Friday, January 28, 2005

HOW TO WORK THE NIGHTLIFE TO GET MORE EXPOSURE FOR YOUR ART


So you relocated to a new town or you are virtually unknown in the town you live in as a designer. What do you do to create a buzz about you and to get some freelance gigs? Here are some things that I did when I moved to a new city that helped get my name out in a relatively short period time. First things first, get your material together. This means website and biz card. Take your time. Come up with a clever theme for yourselves and run with it. Nothing impresses people like wit and a cool look. Once you have that aspect of your game together its time to hit the streets. When I moved here I spent a great deal of time going to club after club looking for the right scene for me. When I found one I became a regular and got to know the doorman, promoters and the bar tenders (always befriend the doorman they can let you in for free). After a while they began to introduce me to other people that came through the spot and those people introduced me to others. This is basic networking; you will be surprised how much work you can get through just a casual introduction once they find out what you do.

Now that you have your "spot" its time to branch out. Most clubs have websites in which you can email them and ask to be put on the list. The only inconvenience is that you have to show up early (which will work in your favor later). I made it a practice to do what I call club cameos. Basically I would hit 3 or 4 spots in one night staying at each spot for about 30 to 40 mins. Here is how it works. Call the club a head of time or email the promoter to get on the list. I find that it is better to roll alone or with one other person (travel light, the more people you have with you the harder it is to get on the lists for clubs or get in free). Once you get in the club walk around and say, "what's up" to all the people you know. Chances are they will be talking to someone and then will introduce you as their friend who is a designer, illustrator or what ever. Normally they will ask you a few questions then you ask them what do they do (remember people are always interested in themselves more than you so let them talk and ask questions). After they go into what they do ask them for their biz card. In return, chances are, they will ask you for yours. That is when you reach into your dope business card holder and pull out one of the flyest cards they have ever seen. The likeliness of them holding on to your card quadruples when you get them to ask for your card rather than shoving one in their face. Repeat this over and over then hit the next club. After a while you will start giving people the impression that you are all over the place and everyone knows you, plus it is always a plus to have someone introduce you, it gives you a bit of credibility.

*** Notice that I didn't mention anything about having a portfolio on hand to show. I find that carrying a small leather portfolio with me everywhere isn't all that productive. People aren't in the mind frame to view designs in a smoky loud club when they are drunk. So the dope biz card would be just enough to create the buzz that will get them curious to view your website the next day at work. If your work is hot they may forward your site to other people thus increasing your exposure.

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