Connect with us

Entertainment

How To Hire Entertainers – A Guide to Hiring Entertainment for Company and Private Parties

Mark Harris

Published

on

[ad_1]

A Word About Agents

In the article ‘How to Plan a Banquet,’ we included a limited discussion about entertainment, and our basic advice was to hire a competent talent agent who specializes in “casuals,” which means one-day or one-night events, such as parties, weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and other

fun events.

Some agents represent actors and actresses, and unless they have a department that handles variety acts and bands, they would be of no help to you.

Some other agents handle only major attractions and celebrities, and unless you’re working with a serious budget, they won’t be able to help you get a band for Aunt Sarah’s 50th anniversary party.

A variety agent is able to help you get that close-up magician, band, and sometimes even name entertainers like Reba McEntire or The Temptations. Those that specialize in variety entertainment are sometimes called “full-service” agencies.

How do you tell who is a competent agent? That’s a good question, because if you asked an agent if he’s competent he’d be a fool to say anything but “Of course!”

Having been in the entertainment business for over forty years, I’ve seen a lot of people set up shop as agents. Some last, some don’t.

A huge percentage of my business comes from people who either have used my services before or were referred by someone who has used my services.

Finding Talent

Finding your own entertainment can be fun. I have spent years watching other acts, bands and attractions, and I never fail to enjoy it.

The internet or the Yellow Pages are a good starting place. Try using a search engine to find what you’re looking for. You’ll find listings in the Yellow Pages under entertainers, party planners, entertainment bureaus, and maybe some other categories.

Try a search for something like “bands in los angeles” or “juggler orange county” or whatever is appropriate. See what you come up with.

Beware that a beautiful website may not mean the best entertainer. Many website are not built by the entertainer and even it is, a nice-looking website does not translate to great entertainment.

Referrals from friends might be useful to you if you follow the reviewing procedures outlined below.

Watch your local newspaper for entertainers that are scheduled to appear for other groups in your area, and make it a point to catch their acts if possible. Of course, if you start going to other events, you’ll see some poor entertainment, too. (I guess it holds true that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince!) But even that can be helpful, if you are observant and make a note of what made the act good or bad.

Reviewing An Act/Band

If you’re not working with an agent, you will need to review the act yourself. There are three methods of reviewing an act: You can (1) go see the act perform live, (2) watch a video of the act, or (3) have the act come audition for you.

By far the best way is to see the act perform under roughly the same set of circumstances as your event. Seeing people perform in Las Vegas to a night-club crowd does not mean they’ll be able to perform for little Gloria’s 10th birthday party (or vice versa).

The problem with going to see live performances is that it is certainly very time consuming, and you will only be able to see a limited number of contenders before it’s time to make a decision. But on the other hand, think of the fun you’ll have!

Watching DVDs is an excellent method, as you can cover a lot of ground in an evening. Unfortunately, not all acts have DVDs or videos, and it would be a shame to eliminate a topnotch act just because they could not supply one.

Another BIG problem with video is that many acts supply a short, edited version of their act. This can be very deceptive. When reviewing an act by video, I always insist on (but don’t always get) an unedited version of the show. I never hire an act based on an edited video. I’ve heard of instances where an act was hired because they had a very powerful video, only to find that in their entire show, the only part that was any good was those few minutes on the video.

Don’t be overly impressed by a DVD or video of a movie appearance, guest spot on a TV show, or commercial. That still does not mean they can do the job you want them for.

Unless you’re an agent, you can just about forget about having the act audition for you. Maybe an act will drop off literature. In the case of a magician, mime, or similar variety act, you may receive a short demonstration. However, this small segment along with its glib pitch can be very deceiving.

Don’t take chances; be sure of what you’re buying!

When you talk to an entertainer on the phone, ask him to send his “press kit” or literature and a DVD or video tape.

Most variety acts will have printed literature or a complete press kit (which includes a photo, biographical information, letters of recommendation and references or list of past performances).

Please don’t be taken in by good printed material. Usually, but not always, you can get a pretty good idea of their level of professionalism by the materials they send you.

