Archive for November, 2017

Who Pays for What?! Managing expense expectations

You GOT a GIG!

AND you get to fly somewhere cool. Now what do you pay for and what does the company hiring pay for?! It has come to my attention that there is not always a clear understanding of how away gigs work. Who picks up the tab for what? Some of this may seem super obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many performers don’t really know. And how much it can vary across similar industries.

 

1. Equipment, costume, make-up. You are responsible for bringing your own aerial equipment, costume, make-up, and any necessary rigging. If you are a silk artist, you need to bring a silk. If you work on a lyra, you need to bring a lyra. If a company makes specific silk color request, they will often then provide the silk in that color and rent or buy it themselves, but not all the time. You may need to do that. However, if you have the color they ask for, you are expected to bring it. I actually had a silk artist tell me they “usually” charge for fabric rental. Um.. this ain’t my first rodeo.  Also if you don’t have a Cirque-style costume, get one ASAP. I’ve been shocked what relatively talented people have considered would pass for a costume. Again, a company may provide, but don’t expect them to.

2. Cleaning. After a gig, you may need to clean your costume and/or silk. Do not expect a company to pay for that. Cleaning your stuff is part of being a working artist. Also, if the tape on your lyra is grungy or your white silk covered in blood, best to check for these things before the gig. Don’t show up with your equipment like that.

3. Equipment transport. This is a bit dicey. ImaginAerial always pays for equipment transportation from home to the gig and back. BUT not all companies do. Throughout our performing career, we sometimes paid for it and sometimes got it paid for. Ask first, then factor it into your price if need be.

4. Transportation. Flights are always covered and usually ground transportation, once you land. However, not all companies will pay for cabs to the airport and back home. Same with gas for driving to a gig. We pay, some don’t. Don’t expect every company to have the same policy. Just ask.

5. Per diem. Again, Imaginaerial covers this for away gigs, but not all companies provide this. Also the amount you receive will generally be appropriate to the place. You won’t get much in Asia, but should receive a lot in Scandinavia. Be savvy to that. Also if some or all meals are covered, you will be getting less or possibly nothing as well.

6. Stopping for a holiday, going to another gig, or visiting family. It’s fun to travel on gigs! It’s basically like getting a free flight somewhere. Especially when I was childless, I loved taking a few extra days to explore cool places.  If you decide to take a trip after a gig is over, don’t ask the agent/producer for anything once you leave on your own. It is not their responsibility. Your trip, your responsibility. If you stay in the same spot, then you may politely ask if it is at all possible to get the return flight a week after everyone else has left. Most will do this, but remember it’s a bit of an extra pain, so appreciate the favor. Also if the producer kindly even flies you somewhere else after a gig upon your request, remember that once you hit that spot, you are on your own including cabs and luggage fees. The producer also has no responsibility to get your equipment to some other gig for another company after the contracted gig of theirs.

Finally, this business is about relationships and reputation.  If you want to work with a company again, the best policy is to err on the side of caution. Did you think something should have been covered and it wasn’t? First ask politely about it, as it’s possible it was just an error. And if they tell you it’s not covered, thank them for the clarification and WALK AWAY. Chalk it up to learning and if they ask you back, factor it into your price for next time (but don’t necessarily mention that). Just tell them your rate went up a bit. If they won’t hire you at the higher rate and you feel like it’s really a deal breaker that say, wifi isn’t covered, don’t work with them again. But do NOT work with them again and again and then complain all over creation about the fact that wifi isn’t covered. The producer WILL hear about it and it won’t win you any points.

Also arguing directly for why you think wifi should be covered will most definitely backfire. No one wants to be accused of stinginess by the person they just worked to get a job for. Chances are they’ve already considered the issue and decided a while ago why they don’t want to cover it.

Be gracious, and decide what matters to you and what doesn’t. If you made less than you would have liked, chalk it up to a learning experience and be on the lookout next time. Some compromises we can live with and some we can’t. Be clear for yourself what they are and ask about them in the future. The rest just let go.
As performers, we worked with some extremely difficult producers. We have some stories, but we kept getting asked back. Prior to signing a contract, it was always a bit of a back and forth, but once signed, that was it. And we always sent a hand written thank you note that had nothing to do with our check or other logistics, after it was done. I swear it made a huge difference.

Please feel free to comment if this differs with what you’ve experienced or include any stories about your expectations.

 

Dare to Imagine…

 

Angela Attia

Our Gig In Mumbai!!

If you haven’t been to India, it’s often hard to describe. It’s just like nowhere else in the world.
You first get introduced to the chaos upon attempting to leave the airport at midnight with everyone laying into their car horns at once.
But the India experience isn’t just a cacophony, it is also intense color and beauty. Nobody is going to the opera in sweats here. Nothing muted, all-in vibrancy. There is a visceral rawness to it, like an exposed nerve, a place of extreme stimulation.
We were a part of a huge show, a celebration of Zee Entertainment’s 25 Years. The show included flying drummers, mirror men, a 20 min Bollywood number, kids breakdancing, people dancing in swirls of blue sand. And 8 aerialists in a pear tree 🎶. There was smoke and lasers and giant screens. Lots of them. It made the Super Bowl halftime show look like a kids recital.
Despite being given a show order that was scheduled to the minute, the CEO started to just call the show in the middle of the whole thing. We also were told AFTER our final dress rehearsal that our music would be totally different AND a minute longer. And saying “no” is futile. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So I often just alternated.
But despite everything, the consummate professionals I chose worked together and got the job done, and not just done but beautifully done. And the show was indeed beautiful as you can see from the video. Limits were tested, but we all pulled through and the audience loved it.

all the dancers who performed with us!

Our Crew!

 

 

 

And now we are back home in our quiet little New York City. Go TEAM Z!

 

Dare to Imagine…

 

Angela Attia