Thom Britton discuss how to get booked in theatres and how he markets his show, including how he writes press releases, how he hands out promotional material, and why videos are an important promotional channel.
Thom Britton is a fire-eater, a classically trained Chef, and a director and producer of circus shows. He has worked for Master Chef Rick Bayless, opened for Green Day, and has won acclaim for his one-man show, FreakShow & Tell.
WILLIAM: I had the pleasure of speaking with Thom Britton who’s a fire-eater, a classically trained Chef and a director and producer of circus shows. He has worked for Master Chef Rick Bayless, opened for Green Day and has won acclaim for his one-man show, “FreakShow & Tell.”
In this episode, we discuss how he gets booked in theatres and how he markets his show, including how he writes press releases, how he hands out promotional material and why videos are an important promotional channel. Let’s get into it.
Hey Thom, thanks for coming on the show.
THOM: Thank you for having me.
WILLIAM: To start off, can you give us a little bit of a background about yourself and FreakShow & Tell, and also, why you started Danger Circus.
THOM: Yes, so I started in the circus side show when I was 16 or 17. I can never pin it down, it’s been so long. I’m in my mid-40s now. And even speaking with my mother, I was 16 or 17 is the closest we can get to when I first got a summer job in the carnival.
I wanted to learn fire eating and glass walking and sword swallowing, and mostly, I really wanted to learn how to bark or talk the front of the show, the part where you see in movies the guy going, “Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, behold the bearded lady,” which no one has ever talked like that ever. But the ability to sell, to razzle dazzle, that appealed to me.
I got the gig after trying for a year. So I went there one summer, “No” is what I was told. I went back the next summer and got a yes. And then, you know, swept the floors, fixed the paint jobs, cleaned the toilets, you know, whatever you do as the low man on the totem pole, as a kid who did a summer job.
But, they also let me work the box. They taught me how to eat fire. They taught me how to do various– the electric man, all the classics in sideshow, the bed of nails, the glass walking, all that.
Over subsequent summers, I got more and more involved. I was more and more trusted and was more and more important to the team. There were people now newer than me, so I wasn’t the low man, so they cleaned the toilets and I told them what to do. And then, I gradually got into that.
When I was in my 20s, I started taking that from being a street performer and working side shows into a theatrical environment, a little bit by way of bars. I would turn your bar into a theatre, just adjust the seats and bring in backdrops, make it look a little bit more like a black box. But that didn’t last very long.
After about four or five months of doing that, I found that for the same price, I can get a black box. They’re 300 bucks a night with a bar cost to rent out on a Thursday; 300 bucks a night, with a black box theatre in a major city cost to rent for a couple of hours on a Friday.
WILLIAM: And why did you decide to make that transition?
THOM: I prefer to see a show in a theatre. So, I write shows I imagine me sitting in the front row. What do I want to see? And so, I write shows really to sort of please myself first and then, hopefully, and this happens or doesn’t, part of being an artist is like, “I don’t care if you like it. If you don’t like it, I’ll just close it,” but I’m happy to have written it. I’m not going through focus groups and that nonsense. I wrote a show, I’m proud of it. If you don’t want to see it, cool! F* off. And if none of the people want to see it, cool, I’ll F* off. Fine! I’ll close the show. I wrote a new one. Do you like that one? Because I do.
So, I always write with me, my integrity comes first, and I just got lucky. My taste is at least common enough where 10 people sit next to me in the front row and go, “Yeah. That was pretty good. That was okay. I’ll come see it again.” But, I’m not afraid to just close the show. I’m not trying to sell Diet Coke, you know. I want to be an artist. So, I want to move it in and it was a hard fight because they wouldn’t accept me, and then getting people to come seeing your sideshow.
When you say a freak show or a sideshow, what you’re probably picturing is gross–and I agree. Those people are gross. I don’t want to watch that crap either. I wanted to change their perception at the same time, so I fought on two fronts. One, the theatre folk wouldn’t accept me because I was too low brow, and two, the people who wanted to see the show were like me and thought, “Eww! Gross! I don’t want to watch that crap.” So, I had to also create my own brand of side show.
