Advice for creators from creators
By Mercedes Deutscher, Social Media Coordinator
Have you ever had a great idea, but didn’t know how to put it out there?
Maybe it’s a unique podcast that you believe can stand out against the rest. Maybe you have a fun hobby that you want to show off on YouTube. Maybe you know a lot about your favourite Netflix show, and would like to put together a trivia night at your favourite bar. Whatever it is that you are passionate about, you want to share it.
The challenge is often not knowing where to start. You might feel intimidated that you are entering an oversaturated market, or that your idea is too niche, or that you’ll just make a fool out of yourself. The internet is so big that you don’t know where to start, or you’re unsure how to start up your idea in the local market.
The Other Press spoke with two local content creators, Jesse Inocalla and Megan Milton, who told their stories of content creation: How they got started, and how they keep going.
What content do you create? What local shows are you involved in/produce?
Jesse Inocalla (JI): I produce a lot of different things. Primarily I’m producing Content Warning: Erotic Fanfiction Deathmatch, but I also produce events for alt-media venues like The Walkoff, The Criticals Comedy, and some various burlesque/variety events.
Megan Milton (MM): I produce live comedy shows. I’m fairly new at it but I have quite a few reoccurring shows. I produce The Old Crow Comedy Sho. in New West at Old Crow Coffee, Tales From Public Transit which I did with Way Off Broadway Wednesdays at The Heritage Grill, [and] I’m co-producing Dead Talks and Comedians in Cosplay Doing Comedy.
When did you start producing content?
JI: I’ve been producing content for over ten years, though I’ve been producing professionally for the past four or five years
MM: I started about six months ago, but I ended up being good at it and then I just sort of went crazy and now I have a hand in four shows.
What is your biggest inspiration?
JI: My biggest inspiration, really, is that I want to make cool shows that I enjoy. I tried producing content for non-me audiences before and it really didn’t sit well with me, so now everything I do is kind of aimed towards making cool neat content that I find funny or entertaining. I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from the LA alternative comedy scene as well, and the experimental and fearless nature of a lot of the UCB and Nerdmelt shows.
MM: Oh God, inspirations? Uh, well sometimes I have dumb ideas and then I make them into shows. Tales From Public Transit was inspired by the unpredictable nature of public transit. Old Crow Comedy Sho. was inspired by the Open Mic they have. It’s the most inclusive, “inclusive” space I’ve ever been to. There’s a bit of everything from a bit of everyone. I try to book my show like that, a little bit weird and a little bit of every type of stand-up comedy.
What is the most rewarding things about being a content creator? What is the most challenging? W
hat are your inspirations?
JI: Honestly, the most rewarding thing for me, because I act as a host as well, is seeing an audience really enjoy the show I’m producing. I do this to make people happy, so that is the best reward. As for challenges, the biggest challenge I find, especially in Vancouver, is pulling that same audience out of their homes. We’re a kind of insular city that doesn’t much venture out of its comfort zones, I find, and it can be a bit of an uphill battle to get the crowds to sit down and watch a show.
MM: I love the feeling of putting every ounce of my effort into something and then just letting it be what it’s going to be. It takes a lot of time and effort. The most challenging thing for me has been learning to say no to people. That’s just me, I’m a people pleaser but with comedy I have to say no to comics who are not good enough to be on the show or aren’t a good fit. Having really high standards is challenging. I’ve had issues with not being able to book my friends or run as diverse of a show as I’d like.
How do you engage people in the community and get people coming out to your shows or viewing your content?
JI: The best approach I’ve had for engagement has been completely hands-on. I’ll guest at shows like Comedians in Cosplay Doing Comedy or join in on a debate at Westcoast Geeks Vs. Nerds and really get to know people. Since the nature of my main show right now is a very collaborative experience, I can reach out to those communities and have prominent members of their teams come out and do stuff for my show, and I’ll do stuff in return. It’s part of fostering a more collaborative local community of artists and creators who can keep each other held to a high standard while promoting like-content without feeling like we’re competing with each other all the time.
MM: In comedy, we call street marketing “barking” I bark for Old Crow constantly. I go to nearly every New West event and make direct eye contact with people and ask them to come. I am pretty good at convincing strangers to show up and I have some repeat audience members who I’ve met doing that stuff. I just recently worked with one of them on another show and that was a really cool thing to happen.
What suggestions would you have for people looking to create content?
JI: The best suggestion I can give anyone is to do it. Put something together. Throw some concepts at the wall and see what sticks. Don’t marry any of your shows. If one starts to lag or you see a concept that isn’t quite working, tear it down and rebuild. The only sin is stagnancy.
MM: Before all of this I had a failed sketch group and I ended up doing all the work and having others take the credit, so I started doing stand-up because I didn’t have to depend on anyone else. Every win and loss I had was entirely dependent on myself and what I put into it. Then I started my show and eventually I found a co-producer who worked as hard as I do. It’s totally possible for most people to find someone you can work with, but until then, work for yourself.