I don’t want to sound negative here, but actually using negativity to get to a positive result can sometimes work! I want to give you 5 reasons why you should not accept a gig or show from a would-be client. They are valid reasons that can help you as a performer.
1. You are the only act that isn’t paid. Have you ever been called to do a “charity” event and the only one NOT being paid is you! They hired the caterer, engaged a small band, rented a great banquet room but they have no budget for an entertainer. If it’s for charity, everyone should be free or no one should be free!
2. Details are sketchy or almost non-existant. Someone calls for a show but they can’t give you any info as everything is “up in the air”. You have tried calling and you get no answer..you email and they don’t respond. This client was merely price shopping to see who was lowest for a show. Sometimes they do need time to work out details, but only hold the date for a reasonable amount of time before dropping it.
3. The audience isn’t right for you. I know we all like to think that we can do all kinds of audiences and that there isn’t anything we can’t do. Wrong! If you are a children’s expert and the client wants someone to do a show that’s a “little naughty”, that gig isn’t right for you. You will suffer and the audience may give you a hard time or be non responsive. Know whom you are best suited and go after those shows. It will be less stressful for everyone!
4. The client changes everything at the last minute. You have the date booked, you know the audience, you know the venue, and then the client calls up and changes everything, including the location, time, and type of audience. I try to be flexible as I can, and so do you, but sometimes the changes are so drastic that you know you will not come off looking good because the factors are against you. Better to decline than to try and make things stretch to work.
5. The client/Agent adds more than is on your contract. I’ve been to gigs that specify that I am to do three shows per day, 20-25 minutes each show. The client decides that they want four or five shows or wants a lot more time per show, or wants extra duties from you (at a fairground they want you to make announcements over the loudspeaker All DAY) without asking. This can happen when working with agents. The agent wants to sell the show that they will literally promise the client anything to get the gig. You’re stuck to do what the agent promises…unless you get everything in writing and show the client what the agent agreed to on your contract (that’s why contracts are important!) You can either get more money for the date, or just do what the contract says. This happened to me and I did only what was in writing. While you may sympathize with the client, you should have been notified about this change.
Remember, we can only do so much and if we get taken advantage of or if things aren’t right it is a reflection on YOU, not the agent or client. Protect your image!