WILLIAM: How long did it take you to kind of write, rehearse, and get FreakShow & Tell ready?
THOM: Writing was a quicker process because I already had a lot of the stuff, so I’d already been performing say like fire eating, for example. I’d already been performing fire eating for 12 or 13 years, and I’d been through 50 or 60 different types of scripts and variations on a script. Am I’m going to do really funny, kind of stand up, am I’m going to do a bunch of like crotch jokes, or am I going to do a bunch of Shakespeare references or now, it’s a mix of both, and I’m going to curse or not on stage. Am I Lenny Bruce and I’m dropping F* bombs or am I Jerry Seinfeld or Jay Leno and I want fun for the whole family?
I’d experimented with all of that and found my place. So, when it came time to rewrite it for FreakShow & Tell, I had the experience and the backup data, I guess the experimental data, of thousands and thousands of shows. And that was true of every act that’s in FreakShow & Tell. So, the actual writing process was probably a few weeks but based on many, many, many years of doing it.
And then, rehearsal was mostly a matter of me memorizing. There are 10,838 words in my script of FreakShow & Tell, so say 11,000 words.
THOM: And it’s a beast, you know, it’s a one-man show. It’s an hour and 20 minutes. I’m on stage the entire hour and 20 minutes. If I take a sip of water, I’d do it on stage. There’s barely even a black out. So most of the rehearsal was–and I wrote it–but it was remembering which joke do I use here, because I have six versions, which one did I pick, and having someone, also, directing myself, just because I couldn’t find a director at the time. I didn’t have a budget.
So, I had someone with the script in front of them to be my reader and say, “Nope! That’s wrong.” “No! Go back. Go back. That’s not the line. The line is duh, duh, duh, duh, duh.” “Oh, crap! That’s right. I rewrote that. Okay. Let’s go back.”
That was most of rehearsal because the rest of it, I knew. I knew how to eat fire. I knew how to do electric man and how to jump on broken glass. I know what costume I wanted to wear. I know what my makeup looked like, et cetera.
WILLIAM: That makes sense. So, once you had your show together, how do you decide now where to perform and do you reach out to theatres and black boxes, or do you try to have them reach out to you to have them bring you and to perform?
THOM: Both. I much prefer to self-produce. I would rather partner with them or I’d rather them be my customer. I’m sorry; rather, I’d be their customer.
So the way I want it to work is, say you have the William Rader Theater. I would like to– and at this point, I’ve got a network and a Rolodex, right? So I’d say, “I’ve played at the William Rader a couple of months ago and it went great. I’ll go ahead and call him back and see if he has time,” if you have a slot, you have a run available, say, next March 2017.
So, I’d pick up the phone and say, “Hey,” and talk to your booker or whatever, “Just wondering if you have any dates in spring of next year.” And you’d go, “Yeah. I got about three months available, Friday and Saturday. How long of a run are you thinking?” “I’m thinking six weeks.” I know about how much you rent it. If it’s gone up, you don’t raise it 100%. You raise it 10 or 15%.
Or, sometimes, they value me because I bring in a younger demo, so if you have any running next month after me, I bring in the younger crowd and not much else does. So, I’ll actually get about a 10 or 20% discount from theatres because of that. Something I ask for, by the way, if you do a show that brings in– Young, for theatre, by the way, is 50 years old. That’s young! Those are babies. If you run a theatre, you’re going to panic because your audience is dying every week.
So, I bring in 20-something, 30-something. They didn’t even have a number for that. That’s pre-natal to a theatre and that’s their lifeblood. So you say, “Yes, I’m going to charge you 800 bucks a week.” “Okay, great. Send me the contract.”
I prefer it that way because now, I’m your customer, which means I get to be the needy one. I get to make demands. I get to ask. It changes our relationship. If I’m calling you and begging for a job, you are my customer and you get to be needy and you get to make demands, and you get to whine and cry, and I’m supposed to serve you.
