June 09, 2019
Welcome! To our cirque industry blog! Here we aim to share useful information to the Arts and Entertainment community, encourage and educate aspiring performers, and share some of our content and show information!
We have spent quite a few years preparing for the information that is to follow, It is a distilled version of the lessons we have learned over our last decade in the industry first as performers, then booking agents and now producers for shows and large scale corporate productions.
So without further ado here is Day 1 of Acro Factory Entertainment’s 10 Actionable Tips for increasing your bookings and kicking ass in the entertainment industry:
TIP # 1) Take FULL responsibility for your results.
Have you noticed that some people just seem to get all the work? Have you noticed that sometimes it’s not necessarily the most talented act that seems to be traveling the world and week after week booking a new and interesting gig? Yep, we have too, and guess what, we know why (at lease to some degree). At Acro Factory Entertainment we truly believe that every hard working and talented performer deserves to do what they love and make enough doing it to keep the lights on and the rent paid.
One thing we learned very early on in this industry is that you can NOT sit around all day waiting for the phone to ring. We get it, training is HARD and TIRING. Sometimes at the end of a long grueling day at the gym the last thing you want to do is get on the computer or the phone and start trying to sell yourself to someone else. After all, you just worked super hard, you are owed the gig, you shouldn’t have to do anything else for it… right? Well, if that’s working for you great! But… if it’s not, then at some point you might need to apply the same tenacity that got you that over split or that one arm handstand and use it to get yourself a job! We hear a lot of performers complaining that they aren’t working enough, yet when we ask them what they are doing about it they just throw their hands up and keep complaining.
Look, we understand, it’s a complex industry filled with a lot of empty promises and dead end leads, there are too many gate keepers and not enough gates! It can all too often be more about who you know that what you know. But at the same time, when we here performers, or even ourselves, complaining about these things, we also hear them as self limiting and un-helpful beliefs. Life in general is also like that, it always has been. So we recommend you apply some Stoic Philosophy to your aspirations, let go of the blame game and start looking at the components you DO have control over: your mindset, your actions, and your belief system. And just to prove we’re not only about pie in the sky ideas, were going to give you some very specific places to start, some ideas to consider and some new drills that you might want to add to your training ;)
Stay Tuned and check back in for Acro Factory Entertainment’s next installment of our 10 Actionable Tips for increasing your bookings and kicking ass in the Live Entertainment Industry. Next up is Tip number 2: Have your marketing material in order!
Happy Gigging Friends!
-The Acro Factory Team
TIP # 2 Have your MARKETING in order!
Alright, you’ve done your work. You’ve put in your time in the gym, you’ve got a great act, you’re at the top of your game. And now….
Instead of sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, here are 12, yes 12 things you can prepare to market yourself better in the event and performing arts world
#1 Headshot: Your headshot is important for two reasons. This isn’t about vanity. It’s about utility. Many shows type-cast, meaning they are looking for a specific look, or character. While your headshot doesn not need to be a professional photograph, this does help. It sends a message to the person saying that you took the time and invested in yourself to be presented in the best light possible. Shows and events want to hire people who are talented, but also reliable and pay attention to detail. A good headshot sends this message.
Black or white background is fine, doesn’t need to be crazy or over the top. Subtlety is helpful here.
Your face however needs to be in color, not black and white
While it is not necessary, it can be helpful to have two shots, one that shows a little skin (we’re talking collar bones, nothing too risqué) and one that is more corporate friendly, depending on the position you are applying for, use your judgment for which is appropriate.
Body shots are a good way to quickly show your act in action without the client needing to watch an entire video, think of it as the book cover for your demo reel. Body shots should show head to toe, preferably with you doing your thing (act) and best if you are actually performing in front of a crowd on stage. Of course, if you’re just getting started this might not be an option, so a studio or candid shot is also okay.
