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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

"Performance" Anxiety

I get quite a few e-mail inquiries about booking my act.

I do not have prices listed on my website because it is accessible to the entire world. I cannot quote a price without knowing where the heck I'm performing. If I quote, hypothetically, $450.00 for a 45-minute program, which may be a price for a local booking, that price would not apply towards a booking in New York. Travel fees and other expenses make a big difference. Get it? Of course you do.

I cannot quote pricing without knowing what type of performance I'm doing either. My rates differ depending upon what type of program. As an example, if I were "strolling" through, a picnic or festival, I'd probably charge an hourly rate. I may even offer a price break for location of show, a break for multiple days, and so on. A stage show costs more because of the set-up, energy spent, length of show, etc..

I also try to get an idea for a person's budget for entertainment, especially for a residential event. More often than not, these events don't book for anywhere near my minimum and they'd better serve their event by calling a local clown from their Yellow Pages.

It is also pretty darned difficult to quote a price if I have no idea when the event is held. If it happens that I'm not even available I wouldn't bother wasting your time with a quote, but I'd certainly be able to refer you to some other talented performers.

Knowing these two fairly simple facts, you can imagine the frustration I get when I get e-mails like this one (often with the subject header, "Performance", a popular SPAM header for some fake stock tip), and I get ones like this more often than I should. I have removed names and other identifying text to protect the innocent.


I am looking for a performer for my son's birthday party.
How long is your performance and what is the cost?"
My responses to these always reflects the need for the above-listed information and I try to be polite and specific. I do mention that I don't perform a whole lot of birthday parties anymore since I am so much more popular in the higher-priced corporate and theatre markets, so as not to shock them with a higher price, if I get enough information to be able to provide a quote.

Once my response has been sent, the one asking for things like...WHERE is the event, WHAT TYPE of show do you want, & what is your budget...I'm sure you can understand if I get even more frustrated when I receive this kind of response.

"The party for my son's 1st birthday will be held in [CHICAGO SUBURB]
The room I'm renting has a tall ceiling so I was
looking for a comedic juggler to entertain the kids as well as the
I would be looking for a 30 minute performance because I think that
would be the length of the kids attention span.

If you are unable to do this event, can you recommend anyone?"
More info, but still not quite enough. I've no idea when the party is and, I'm not about to quote a price if they want a show on a Saturday, say in July or August, when I'd be more than likely working a bigger fair, festival, or company picnic (and making a living). I still have no idea what they might be hoping to spend. Undaunted, but definitely a little exasperated, I send another response trying to gather more information, which all too frequently, garners this response.


I've said it before and I'll say it again.
"You have to do a whole lot of work to get a little bit of work in show business."


Blogger golfwidow said...

"I'm sorry. Do you not know the date for which you say you have already booked the suburban Chicago venue?

"Or are you just not certain on what date your child's birthday will be falling this year?"

1:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ha! it sounds a hell of a lot like web design. you ask people what they want and 1/2 the time, they have no idea. I can't give an estimate without the specifics! argh!!!!

2:27 PM

Blogger Bud said...

Yup, this is the part I absolutely despise. The only thing worse is double booking by opposing partners. I rarely win one of those contests. Venue owners I deal with do not want to deal with contracts.

6:57 AM


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