I will partner with a theatre in what’s called two walling or 50-50 split. And because I bring in a younger demographic, this is also something to note. They will say no to everyone else. Because I bring in a younger demo, they have no interest in helping you produce “Annie” for the stage. I always use “Annie” as an example because your great aunt loves “Annie,” and I could give a crap about “Annie.”
But, if you come in with something that brings additional value, i.e. 25 girls will come see the show, they might say yes quicker. 50-50 is exactly what it sounds like. Nobody pays nobody. You try and sell tickets. I try and sell tickets. I show up, we see who’s there. At the end of the night, we divide the money in half. You take your half, I take my half, we go our separate ways.
WILLIAM: And that’s a win-win. And I think this is, you know, a lot of theatres, their biggest fear and a lot of performer’s biggest fear is, “Hey, if I bring in this performer or if I go to this theatre, how can I make sure that I sell enough tickets that I at least break even, but really, that I’m profitable and I make money off of this.”
So once you have that theatre, either by them paying you or two walling it, four walling it, however you get that theatre, what do you do to make sure that you’re selling tickets and you’re putting butts in those seats?
THOM: So I got a bunch of– And we did a video thing about this on your website.
THOM: So, I’ve got kind of a little bit of a flow system, but I have a belief that we over shifted to online. So, the simple answer is, you do a press release and real quick, a side bar. I’ve noticed that if you play in small towns, which I have, specifically, I played a place called the Arleigh Theatre in Illinois, a beautiful Vaudeville era theatre that’s now a movie house. They want to do live stuff.
I played with the Danger Circus. We partnered with Atlas Obscura and they wrote the press release for us, and they wrote kind of a bombastic press release, a little less dry than what I would have written. My press releases tend to be very “Who, What, When, Where, Why. Thank you. Good night,” and I expect the journalist, then, to do a little decorating, however their style is. The local paper, front page, top left–prime real estate–just front of the press release, copy/paste with a picture of us. They didn’t change a word. They even used our headline.
So, what I learned is don’t write those dry press releases. I’ve been writing my whole life. If you play the small markets, because you have a chance to write your own advertisement, don’t give up that chance.
So, I’ve had people on Fiverr.com write a few and I cobble them together and change them because you never get exactly what you want for 20 bucks or 10 bucks.
THOM: And that’s the budget I have. I can’t pay someone what they’re worth, find someone really good and pay them $300 to write me a really good press. It’s an article–I didn’t say press release–write an article about my show, but keep it to a couple of a hundred words.
WILLIAM: And that’s something that I can vouch for, too. When I do my own shows, that if you write a very interesting press release, that gets printed verbatim because people are trying to decrease their workload and that’s something easy for them to just throw in and publish.
THOM: I mean, even the headline, that’s what blew my mind. You know, William Rader’s Incredible Magic Show Lands in Arleigh, and you go, “What?” That was just for like the email to get your attention for the subject line. But, nope, they print it: The Most Amazing Show in the World this Thursday at the library.
In the small markets, I’m assuming in Chicago, when I’m just shifted over from last year when I discovered this, I’m assuming the Chicago Sun Times isn’t going to do that, but I’ll let you know. That’s one–press release.
Two, print something. I know it’s expensive. I know it sucks. I know it’s hard. Print something–posters, post cards, flyers. I did business card-sized posters for the college market, business card-sized flyers. Five thousand of them were like $30, thirty American dollars. Come on, for 5,000.
WILLIAM: And then, where do you hand those out?
THOM: Everywhere. Okay. This is where the PT Barnum comes in. So where is your demo? So when you picture your audience, what kind of show do you have? Who’s your demographic? For me, it’s the theatre-going younger folks, so people kind of like me, but slightly younger than I am now. So, I’m looking for late 20s, maybe mid-20s to just about the time you’ve got kids, so say, early 30s at the latest.
That’s my major demo. I always have some gray hairs, always have some 16-year-olds, but I try not to allow under 18, although I don’t really card you at the door, but like a regular movie. I may drop a few curse words. I may bore you if you’re 12. I’m going to talk about Physics before I eat fire for 10 minutes. Don’t bring your 10-year-old to see the show. If you wouldn’t bring them to see a TedTalk, don’t bring them to see me.
