29 Days to Diva is all about getting to work and making your own opportunities. Any singer can fly by the train of her gown for a while, but a diva needs planning, organization, and systematic follow-up to ensure she is getting the gigs that will propel her career. Every phone call you make and every email you write can lead to your next gig.
Sometimes I say this and people nod and go, “Yep, totally, that makes sense.” But, then they don’t do it. Please take action on this… Take out your phone or planner and literally schedule when you will do your venue/audition research. This research is the first step in your booking system. Seriously, don’t keep reading until you’ve done this. Put time on your calendar when you will actually sit down and research venues in your area or where you want to tour.
Your 29 Days to Diva – Day 21 Assignment: Research potential venues
We want the momentum from these booking sessions to act like compounding interest. You will use these forms to familiarize yourself with venues and opportunities in your local scene or the areas where you are looking to take your work on tour.
This kind of research will help you book multiple gigs in your area which, in turn, builds name recognition and helps you establish yourself in the local/regional performance scene. That buzz will help you get gigs on top of other gigs. You are aiming for various opportunities during these booking sessions which include both auditions and performances. Remember, the entire business idea in singing is to get better gigs and make your number without going crazy.
Build Your Gig-Getting Systems
Venue Information Form
Do you know all of the possible performance venues in your area? Start filing your venue information forms away for performance spaces in your immediate area first. Then, branch out and keep adding forms for regional locations. Traveling for an upcoming gig? Add some venue forms to your folder for that area. If you are able to think outside the box, there is no limit to the potential performance spaces available to you.
Answer these prompts, borrowed from Be Your Own Booking Agent, to complete the venue information form:
State ________ Venue Name ______________ Time Zone ___
Address _______________ City, State, Zip _______________
Booking Contact ____________________
Phone ___________ Email __________________________
Best Time to Contact ________________________________
Performance Types _________________________________
Performance Frequency ______________________________
General Performance Season __________________________
Booking Time Frame ________________________________
Recent Acts Presented ______________________________
Venue Capacity ___________________________________
Sound and Light Systems ____________________________
Ticket Pricing Policy _______________________________
General Working Budget ____________________________
Call Date _____________ Follow-up? _________________
Most of this information is easily accessed on websites these days. You will need to call, however, if you cannot find the specific information on their site. Most singers do not have the luxury of being afraid to talk on the phone. At some point, you just need to get over it and start dialing. If you do still have a nagging insecurity about phone calls, I have a couple of tips for you. First, use your superior acting skills to create a “booking persona” you use when you call. A second option: outsource the cold-calling of venues for information. Maybe you have a family member that is a charming phone-talker and would like to help you out in their free time. Perhaps you’re one of those lucky singers with a bit of disposable income to spend on an assistant with Fancy Hands or a similar company — if you’ve ever thought, “I need a personal assistant!” This is it.
When you are the one calling, practice positive, open-ended questions. You want to avoid all instances for them to say “no” all while getting as much information as possible. Instead of “do you present concerts?” you could try, “what types of performances do you present in your space?” That question is more likely to elicit a longer, more informative answer. Try to reach the specific person who has the ability to book you and not too high-up that you’re bothering the Executive Director with an information-gathering phone call. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the box office staff will only have so much valuable information for you and probably has little influence on which acts get booked.
Whether one makes a living at this depends only on the number of hours per week one devotes to making phone calls… the more phone calls you make, the less emotional freight each individual phone call carries. At some point, when speaking to the presenter, you begin to realize and take responsibility for the fact, that it really is your responsibility and not theirs whether you make a living. At that point you are free to treat the presenter with some compassion, and at that point folks will stop dreading your phone calls. – Bob Franke; songwriter, performer
Doesn’t it just make more sense to be in charge of your career rather than feeling like it is all up to chance somehow? It is really your responsibility to make a living at this career. No one is coming to save your career and make you a superstar overnight. Every phone call you make and every email you write can lead to your next gig. Developing a knowledge of the field, especially when it comes to venues and opportunities in your local area and in other music scenes, is such an important skill to have.
Oh boy, divas, I want to hear your stories about how you’ve gone about researching venues, auditions, and potential opportunities where you are! Pretty please tell me about it in the comments. Those stories are so full of inspiration and motivation. Did you find this post to be inspiring or motivating? I would appreciate it if you would share today’s post via your favorite social media channels. Find me on Instagram/Twitter @mezzoihnen or hashtag #29DaystoDiva so we can follow along!