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It’s Amazing What You’ll Find Face to Face - The Value of Meeting an Entertainer Prior to Performance

In case you haven’t noticed, a frequent conversation for us here at Gigroster is the attempt at blending the traditionally person-to-person methodology that entertainment and music booking has historically had with the expectations and technological realities of the 21st century. While a number of online booking services offer streamlined and seemingly hassle-free methods of connecting prospective clients with performers, the reality is that no innovation will overwrite the fact that on average, people connecting over a business transaction will be much more comfortable and trusting if they are able to actually see and more directly interact with each other. If unaccustomed this may seem like a bit of a hassle, but given the variety of opportunities and ways of making this happen it should eventually become an expected and pain-free step to any of your future bookings!

But why go through the extra work in the first place? Don’t these online booking platforms exist to alleviate the need for such interactions? If a performer is scheduled for a given performance and a contract can be made, what is the use of a more in-depth meeting really? Consider this; you’re planning a wedding, an often-times incredibly intimate occasion that people spend months arranging for, so would you feel more comfortable being approached by a relative stranger on the day-of asking where he can put his DJ equipment, or the recognizable face of YOUR hired DJ, whom you have already spoken to and know by face and can speak to as a member of the “Let’s make this wedding happen” team, rather than feeling like an uninvested stranger? Even beyond weddings, the reality is that nearly every engagement seeking entertainment is in some way a planned occasion, be it a company party, festival, etc, and the success of these events largely depends on the healthy interactions between the numerous people helping to put it together. It is these small interactions that help to build the larger event into a more cohesive substance, fostering an attitude of shared goals within the event rather than just a collection of individuals being paid to be somewhere at a given time. Behind most any important planned event is this underlying goal to bring the involved members closer together, so viewing the building blocks of your event in this manner will help to truly make the most of all the hard work it takes to make it happen.

Meet at an Already Scheduled Performance
If you are hiring a quality professional musician, band, or entertainer, there’s a very good chance that they already have at least one performance scheduled between your initial contact and the date of your event. This can present a great opportunity for both parties not only because there is no need for extraneous scheduling and meeting organization, but also that this presents the performer in their true light doing what they do. All the best bio, website, and visual media can’t make up for a genuine in-person witnessing of one’s abilities, and the truth of this can be seen by the clear jump in successful bookings we here at Gigroster see when such a meeting has taken place. And the best part is that as a client, you can both satisfy your “business” needs of witnessing the product that you are looking to purchase as well as just enjoy yourself for a night out! This is a completely appropriate question to ask either the band you are in contact with or the booking agent assigned to work with them, and likely will also reassure the band that you are a serious client who is personally invested in what you are looking to purchase.

Schedule a Meeting Between Parties
In the event that you as a client are just not available (or interested, that’s ok too) to take the time to check out your preferred performer at an existing engagement, the next best option is to try scheduling an in-person meeting. In case this seems unusual, just consider the hiring practice as just another business transaction - in most cases it would seem very unusual to consider paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to an entity without ever meeting with a representative, and entertainment services in this way are no different than any other hired professional. This could be as standard as a meeting in someone’s office or home, or as laid back as meeting for coffee of a beer at a location that works well for both parties. This obviously needs to be taken with a degree of reasonable expectation; if the performer is travelling to your event from a relatively far distance, it would be a little bit excessive to expect them to make an additional drive solely for a meeting, but at the same time it never hurts to ask and check the availability. Numerous times we have seen occasions where a performer just happened to be driving in the vicinity of a client some weeks or months before a performance in that area, and had no trouble stopping by to meet with their soon-to-be client. This sort of arrangement can help relax performers just as much as the client, so there should be no hesitation in simply asking the performer or booking agent if it is an option.

Chat Via Online Services
All that being said, it is perfectly understandable that an in-person meeting is not feasible. This could be due to distance, schedule conflict, or any number of perfectly legitimate reasons on either the client or performer’s side. Luckily, we live in an era where there are numerous ways in which we can talk to each other via visual communication, all from the comfort of our own homes or work spaces. Some of the easiest and most popular methods include Skype, Google Hangouts, Apple's Facetime, Facebook, ooVoo, and WeChat, but even more exist that are just as easy to use. It may seem easy to write off this option since hypothetically you could achieve just as much via a phone call or email, but let’s be honest; on average, most people don’t prefer phone calls these days, and email can be slow depending on who you are communicating with. There is a certain human element of interaction that can only be achieved when you can see the person you are communicating with, and when an in-person meeting just isn’t feasible a video call can give much of the benefit of a face-to-face conversation while still respecting the reality that not everyone can make time to meet in person prior to an engagement.

It is still easy to make the personal connection if you or your organization do not prefer to attempt a meeting or video call with your intended performer. There are just as many kinds of clients as there are performers, and if you are the sort of individual who would actually prefer a kind of working distance between yourself and a hired entertainer, that is completely OK and understandable. Our only hope in this discussion is that you as a client know that any desire to have some form of in-person or at least face-to-face conversation with your chosen performer is a completely reasonable thing to ask for, and is just another choice to be made on your end when it comes down to how you are organizing your event. We here at Gigroster hope to facilitate and foster these sorts of connections; indeed our aim in this regard is to do our best to hold onto these very personal and human facets of the entertainment world as we collectively move into a more technological future, and how best to make use of these tools to leave room for the human interactions that make our industry what it truly is. If you would like any assistance in this regard, we’re here to help every step of the way!

Riley Kennedy-Keys

Riley Kennedy-Keys

As an active musician in the Seattle area, Riley maintains an in-depth insight into the workings of the local music scene, as well as the ins and outs of what it means to work in the music industry.

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It’s Amazing What You’ll Find Face to Face - The Value of Meeting an Entertainer Prior to Performance
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