Will Work For… Nothing? No, Thanks.
We’ll Give You Dinner
Sometimes it’s a “will work for food” type offer. I’m not trying to be hard, but an offer of food after a performance isn’t payment, it’s a tip. I realize that there are some students who are happy to dance for food, but professionals don’t do that.
It’s a Charity Event
A real charity event is where the beneficiary is a 501 (c)(3) and I get a tax write off for the value of my services. A real charity event is where ALL the talent is donated, not just the supporting players. If these conditions are not met, you are asking me to belly dance free of charge. I’ll consider all proposals, so feel free to ask, but call it what it is.
It’s an Audition
I have video, photos and testimonials readily available. I don’t do live auditions. That’s the same as dancing free.
I Don’t Know If I Want to Hire You. Come Over and Let’s Talk
I am happy to provide any information that you need to help you decide whether or not I am what you want for your event; however, I am not coming to your house, place of business, or event location to discuss particulars, rehearse, or for any other reason unless and until I am contracted. When you hire a belly dancer, you are not hiring someone for the 15-30 minutes they are on stage. You are paying for their travel, time getting dressed, rehearsal, costuming, expertise, time to mix the music, and any other services that are agreed to (like planning meetings or hostessing). There is a lot more that goes into a gig than just the time spent on stage. Meeting clients face-to-face isn’t necessary in the digital age nor is it cost or time effective. However, if you find it truly necessary, I am happy to give you my time if I am compensated.
Can You Just Stay and….
I am happy to do whatever we agreed to in advance. Your price is based upon our discussions. If you want me to walk around, take pictures with your guests, chat people up, and be atmosphere, I will gladly comply… if you ask in advance. If you ask me after the fact or want me to delay the performance until someone shows up, I may not be able to agree because I have another obligation. Or I may have to say no because you are asking me to work for nothing.
It’s for Fun
If the belly dance show is for friends or it’s a nursing home show and nobody is getting paid, I’m in. If the show is for the public and admission is charged, I can’t dance free. I really do appreciate anyone who is willing to take on the planning and financial risk to put on a show, but part of the expense of that is hiring talent. There couldn’t be a show without performers.
Every time you call an attorney, the clock starts. You are charged for every minute. Babysitters do the same. If you are an employer, the law dictates that you pay for hours worked. Why do some people think it’s different for artists?
Have you thought that maybe I only have enough gas money to get through the week and you asking me to come out and visit with you without being paid will mean that I can’t do anything else? Or maybe I have a babysitter who will get paid more while I don’t if I stay later for you without getting any addition money. Or maybe I have an ailing mother who won’t get her medication on time if I am late. Or maybe I just value my time and feel that I should be fairly compensated.
If it sounds like I am being a money grubber, let me just ask you this. When’s the last time you worked at your profession free of charge?