To take or not take the gig...
Been thinking this week about taking jobs, well not jobs. Gigs. I guess I have been thinking about the gig life.
Sometimes things come up and you just say yes, because, well, it's an awesome gig. I recently accepted a gig that, at the end of the month, takes me to Brazil for a week. I wanted to to say yes before I even listened to the music or heard how much I would get paid, because it was BRAZIL. Sao Paolo. Never been there before, and no better way to see the world then when someone else is flipping the bill.
Other times however, you come across a gig that you aren't sure about right away. I run a small music festival in the summer, and for some of our artists, our gigs fall into this category. We have been around for 3 seasons and don't have a huge budget, yet. So saying yes or no is totally dependent on where each person is at any given moment. This summer, one of the singers I wanted to work with was in such a situation. He wrote me about it. (Obviously these emails have been edited from the original version.)
I´ve been thinking about this opportunity and it´s been really hard for me to justify working for $X. I understand that this is a great opportunity and my coach said that if I could afford it, I should do it. The money aspect is one thing, but what´s making it difficult is that I can go to this other gig and sing there but it wouldn´t be opera. Monetarily it would make more sense for me to do that, but I´m trying to weigh the pros and the cons. Obviously I don´t want to leave you guys in a tough spot, but I´m just not sure right now if I can do it. If you could give me some idea on the people that are working there and what my biggest gain might be, I would greatly appreciate it.
Singer weighing the pros and cons
First off, I loved his honesty. He was
right to ask me, and it made me think. What I wrote him was this:
Dear Singer weighing the pros and cons,
I completely can relate with and understand your concerns. Believe me I wish that the fees could be higher, I have made it a priority to pay singers first, and as generously as possible. This year however that means $X.
Our musical director is Mr. Conductor, who also is the artistic director of the Some Philharmonic, and previously was the music director of Such and Such Opera. Our director is Ms. Director Lady, who is at this moment Assistant Directing at the Awesome Festival, she is a talented young director who is in the early phases of her career. Our Bad Guy, will be Mr. Baritone, who is a wonderful singer with credits including a whole bunch of companies that we all know. At this time, the rest of our cast isn't confirmed, and so I don't want to give you any false information.
As for your biggest gain, it is difficult to say what the end pay off will be. It will give you an opportunity to put the role on your resume, you will be paid for it, unlike many of the smaller companies in the NY metro area, you will be working with a good conductor, director and orchestra.
When choosing to take a job or not I generally catagorize things into 4 major catagories:
1. to garner experience: confidence, repertoire, exposure, resume
2. to be heard by infulential people
3. to make money
4. to make contacts (singers, staff, audience, producers)
I would look at your current state, and see what are the priorities in your career and which one(s) this falls into.
Luckily for us, he took that gig.
Thank you for the opportunity to sing in your Festival this summer. I cherished every minute of the experience and had the opportunity to revisit a role that I was very afraid off. Some years agoI had a hard time singing it. I guess I could say that I was not ready for it. Singing it again gave me once more confidence and proof that it is actually a very good role for me and I should definitely put it in my repertoire.
You see my dear friend , there are not " small" gigs. There is always something to gain from every experience. Money of course make our lives easier, we all agree with that, but sometimes if you learn how to look beyond the monetary compensation your will find that there are many other reasons to accept a gig. In this case a great conductor, director and cast. Well done!!!