As an entertainer, you usually find yourself inundated with charity job requests, which, initially, for the first three minutes, you're really chuffed about, as it seems like, oh, wow, people WANT us! It's working! We're on fire. This year charity, next year The Albert Hall. Or something. After a while though, when you see (by your empty wallet and belly) that the promises of "exposure" and "kudos" and "free advertising and promotion" don't actually amount to an awful lot of paid work.. (you know the stuff that keeps the roof over your head, and food on the table?) you begin to view the endless requests in quite a different way.
I've read many articles about pricing your work to include travel, insurance, wear and tear (on equipment, flesh and bones) and a myriad of other expenses such as clothing, advertising, promotion, chasing quotes, telephone bills, accountancy, administration... In fact here is a great article about how to price yourself as a fire performer:
This article, from Elizabeth Knights writing for Fire Magazine is a very good read for anyone interested in WHY we charge the rates we do, or for performers wanting to work out how much they should charge, is a very helpful commentary, and puts it probably far better than I can.
I had an email exchange with a lovely lady who is a fellow Home Educator, for whom we did a two hour workshop recently. We took 50 children and ran them through as many pieces of equipment we could during the limited time. The kids, and their paents, by all accounts loved it. After the event, we were asked if it were possible to add a discount, as there was some confusion as to how many tutors we were going to provide for the workshop. I thought a while (over 30 seconds, which is impessive for an ADHD mind..!) before replying with a fairly detailed estimate of the breakdown of what it actually costs to run a workshop. The lady then replied she was sorry she had asked ( I bet she was, my reply was about twelve pages long.. well not quite, but ya know) and indicated she hadn't realised the figures involved, which of course, she's not going to, this is by no means a label of fault in any way. I didn't realise until I got myself into this just how much IS the right price.
Back to charities - yes, we ALL need to do our bit, and there is kudos and the feeling you've contributed which is important, but if we took every request we were asked then we'd be out of business in no time, and stacking shelves in tescos. I would guess that entertainers get asked to help more often than most professions, I don't know any plumbers or electricians who regularly get phone calls asking them to come and fix this charity's taps or wiring for free..!
Having said this, often, there comes along a charity which you really feel compelled to say yes to. So, last Thursday we packed up the ship and sailed on down to Niagara Conference Centre in Hillsborough, and the Rumbucket did an hour or so of balloon modelling for the RVS with some very appreciative and giggly older folks :)
They were attempting to highlight issues regarding societal isolation, and presenting a "Skill share" event whereby a person under 50 could swap skills with a person over 50. An interesting concept which I will be watching to see if it has an impact.
Finally - I'd like to leave you with this priceless page entitled: Becoming a Childrens Entertainer in GIF, which any new or seasoned entertainer will identify with. FUNNIES :D