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Old 01-24-01, 02:38 PM   #18
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St Petersburg Fl, usa
Posts: 145

I totally agree with Jim. We should get paid for what we do, especially if the festival/event is turning a tidy profit on the acts/people it books.
Regardless of where you are in "the food chain" of performing, not getting paid does diminish what we do. Not only as a performer, but in all aspects of the performing arts.
The general public, while they may love/admire what performers do, think that it only takes guts and the ability to go on a stage and be silly/dramatic/act like an ass to be a performer. what many people don't take into consideration is the hours of work it takes to be a performer. The sacrifice of money, time, energy it takes to do this (any performing not just street) should be compensated.
I've not done many street festivals, but I have been doing Ren Fests for 6 years now. What happens in many owner/booking peoples minds when an act/performer works for free/very little (low-low balling) and gets a following is they begin to look at ALL acts in that light. "Well the "Jugglers of Doom" are popular with the crowds, why should we pay Dan Looker twice as much?"
You also diminish your importance in the overall picture of the event. Suddenly the Coke guy, who they have to pay, or the Port-o-John guys are more important that you, the acts that the public goes to see. If they have to pay you then they are investing in you. What they get in return is a draw to the event. Something that will make them more money, because people will see you, like you (hopefully) and come back again next week/next year to see you. Odds are they will bring friends with them so they can show them the "cool act". Thus, you are making them money, an investment that will payoff. So if you are making them money why should they not pay you. If not in a fat check then why not travel? Or put you up somewhere?
I don't mean being a Prima-donna about getting money, but getting a payoff in your investment of time. Think of all the time you have spent coming up with your act, working the tricks, refining the patter, developing flow in your show, painting props, booking your act, worrying about how to take advantage of traffic flow so you can get a big crowd, doing promos, your time on stage, your prep time before the act, the rest time after, pacing yourself so you can do 4 or 5 sets (possibly more) with the right energy in one day. I'm sure I've left something out, but my point is there is so much more to being a performer than just "getting on stage and acting like an ass"
Quick story (too late you long winded ass)
I was doing the Maryland Ren Fest. and this guy came up to me after my show, complimented me and then asked what I did for a living. !?! I told him that this WAS my job, I'm a full time performing artist, doing creating mask/movement theatre and street performing. He said "Really? No what do you really do?"
"This this is my job"
"Yes, what do you do?"
" Well, I'm an attorney."
"No your not, that's only on TV. What do you really do?"
"Honest I'm a attorney."
"Oh, really well have you worked on any cases I've heard of? Scopes Monkey trial? Sacco and Vanzetti? How about OJ? Did you go to school for that? Or did being an Attorney come easy to you? I bet you sleep all day and then go out and read some legal briefs"
At that point he stopped me, we both laughed and he said he got my point, and that he had never considered that performers work just as much.
Ok we are not out saving the world, but we do work at our (dare I say it) craft and we should be compensated, even if all a new festival can spare is respect.
Todd is offline   Reply With Quote