So Your Client Needs More Performers…
Entertainers come in troupes of all sizes, but clients often want more performers than you have on the payroll. We must cooperate to pull large groups of skilled people together. When hiring additional entertainment, follow these tips to make sure you keep bridges unburnt.
1. Plan a cast meeting.
Even for strolling gigs, get all your performers in one place or use a video conferencing tool like Skype or Google Hangouts well before the event. This is essential for ensuring the event flows well and all questions and concerns are handled. Lead the meeting. Have an agenda.
2. Make a plan for sharing equipment.
In most cases, the performers are responsible for their own acts. If multiple entertainers perform similar acts, coordinate safety equipment, fuel areas, aerial rigging, ladders for stilt walkers, etc. Make a clear plan for set-up and teardown.
3. Work out payment ahead of time.
Set the right tone by asking performers for their rates before booking the gig. When it’s time to cut the check, ask for a company name/who to make it out to. Pay them ahead of time or at the venue unless otherwise discussed. Be sure to get your 1099 Cs sent out by January for any entertainers earning over $600.
4. Coordinate costumes whenever possible.
To create a cohesive show, it needs to be clear that the entertainers planned to work together. State the theme well in advance, and be clear on what the client wants. Send pictures, if available. Consider providing a unifying costume piece. If you are providing costumes, be sure that your costumes work with the acts. An aerialist doesn’t want to learn the day of the show that her costume has a snap closure, and a fire dancer’s costume can’t be a spandex leotard.
5. Give Clear Directions and Be Available.
Clearly communicate the call, start, and end times. Provide clear directions to the venue and green room and be available by phone the day of the event. [Make everything easy behind-the-scenes for the client]. Let performers know that they can come to you for anything. Have solutions in your [gig bag] for things that could go wrong. It is a good idea to provide water and light, energy-boosting snacks in the green room if the show budget permits.
6. Have fun backstage.
7. Be social with your media.
Find out social media accounts and tag entertainers in posts. Notice hired photographers during the event and get their contact information as well. Share photos and video with your fellow performers as soon as they are available.
8. Gather and maintain contacts.
Networking is a long game, so start building relationships with other entertainers right away. When you enjoy working with a performer or think an act is incredible, remember to get their contact information. Ask them how much they charge and if they have venue requirements for their act.
Do these things, and you’ll steadily build a network of skilled performers who you can count on when promoters and clients call you for high-budget parties.