In these times where there are more performers than shows, getting a firm booking is like actual goldust. Yes, it’s that rare! But getting a confirmation isn’t just about your two slots on the bill – it is your job to support the booking… And here’s what you need to remember when being booked…
So you’ve returned a confirmation email and agreed to the producers terms and fees. You’ve circled the date in the diary and made a note of which acts you’ll be performing. But securing work and getting paid isn’t just about that date. It is actually part of your job and part of the booking to provide the producer with everything they require to do your job. And, as we’ve mentioned above, with more performers than available slots, and (sad to say it) more performers complacent about their booking – so complacent that they don’t even bother to answer emails from producers requesting info, is it any wonder why producers these days are cracking down and replacing the complacent on the bill with those who are sharp, and return all the info the minute it’s requested.
The basics – responding to a confirmation.
Now this really is simple. If we, as producers, don’t get an email back from a performer we have been talking to when confirming a show, we offer the show to another performer. Simple. If you are sent a confirmation of date, fee etc, always reply by return of email. Leaving it for a week or more just demonstrates that you aren’t as excited about paid work as some performers who will literally bite the hand that sends the email off! Reply, reply, reply!
As a performer, it’s your job to send images.
A producer will need to tell the audiences and potential ticket buyers about the fabulous bill they’ve planned, and that means telling everyone about you – who they are paying to perform. If you are asked for an image, it will be so the producer can publicise you. They will likely need a web-friendly image (one that is not so high resolution) to put up on their social media outlets and they might ask for a hi-res image for local media and other printed materials (higher resolution so that it can be printed at an un-pixellated and good quality image for the local papers and magazines, for flyers and for posters). If a producer gives you a deadline, it is because they are working to a deadline themselves and any delay in this could mean that publicity chances are missed (local papers DON’T WAIT for anyone! Let alone performers with excuses) and poster deadlines are delayed. Poster and leaflet print deadlines are crucial as a producer could be timing this material to be ready to hand out at a show, event or to the audience of the show before. This is why you need to send your images on time!
Sending a bio…
If you need to write a bio, head over here. A producer might have asked for a bio to extract info about you for publicity. They might be teasing their ticket buyers with a few snatches (possibly wrong word here, pun fans!) of info about you – telling them why they need to buy a ticket to see you… They might even need it to feed to the local press or write an intro to you on their website. It is all for your benefit, so do not delay sending one if you are asked.
Technical details – a producer’s bugbear!
So you’ve sent your images and bio and now you’re waiting for the next thing you must send… Wow, it’s a chore this, getting paid to send information so you can perform at shows and get paid, isn’t it? And now the producer’s sent another email reminding me to send it…
If this is how you view a producer asking for information about your acts then you need to seriously ask yourself why you are in this game. It is part of your job to provide all this information – especially technical information that will enable you to perform. More than anything, other producers who we talk to (yes, producers all talk to one another!) say that getting technical information from performers before their stated deadline is a bloody nightmare. Why is it such a nightmare? Why not just fill in the tech sheet as soon as you get it? Instead of getting annoyed that a producer is chasing you for the information?
Common things that really get on a producer’s tits (in a bad way!) when we ask you for technical info are as follows:
- Not even responding to an email or message. We know you’ve seen it. But you’ve not responded AT ALL. And now it’s days later.
- Dropping a ‘I’ll do it in a bit’ email and then totally ‘forgetting’.
- Texting us, DM-ing (or other) the name of a song and your cues and thinking this is filling in a tech sheet. This gives us so much more extra work if we have to fill in your tech sheet for you by to-ing-and-fro-ing with you feeding us bits and bobs of info. Just fill in the bloody form and send it back!
- The old, ‘I’ve been busy’ or worse, ‘I’ve been too busy’ excuse. WE have been busy too. We have also (most likely) filled in tech sheets for other shows which we’re booked to perform in, we’ve gone to a day job, we’ve fed a baby (or whatever else needs feeding), etc etc. We are all busy, but producers have the extra business of trying to extract technical information from people who don’t appear to want to send it!
Producers need this information to run their shows and some producers have been asked by theatres to provide the information ahead of a show. Some theatres contract it to producers so by not providing technical information to a producer, you are effectively helping a producer break their contract with the theatre, which could jeopardise future shows. Also this – some producers actually have technical meetings with the theatre on a booked day of the month.. If you don’t provide your technical information, you are basically making the producer look like an idiot when they turn up with no information to give the theatre. You are making them look very unprofessional.
Sending music in prior to a show…
These days a lot of producers will ask you for your music up front of the show (there are still some, like us, who ask a performer to bring their music on CD, this is because it is the preferred format in theatre that we use). You will not believe how many producers we speak to who tell us the trouble they have getting music from performers. How are you going to perform without music? Sending music in surely is your responsibility if you want something to perform to!
If you are asked to send music to a third party (ie the theatre, the sound tech) to give the producer peace of mind that this has been done, make sure you cc them on the email. The producer will love you for this as they will not have to email the sound tech to see if you’ve sent your music. It will save them from another job.
What are all these deadlines? Surely it’s made up to get us to do stuff…
Everyone has deadlines in their lives and producers are no exception. Putting on a show means delivering to a whole load of deadlines – you have deadlines with the theatre for ticketing information, web information and poster/artwork, deadlines for the local press in order not to miss out on any publicity and advertising, poster, flyer and other printed material deadlines, technical deadlines for the show and more. Gathering and organising information takes time. A lot of time – hours and days. Failure to adhere to the producer’s deadlines causes untold stress and annoyance. You are basically giving them a shed load of extra work in chasing you up for information.
Remember, all of the above is part of your job. When you are booked if you are required to send this information (and more!) to the producer then you must do it. It is why you are being paid and failure to respond could result in you looking like you are not bothered about your job and you can forgive producers for thinking you don’t give a fuck about their show – the one you are being paid to do.
Replacing a performer on a bill…
As sad as it seems, there is a current trend in the industry of slackness. Who knows whether this is “show fatigue” or just complacency. As a consequence, a few producers that we’ve spoken to have actually replaced performers on the bill for failure to send any of the requested information time and again. In fact, we’ve replaced performers on our bills also. We all talk, so it is likely that any replaced performers will not be booked for future shows with other producers either, gaining a reputation of slackness. This might sound unfair, but who wants someone who doesn’t appear to care enough about their job on the bill. What does this say about performers? Do not be surprised if this starts happening more in the industry as there are so many out there queuing for those slots on the bill. Producers work hard to get you an audience, to tell the audience why they need to see you and they work hard to give you your pay – often at their own expense.
So remember these golden rules:
- Reply to a confirmation email immediately if you want the job.
- Send images when you are requested
- Return tech sheets with all information fields filled in before a deadline
- Send your music if and when asked
- Get to the show in time!
Who producers absolutely love…
We absolutely love performers who seem enthusiastic about a booking! We’re not saying everyone should send us gushing, glitter-loaded emails, but it’s all about attitude and etiquette. Replying to emails in a timely way says you care about our shows and the audiences who will be paying to see you.
We love performers who respond straight away – and without excuses – to our request for things. And we love those who don’t make a fuss when sending it. If this is you, we love you!
We bloody love performers who send us stuff without us asking! Yes, we know there are some of you out there who are a pleasure to book. On confirmation, you send us everything and more! You send us images, bios, tech sheets, insurance certificates – everything we need! And you never make a fuss if we ask for anything else!