I do know some really great acts that work all the time and have virtually nothing in the way of printed materials. Of course I’ve also seen some really outstanding printed materials but was disappointed when I saw the act. I have a band that I send out to a lot of small weddings and installation banquets, and it took me almost a year to get a photo from them. (I’m still hoping to get a song list some day.) I’ve got another band that is absolutely tops in promotional material and their band is absolutely tops, too!

Some performers no longer use paper press kits but instead prefer an electronic press kit either contained on a DVD they send you or simply up on their website. That’s fine. It’s certainly a more contemporary method of promoting one’s self.

Arrangements

It’s important, once you’ve decided what entertainers or band you’re going to hire, that arrangements be made clearly and in writing. I’ve enclosed a sample letter you may wish to use. Some entertainers have their own contracts, but many do not, making it necessary for you to put everything down on paper and send it to the entertainer. I’m not a lawyer so I don’t know how enforceable the letter is, but at least you have the information down on paper and you both understand and agree to the terms.

If I’m serving as Agent, I fill out a contract based on our conversations, and then forward it to my client for a signature. I try to collect as much information as I can about the event so that I can prevent any surprises. The entertainers also receive a binding contract.

By the way, this might be a good place to mention that talent agents are like travel agents in that they don’t charge you for their services, but instead charge the entertainers. The agent is really looking out for your interests and can draw from countless entertainers and bands, being reasonably familiar with what each act does. There is an internet subscription service that lists thousands of entertainers, who their personal manager is (if any), and/or how to reach them. All entertainers are available to a full-service agent, rather than just a handful of acts that the agent has been able to put together.

When making your arrangements with entertainers make sure that you discuss everything:

  1. Location. Best to send the act a map.
  2. Date of performance.
  3. Time and duration of performance. Bands usually work 4 hours, with a 10-15 minute break each hour. Talk to them about their breaks and how much overtime will cost. Some bands supply recorded music during their breaks.
  4. Put the fee down in writing. I would hesitate to pay the act a deposit, although some entertainers and bands require it. I’m a licensed agent, so an act knows that once I send the contract their pay is guaranteed. Both you and the entertainer are acting on a trust not yet demonstrated. The entertainer wonders if he’ll get paid, and you wonder if he’ll show up! It’s the only system we have.
  5. Method of payment. Acts always expect to be paid in full following the performance. If any other arrangements are to be made, please not only discuss it with them, but put it in your letter of agreement.
  6. An act will want to know your time schedule… what time is the cocktail hour, dinner, etc. and this brings up an interesting subject: feeding the act. Usually, if you have only one individual doing a show after dinner (e.g. a magician or a singer), you should invite him to join your group for dinner. However, it would not be expected of you to feed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Even bands are seldom fed. If you use the band for the cocktail hour, during dinner, and then have them take a break while you give out awards or conduct other business, then
  7. it would be appropriate to feed them during that hour. It’s not mandatory, however. (Keep in mind that a meal is a nice consolation for the act if they are giving you a special break on the fee.)
  8. Who supplies the public address system? Bands usually have their own equipment; other acts may not. A guitar player who sings may require two microphones. Four singers might require microphones and expect you to supply them. If you’re at a hotel or other banquet facility, you may be able to get everything you need from them. Extensive sound systems will have to come from a professional sound company. Make sure you discuss this with your performer and put it in writing.
  9. Lighting. Again, your facility may have what you need. Spotlights with an operator can be rented for around $350. Big concerts will require the services of a professional lighting company.
  10. Stage? A banquet of fewer than 50 people may not even need risers, but when you start getting up in the numbers, you’ll need to get your entertainers up to where the audience can see them. A catering facility or hotel will usually have 4′ x 8′ risers at various heights so that you can build a platform or stage for your entertainment.
  11. Is it outdoors? What if it rains? You should really specify what you will do. Will you then hold it indoors? The act or entertainer has blocked out that day for you and perhaps turned down other work. They are really entitled to their fee even if the program is rained out, unless you’ve made other arrangements.
  12. Seating. It’s very difficult for an entertainer to have a dance floor between himself and the audience. If you’re having a dance after a comedian or other entertainer, talk with the act about how close the seats or tables need to be. Maybe he/she can work on the dance floor.
  13. Does the act need a place to change clothes or set up equipment?
  14. Does the act sell albums or other merchandise at the performance? Some musical acts offer albums after the show. Is this all right with you?
  15. Parking and unloading. How nice it is for an entertainer to pull up in front of the YMCA and find a sign “Reserved for Entertainer.” You can’t always do that, but remember that some acts have a lot to carry in. If the only parking available costs money, you should reimburse the entertainers. Talk about it and include your decision in your letter of agreement.

