How to Get in Comedy Festivals

How to Get in Comedy Festivals

Submissions are now open for the 2016 Scruffy City Comedy Festival.  Here is how you can improve your chances to get into, not only the Scruffy City Comedy Festival, but other festivals all across the country.

As many of you know, I (Matt Ward) also help run the Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  This year was our 7th Cape Fear Fest. Since the inception of the festival I have watched hundreds and hundreds of submission videos myself.  In addition, I have spoken with others who run comedy festivals and discussed with them the things that they look for when it comes to selecting comics to perform in their festival from submissions.  The following is a summary of the most important things.

1.) Be Funny

Yeah, No shit.  Be funny is kinda like a Realtor saying “location, location, location”.  Sounds great and of course it is true, but what the fuck does it mean?  Well, a few things actually.  First off, be funny in your submission video. We know what WE find funny, but an audience laughing at your jokes is pretty helpful to influence how funny we feel a bit is.

2.) Be Original

Are your premises and/or punchlines unique, ones we haven’t heard others do, and genuine?  There is nothing less funny to the seasoned eye/ear than someone who is getting laughs in a room with jokes we have heard elsewhere or by using topics that are tired, common and played out or simply approached in a lazy manner. This isn’t about censorship, this is about hard work showing through in your writing.

3.) Make a GREAT Submission Video

What is a GREAT Submission Video?  One that is high quality, easy to see you on stage, easy to hear you speaking and hear the audience laughing and showcases a chunk of your better material.   Make sure your video is the length requested by the festival you are submitting to. Cut out the host. No one needs to hear them introduce you. Cut it to the moment you touch the mic. Below is a list of common mistakes I see all the time when reviewing submission videos.

*Bad Lighting

*The video is private or requires a password

*The video has a fucking ad in front of it. Seriously??

*Bad Sound Quality

*Host doing three minutes before actual performer who submitted the video is onscreen

*Doing recording at a poorly attended show or open mic

*Recording video horizontal on a smartphone.

*Having your laughing buddy/spouse hold the camera, making them the only laugh heard on the recording.

*Making your video clip private on Youtube so it can’t be viewed by anyone but you.

*Recording a ‘Bringer’ show.  Yes, we can tell, mostly because the audience is laughing at ‘non’ jokes and stuff that isn’t as funny as they are making it out to be.

4.) Have a web site

If you are submitting to comedy festivals, you should have a web site. You can have one for free, doesn’t have to be fancy, but it allows promoters to refer someone to a single space that YOU control to view more about you.  Don’t understand computer boxes?  Get one of your computer savvy friends to make one for you that you have all the passwords to.  HAVE. A. WEB. SITE.  Don’t have  a web site, it doesn’t count you out, but it does make a difference to ME more-so than to other comedy festivals. Your web site can link back to us, and that is important for SEO and for other promotional reasons.

5.) Have a head shot

If you are submitting to comedy festivals, you have to understand that these festivals WANT to promote an image of you.  Why not take a few minutes one day to have someone capture who you are as a comic or person.  You don’t even need a microphone in the picture, it’s cool, we know comedians use microphones, you ARE submitting to a COMEDY Festival after all.  Did you know that an Iphone or a Samsung S6 or above can capture an acceptable HIGH RESOLUTION head shot? Toy around with it and watch this youtube video to learn how to do this yourself.

6.) Don’t WAIT until the last day to submit

We all collectively as festivals view all of the submissions we receive.  However, if you submit earlier, we can take the time to view your submission with fresh eyes and ears.

That’s really all there is to it.  So if you don’t have a good submission video already, plan in the next month or so to film a few different shows to make a reel that is representative of what you do.

 

Matt Ward

Gatlinburg Improv Fest returns to Smoky Mountains

THE 5TH ANNUAL GATLINBURG IMPROV FEST RETURNS TO SWEET FANNY ADAMS THEATRE IN GATLINBURG
GIF 2016, 2 Days, 5 Improv Classes, 12 Improv Groups, 5 Improv Shows
Every year we invite improv groups to come perform at the historic Sweet Fanny Adams
Theatre in Gatlinburg, Tennessee Laughs and fun abound. Suggestions are taken from
audience members and the hilarious scenes created on the spot are completely unscripted.
Several improv coaches also teach $15 improv comedy classes that are open to everyone.
Improv Classes will be held Saturday, March 5th, during the day. Class Schedule coming
soon.

