There have been times that I have done gigs that were absolutely below my standards as a performer and artist. The good thing about those gigs is that they further clarified my preferences as a performer. Now, I will only take certain gigs, and fortunately, they are prolific and as professional as can be in this market.
Here are my top questions to ask when I get a booking request from an unknown producer/booking agent:
- Pay: is it a guarantee or split of the door?
- Pay: How and when will you be paid out and by whom?
- Performance Space: Is there a stage or will you be performing on the floor with the audience?
- Performance Space: What material is it made of? Carpet, concrete, etc.
- Performance Space: Is there a wing? What is the proximity from the dressing area to the stage? Will you have to come through the audience?
- Dressing Room: Will you have to cram into a back office or share the bathroom with guests?
- Tips: Can you put out a tip jar?
- Contact Day of Show: Get your liason’s name and cell number in the event of that you may be late, or security won’t let you in…
- Timeline: How long will you be waiting around before you perform?
- Parking: Free lot? Paid lot? Street parking? Valet?
Depending on your preferences as a person and an artist, some of these things may not be of importance to you. I prefer NOT to dance on carpet. It’s just plain dangerous. You have to remember to look out for you and take care of you as an asset. Some producers and event planners just don’t care. Remember that. You are an independent contractor and have no legal recourse if something goes awry—especially if you sign a liability release.
You have to do what works for you. These questions are just a starting point. As you go through your own experience, you will start to develop your preferences and determine which gigs are worth it and which ones to pass on.
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