So, where are they? Well, those are my hipsters. So they’re in certain neighborhoods in Chicago. Those are my yuppies. They’re in certain neighborhoods in Chicago and they go to certain places. So, Starbucks and I are chasing a very similar demographic–the 27-year-old guy with a little bit of money to spend, the 25-year-old girl with a little bit of money to spend. We want them in the seats.
So, I hit coffee shops, hipster coffee shops. Cool! You’re too cool to go to Starbucks, where do you go? When in Chicago, the answer is Dollop. You go to Dollop Coffee Shop. So, I go there. And I go more than once and I dress nicely. If you dress as a wizard on stage, like really like Gandalf, then dress a little eccentric, you know, dress a little. Don’t go in there in a shirt and tie if you dress like Gandalf on stage or worse, in a Metallica t-shirt and jeans, looking like every other dude in the place.
If you are this crazy character on stage, be a little crazy; maybe tone it down a bit. Be a little crazy offstage. You, for example, William, I see you always in like a bow tie kind of shirt, sort of casual suit with bow tie combo.
THOM: If I were your publicist, I would tell you, “Look, when you go hand out flyers, maybe just a bow tie and a shirt, maybe leave the jacket at home,” but a little different, right, and iconic. And wear the same thing– Here’s a big tip. I have a marketing outfit. It hangs in my closet. It’s a suit. I wear suits all the time. That’s just who I am. I’m a bit of a nerd.
I have a nicely tailored suit that I always wear. You ever read the book “Audition” on how to audition as an actor? I stole it from that. When you go to callbacks, you wear the same sweater you wore so that you make a note, right, because these producers, the guy who wrote this book say, “That was great, but where was the nice guy in the suit jacket we saw last time?” and they’d already seen it. They forgot.
WILLIAM: That makes sense.
THOM: So every time I go in, I’m dressed the same–the same gray suit–not the guy in the charcoal suit. No! The same gray suit, same haircut, same facial hair, same with how you do it. That’s what I say, “Hey, how you do it.”
Then, I talk to him like a person because I’m not a robot, but I want to cue in on memory tricks. I want to reverse mnemonic, right? I want to force them to remember me. That way, the third year in a row, you come into their coffee shop, the manager goes, “Oh, it’s the fire-eater guy! What’s up man? How did the show go?” “Oh, yeah, yeah, hang them in the back, same as last time. Absolutely. Hang them all. Who cares? Put them everywhere.” Are you getting those buttons? I thought you had cool buttons.
That bartenders will start selling your show. In fact, bartenders get in free to my show because bartenders talk to everyone. Bartenders, waiters, servers, cab drivers, if you live in a part of the world where a cab driver will come to your show in Chicago, they tend to be foreign-born and working 20 hours a day. So, I can’t get a cab driver to come see my show. I would love to. They talk to everybody.
I don’t charge a bartender. I don’t charge an actor or actress. You get tickets. I don’t give a crap about VIPs. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton cannot get a ticket to my show for free. I don’t care about them. I care about waiters and waitresses because they will sell my tickets.
WILLIAM: How many days before the show do you go out and hand out these in places where these hipsters hang out?
THOM: So, I start probably too early, but that’s because I like to go back a few times, because I like to– I’m doing two things at the same time. One, I’m advertising my show, obviously. Also, I’m laying ground work with the staff. So that, “Hey, how are you doing?” I’m the guy who wears a gray suit all the time, as far as you know. I have one set of clothing, as far as you can tell. I’m the guy coming in to check even though it’s only been three days.
I drop a fat stack of flyers. I’m coming in to check and I’m buying a cup of coffee. And I’ll buy the same cup of coffee. Again, I’m reverse mnemonics. If I’m in the mood for hot cocoa, I don’t give a crap. I’d buy a Red Eye, so I’m going to get some Red Eye. I’d get a Red Eye everywhere I go even if I don’t drink it. Buy something. I’m a customer also. Leave a nice tip. Thanks very much. I don’t try and do jokes for them if I were a magician or juggler.
