Entertainers travelling with equipment
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Hotel Manners
Travelling with Equipment
You and Your Agent
The Sitting Musician
Open Mic - friend or foe
The Mustache Cup
Stage Lighting
Vintage Instruments
Creating a Press Kit

    You need a good agent working on your behalf - someone who has your career in mind as well as his or her own.

     Ask them about their agency in a one-on-one meeting and display your enthusiasm in working towards a successful relationship with their company. When you settle on a partnership, do not leave everything in the hands of the agent and wait at home for them to call with work. It is necessary to make yourself available to assist in the promotion of the show that you are trying to sell and promote.

     Ask your agent how you can help?

     What they might need in the way of promotional material, and ask what steps can be taken to lift your performance into the next pay bracket which would benefit both you and the agency.

     Approach the strongest agency that will give you the time of day. Be loyal to that company. You have made the decision to have an agency book you. At this point you need to stop booking yourself and redirect any clients that come to you to that agency. Yes, you will have to pay the agency a commission for those gigs which you could have taken yourself but once you make the decision to have representation you need to let your agency do that work for you. In the long run, they will find you much more work than you could have found on your own, as they have strong working relationships with a long list of clients. This is their job and they pound at it day after day putting in much more effort than you can: let them do it. 

    Your time should be spent perfecting the music you play and the way you present it. The more work that goes through the agency the more they will want to promote your act. They will also realize that you are committed to working with them.

     Clients will see your name in the agency website and contact you directly through your band’s website where you must redirect them to the agency. Never break this rule, or you will find you are getting booked only when the agency can find no one else available. You will have been reduced to the bottom of their list and considered lowest priority. I cannot stress how important loyalty is in the agency/artist relationship.

     When you are on the job, you are representing yourself and the agency. Be polite: don’t be pushy or demanding. Be nice to everyone on site (today’s janitor can be tomorrows CEO). Even though you may have brought stageclothes, and you are going to look fantastic when the show starts, do not arrive looking like you lost a fight with a dog. Make certain your roadies are well groomed, clean and dressed appropriately. No shirts with foul language or swastikas; they are also representing your company. Yes, that’s right, you must look at yourself and your band as a company; this is the music business. The person you make a bad impression with might not be staying for the show to experience your level of talent, but they might be an influential cog in the concert industry. Never say something negative about another performer or agency. Before opening your mouth always ask yourself, “Will I profit from this comment?” The more people you make like you, the more people who will like you. When your agent hears wonderful things about you, you become a valuable commodity.

     Find out what your agency’s sales boundaries are. If you are looking to be booked on cruise ships for instance, look for an agency that provides Canadian/ US/ International representation: some even specialize in overseas show lounges. When enquiring about the cruise ship market, ask your agent if that is an intelligent move; as your absence might stop the growing potential that they have been developing in your hometown market. Perhaps they have been grooming you to move in a different direction. Keep them in the loop: work together.

Professor Douglas Fraser
Previous owner of Encore Entertainment in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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