Seven Habits of Highly Hirable Performers

Entertainers get a lot of attention, which is kinda the point of having us around.  Performers’ interactions with the client, the audience, and other entertainers can guarantee repeat business or spoil a show before it begins.  Here is some direct advice to make gigs a pleasure for everyone involved.

1.    Be on time.

Obvious as it may seem, it needs to be stated.  Well before the event, work with the client to establish a clear call time that takes into consideration any prep time for your act.  Then, arrive at that time.  Err on the side of caution; it’s better to sit in the parking lot for 10 minutes than to have your client wondering where their performers are.

2.    Make everything as simple as possible for the client.

Whether you eat fire, play drums, or twist balloons, the client has hired you to improve the experience of the event.  Be polite and friendly.  Try not to complain.  Solve recurring issues before you arrive.  Being a diva doesn’t make you seem “professional.” It makes working with you difficult.

3.    Be prepared.  Your problems are yours to solve.

If you’re being paid to entertain, your client isn’t planning on helping you stitch up your costume or fix a fire prop.  To avoid turning your problems into your client’s problems, have a thought-out [Gig Survival Kit].  Devote some time to brainstorming potential issues that could affect your performance, and then put the solutions to those issues in a bag.

4.    Interact appropriately with the audience.

Mingling is a great way to show your versatility while making useful connections.   However it is important to remind yourself that you are not just a regular partygoer.  When you are in costume, you are representing your brand as well as your client’s.  Be the life of the party, but don’t do anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see.

5.    Stay in character… mostly.

Let’s say you got hired to play a pirate.  Really, you got hired to create the illusion that pirates exist.   It helps if you have some pirate-y things to say when patrons approach you for photos and small talk.  Maintain the illusion at all costs as long as you’re on the clock.  However, feel free to drop the colloquialisms backstage.  Your client is paying you in dollars, not dubloons.  Other performers want to send you a text, not a sparrow.

6.    Remember: the audience assumes all the performers are together.

Generally, people don’t know or care that there are performers from three different companies strolling the event.  Since you are perceived as being on the same team, do whatever is needed to keep the experience alive.  Be okay with improvising your way through someone else’s mistakes, and be willing to make their company look as good as yours.

7.    Be a positive force backstage.

When sharing space with other performers, remember that you are on the same team.  Be supportive and encouraging.  If someone is struggling, offer help or advice while taking care not to intrude.  Offer supplies from your Gig Survival Kit when they are needed.


Follow these tips and be good to the other humans around you.  When people remember how easy it was to work with you, they’ll ask you back next year and recommend you to their friends.  Together, we can make all the parties awesome.