How to Annoy Producers
by: Jo “Boobs” Weldon
In this month’s installment of a two-part article, we will discuss how performers can annoy producers. This doesn’t mean that in every case the performers are doing anything dishonest or unprofessional; it merely means that these behaviors often irritate or turn off producers. Please note that it is not about just knowing specific actions that might irritate producers. Like all etiquette issues, the essence of understanding how to behave is making an effort to put yourself into the other person’s position. You are unlikely to be able to read their minds, but you stand a much better chance of interacting successfully if you at least try to understand why they want what they want instead of trying to get them to care about what you want.
Next month, we’ll talk about how producers can annoy performers. If you have any annoyances you’d like to have mentioned, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This first article is split into two sections in order to help you:
A) Get booked by a given producer, or figure out that you’re not right for their show
B) Work well with them so that they will book you again, or even if, having had you in their show once and having decided you’re not right for their show, they would have a good enough impression of you to give you a second chance in a different show or give you a good reference to other producers.
How to Annoy Producers
If they haven’t yet booked you:
1. Feel entitled to be in their shows, for any reason at all.
2. Critique their shows, even when asked.
3. Flyer for your show at their shows without asking, or be miffed when they don’t allow you to flyer when you do ask.
4. Tell them you don’t like X kind of performance without knowing that they also produce X kind of shows.
5. Say, “I’m too busy to come to your show and see what it’s like, but I’d love to be in it.”
6. Say, “I’m from out of town and I haven’t had time to check out your website or do any research on you, but I’d love to be in your show.”
7. Tell them your story and try to get them to care what YOU want. Whine about how bad you want/need the gig.
8. Assume that classes, good press, or fancy graphics on your business card are the equivalent of stage time and a developed performance.
9. Fail to respect their aesthetic but be miffed when they don’t respect yours.
10. Imagine that their life is easier than yours and that they have to hustle less than you do and they make tons more money than you do.
If they have booked you:
1. Be unreliable and/or late.
2. Be rude to other performers or venue staff.
3. Be needy and unable to fulfill their requests, such as sending music or promo in advance.
4. Assume that you are now part of all their shows which follow.
5. Fail to mention their show in your monthly mailer when the date on which you’re performing with them is during that month.
6. Send them a barrage of emails asking how you did. Just one asking for feedback is fine.
7. Complain about what you were paid even though you agreed to it–or failed to discuss it with them before the show–without talking to them about your dissatisfaction at all.
8. Complain because they book people with whom they’ve been working for years more often than they book you.
9. Complain because they book new people more often than they book you.
10. Complain about anyone they book besides you.
By the way—notice that I didn’t use the word burlesque in any of the above! It doesn’t matter what the job is. It isn’t just about burlesque. The point is that people hire you for the reasons they need to hire people, and not for the reasons you want the job.
Also, everyone makes some of these mistakes on occasion. Furthermore, everyone has a hard time approaching people with whom they work about issues like feedback, re-booking, and pay. You’re not neurotic if you’d rather not do these things. But it’s the ability to do more than you should have to do, and being easier to work with than you need to be, that will make you stand out.
Want More? Check out Jo Weldon’s Etiquette Column entitled Photos & Pasties