Saturday, April 6, 2013
Planning My Show - Keith Birmingham, 04/06/2013
One of the primary reasons an artist of any kind will fail in business is that they fail to make a plan for their performance. The good news is that taking the time to plan your every move helps to secure your success as a business. And, there is not much reason beyond success for doing any project. The following article shows my basic plan for what I need to do from start to finish.
My goal is to find a “pitch” where I can be seen and heard without getting in the way of, the people passing by while engaged in their daily activity. Each of those people are my prospective audience, and I want to do nothing that annoys them.
I want my show to move at a steady pace. But, I do not want to appear to be in a hurry. I want my audience to see that I am there to entertain them, and not get in their way. The songs that I play are each 3 to 4 minutes in length. I figure that I will spend an average of about a minute between each song engaged in chatting with my audience. Of course, most of the time I will be starting my act with absolutely no audience. So, I need to start my act with a “catch” song. But, I cannot afford to let my audience loose interest in what I am doing, so I have to keep “good” entertainment coming at a steady pace. And, I want to finish my show with a couple of my strongest tunes.
Until I figure have enough experience to figure out just who will be my audience I am including new and old tunes that are basically from the country, rock, rockabilly, and blues genre. So, I keep a list of songs to practice on a continuing basis that rotates about 100 songs. I do not, however, go out thinking that I will play 100 songs, and go home. I will plan each day of work to be 2 sessions, and be between 20 to 35 minutes in length. That is enough time to play 6 to 8 songs for each session, and 5 to 10 minutes of chat. I will then take a break. What I am counting on is that my audience will enjoy my music enough to want to converse with me between songs, and following my act. So, basically, I will spend a few seconds before each tune to introduce the tune, and mention something about who I am doing a “cover” of. At the end of each song I will converse with the audience before introducing the next song.
I will then watch my audience to see if they move on with their day, or are they hanging around to hear more music. If they are moving on I will wait until my audience is almost entirely new before I do another session. The trick to setting up a successful pitch, I believe, is to be playing at a time when the people passing by are not in a hurry to get to their destination, perhaps on a lunch break. Or, perhaps while they are shopping at a leisurely pace.
At this time I do not plan to be on any pitch for more than 1 to 1.5 hours each day/night that I play. However, if I am up to it, and if the audience is up for it, I will go as long as I can. Actually, I do not plan to busk more that once or twice a week. My plans are to try to get gigs playing for veterans and seniors at local centers close to home. This, I think will leave me time to work with my passion of photography, and to practice and make changes to my act.
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