1. Win at Monday Night Open Mic.
GN: The first step is qualifying for the Shoot-out by winning an open mic at the Attic.
BG: To do this, have two of your friends volunteer to judge and then pretend like they don't know you when they pick you to win.
2. Show up at the Shoot-out.
GN: Invariably, several competitors will fail to show up on the big night. You can't win if you don't perform. As soon as you've won a Monday competition, clear your calendar for the Shoot-out.
BG: The out-of-towners who make it are usually very good and will probably beat you early on. Call the Attic pretending to be a Creative Loafing reporter and get a list of these people for a "prospective story." Then begin planning your sabotage accordingly.
3. Pick your best material.
GN: It's a long night and the competition gets tougher with each round in the tournament, but it's a mistake to hold your best material for later. A weak start could mean you don't get the chance to advance.
BG: If you play your best songs first, you'll stand out in the judges' minds at the end of the evening when they're too drunk to judge. Also, do funny songs first and save "serious" for later. Any time humorous goes against serious in the finals, serious always wins.
4. Play well against others.
GN: It's one thing to perform a set of your own material, but it's entirely another to face off against a fellow singer/songwriter, with only a single song to make or break you each time. If you can, scope out the act you're competing against and find something of your own that's similar but better. Sing each of your songs with world-class professionalism and final-encore intensity.
BG: Don't worry about what others are playing, just get loaded on your comp'ed booze and tell a funny story before you play each song. Whatever you do, don't wear a silly hat -- it distracts the judges, who will spend the rest of the night making fun of you.
5. Even if you lose, there are other compensations.
GN: Remember that the judges are also writers, critics, producers, DJs and other influential people. Even if you don't win the $1,000, you've been given a golden opportunity to impress these folks.
BG: This is a night of one winner, 23 losers and a prime opportunity for networking. It's especially important to meet Attic staff and tip them generously for providing your chance to shine, however much you squandered it.
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