There are plenty of things to inquire about. Take time to picture in your mind exactly how things will be. If there is a question in your mind about anything, ask. Ask the hotel, the band, the act, the agent.

Conclusion

Well, really, that was easy. Just spend months looking at acts and days negotiating and a few weeks wondering if you blew it. (Or give a call to a competent talent agent and let him worry about the hard stuff!)

Perhaps a good rule to remember is “You get what you pay for.” A friend called me and wanted Mariachis for a Church Mexican Fiesta. I quoted him a price for five Mariachis for two hours, but he went out and hired his own for less. He called me up later just sick about it. He had called a group advertised somewhere and got a low price…and low quality. It’s not a new story.

Don’t look for the lowest price; look for quality. If you can’t afford top quality, it’s probably better not to have entertainment at all rather than to hire an act that makes you and everyone else squirm in their seats.

—–

Sample Letters

PRINCESS WANTA COMPANY

Makers Of The Unbreakable Widget

1842 Los Albany Street, Los Angeles, CA 90023

312/555-2345

February 31, 2009

Freddy the Magic Man

1234 Count Me Out Street

Pasadena, California 93345

Dear Mr. Magic Man:

This is to confirm our arrangements for you to entertain at our annual installation banquet to be held October 32, 2009 at the Rancho Cucamonga Holiday Hotel, 2345 Hotel Ave., Cucamonga,

California.

The banquet will begin with the cocktail hour from 6:00pm to 7:00pm at which time we will sit down for dinner. We would be delighted if you would join us. Please let us know if you would prefer the fish or the steak.

We have a deejay who will provide you with a microphone on a microphone stand and the hotel has arranged to put up a 8′ wide by 6′ deep by 2′ high platform, with stairs at one end, for you to perform on. Your 30 minute performance of comedy and magic should begin after dinner, approximately 8:15pm. I will have a $750 check ready for you at the conclusion of your performance. Please also bring me your parking ticket for full validation.

Please sign a copy of this letter and return to me to solidify our arrangements.

Most sincerely,

Marta Stuart

—–

From: Freddy The Magic Man

To: Marta Stuart

Everything looks great! I’ll be there. I’d prefer: Steak ______ Fish ______

X_____________________________________

—–

LIBERTY AWARDS FUNDING

Helping to improve life through investing

2356 Nobody Street

Lancing, Ohio 98823

912/555-3456

February 31, 2009

Leon Huge

Big Band From Cleveland

1902 Go Jump Street

Pine Grove, Pa 69903

Dear Mr Huge:

Thank you for agreeing to have your 8-piece band play for my daughter’s wedding on July 14, 2008 at the Forrest Glen Country Club, 2323 Country Club Drive, Lancing, Ohio from 8:00pm to midnight. As we discussed, the band is to complete their set-up by 6:00pm and you will play recorded music through your sound system from 6:00pm to 8:00pm for the cocktail hour and dinner.

You also agreed to act as the emcee introducing the bride and groom and the entire wedding party as they enter the room at approximately 6:30pm. I will e-mail you the line-up at least a week before the event. Please kick off the dance set at 8:00pm with the Father /Daughter dance “Isn’t She Lovely” and then invite the entire wedding party to join them on the dance floor at the end of that song and play “Celebration.”

