Whether you like it or not to be a successful full-time musician you have to learn to sell your skill and sometimes that of others to win a contract or a gig. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that because you can play three million notes in your ten second solo that that alone will secure you work. Note well that more often than not, the person that has the last say in hiring you is probably not a musician!
You need to be able to present yourself in such a way as to be desirable to the client. If the truth be known, the overall appearance and sound is usually more important than one person’s virtuosity or dazzling beauty.
The “Hiring and Firing Team”
Here is a breakdown of the people that will probably be involved in the selection process when an agency presents your act to different clients for hiring you:
– The Food and Beverage Director (F&B)
– The Bar Manager
– Entertainment Manager or Director
– Assistant General Manager (AGM) or Resident Manager (RM)
– General Manager (GM)
All hotels have different policies and methods of selecting new entertainment for their venues. Depending on the size of the hotel an F&B Director may be solely responsible. Some hotels will involve all of the above sitting down and hand-picking the entertainers. The premise of your video is to fill the hiring team with confidence in your ability to help their venue achieve whatever goals they have identified for the future. Of course it is not easy to film a video with this in mind because Hotel management teams are not always willing to reveal their goals and strategies for the future for various (usually competitive) reasons.
How do you find out who they are and what they want?
Sometimes you may have a clear understanding of what is required by the market. At other times you may have to make an educated ‘guess’ as to what is required.
You will probably never know beforehand who the person is that is ultimately responsible for hiring you. That being said there are certain steps that you can take to give your video a wide range of appeal.
– Ask your agent if they have any tips or suggestions
– Find out who has played there before and talk to them
– Try to find videos of previous acts
If you can do some of the above you may have a better chance of customizing your video towards that specific venue.
Stay the course!
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a gig or if you are unsuccessful. The reality is that it is not necessarily a reflection on you or your video or your abilities. Rather, it is just that you weren’t quite what they were looking for at that particular time. Managers will sometimes want a young group, next time they may want an acoustic group, then a rock band or an older aged jazz duo.
Agents are usually the best source of information because they may have established a relationship with the management team at the venue and they may be able to pass on to you any news about who has played there before and how well they did, especially if any of the previous acts belonged to their agency. They may also be able to tell you about the personalities of the ‘hiring and firing’ team and what they may be looking for in future acts.
Just remember that it is a rare day that you will please everyone in the ‘hiring and firing’ team. A good promotional video is a good promotional video. It will get you work eventually.
– Patience is a virtue.