I don’t try and juggle for them. None of that crap. I’m there to make a really good impression and drop off my flyers, spend a little coin, buy the same thing, wear the same thing, say the same things. They don’t remember your name–Todd, Tom, Jeff, Rob. I don’t care. I’m the fire-eater guy. I’m that circus dude. I’m the guy doing a show two blocks away. That’s what they need to remember next year. So, I’m on two parallel tracks, so I probably start too early. I’ll start a month in advance and come by every few days.
WILLIAM: Now, what are other ways besides posters, postcards, flyers, what are other ways that you can get people to come in to the show, kind of with a low cost or low budget?
THOM: So, low budget, low cost, your only option is online. That’s all you got. So you make your Facebook page. You make your whatever. If they’re listening to this podcast a hundred years in the future, maybe MySpace is popular again and we’ve all gone back to Friendster. Use whatever the current thing is. Learn how to use it. Google it. Watch YouTube videos on how to post events.
Use Eventbrite because Eventbrite and WellAttended.com both get crawled by search engines. So you set up your tickets even for free events. You set up registrations to collect data, et cetera. You work your mailing list. That stuff is free or low cost. You’re getting thousands of people on a mailing list that starts to cost you, but I think up to like a couple of thousand people, almost all of them. MailChimp to throw out one name, but there’s a bunch of others.
WILLIAM: Yeah, MailChimp, it’s the first two thousand subscribers are free.
THOM: There you go. If you get two thousand subscribers and no budget, you’re doing great. You’re going to have a budget very soon.
THOM: I don’t know how you got two thousand subscribers with no budget. It’s like you are a god at getting people to sign up for your mailing list. Carry on.
So, my focus this round is everything I do because I got five or six things that I get going at the same time and I tend to focus on one more than the others each time because I learn a little bit by focusing on one. I’m not saying that I’ll do all of them. I’m going to drop off flyers. And absolutely, I’m going to print stuff.
I’m going to work with the theatre. I’m going to ask what they do that has worked and helped them. So if they say, for example, at the Arleigh, “Send us a press release. We have a great relationship with the local paper,” so I made sure to get that press release out because they’ve told me that’s the channel they want to use as the channel they’ve had the most success at. That’s the channel they’re excited to use. If they had said posters, bam! Posters are then mailed the next day.
WILLIAM: And then obviously, the press release worked.
THOM: Yes. It was fantastic. They expect it, I mean, it was the first time they’ve ever done it, so success is measurable on how you define success, right? It wasn’t sold out. It wasn’t even half sold out, but they expected zero to eight people and we had 45 paying customers at 20-something bucks a head. They were thrilled. They had expected 10. You know, to have that kind of crowd 400% more than expected–a success. It was like 40 more seats I could have sold. You know, to me, it’s half a house, but to them, it’s twice what they expect or now it’s four times more than they expected, and they got the prestige.
So now, they’re contacting me, as of a couple of weeks ago, “Let’s talk about coming up on October again. Let’s talk about spring again.” They’re excited to see if 400% becomes, you know, a full house.
WILLIAM: And how long do you need to be in a theatre? If you just do a one-off show, that’s going to be a lot harder to sell out than if you do a run of shows, is that correct?
THOM: In my opinion, yes. If your show is good, you’ll get word-of-mouth advertising. I think you need to front load is what I call it. We spend $10,000 advertising it and hope to make it all in one night or all in one weekend. I prefer to spend about $1,000 total over a six or eight-week run and let you talk about it on Facebook like you bring your friends. People would come back and bring their friends to see my show.
That’s thrilling and validating as an actor, as a performer. Oh, you like it so much you brought your roommates. That’s really sweet. Thank you. But, as a business person, it also means that I can get away with not having to take out a TV ad for $500 just to sell tickets.
There’s something to be said for front-loading it, spending $12 grand landing in town, selling up that night and moving out to the next town. But I have not been able to do it and I’ve found success with the Week 1 sells okay, Week 2 sells slightly better, Week 3 is sold out. Now, you can’t get a ticket.
