Turn Performance Whines (about the girl with tits) into Wins (in Mind & Wallet)!

Posted on February 26, 2014 by

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Performance Coaching

If you read the recent article, “Why is that Girl with Tits Getting Gigs and I’m not?” you’ll have noticed we touched on some truths about earning a living as a performer. In the course of discussion with folks on line, particularly some burgeoning artists, some interesting topics came up. These are, in many cases, actual quotes from conversations with various sources in the Facebook domain and I thought might be fun to put in this article: Turn Whines (about the girl with tits) into Wins (in your mind & wallet)!

Whine: “Hot girls get gigs and I’m a guy! I can’t get those gigs!”
Win: You’re right! You can’t! Go for the gigs where the customers are looking for hot guys instead of gigs where they are looking for hot girls. For example, it may be that booking bachelorette parties is a good way to make money as a male performer.

Whine: “Hot girls get gigs and I’m a guy! I can’t get those gigs!”
Win: Develop your marketing, get a promo and work it like the rest of us. We all get rejected. Your mission is to figure out how to get more gigs and better marketing will seriously help. Don’t know how to market? Here’s some resources to support you.

Whine: “I’m just tired of these three beaters out gigging”
Win: What are you upset about… that they have a gig or you don’t? If they got a gig and you didn’t it means they have better marketing or they have more connections or both. Here’s how to fix that: 

  • First, use the above resources for developing your on line presence. 
  • Get yourself some great business cards and here’s one reason I use Moo.com mini cards. Use this promo code for 15% off your first order too! 
  • Network! At gigs after you perform, give out your card. Go out and meet people. Give the people you meet cards and talk about what you do.
  • Practice your elevator pitch. 

Whine: “Everyone’s focused on looks and I just don’t have that — I’ll never get gigs!”
Win: Looks shouldn’t matter, right? I hear that and I’d love to agree. I just don’t think the real world operates that way. Looks do matter. Because we’re (humans) attracted to attractive people and there are things that are considered statistically to be more beautiful than others and there are also things that are culturally trained to be more beautiful. A tight young woman, a symbol of succulence and life — ripe if you will — is a symbol of life on a deep level. I’m going to say 9 out of 10 people would prefer to see a 20 year old over a 40 year old. Discrimination is out there. Moreover, personal preference is very subjective and present, always, in performance art. As artists, we just have to work with that. We can get upset about it all we want, but that doesn’t change the reality that people are booking people in what some might call “unfair” ways and skill is definitely not the first criteria for booking in many cases. In fact, it’s the last in almost all cases because the art form is so young. The sad truth is, most audiences can’t assess skill.

Whine: “I have no idea how to get permits in my area.”
Win: I’m going to say something not very PC: don’t get them if you don’t need them. Seriously. Coaches said to me a long time ago and experience shows me it’s often a great policy: better to ask forgiveness than permission. If you ask they have to think about it when in reality, it’s better if they don’t even know what you do or that you’re doing it. That said, if you must get a permit, the best thing to do is research things with your local fire department. Ask them what the laws are specifically for open flames (versus pyrotechnics which is not what fire dancers do). 

Whine: “I never get paid what I want doing club gigs.”
Win: You’re looking in the wrong places. You’re going to be treated as a go-go dancer with extras if you try for club gigs. Club gigs often are trade for entry or low pay because go-go dancers take low pay and it’s a competitive market. Sometimes it’s drinks and entry for a posse, but still, that’s not making a living. Club gigs are a great starting place if you want to practice in a low pressure environment or have marketing opportunities to practice your pitch though, really, only if you’re using them for experience and making connections. Your best connections may be the coat check girl, bartenders and bouncers. As them about the big tippers and the folks who have come in and look like they have money. Give them cards and offer them a cut for booking you — just be clear on what the cut it and make it worth it for them.

Whine: “They only let me spin on stage and won’t actually book me for a gig.”
Win: If you can get a clear stage in a live environment, use that to your advantage and get footage. From that footage, you can then make a demo reel and/or promo reel. Then go to all the big companies and pitch performing at their next company event or 4th of July thing or sales retreat. Write a cover letter, create a professional looking package, mail it or deliver it in person, have a link to a good web site with clear information showing what you do and have a “call to action” in the marketing materials you give them. 

Whine: “I’m talking about the kind of spinner that gets drunk three times a year and goes out and spins literally the three beat weave and maybe the butterfly, doesn’t ever practice and doesn’t have safety gear. Those types of spinners shouldn’t be onstage never mind beating a spinner that’s been spinning for seven years. It just sucks seeing that happen.”
Win: All we can do, as more skilled artists, is get more skilled as business people. We need to educate people and explain what they need to know because, understandably, they don’t know what they don’t know. While I don’t know the circumstances of the situation described specifically, it sounds like a billion (well, at least a couple dozen) situations I’ve seen before: a dude impresses his friend once a year with fire so his friend asks him to perform. Or they are on some organizing committee and hear about a need for someone at an event and someone says they know someone who knows someone so they don’t even bother to look for someone better let alone good — as if they could know what good is when they don’t even know what fire dancing is.  As skilled artists, this — this is not our fight. This we must let go  because this is random and, in the end, this only helps us because more people are performing and being seen in the performers light which ultimately is a good thing because it creates more awareness. The real fight for artist who want to perform is to actually create the virtual market space where they can get booked. For the most part, you need a strong virtual presence (video, URL and email address minimum) to make it work in 2014, at least if you want to live off of it alone.

Whine: “Yeah if I could get a video I’m happy with that would be great — I can’t even look the camera in the lens.”
Win: The good news is, you don’t have to look the camera in the lens at all. If you’re struggling to make a good promo video, here’s what I recommend:

  • ask your closest friends that make you feel good — safe, confident, and good at what you do — to come out for a special performance.
  • set up the music near them facing you.
  • set up the camera near the music so it picks up the sound.
  • have them watch and record you.
  • encourage them to cheer.
  • find one 90 second flow you like or a few that you can edit together.

Voila! Promo video created and it was a live performance and everything! 

Remember, there’s always a reason why things are hard, why someone has something you don’t and ongoing, daily reminders that life is not fair.

Winners overcome.
Whiners complain.
Are you a winner or a whiner?  
Written by Temple of Poi founder and visionary, GlitterGirl, who has been a full time flow arts coach and instructor since 2002. If you seek professional guidance associated with creating a safe performance, obtaining a permit in San Francisco or other personalized coaching, contact GlitterGirl directly for a free consultation (GlitterGirl <that pretty little at symbol> TempleOfPoi <daaaaaaaught> com).<