5 Steps to More Bookings That Don’t Require Special Talent or Money by Ginger Lee Valentine
Ginger Lee Valentine is an award-winning performer; one of the premier acts in burlesque today. Personally chosen by Kitty West to recreate her famous Evangeline the Oyster Girl act. A trained dancer Ginger won the title of “Queen of Burlesque” at the New Orleans Burlesque festival. Valentine most recently toured and performed with Dita Von Teese. Our guest blogger continues to teach classes and perform across the country. Check her out at www.gingerv.com5 Steps to More Bookings That Don’t Require Special Talent or Money by Ginger Lee ValentineSo you’ve got a killer act, top notch costume and all the ambition in the world. Now what? Whether you’re just getting started, or a seasoned veteran, I hope the following advice will help you take more control over your career, get your better bookings and inspire you to accomplish your wildest burlesque dreams. In my 20+ years of performance, production and teaching experience, I’ve learned a few things that all successful entertainers do that not only earns them a great working reputation on stage, but off stage as well. And the best part about it? Anyone can do them because it doesn’t require special talent for a lot of extra funds. So without further ado, here we go:
1. Be prepared…for anything.Being prepared for a show can mean many things depending on the show and the act that you’re doing. But beyond being ready for one specific performance, how about being prepared for the unknown? Take some time to consider you long term goals. Want to travel internationally? Better make sure your passport is current. Don’t wait till you have that prospective international gig, because sometimes you may not have enough time to get your act together and then you could miss out on an amazing experience. Do you have all of your promotional materials and info handy, organized and ready to send? Taking time to prepare marketing materials can be very helpful and make you look like a total pro. Think about your dreams and what you want to do. If someone presented that opportunity today, would you be ready? Don’t wait, do whatever you can today to be ready and you’ll have more time to plan for the future.2. Be on time, every time.
Someone wise once told me you’re either early or late. I struggle with time management, but I always strive to be early. This is especially appreciated by production. When you develop a reputation of being on time for call and tech information, you get more repeat gigs! In addition, being early to a gig sets you up for a successful performance. Nobody likes to rushed and stressed before a show. Giving yourself plenty of time to pres-show is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Remember: producers want to book exciting and talented performers, but those performers may not be asked back if they are holding up production by not answering emails, being on time, etc.
3.. Don’t take things personally
This is easy to understand but hard to master, because the ego can be hard to control. Sometimes no matter how hard you work, you won’t get the gig or performance spot you think you deserve, or you get a rejection letter from your dream festival. Or maybe you’re feeling tension backstage from cast or crew, no matter what, just remind yourself that it isn’t about you. Don’t waste your time complaining or wallowing, especially when you don’t know all the details of the situation. Indulging in the idea that everyone is out to get you can impact your attitude which will in turn impact those around you. Keep your tits up and always maintain a professional attitude.
4.Be flexible and adaptableThings change, sometimes at the most inconvenient times. Learn to let go of expectations and keep an open mind. You will forget costumes pieces, your music will be wrong. Maybe the stage dimensions are totally different that what was promised and now you can’t do half of your choreography or floorwork. Maybe your prop broke. What now? The better you are at adapting to these situations, the happier you’ll be. Plus, you’ll set a great example for everyone else. A quick note on rehearsals and “messing up.” When you mess up in a rehearsal, don’t stop – keep dancing, because it can happen on stage. The more you “practice” mistakes, the easier it will be to deal with them on stage.
5. Have a strong work ethic
Focus on working smarter, not harder. So often I see people who are “busy.” But you can be very busy with out being productive. Don’t worry about being busy, instead, focus on tasks that you can complete today. Stay on top of emails, send out your press kit or schedule a string of social media posts in advance. Prioritize, organize and attack! This will give you more time for the fun stuff like dancing. You are dancing regularly, right? You don’t have to dedicate 40 hours per week to burlesque, but take a little bit of time each day to do something, even if only for a few minutes.