I understand that the band will play four 45-minute sets each hour and you will provide recorded music during your breaks. I will have a check for $2,450 ready for you when you arrive. I will also obtain full validation for all of your musicians if you will collect their parking slips. I will have sandwiches, sodas, coffee, iced tea and fruit juice in the break room at 7:00pm for you and the band. Please check in with Diane at the Country Club and she will show you the break room.

Please sign below and return a copy of this letter to make sure we’re on the same page.

Thanks.

Sammy Claws

—–

Sammy:

Everything is as agreed. We will be there.

X________________________________

© 2007 by Al Lampkin

[ad_2]
Source by Al Lampkin

Like
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
1

Entertainment

Fake black Instagram model is causing controversy

Published

on

 

It was only recently that Cameron James Wilson revealed that Shudu was entirely computer-generated, with her followers previously under the impression that she was a real person.

Shudu Gram, is the world’s first ever digital supermodel! She has attracted tens of thousands of eyes for being the unique concept and there are positives but there is also criticism ranging as to a white man focused on a racist concept.

With a blink of an eye, a new trend has come up.

Nevertheless, the concept definitely deserves enlightenment.

Cameron James Wilson is a 28-year old white British photographer based in London. He’s spent the last years working within the fashion sector and has made a name for himself as a beauty, fashion and celebrity photographer.

The successful photographer taught himself how to create three-dimensional art online, which is how Shudu Gram was conceived.

Wilson told Refinery 29

“Basically Shudu is my creation, she’s my art piece…” He also went on to say

“She is not a real model, unfortunately, but she represents a lot of the real models of today. There’s a big kind of movement with dark skin models, so she represents them and is inspired by them.”

Although a cool concept some worry that Wilson’s monetization of the new “Dark Skin fetish” seen in media is one that stems in a deep history of social injustice.

Rihanna’s cosmetics company, Fenty Beauty, even shared a photo of Shudu on their Instagram account that shows her wearing a shade of the makeup line’s lipstick.

People also took to twitter to voice their opinions some saying.

Author at Africa Classifieds

Like
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
1
Continue Reading

Entertainment

DVD Entertainment – An Alternative to Television Programming

Mark Harris

Published

on

[ad_1]

DVD entertainment used to be the once a week family ritual Sunday night after dinner when the kids were young. We would clear the table, do the dishes, get everyone comfy on the sofa and watch one or two DVD movies the whole family could enjoy … which usually were Disney movies the kids wanted to see. Or see again. There is an unwritten rule that, as a parent, you gotta love Walt Disney.

Now the kids are grown and (mostly) gone and I am too busy Most of the time to sit in front of the television waiting for something interesting to come on. As my time has become more precious to me, television commercials have become an unacceptable annoyance in what should be an absolutely enjoyable time for me to see what I choose to watch without constant program interruptions.

What used to be an infrequent use of DVD entertainment has just become about a mainstay as far as what I watch on television. Although there are a few programs on local network broadcasting I will watch with my husband once in awhile, it is only to spend companionable time with him. The television is rarely turned on when he is away.

While never a fan of commercial television, living in the north woods of Wisconsin when there were only three local channels we could get with extra aluminum foil on the rabbit ears made it easy to ignore the bad in order to have some connection with the outside world . My tolerance for all things annoying was much higher back then as well but there was no way to justify paying for cable television.

When we moved to the Milwaukee area in 1988 we suddenly had a dozen network channels at our disposal without subscribing to cable. And we had two PBS stations to work with. It was a change in lifestyle. PBS offered absolutely great programming for the kids and became much more of a staple for family entertainment than the hideously commercial infested programs on network television. The children were responding to marketing directed toward them and that was both disturbing and difficult to counteract. Once they started school it was impossible.

Early on, purchasing recorded programs on VHS tapes became a way to give the children what we felt was good entertainment without causing too many problems most of the time. There were a few super heroes that managed a try to live vicariously through our son or twice but no serious harm was done. We were all very grateful for that.

