So I offered a deeply discounted rate for our comedy murder mystery.
But soon I learned I had been played for a fool. The group was a Young Professionals Association in eastern Illinois; and they were anything but professional. But they were definitely young, and their attitude toward getting me the info I needed to send them a contract and arrange the show was not unlike my 17-year-old's attitude toward doing her homework. At 12 days prior to our scheduled performance, I still had not heard from the woman coordinating the event, and still had not been able to send them a contract.
When we did talk (today) she informed me that the attendance might be four times as large as she had originally told me. I replied that if that were the case I would have to raise my price, and would send her a contract with the higher rate - though still a deeply discounted one. She then tried not to secure the original rate, but to poor-mouth me down to a rate even lower than what we had verbally agreed to (before she went on vacation for two weeks and left me a voice mail with no information on where to send the contract) - trying to negotiate me down for an event to be held at the local Country Club, no less.
This whole thing ended with this woman having a co-member call me and denigrate our company. "I called at got a company from Chicago to come down to do this show instead of Upstage Productions!" she bragged, at a rate higher than I had quoted them. "It will be good to have the choice of a second mystery company in our town!" she said, sweetly.
I hung up on her. Such are the frustrations (dealing with jerks) - and the benefits (hanging up on jerks) - of running your own business.
But here's the problem I find myself in when I'm in these situations.
The customer wants a show that's all-in. They expect us to do what we do as performers, give the show our all, regardless of the mood we're in, how we're feeling physically, what we have to go through to get there, or any other circumstances involved. But they don't always want to pay what it costs to have us all-in.
This is precisely why Stewardship of Love is so important, especially for actors and other fools.
Going "all in" comes with a cost.
Last week I wrote about The Provisional Life and the Peter Pan Syndrome, in which I observed that it's wrong - or at least immature - NOT to go "all in" with the life we've been given. And yet there are times when choices come up, and when we must say to a prospective friend or lover or customer - "I will only do this if I can do it right; and to do it right requires I go all in, and that's going to cost me and cost you - and if the investment is not reciprocal - then I have only one choice. I'm all out."
|This was the entertainment at last year's Young Professional's Dinner at the Country Club. Not very good, but they got him cheap!!!|