Monthly Archives: November 2013

The price of an act

Pricing always gives me a hard time, I rather prefer being already offered a fixed price from  a show. Yet, nowadays, we are not that lucky, or if so, the prices offered are generally miserable.

You, one standing in the public, just see the finished product, a flawless body flying high up in the air with an incredible ease, or an amazing femme fatale burning down the roof with sexiness and attitude, or whichever else type of performance of choice you might be seeing executed close to perfection from your, once again the public’s point of view.

Then one naivly asks the question, how much do you get for this?
And then comes the conclusion, ‘wow you must be dirty rich’
Well, here I would like to reference you to some well written pieces by other dear performers, that are most definately worth a read.

Here, on the other hand.

I mainly want to write about counting out a price to offer, when asked for.

So. I put a set of questions up to answer to help us to draw the final offer.

Where do you live?

Your actual location is quite crucial. Also where you are from. In my case, I’m from an eastern european country, but live in a western one. (Let’s not get lost in the geographical truthfulness of this, I speak economically)
So for me this adds another dilemma, as what I generally get for one show is an entire monthly wage in my dear country, while in Bcn takes about 1/4 of a salary. The dilemma rises from my belief that I should not say no to an offer that could give me food for an entire month on home grounds, therefore saying no is luxury.

Actual location.

The difference between rushing down two metro stops and finshing the entire night in less then 4 hours, make-up included is pretty much priceless to having to be away two entire days, waiting at airports and bus stations, not always getting proper food (in my case, never getting it, since you airports don’t have any overpriced paleo snack points)
This means I take a low budget show in the city, but damn sure won’t travel more than 30 min for it.

Places differ in general prices, too. On one hand in places like Switzerland you can expect about the triple of your best price, on the other hand though, London is notoriously pays quite badly. (Burlesque)

Which are the general prices in your field?

Now that is a tricky one.

My field? Burlesque or circus?

Burlesque

I would put the general price of an international burlesque performer around 250-300 euros, this might include 3 different numbers performed.

Circus

Anything goes here. From fees hardly covering one’s survival. Here to be able to charge a constant high price the act has to be very high quality and one needs to be pretty skilled.
So, embarrassing, it is, to see that years of sweat, blood and pain is less appreciated than something that might be masterable in months. (Although, obviously, high quality burlesque performing requires a lot more than that, because perfection lies withis the smallest details).

What amount are you happy to work for?

I, personally, don’t mind a last minute 100-150 euro gig, from there up I’m pretty content withing the city limits. Internationally start over 300 euros. (Obviously all expenses paid)

This might depends on who you work for as well. I used to perform in a lovely jazz restaurant during my early circus times, 100 was the most they could pay, yet they offered two nights in a row, every time they hired. I love jazz music, I loved the ambient, I knew this was the maximum they could give me, so I was more than happy with it. Two times, low ceiling aerial hoop burlesque, which served me great as a practice.

Nevertheless if you deal with a huge place with high drink and entrance prices, you would not be happy not even with the double. Example. Ibiza. Offer. 3 aerial performances of silks and hoop, hoop being taken up to 6 meters without any security measure. 150 euros. One night in a week. I said no, yet, there were others, many, that have taken the offer.
Oh, and add, they, after seeing videos of me, needed to see me live, so the “casting” happened during opening hours, nice way to cover the night with free performances,right? Also you come and go, feed and live as you please, obvious, isn’t it? Mostly I loved the fact that the person offering me this even tried to blackmail me saying that I would not get any work on the island without taking this.
So, for big discos or parties I would charge over 300 euros at the least for aerials.

Also, a no skill gogo dancer gets 80-120, even in Ibiza…

Frequency?

Is it a one off gig? Is it a contract? Is it a longer contract? Are you working for or with these people many times?
I generally appreciate people that return to work with me, so if they are returning employers I am more willing to adjust my prices.

Contracts?

Over 1500 euros clean a month I’m happy. Plus the priceless security of not having stomach ache thinking about what tomorrow brings. (Oh, the dilemma of the full time performance artist with a mortgage)

1500 euros clean, what is that?

That is with full board and accomodation plus travel expenses.

1500 would mark the bottom end with few shows, to state the obvious. For a 6-7 shows a week deal 3000 euros plus would be rather suitable. (Sure, best would be 4-5000, plus a mansion in the countriside with a personal massage therapist, but…)

Generally I count out my price according to the amount of shows I have to do during a week and math out the price of a single number, ideal would be keeping it up over 150 euros per one number and never going below 75.

Well, big, famous theater, self titled superstar sums down to 25 per number, that is fucking fellow performers in the ass without any doubt. So this leads down to the next question.

Ethics?

We live in a dirty, unethical world, where one would stab his own mother in the back for 5 euros. Truth.

Meanwhile everybody wants to be rich and famous, means don’t matter.

I personallyappreciate ethics and loyalty.

Do you know the market you are offering a price?

Private or corporate gig, small or big scene. Etc.
Corporate pays very well, yet private can also do that and the contrary both. Same with smaller and bigger scenes.

Little story.

Once a Hungarian friend asked me how much would I charge for a small performance for him/friends for a small party (no technical difficulties). I said a 100 euros. His conclusion was that it was cheap, as if 4 or 5 puts its together it is quite cheap per person. So there, now tell me why places actually making money with your performance don’t want to pay this very minimal price?

I believe the venues should start with appreciating their artists before offering rip off prices and believing, that circus artists were just born that way, so no need to pay them more than a general gogo.

So, now you can all call me a cheap bitch, but I though it was best to drop the numbers in the discussion, because I personally hate googling the price of something and finding everything, but that.

There are a million more related topics that are coming to my mind related to prices, so to be continued.