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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » I'm a real boy! » » Turning Down The Gig (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

tacrowl
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Inner circle
Maryland
1633 Posts

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I just had to walk away from a gig and thought it may make an interesting topic that could raise some war stories.

Had a shopping mall that wanted to hire me for their Halloween event. My fee was too high for their budget. Since I came highly recommended, the marketing director still wanted to do something. She inquired about theme shows one Saturday during their holiday shopping season, when she had more funding to work with.

I agreed and offered a great deal, based on the fact I could do the shows in the afternoon and then spend the evening with my wife at a resort area nearby. She was all ready to go - then dropped what seems like a casual request that struck me the wrong way.

I was asked to play background music during my shows. While it is simple enough to do, in a mall setting, accoustics are lousy. With vent, we must be heard to be appreciated. Adding music to the mix, no matter how low in the background, would add another layer that I would need to deal with.

It irked me that someone with no entertainment experience would attempt to tell me how to present my show. She had never seen me work. I realized that my experience and credentials meant nothing to her, so I respectfully refused the date and wished her the best with her holiday season. While some may feel this a bit extreme, I've worked with people who have tried to micro-manage me. The results are never pleasant and I don't enjoy the experience. So I walked away.

So what shows have you turned down? And why?
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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kidshowvent
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410 Posts

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Hiya Tom,

I had a few bad experiences playing fairs. The agent I was working with wanted me to do 10 minute shows between the horse races at the grandstand. I was new and I got sucked into that only one time. When I showed up to do a fair date and I was put on a concrete slab type stage across the racetrack from the grandstand seating. I was out in the midday sun, and as I was trying to do my shows horses warming up would ride by with their sulky racer drivers, tossing dirt and sometimes mud. Also a truck dumping water on the track would also ride by, just to add to the fun. There was only a handful of people sitting in the sun to watch these races and had no interest in a vent...they could barely see me across the track. I gave the agent some big time grief about this..told him I would never do it again, and the only way I would work the grandstand was to be on a stage up close to the people. He assured me it would not happen again across the track.

A few weeks later I was once again asked to perform at the races by this agent (I was being used by him during the day..and at night he used me as an opening act for Garth Brooks, Reba McIntire and others..that was sweet!) . He told me he had a stage fixed up right on top of the grandstand with sound. I got to the date and it was the same thing..cement stage across the track. I told the fair manager sorry but I wasn't doing that..went to the nearest payphone and called the agent. I gave the agent a through tongue lashing and I didn't work the date..and he never asked me again. I did, however, work as the opening act that night. From that point on it was opening act only status for me! I still continued to work for this agent but he had more respect for me from that point on. I guess he tried to get away with as much as he could with acts that were in his stable (no horse joke intended..! of entertainers. He learned he couldn't do that to me anymore.

Mark Wade
tacrowl
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Inner circle
Maryland
1633 Posts

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Mark,
I believe I know of who you speak. They tried to get me to do my illusion show under the same conditions years ago.

On the mall I mentioned above - they just contacted me and apologized, asking me to reconsider. Probably will.
Tom
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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Brian Lehr
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Inner circle
Edmonton, Canada
1600 Posts

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Quote:
On 2010-08-20 10:50, tacrowl wrote:
On the mall I mentioned above - they just contacted me and apologized, asking me to reconsider.
Tom


That's because they were doing a Google search on you, and found your above post. Smile

Brian
tacrowl
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Maryland
1633 Posts

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Lol. Maybe Brian. I'm pretty easy to find and my opinions are definitely available through Google...
Tom
Tom Crowl - Comedy Ventriloquist

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Mr. Pitts
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David Pitts
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This is a lesson I think I still haven't learned well enough, when to turn a gig down. I have this notion that it's the 'professional' thing to do to be able to perform under almost any circumstances. But I have found myself in performance situations where I KNEW it wasn't showing my skills in a positive light but I took it anyway. This has not been a good strategy for me and I am trying to set higher standards for myself.
David Pitts
The Astonishing Mr. Pitts
Comedy Magician and Ventriloquist
http://www.mrpitts.com
Neale Bacon
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Inner circle
Burnaby BC Canada
1775 Posts

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This is something I have learned slowly and reluctantly is to turn down gigs that are wrong for me. That can be for a number of reasons, but if it isn't going to help me or even if it is going to hurt my career, I let em go.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
Canada's Favourite Family Ventriloquist
www.baconandfriends.com
TonyB2009
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Inner circle
5006 Posts

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I tend to say yes to every gig, then argue the fine points on the day. I would absolutely refuse to perform with background music. I once ripped a speaker from a wall after a venue refused to turn off the pipped music. They got the point - and I got the gig the following year.
But unpleasantness spoils the gig, and we should enjoy our work. I should probably learn to say no and walk away.
JamesinLA
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Inner circle
Los Angeles
3399 Posts

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I wouldn't have turned it down until I had tried to educate the woman why doing the bg music would hurt the performance. If then she didn't get it or insisted then I would have turned it down.
I turn down gigs when they don't meet my price or try to talk me down. I don't bargain on my prices.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Dean A
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114 Posts

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I turned down the Eels opening gig. I know a lot of vents did it but I decided against.
Doug Arden
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885 Posts

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As far as turning down gigs goes, I guess different things work for different people. As they say, to each his own.

Personally, I have built a very successful business turning down shows that I did not think were suitable for me or, did not offer the compensation I was asking for. Works for me.

Doug
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