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Chapter 12: Visibility = Opportunity By Matt Murphy

Posted by flairwhoooooo on December 7, 2009

Your wrestling school likely has either its own promotion or a promotion which frequently books its wrestlers. That will probably be your home promotion, at least as long as you are affiliated with the school. I encourage every wrestler to get out and work elsewhere as well. Doing so puts a lot of different sets of eyes on you — you never know who’s watching — and gives you a chance to work with different people.

You’ll need to put together a promo package: a photo, a resumé, and a promotional video. I’ll first tell you how to put together packages to send to independent promoters, then to WWE. The WWE instruction is firsthand knowledge that came directly from a conversation with somebody who can hire you, so pay close attention to it.

The Independent Promo Package

The photo should be a quality photograph of you in your wrestling gear. Keep in mind that this photo may be scanned to include on a poster or flyer. There should be no date and time markers on the photo, especially since this is likely the same photo you sell to fans at events. This is a wrestling photo, not a senior portrait, so don’t take it in your back yard or at the local swimming pool.

The resumé should be printed from a computer, not handwritten. If you don’t have access to a computer at home, go to the local library. If you can’t make it to the local library, quit wrestling because you’re lazy and you’d rather make excuses for failure than succeed.

The header of your resumé should contain the following: your real name, your address (not your gimmick hometown and, for the love of all things sacred, not “Parts Unknown”), your phone number, email address, and website if you have one, each on its own line and center-aligned. Below the header, the first line (left-aligned) should be your gimmick name or nickname. Next should be your height and weight. Then put the place or persons with whom you trained (but don’t put the name of somebody whose weeklong seminar you attended). After that, put the number of years you’ve spent in the business. Let the promoter know the different places you’ve worked; begin with the largest promotion and work your way down. Follow that with any titles you’ve held in pro wrestling. “Most Hated Wrestler of the Year” in Garfield Street Pro Wrestling is not a title — I’m talking about championships. List any notable people in the business with whom you’ve worked, including national names as well as wrestlers who work or have worked with the promoter who will receive your promo package.

The promotional video should be on a DVD these days. It’s just so much more convenient to play a DVD and many people no longer have a VCR. Include two matches in their entirety. Never clip a match, because the promoter may think you messed up badly and are trying to hide it. I liked to include one match that I won and another that I lost. If possible, try to show yourself both as a babyface and as a heel. It doesn’t hurt to specify which wrestler you are (black trunks, etc.). Do not include matches you have worked for WWE if you were there as enhancement talent except for the unlikely scenario that it wasn’t a squash. I also suggest adding a one- to two-minute promo. Mail the package everywhere you want to work.

The WWE Package

This isn’t something I just made up in my head. This advice was based on a conversation I had with a man who can hire you.

Include two high-quality photographs printed on photo paper. Look like a wrestler: if you don’t know how to pose then go to wwe.com, look at the wrestlers’ posed photos, and imitate.

The WWE resumé should not be a resumé; instead, it should be a Microsoft Power Point presentation. The layout should be professional but subtle; I recommend a simple border.

You don’t have to copy this format font-for-font, but I wouldn’t stray too far from it.

On the cover page, include your real name (in 36-point font), your work name on the next line in parentheses (32-point font), and your physical address, phone number, and email address on separate lines all in text no smaller than 24-point font. On this page, your name should be at the center of the page with everything else moving toward the bottom.

Every page thereafter should have a title header (i.e., Bio, Experience, etc.) near the top of the page but below the border.

The Table of Contents is your second page. This will allow Talent Relations to quickly access any information they may need.

Beginning with the third page, use page numbers and use bullet points. Be brief. The third page should be your bio (height, weight, age, hometown, training, years’ experience). Other pages should be: Gimmick (if it stands out), Promotions, Titles Held, Notable Opponents, Athletic Background, and References.