FANNY ADAMS THEATRE ON MARCH 4 & 5
Ian Covell and Highwire Improv Co. from Atlanta
Shenanigans from Lee University in Cleveland, TN
Featuring 12 Improv Comedy Groups:
Einstein Simplified from Knoxville
The New Fangles from Gatlinburg
The Adult Table from Atlanta
Full Disclosure from Knoxville
The Maybe Pile from Chattanooga and beyond
Nashville Improv Co. from Nashville
The Improv*ables from Knoxville
Red Pill Players from Atlanta
LOL Nashville from Nashville
The Blast from Atlanta

Where: Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, 461 Parkway (Traffic Light #3),
Gatlinburg, TN 37738, ph: 865-436-4039
When: March 4-5, Friday @ 8pm, 10pm, Saturday @ 6pm, 8pm, 10pm
Tickets: $10 or $25 for a weekend all show pass – Order online at

gatlinburgimprovfest.net, or at facebook.com/gatlinburgimprovfest,

or by phone at 865-325-9712

Show Schedule:
Friday, March 4, @ 8pm The Improv-ables, The New Fangles, Nashville Improv
Friday, March 4, @ 10pm Einstein Simplified, LOL Nashville, Improv Jam
Saturday, March 5 @ 6pm The Maybe Pile, Shenanigans, Full Disclosure
Saturday, March 5 @ 8pm The Blast, Red Pill Players, The Adult Table
Saturday, March 5 @ 10pm Ian Covell and Highwire Improv Co., Improv Jam

GIF 2016 will be the 5th annual Gatlinburg Improv Fest. Festival producers James and
Krisha Newport are excited once again to have these shows and classes at the amazing
Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre in Gatlinburg, TN. James, previously with SAK Comedy
Lab in Orlando, FL, has almost 30 years of improv experience, teaching, performing and
producing. Krisha is well-known as the morning co-host on radio station Q100.3 in
Knoxville, TN. They really love bringing the joys of improv comedy to East Tennessee.
“It is always a great time and we hope you’ll be able to join us in all the fun and laughs.”
To learn more visit gatlinburgimprovfest.net, our Facebook page, or call 865-325-9712.

How to be selected to perform at the 2015 Scruffy City Comedy Festival

Submissions are now open for the 2015 Scruffy City Comedy Festival.  Some of you are thinking “Great, another festival I can get a rejection email from…”  Well, here is how you can improve your chances to get into, not only the Scruffy City Comedy Festival, but other festivals all across the country.

As many of you know, I also help run the Cape Fear Comedy Festival.  This year was our 6th Cape Fear Fest. Since the inception of the festival I have watched hundreds and hundreds of submission videos myself.  In addition, I have spoken with others who run comedy festivals and discussed with them the things that they look for when it comes to selecting comics to perform in their festival from submissions.  The following is a summary of the most important things.

1.) Be Funny

Yeah, No shit.  Be funny is kinda like a Realtor saying “location, location, location”.  Sounds great and of course it is true, but what the fuck does it mean?  Well, a few things actually.  First off, be funny in your submission video. We know what WE find funny, but an audience laughing at your jokes is pretty helpful to influence how funny we feel a bit is.  The 2nd thing we will cover in #2

2.) Be original

Secondly, it means your ideas are unique, ones we haven’t heard others do, and genuine.  There is nothing less funny to the seasoned eye/ear than someone who is getting laughs in a room with jokes we have heard elsewhere or by using topics that are tired, common and played out.

3.) Make a GREAT Submission Video

What is a GREAT Submission Video?  One that is high quality, easy to see you on stage, easy to hear you speaking and hear the audience laughing and showcases a chunk of your better material.  Below is a list of common mistakes I see all the time when reviewing submission videos.

*Bad Lighting

*Bad Sound Quality

*Host doing three minutes before actual performer who submitted the video is onscreen

*Doing recording at a poorly attended show or open mic

*Recording video horizontal on a smartphone.

*Having your laughing buddy/spouse hold the camera, making them the only laugh heard on the recording.

*Making your video clip private on Youtube so it can’t be viewed by anyone but you.

*Recording a ‘Bringer’ show.  Yes, we can tell, mostly because the audience is laughing at ‘non’ jokes and stuff that isn’t as funny as they are making it out to be.

4.) Have a web site

If you are submitting to comedy festivals, you should have a web site. You can have one for free, doesn’t have to be fancy, but it allows promoters to refer someone to a single space that YOU control to view more about you.  Don’t understand computer boxes?  Get one of your computer savvy friends to make one for you that you have all the passwords to.  HAVE. A. WEB. SITE.  Don’t have  web site, it doesn’t count you out, but it does make a difference to ME more-so than to other comedy festivals.