It can be hard to tell what devices or triggers are embedded in programs or movies we watch online or on television today. Marketing used to be so much more obvious and straightforward; here is our product, this is what it does, this is how you benefit, now buy it. Today big dollar marketing is based on brain wave patterns, and psychological triggers that are intended to give us a sense of urgency and desire; here is our product which is a very limited edition and only a tiny few are available right now, it will do whatever you must buy it now, you must buy it now buy it now.

Very gradually the children began to see marketing for what it was but they still wanted the products that were marketed to them. This was right at the same time that DVD entertainment became available and we immediately began to convert from VHS to DVD whenever we had the purchasing choice. Local and online DVD rental became a much more frequent and encouraged thing in our house from that point forward if there was nothing interesting to watch on PBS.

When PBS was forced to plead for money on a regular basis instead of showing commercials to pay for their programming, at first I contributed. When the pleading began to happen every few weeks and last for a couple of weeks at a time so messing up any previous viewing schedule I had enjoyed, I stopped watching PBS on a regular basis. I gave up on TV just about completely but I missed my shows. I bought the television shows I wanted to see on DVD! Problem solved.

Today I prefer to watch DVD movies or television shows on DVD so that I can control the marketing instead of having it control my time. More and more DVDs are front loaded with unavoidable interruptions mostly in the form of trailers for other DVDs. It is easy and fun to fast forward through these to get the main menu as quickly as possible. It might even be fun to watch them once, but again I dislike the lack of choice in watching what I want to watch and nothing more.

So even while DVD entertainment is not perfect, it offers one choice of freedom from being forced to end the work of marketing geniuses who target viewers in every program on television. It is also looking more affordable with the next generation of media storage called Blu-ray entering the market as a step up. Eventually Blu-ray will rule the world and DVD entertainment will be a blur in the history books. Progress is good!

[ad_2]
Source by Pauline Trabert

Like
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
Continue Reading

Entertainment

The Problem With Entertainment News Today

Mark Harris

Published

on

[ad_1]

Have you noticed the most recent news today? Have you noticed how much of the important news and issues facing society today are pushed more and more onto the "back burner?" This is because more and more the media is focused on the entertainment industries, rather than "real news." That's both the blessing and the curse for entertainment news today, it becomes good for the entertainment industry and bad for the REAL news industry.

What the major problem with focusing on nothing but entertainment-related "news" is, is the fact that our society is not keeping itself informed about the major issues and current events in our society when they are constantly bombarded with nothing but entertainment industry "news . " The complacency with which most have ALLOWED this to occur is the saddest part of this, because the average person no longer cares about major issues or world events.

And what's even worse is that what television, magazines and internet sources are calling entertainment news today is no longer even "real" news, but merely like a constantly running gossip column. When the highlight of a news piece is what someone bought at a convenience store, what color their hair is today, or whether or not they and their significant other is having problems- that's not news, it's merely gossip.

Not to mention, whenever celebrities are constantly followed around by money-hungry gossip magazine photographers or constantly speculated upon by numerous different persons in the media, their privacy and basic human rights are trampled on. All for the sake of so-called "news."

The average person does not get their face splashed all over the media anytime they buy a gallon of milk, a box of condoms or get a speeding ticket- is it right to force that up celebrities just because they're famous and call it " news? " That is the biggest part of the problem with entertainment news today, things that are not really newsworthy are being reported and discussed as if they were.

What one needs to do, if they're fed up with the lack of newsworthy reporting in the media is to complain to the media companies, newspapers and magazines about the lack of quality news that is being put out by the media companies. If enough people take the initiative and make a stand and demand better news and reporting, then the media will change to give people what they want.

If people do not demand change, and stay complacent about the condition of the news and reporting processes, then entertainment news today will stay as it is, and the media will continue to report on non-newsworthy items such as who ate what for breakfast, how much someone's ridiculously large diamond ring cost, and who got a speeding ticket the night before.

[ad_2]
Source by Wendy Pan

Like
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

RECENT COMMENTS

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

NEWSLETTER

Sign Up For 
Your 
Newsletter

Stay informed, Stay updated, Stay connected!
Hear the voices join the Africa Classifeids newsletter.
Advertisement