WILLIAM: And in those three weeks, how many shows are you doing per week?
THOM: I tend to do three but only because the third one is free. I do Friday night and Saturday night. I pay for those two and usually, like say, the William Rader Theatre, you can’t just pay for those two. So, when I rent by the week, it includes Friday, Saturday and a Sunday matinee.
So I do a Sunday matinee because I’ve already paid for it, but I’ve never sold out a Sunday matinee. It’s just a few dollars of free money I get to entertain, I mean, if I’ve got a hundred seat theatre, I’m lucky if I’d get 20 to 25 people in the theatre on Sunday, but it would have been empty. I never find a theatre that says they’ll sell me Friday and Saturday without throwing in Sunday. It’s just sort of useless to everyone. So I make the extra little bit of money and I talk to 20 to 25 people who will come in as customers. They had a good time. I had a good time. I enjoy doing my show. So, I would do two in a perfect world. But, you know, I paid for it.
WILLIAM: And then three weeks of that is about what the run would be.
THOM: I do six to eight.
WILLIAM: Oh, six to eight weeks.
THOM: But I’m in big markets, I mean, I guess in a tiny town, you could do two and everybody has had a chance to see it. But then, you repeat it quicker, you know, you could do two and then three or four months later, do two weeks. I do six to eight. I do it once to twice a year.
THOM: In a city, you know, and then I’ll go to New York and then I’d go to Toronto and do it, go to Dallas, cities everyone in the world has heard of. If you’re working out in the corn, in a podunk part of the world, yeah, you could do a monthly show and do it all year round and get the same 15, 20, 25 people.
What’s your metrics for success? Do you need to fill Wembley Stadium or would a hundred people putting $10 each in your pocket? After you split with everybody and pay everybody, you have $10 per head for 100 people per month just in your home town, is that success to you, because you got a grand a month coming in for working two doors down at the coffee shop?
WILLIAM: Right. Exactly.
THOM: Now, there’s your budget for your next show. Or, does success for you mean you quit your job as an accountant making $150,000 a year and transitioning into being a wizard who swallows swords on stage? You have to find your own definition of success.
Success, for me, means about 80 to 90 people putting about $20 bucks each into my pocket two times a week for the rest of my life. And so, I move from city to city because I can’t do that even in Chicago. I can’t do that even in New York or Paris. I need to move a little bit.
WILLIAM: Now, just to wrap this up, do you have any last-minute advice that’s one thing that event producers can do today that they can start increasing their ticket sales?
THOM: There’s no way you know everything about Facebook or YouTube. There’s no way you know everything about Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat, and those are the big five. Right now, in 2016, when we we’re recording this podcast, those are your jefes right there. You need to know every tip, every trick.
If somebody has a viral video on YouTube and you know them, you need to buy them coffee and talk to them about what they did to get there. If you got a friend who is killing it on Snapchat– I don’t mean that they got a million followers, I mean, they’re really funny. You’re like when you get a Snapchat from them, you think, “Oh, this is hilarious” or “This is interesting. Look how cool their life looks.” Hire them to do your Snapchat. There’s no way you can’t write. Now, go to YouTube and type in “How to better in Instagram,” “How to better use Facebook,” “How to better create events,” how to make sure your banner, your header is engaging.
Facebook just did this thing where they’re making sort of like formats, templates you can use to design your ad. It just came out a few weeks ago. I’m learning about it right now. Facebook is now Instagram integration has happened. So your Facebook video, if it’s less than 30 seconds can also be at Instagram and have the same ad by through Facebook.
WILLIAM: It is very convenient.
THOM: Yeah. So in Facebook, okay, I had $100 budget, please advertise my show. They now say, as a couple of weeks ago, maybe three or four weeks ago: Would you like to also do some Instagram in that budget? And you just click, “Uh-huh.”
But now, I’m writing one ad for two platforms, which is a bad idea, usually, so I’m trying to figure out if it’s better for me to say, “No. I’d rather create a whole different video for Instagram,” or if I can create this magic bullet that’s great for Facebook and great for Instagram, but we use them so differently.
