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Resources to Help Write a Biography

October 22, 2010

Writing bios.  UGH!

As a stand-up comic, you will eventually need to create a bio.  It’s easy to rationalize putting off this unsavory task, as you don’t really need a bio until you perform in bigger shows.  However, you never know when that stage of your journey will begin, and wouldn’t you rather have a concise, solid bio ready to go, rather than throwing one together at the last minute?

A well-written bio is an important marketing tool.  It grabs people’s attention, informs them of your myriad achievements, and gives them an idea of your style.  So how come so many bios SUCK?  Mainly because, like me, a lot of people have a hard time waxing poetic about how great they are.  Praising yourself in the third person is extremely uncomfortable.  But so are Canadian winters, and I get through one of those every year.  At least writing a bio doesn’t last 6 months.

Like a resume or cover letter, creating a good bio is a skill set that can be learned.  I am still not thrilled about my bio, but over the last couple of years it has evolved from an ugly ramble into something relatively functional.  So even if you’re just starting out and have no credits to your name, start working on the bio anyway.  Get that framework up, and when the accolades come, you can just plug ’em in.

I would like to share the following resources I came across (some more useful than others), when I was working on the first draft of my stand-up comedy bio.  I hope you find them useful.

http://www.writing-world.com/basics/bio.shtml

http://www.universalmetropolis.com/city/threads.php?threadid=13774

http://www.squidoo.com/howtowritebio

http://www.essortment.com/all/howwritebio_rfin.htm

Have a good weekend, you bums!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2010 2:53 pm

    Those are good resources. I’ve written a ton of bios for myself and a few for others as well. If I might add a couple points…

    – Write your bio like you’d like to see an article written about you. Oftentimes journalists will take your bio verbatim, change a couple of words, and print it.

    – A bio should be about who you are as a performer right now. Nobody cares where you were born or that your mom thought you were talented. The bio should be describe what your art is about right now.

    – Because of that, a bio is a living document. You’ll change as a performer and so should your bio. It’s good to revisit it every 4-6 months to see if it all still applies.

    – Put a couple of your more important credits in there, but don’t make that the whole thing. That’s what your resume is for.

    – When you write a bio that describes who you are as a performer and what you stand for, it will force you to take a close look at your material and find the connecting threads of what you’re talking about. That will help you write more material and find your voice.

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