Your promotional video will require the biggest financial and time investments. I recommend using a Slimline DVD case (the thin one shaped like a regular DVD case, not a CD case) because it is more portable. The DVD cover insert should be a piece of photo paper trimmed (use a paper-cutter if possible) with a photo and your real name, work name, physical address, phone number, and email address on it. Include the same text information on the spine. The back of the insert should read like a resumé. Burn your matches onto a printable DVD with your photo, real name, work name, and phone number (in case it gets left in a DVD player or otherwise separated from the rest of the package). The disc should have a menu that also includes your real and work names and phone number), a promo, and two matches.

Priority Mail this package to:

Mr. John Laurinaitis

Senior Vice President, Talent Relations

World Wrestling Entertainment

1241 East Main Street

Stanford, CT 06902

#

You’ve marketed yourself to promoters and now your phone is ringing. Dealing with promoters, you’ll learn that they come in all shapes and sizes and with all kinds of different personalities. The best you can hope for is to find a straight-shooter that won’t screw you over.

For the first few years, just get booked: work everywhere you can as often as you can. God Bless You if you can get a good payday, but know that promoters are taking a risk on green guys and probably won’t want to pay them much. Just NEVER work for free (a good promoter would never ask it of you) unless you’ve agreed to work a benefit or a free show. A difficult thing to do is ask for more money when you become worth it. I have no real advice on this other than to expect to lose some bookings every time you raise your booking fee.

Most promoters I’ve met have been honest, but there are also shady people running promotions. Make them shoot straight with you. Don’t expect anything less than a commitment from them and hold them accountable for their promises.

Know in advance with whom you will be working, how much you are being paid, the promoter’s policy on merchandise sales and the state’s licensing requirements as well as if transportation costs, hotels, etc., are being covered. Some promoters like to spin “around the corner” tales. I can only pay you five bucks for this show, he’ll say, but I have a sold show around the corner and I’ll be able to pay you well on that one is usually bullshit. If you need $50, then get the $50 commitment from him.

If a promoter screws you on pay, never work for him again and spread the word to everybody you know. Protect the other wrestlers from shady promoters. Even if your pay is one dollar short this time, the next time it could be your entire payday. You’d hate to get stranded three hundred miles from home because you were screwed over by a promoter. If the promoter tells you right before the event begins that he can’t pay you, don’t work. You don’t owe it to anybody to work for free, ever.

Keep in mind that, while your regular fee may be $150 (and you’d better be damn good and/or be prepared to spend a lot of weekends at home to charge that as an independent wrestler), there may be times where it benefits you to charge less. If a promoter confirms eight bookings for you, consider cutting him a deal. If a promoter offers you $225 to wrestle two shows in one weekend for him, try to get the promoter to pay for a hotel room on top of the $225, but I recommend settling for just the $225 even if you can’t get a hotel room included.

How much should I charge? I don’t know. If I was booked to work with somebody I knew was better than me, I saw it as an opportunity to learn a lot and I also considered dropping my price. There were also times when I worked cheaper for a promoter because agreed to book one of my students on the show.

A promoter may ask you to do some extra things for him. If he asks you to do a call-in interview to a radio station to plug the event, do it. What is it really costing you but a few minutes of your time? If he tells you that he expects you to sell 20 tickets to earn your payday, politely decline the booking. That’s crap, and it’s disappointing that some promoters do that. It’s your job to wrestle, not to peddle tickets.

Make sure you keep a date book or a calendar. Don’t double-book yourself because you will probably have to no-show or cancel one of the bookings. Word travels fast, and no-showing will screw your career up quickly.

What if I’ve sent my promo packages and my phone still isn’t ringing? Place a follow-up call once or twice to each promotion and if you don’t get a booking after that, send promo packages out to the next batch of promotions. Don’t be a nuisance to a promoter by blowing up his phone. There are promoters out there who will book you.

NEXT WEEK – CHAPTER 13: BELIEVABILITY and CHAPTER 14: CREATING A MATCH

To order a print or Kindle copy (or to leave a review) of The Professional Wrestler in the World of Sports-Entertainment go to Amazon.com. You can also order a print copy of my first book, The Story of a Nobody and the Pursuit to Become a Somebody, at Amazon

One Response to “Chapter 12: Visibility = Opportunity By Matt Murphy”

  1. Jonah said

    Nice site – Like what you did. Wishing you a very happy and prosperous new year !

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