So you see, even me, I’m learning every day. So if you want to put butts in seats right now as a promoter for no more money, become a little more proficient at the social media game and keep doing that as to the rest of your life, because as soon as you learn Twitter, they’ll sell Twitter and they’ll go out of business and there’ll be something else.
WILLIAM: And especially video, you think that’s where it’s headed, then?
THOM: I think that’s where they engage. For me, that’s for the engagement. You know, I had a video I’d put up three or four days ago with 13,000 views. That, for me, is huge. I usually get a few hundred views.
So I had a video at six and a half minutes of my act, sort of watching the best advertisement. They watch about four and half minutes of it currently, current data. They watch most of it. I guess they’re skipping the big finale. I don’t know. Maybe they’re skipping ahead. So, I don’t know which four and half minutes of that six and half minute program you’re watching.
But, they’re watching the majority of it and they’re watching in bigger numbers than I normally have. I put up a video yesterday. It’s got 130 views already, which again, that’s what a video gets for the lifetime on my little tiny– I’m nobody. I’m the opposite of Gangnam Style over here.
For an independent promoter to have one video with 30,000 views and another video coming up in less than a week, that’s huge for me. And so, that means I need to learn what I’m doing because I got lucky and stumbled into it. I don’t know why. Why did that video hit more than others? Why did Gawker pick it up? Why did Boing Boing and all these, why did they write a little blog post and linked to my YouTube video? What changed?
WILLIAM: Then you can replicate that in the future and then, hopefully, get hit after hit after hit.
THOM: Or how do I monetize because it was great that 30,000 people saw it. Eight people liked my Facebook page, .0001 person is going to come to my show. So, I didn’t have a customer yet. I got all these views, but I got to get a million to get 5 customers, you know, because it’s great you watched my video in Venezuela, but I perform in Chicago. So, how do I inspire you or get it locally or whatever? So, that’s what I’m working on right now.
So yes, I think that video was where it is currently and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be in the future. Video was how we advertised in 1950 as soon as we invented the television. We invented a way to sell Borax on the television.
WILLIAM: Well, thanks a lot, Thom, for coming on the show. How do we keep up with you and FreakShow & Tell and also, Danger Circus?
THOM: Yes. So, you could Google any of that. So, Freakshowandtell.com or freakshowtell. I use an ampersand and Google has ampersands so you can do A-N-D or you can just do leave it out freakshowtell.com. And the other one is easier–Dangercircus. Dangercircus.com is my three-man show, so it’s me paired up with a magician and a juggler as kind of a super group, and that’s the show I mostly tour.
Freakshow & Tell, if you’re listening around summer of 2016, you’ll be able to find my marketing online and steal ideas and see what I’m doing, which is kind of the point of this. If you’re listening further in the future, FreakShow & Tell only plays in Chicago and only plays once or twice a year. Danger Circus is what you want to search for if you want to find press releases and video and see where we’re moving forward as a group to steal ideas. That’s what I want you to do. I don’t want you to do what I did with the ones you’re looking at great marketing and steal the ideas and apply them to your own market.
WILLIAM: And if a theatre wants to invite you out to perform in their theatres, what’s the best way for them to contact you?
THOM: Just go to one of the websites. We’ve got our agent’s number on the website and if they have very simple questions, they can always message me. If you’re actually looking to fill a season, I would just message our agent and skip the middleman, which is me. But, yeah, if you got a very simple question, you can always just message our phone numbers on the website. You can text. We’re small time. There’s no reason to put a bunch of barriers. If you call that number, it rings my cellphone; not a problem.
But if you’ve got, you know, if you’re like, “Hey, we’re looking to fill the fall season,” I’m just going to forward you to my agent. So either way, I don’t mind. Just ring me up, shoot me an email, all that’s on my DangerCircus.com and that all goes to the same three guys and we’ll sort it out on who’s FreakShow & Tell, who’s this, who’s that.
WILLIAM: Okay. Excellent. Well, thanks a lot for coming on, Thom.