(editors note: This is a great article from the perspective of a performer who makes his way up the ladder of success.)
I’ll Do Anything To Get A Gig
Yeah, I’ve said it. No, I’m not proud of it. But times were tough back then. I had no clients and minimal skills. I was desperate for work. I think there was a recession going on then too.
Entertainers rarely get the chance at an entry level position or an internship doing magic shows. We have to start somewhere and sometimes that means taking any gig that comes our way and doing whatever we can to make sure no one else gets that gig. Sometimes that meant taking little or even no money at all for the time and travel just to get out there and perform. But that meant that a stronger performer who could have provided a much more quality show did NOT get that gig.
Do I regret stealing those shows from some of those individuals I now call peers? Undoubtedly… YES!!!
There’s much discussion amongst those in the private and corporate entertainment industry as to what is appropriate to charge a client. The general consensus is that there is no final verdict. We charge what we feel is the correct value for our performance and I’m sure this is very confusing for a lot of event planners reviewing multiple bids from multiple entertainers.
Why does one act charge only a few hundred dollars while another could cost several thousand? My only answer is that the rate you are quoted is the value that the performer holds to his service. In other words, the performer that charges the most is the one that considers his act to be of the highest quality. And the performer that asks for the least in return for his services is probably lacking confidence in his abilities to ensure your success and desperate to get your business as I shamefully was when I was first starting out. So, buyer, beware…
Every event is unique and each unique event deserves the highest quality entertainment that a budget can allow. So my best advice to planners on a tight budget is to proceed with caution when comparing prices. The act you bring into YOUR venue to perform for YOUR client (or perhaps even YOUR bosses) is YOUR responsibility. Would you really want to respond to an unhappy audience by saying… Well at least he was cheap?