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Tools in your Tool Box

Where in the world am I today?: North Vancouver, BC, Canada

Still in the middle of the BC Street Jam program on Robson Square at the moment. It’s been a great run to date and today was the last day of the run for two great acts – The Chairmen and Mike Battie. It’s a pleasure to work with these two acts, because the totally ‘Get it.’ I was talking with Bob from the Chairmen after his show last night and really just thanking him for making it so easy to bring the Chairmen in as an act in the program.

Every gig is different and each environment dictates a certain acceptable or expected behaviour from the people fronting the bill. Working a straight street pitch is one thing, working for a corporate client is another, doing work on cruise ships another beast all together. Each venue needs to be approached as it’s own entity and appropriate behaviours learned for each. It’s been really interesting for me to be involved on both sides of the equation with this project during the Olympics, both as an act as well as part of the production team, because I’ve become even more aware of how important it is to make sure the performers involved in the program help promote the positive image of the end client in this particular case the Province of British Columbia.

In my conversation with Bob we used the analogy a mechanic pulling out tools from his toolbox to work on different jobs and compared that to what a performer needs do every time they work with a different client. A great set of skills, appropriate costuming, good promo, these are all a given. You need these ‘tools’ if you want to get the gig in the first place, but beyond this, the ability to recognize that when you step out on stage (and off stage for that matter) you are actually a representative of the client who booked you is critical. Understand this successfully being able to executing any tweaks to the content of your performance to keep your show and it’s image in line with that of the end client is critical if you want to craft a win-win scenario that might see you working for that client again.

Now for true ‘Artists’ these sorts of restrictions placed on their creative head space may appear too limiting and for that sort of performer, working for certain clients may not be the best option, but having the ability to adapt and conform a bit will open WAY more doors for you work-wise. Having this understanding of how your show reflects on the person who’s hiring you could well be one of the most important tools in your toolbox.

To use a hockey analogy, you need to not only be good on the ice, you need to be good in the locker room as well.

Having a sense of the bigger picture that your show is fitting into at a large event like this one I’m currently involved with is just a part of the job. The BC Street Jam program is just one part of the larger Celebrate British Columbia at Robson Square Programming. The result is that each show that’s part of the BC Street Jam ends up being one small element in a much larger picture made up of many other elements. The more harmoniously the individual parts flow together, the better the results are going to be for the entire program and the happier the end client is going to be. Playing well with others just make the whole thing work.

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