One of the things that is often an issue for Outdoor Arts Performers and Companies is the Contract.
Unless you have a exchanged a good contract with the Booker you can’t be sure and secure in Gig, Conditions, Payment.
I’d summarise frequent issues as:
- How can you be sure the Gig goes as planned – when you turn up the Booker provides what they promised and the performance environment is what is needed for a good show?
- What are the options in case of poor/bad weather?
- How can you make sure you are going to get paid?
- What happens if the Booker cancels?
- Often what is discussed over the phone or in brief emails doesn’t turn out to be reality.
- Where can I get advice on how to write a Contract?
Although every single situation is a different I can point you towards a couple of things:
- Join a Union! Equity, Bectu, Musicians Union. Once you are a member you can get Insurance and these Unions have lawyers who can support you, and years of experience.
- Here’s a document created by Equity called ‘equity guide to contracts’ and it gives you good information and examples of confirmation letter, booking form and contract.
- What can NASA UK do for you? Well, we are a network of artists, creatives making work in the Outdoors so you can share your experience with other members, flag up issues and ask other members about their experience. We are NOT a Union and don’t have the legal support facilities of Unions, but you can air your concerns and frustrations with other working in the same field and also offer your advice on the issues with Contracts and Bookers. If you are not sure about a Booker, Producer or Event you can ask other NASA UK members if they have knowledge: perhaps they will, perhaps not.
- Always send a Contract and include specific details of what you require, ask them to acknowledge that they understand what’s required – this way the Booker will take you more seriously and you will all have a better day and better show.
e.g. Parking for car or Van close to the dressing room or performance area, a secure/lockable Dressing Room big enough to allow you hang costumes, dress, leave props and personal items, a mirror for make-up; water, beverages, maybe a shower; specify food requirements and clear breaks between performances for a multi-show day. Make your requirements clear! If the Booker says they don’t have these facilities then at least you know before you get there and can find solutions. Often, particularly with small events, the Booker won’t realise that you really do need what you ask for. You do need breaks, you do NOT change in a toilet, you do need a safe place to leave stuff.
That concludes this short post on Contracts
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(performing since 1989, still being flexible on the day: often being offered a toilet to costume in and nowhere high enough to put stilts on; dressing in a car park and bringing my own food 🙂 Hey Ho, so it goes…) There’s no business like Show-business… except when it turn into Shite-business.