Hello world! It’s Stripper Talk time again! This is a place where I field questions and answer them to the best of my ability, hopefully giving anyone who’s interested in burlesque some insight.
This week’s question comes from last weeks inquisitor Atlanta Summer, from Seattle WA:
“As a hobbyist and a soloist (not a troupe member), I’d love to get in on shows that have “special guests” but I have no idea how to start, how to approach a producer (occasionally not even WHO to approach), how to be noticed and get on the performance radar. Do you have advice?”
This is ridiculously excellent question, and a hard one. I think it’s important to get your “business” right when approaching a producer or a show about your interest in working with them. Having video and photos are imperative, as well as a performance resume. When I was just beginning, I went to a lot of auditions, and after the audition was done, I would email those doing the session, thank them for their time and ask for any constructive criticism that they would be willing to impart to me. This is how I worked on growing my act and my skills as a performer. When I wouldn’t get called back (not everyone does all the time) I had to reach deep inside myself to know that not every show is right for me, and not every producer is going to want my style of performance for whatever reason. That’s why it’s important to contact all levels of shows you think might be possible for you and also to get some solid opinions from people you respect in the community. You might not like what you hear, you might be pleasantly surprised at the feedback, but it’s only information- the information is something you can leave or take but in my opinion it shouldn’t be simply ignored.
I will have to note that there seems to be a lot of coddling in the community when you ask for an opinion. Have your bullshit meter on. Everyone LOVES to be told their excellent and beautiful (and I do believe we all are in our own ways at many things) but not everyone will excel enough at this thing that is burlesque (or anything else for that matter) that will get them booked into the shows that they might desire to be a part of.
Re-evaluating your shows is key. Video yourself and take notes. Watch videos of those who inspire you- and take note of the differences, comparing is ok- so long as you don’t take it too far. Note stage presence, aesthetic, makeup application, costumes, movement, use of space, etc. to see what you can be working on until the next opportunity comes your way.
Approaching producers with confidence and respect is key. You’d be surprised by how many performers simply tell me to put them in their show, never even offering up information about themselves. To be honest, if someone tells me what to do (hey- I’m a Taurus) with my show and they aren’t my boss, I simply ignore them. I love getting requests from performers to perform in my show when it’s accompanied by a well worded email (spelling correct) that has a picture, a link to video and a bit about their accomplishments. A website is also great. Know what the producer books too. Always keep that in mind.
As for getting on radar, a lot of it is about being out there. Stage kittening, stage managing, volunteer shifts for festivals and big shows, all while working on your craft and putting out good video can help you as well. A lot of this is about applying for things and showing up, regardless of the outcome.
Many might not get into the shows they want, ever. Many will have to wait months, years even to be apart of the type of show they’ve only dreamed of. The key is just to work hard at it, (only if you want to of course) and to have as much fun as you can while you’re in the process.