Saturday, March 21, 2009
Touring: best practices and pitfalls (from the experts!)
On Wednesday March 18th, The Field and Dance New Amsterdam co-hosted a panel on Touring: From Grassroots to Agents. Superstar expert talkers included Sara Juli, Alexandra Beller and James Scruggs. It was an invigorating and inspiring power talk and I wanted to share with you all their Best Practices and Pitfalls about touring. (Caveat: these are my paraphrases!)
AB: radiate your gig (i.e. did you get a gig at Edinburgh? try and get to Dublin, Paris, Madrid...once you are over the ocean, try and stay for a bit. You already paid (or the presenter did) the airfare! This holds water for any gig: once you are out on the town, see who else can "block book you" and save some $$)
JS: Got a University gig? know the other departments (not just the dance/theater/music one) - see where else you can teach, talk, perform. The more outreach you do, the more butts in seats, and maybe a bigger fee too. You gotta be proactive. They won't necessarily do it for you.
SJ: Learn what sets your work apart and work it! Be articulate, clear and passionate. Have your "elevator pitch" ready for whenever you can say it.
SJ: Touring is not for everyone. It's hard, tiring, not always a money-maker. Think before you leap.
JS: Beware of presenters asking you to censor your work. Know what you will change and what you won't. (what plays at HERE may not play in Peoria)
AB: She's decided only to take FLAT FEES for gigs. No more "60/40 Box Office split" etc. It just isn't cost-effective.