Usually I like to write positively about our sector, latest happenings and events, but this month I’m going to reflect on a bit of a gripe that I’ve heard from some members. It’s about commercial gigs!
We had a phone call this month from an aerialist who was pressured by a hirer to do their own rigging so that the hirer wouldn’t have to bear the cost of engaging a ticketed rigger to do the work. I suspect this has happened more than once. Please aerialists, don’t do it! It’s a slippery slope, once a few people agree to let that standard slip, the pressure gets greater and it’s only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt!
A solution is for aerialists to get their tickets. If you are your own rigger, and if you have a ticket then no one can ask you to do a job that doesn’t include a ticketed rigger. And yes, make sure your ticketed status is reflected in your fee.
ACAPTA is keen to broker training opportunities for our members, so I’m keen to know how many aerialists might be interested in acquiring their rigging ticket in the next year. We may be able to negotiate a “bulk buy” training offering. Drop Kat a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Which brings me to the issue of the poverty of the fees that are being offered for work from corporate clients. Are we flooding the market (with good circus acts) so that commercial forces are driving the price down? Possibly! Are we being undercut by people starting out in the business who are charging inadequate fees and don’t know any better? Possibly!
I think we need to drive an awareness campaign around the actual value and appropriate fee for an act. Even if you accept work for less than your usual fee (and some people do this on a regular basis for many reasons – it’s a charity, a fundraiser, a friend who is paying, or you just need some bucks to get through to the next rent/mortgage cycle and have to take anything!) it is important that hirers know the actual value of the work they are getting. You can reflect this in your invoice. Outline the proper fee, and then include a discount to the amount you have agreed on. This lets everyone understand what the true value of the work you have provided is, and underlines the generosity of your gesture in providing that at a discounted rate.
One more thing. What’s with the preponderance of independent companies comprising three men (often the core members) and one woman (often decorative)?