5.) Have a head shot

If you are submitting to comedy festivals, you have to understand that these festivals WANT to promote an image of you.  Why not take a few minutes one day to have someone capture who you are as a comic or person.  You don’t even need a microphone in the picture, it’s cool, we know comedians use microphones, you ARE submitting to a COMEDY Festival after all.

6.) Don’t WAIT until the last day to submit

We all collectively as festivals view all of the submissions we receive.  However, if you submit earlier, we can take the time to view your submission with fresh eyes and ears.

 

That’s really all there is to it.  So if you don’t have a good submission video already, plan in the next month or so to film a few different shows to make a reel that is representative of what you do. Then come back and Submit to Perform at the 2015 Scruffy City Comedy Festival!

 

Matt Ward

Festival Opening Party

At the conclusion of the Finals of the 5th Annual Rocky Top Comedy Contest we will begin our Scruffy City Comedy Festival Opening party!  This event is will feature impromptu performances from many of the folks you will see Friday and Saturday during the festival.  Expect to see some interesting collaborations and amazingly funny sets of comedy.  This event is FREE to the public and will run until the bar closes. All Access passes for the weekends festivities will be available for purchase at this show.

11 Hours Left to Submit to 1st Scruffy City Comedy Festival

wpid-img_65594890493078.jpegToday is the last day to submit to the 2014 Scruffy City Comedy Festival.  For more information, go here>>

Don’t feel like clicking quite yet?  Here is some info about the festival.

Scruffy City Comedy Festival

  • First year Comedy Festival in Knoxville, TN
  • Produced by Matt Ward (Cape Fear Comedy Festival/Knox Comedy Live)
  • 30-40 comedians will be accepted to perform
  • Acceptance Announcement will happen at or before September 15th
  • Festival performers will get more than just stand-up performance opportunities
  • $20 submission fee covers one year membership to ScruffyCityComedy.com
  • Comedians will be given a discount link for lodging or given couches/beds/floors to crash on by local comics.
  • Festival week is November 4th-8th, main festival occurring on Friday and Saturday November 7th and 8th, 2014.
  • All shows are walking distance from one another

Ok, enough of all this, Submit Now>>

One week left to submit to the Scruffy City Comedy Festival

September 7th at midnite is the cut-off time for submissions to the Scruffy City Comedy Festival.  We have determined we are taking at least 30 performers from other cities in addition to 10 locals.  The Scruffy City Comedy Festival was born from the growth of the comedy scene in Knoxville, Tennessee and we are truly proud of the talent we have in our city.

Stage Time

Our festival is going to present multiple times on Friday and Saturday nights to get on stage.  There will also be opportunities to take part in our themed shows as part of that stage time with shows including our Comedy Roasts and the Underwear Show. At the Scruffy City Comedy Festival, it’s about growing as comics and having the most fun our audiences can handle.

All you need is a bio and performance video to submit.

Submit now!

 

 

Jack Cellar Added As Venue for Scruffy City Comedy Festival

The 2014 Scruffy City Comedy Festival will now be officially taking place at 5 venues in Downtown Knoxville, Tennssee including: Scruffy City Hall, The Pilot Light, Latitude 35, The Star of Knxoville Riverboat and now at The Jack Cellar.

The Jack Cellar is a basement whiskey bar located below Skybox Sports Bar on Gay Street in Downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.  The venue is the perfect, NY-esque basement club style room.  The room will be able to comfortably seat about 50-60 partons for shows during the Scruffy City Comedy Festival.

Orlando Indie Comedy Festival Better Than Epcot

Orlando Indie Comedy Festival 

Two new comedy festivals have been born out of strong emerging comedy scenes in the Southeast.  Orlando’s Indie Comedy Scene is presenting the Orlando Indie Comedy Festival September 25th-28th at various venues around Orlando.  They are currently taking submissions for just $15 (goes up soon so submit now).  Click the button to the left to get to their submission page.

We have decided to help out this start-up festival because we ourselves are a start-up festival.  In the world of comedy festivals competition is a notion that in the end leaves the comedians the real losers.  If Orlando is closer for you than Knoxville, by all means do the smart thing and submit to the Orlando Indie Comedy Festival!

I got the chance to spend some time with some of the Orlando comics last fall on my Dork for Life Comedy Tour and they are super talented and very much a comedy family the city should be proud of. Click the image to submit now!