# 3Tequilashot: #justkidding
#4 Demo Video:
Demo Video is nice, but not actually necessary. Read number 5 to find out why. A demo video is a short collection of clips from various shows and performances you have done (Or training footage) a few notes to consider: More show footage, less gym footage (Unless you are submitting to a company like Cirque that is looking to make their own act out of your skills) If you’re looking to book private or corporate events, you want as much of your material to look like its already in the setting you are going for. Demo video’s can be short, like event 30 seconds is fine, just as long as it showcases your best skills and gives the viewer a basic undersatanding of your artistic style and cadence (Yea, we got that technical)
#5 Act: Video. If you have nothing else, have this. This should have been number one in our list, but… we were too lazy to reorder these. Your act video is actually the only thing that gets shared internally once you have submitted the material, and to be honest most of the time, only the first 20 seconds and the last 15 seconds are viewed. Make sure your act starts with a bang and ends with a bigger bang. You will not be considered for any major shows or events if you do not submit a full video of your act without edits. (If you are only interested in ambiance performing, then a demo video is your best choice) Acts do not have to be on stage, but it always helps. What is MOST important is that the act is clean, you look comfortable performing, no struggling cringing or grunting, and that is flows well. If accomplishing this means you have to take out some bigger tricks that are sort of hit-and-miss, that’s perfectly fine. If you’re feeling it on performance day and you want to add MORE to your act live go for it! But a client or agent would much rather see someone submit a decent video and then give a phenomenal performance than the other way around. So don’t send something you can’t back up on show day.
# 6 CV: A CV is different than a resume, a CV is a short, simple list of the shows and performances you have been part of, any notable training or related skills. It can be one page and it can be in bullet points. A useful CV includes:
Name of show(s),
Venue(s) (if notable),
Media or TV appearances or mentions (if any)
**A CV is the last thing a booking agent looks at and is not nearly as important as Act Video, Headshot, Demo Video (In that order) one of the nice things about this industry is that quality does matter. And talent can win over an impressive CV from time to time ;)
#7 Riders: Riders are technical specifications that cover any logistics needing to be addressed for your act. This includes but is not limited to:
Apparatus Dimensions (Drawings are always nice but not necessary)
Minimum ceiling height requirements
Stage or floor footprint minimums
Having these ready to go on hand not only helps the people trying to book you but it also adds to your credibility and professionalism. Asking for technical specs and waiting days for a turnaround is a red flag for agents. Its tells us you may have never done this before, and you may not be as prepared as you think you are.
#8 Costume Measurements: Full measurement sheets are always super nice to be able to offer up front. This is going the extra mile and showing your client or agent that you are prepared and there to help.
# 9 W9: If you are working as an independent contractor/ freelancer. Your W9 is firstly, a legal obligation, but also (and here’s a little secret) a nice, subtle way of inadvertently asking to be paid. “Hi Boss, thanks again for the great event, here’s my w9 and invoice” is a very professional way to say. “HI, I did your s- -t. Now pay me” ;) without causing any friction.
# 10 Event proposal: Event proposals are an attachment that you send in an email outlining the details of what you offer and your pricing. Taking the time to sit down and work out of few different pricing options is always good. Event though often an event will come to you with a pre-set price. Sometimes you can offer add on’s or additional performances and increase your rate. Always think of how you can add more value to what you are offering before you ask for more money.
#11 Contract: usually this is going to be handled by your agent. But it can be a good idea to have your own contracts that cover details that keep your interested protected. Remember, the show sends you a contract with THEIR interests in mind. So take your time and actually read the contracts. We highly recommend taking the time to educate yourself on the nuances of contracts. You will NOT lose your chance at getting booked by discussing the details of a contract or asking for provisions to be included (such as payment details and dates, total job expectation, break times and set time etc). And if you do lose a gig because of it, that was not a company you wanted to work for in the first place.
Insurance: Performer insurance is a must have for larger events, venues and shows (especially if you are freelance/ independent contractor. Minimum requirement is Liability Insurance giving blanket coverage to the venue and company hiring you. This insurance only covers damages to the property of the hiring company and venue. It does not cover you in the event of injury. You can get performer specific liability insurance for around $200/ year or around $100 for a single event here: https://www.specialtyinsuranceagency.com/ (no affiliation)