It’s summer of 2020, the worst year in modern history for the performing artist.
And there’s been lots of advice offered here over the years on how to get gigs.
Today, I’m presenting a comprehensive guide to completely blowing any precious gig opportunity that DOES happen to come our way.
Musicians, storytellers, puppeteers, and performing artists – if we just follow these simple steps, we’ll be sure to keep our calendars nice and clean.
(Not) Getting the Gig
#1. Don’t check email
Yes, we have an email address listed on our website and promo materials, but everyone should understand that we don’t really use it.
#2. Don’t respond to email once we’ve seen it
We’re busy – why didn’t they just call us, or email a second and third time? Surely they have nothing better to do.
#3. Don’t check our spam folders
Because our email service provider and anti-spam software are 100% accurate in determining what we should – and should not – see.
(Seriously, I can’t tell you how many gig requests I’ve found in my spam, junk, and “promotions” folders over the years. I now check them daily.)
#4. Don’t return calls
They can wait.
#5. Give lots of real-life reasons why we couldn’t/didn’t get back to them
They really need to understand how hard our life is right now.
#6. Don’t update our website
We just don’t have time. They’ll be able to tell how committed and professional we are by that great promo picture we have there from twelve years ago (where, by the way, our hair looks awesome, doesn’t it?).
#7. Don’t send contracts back
Just go ahead and leave them in that messy pile on our desk.
#8. Don’t make it easy for the venue to promote the show
Don’t provide a sample press release, photos, posters, etc – they should have to put in lots of hard work to promote us.
#9. Whether virtual or in person, DON’T show up on time
It’s fine. Musicians and artists have a sterling reputation for always being organized and punctual, so our contact person won’t be the least bit worried when we’re running late.
#10. Late for the gig? Blame it on some external factor
The booker surely doesn’t realize we could have just left home earlier, or gotten online earlier, allowing enough time for anything unexpected.
#11. Treat each venue like a performing arts center
They live to cater to acts like ours, and really have nothing else they’re concerned with beyond making sure the experience is optimal for us.
#12. Keep the focus on US
Don’t worry one bit about the buyer’s needs, or making it easy for them to have hired us; they don’t like things to be easy.
#13. Don’t let them know how much we appreciate the booking
No warm smile on our way out the “door,” and please, no thank you note.
(If we leave them really happy, this one might not matter as much, because they WILL want us back. Still, some heartfelt thanks can go a long way towards keeping us top of mind for the next time.)
No More Good Paying Bookings!
There. It’s really that simple. Thirteen steps to an open calendar.
How many of these “best practices” are you currently employing? Got a new one to add to the list? The “Comments” section is just below.
About The Blog
Since leaving a white-collar marketing job in 1992, Dave Ruch has been educating and entertaining full-time in schools, historical societies and museums, folk music and concert venues, libraries, and online via distance learning programs.
Along the way, he’s learned a great deal about supporting a family of four as a musician.
The Educate and Entertain blog provides articles, tips, encouragements, and how-to’s for regional performers (in any region) interested in making a great full-time living in the arts.