are spontaneous. Unless a really good idea comes to me and I need help shooting it or actors that aren’t available, then I’ll write it down and save it for later. But 90% of the time, they just come to me and I put them out. That’s the beauty of Vine; the fact that you edit in camera and don’t need to shoot, then edit, then upload. It’s just so easy and convenient.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
OH! Yes! People want to know how old I am. I’m 13.

Thank you, Brittany! Funny answers, yes, but there is some good advice in there. Be yourself. As a performer you are your own brand. The product that you’re selling is yourself, your funny and your POV. So aim to be consistent with your brand whether you perform on stage at The Laugh Factory or in a six second video on Vine. Consistency is important because if people connect with your brand a few times and they always know what to expect and it’s always good…they will trust that brand and keep coming back for more. If you’re good at doing characters and fun pranks, like Brittany, then do that. Stay true to whatever your comic “voice” is.

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About Marilyn Anne Michaels

Actress/Waitress/Writer/Comedienne - Marilyn Anne Michaels is a member of SAG-AFTRA and the WGA. She trained at the Second City Chicago Conservatory Training Center and did tons of theatre before moving to Los Angeles in 2006. Marilyn co-created and starred in the award winning web series The Best Friend. Marilyn does not like writing bios.