7 Ways To Get More Gigs

7 Ways To Get More Gigs
by Brad Weston

We are now in February (it’s the 6th) and the year is almost ten percent over. So where are the gigs? This tends to be a slow season in many of the markets. December is a big booking month. The summer is pretty huge. To be able to do well in the variety arts industry, you have got to hit hard when the money is rolling and be able to save your money so that you are solvent through the lean times.

What this all boils down to is that now is the time to start hitting hard to get your summer filled up. Make this a habit: use your down time to fill up your peak times. So here are seven ideas on how to get more gigs.

1. Call and ask. This almost sounds a little too easy, but it is overlooked by most performers (and by all of the performers who are not working.) There are a lot of summer festivals that need what you provide, so it isn’t exactly cold calling. Put together a list of festivals in your area and call them. It never hurts to ask.

2. Put up craigslist ads. There is no point looking down on free advertising. It will take you, what, five minutes to place an ad. Add that up, that is about an hour of effort for the entire year. If that gets you just one gig, your hour will have been well spent.

3. Use the Mail. The main way to get bookings is to keep your name on the tip of people’s tongue. The best way to do that is to take up visual space on their desk. Every so often send a postcard to potential and past clients. Don’t forget to include every agent who books in your area.

4. Start an E-Newsletter. Again, just do things that keep your name on people’s minds. Don’t spam them, just give them a reason to remember who you are.

5. Contact banquet halls. Find venues where your skills might work then go straight to the source. If your clients are booking venues, make sure that the venue managers know who you are and can recommend you to their clients. This is a service that you will help them to provide, making them look more valuable to their clients.

6. Seek new places to work. There are places that you haven’t thought of yet to work. And you know what, neither has your competition. Maybe you can find extra work in retirement homes or standing on a box in a beauty salon. Be weird and creative and always look for new ways to share what you do. Remember that your performance is scalable. Don’t be so rigid with your thinking that you must have a 500 watt amp and a proscenium arch and a spotlight. You are an artist, you can change your style in order to pick up a few extra gigs. The extra money will help you stay the course and continue making art.

7. Send out press releases. It never hurts to be covered in the local media. Learn to write a strong press release and send them out regularly. If you have worked step 6, then you will have found some unusual and newsworthy reasons to get a little press coverage.

Getting more gigs is a game. Don’t be afraid to play!

Brad Weston is a writer, juggler, and gig seeker from way back. For more information about him and his work check out his website at http://www.bradweston.com
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