So today I called the people planning Greeleya€™s annual Potato Days a celebration of history and potatoes. I was al excited to go and perform at the festival when I realized that it happens to be on the weekend of my Mother-in-laws wedding. This was not frustrating.
What was frustrating was when I decided to look into what was going on at another local fest that shall remain nameless. When I look on the website I found that they had chosen to go with other entertainers to do balloons at the fest, even though I had done it the past 5 years. Now, I understand that I did not have a contract and that they are free to choose whomever they wish, however, that festival has been somewhat of a tradition since the only year I have missed was the year that I was in California going to commercial diving school.
It turns out that they hired my competition to entertain and it just so happens that the person who runs the competition is friends with the person who chooses the performers. Hmm that seems fair. So I contacted the Cultural Affairs Department head via email:
Hey ita€™s me Dylan. I haven’t heard from you about the FESTIVAL this year and was wondering what is going on. I had talked with you before I started doing ANOTHER FESTIVAL this last November. In our discussion I had requested payment to do that event. You said that it was more of a volunteer event but that you would use me and possibly my wife in the coming festival season. You mentioned both Cinco de Mayo and the FESTIVAL. I find it very disappointing that you didn’t honor what you said. I have enjoyed performing at the FESTIVAL for the past 6 years. Another year when you didn’t hire me I just showed up because it is an event that I enjoy doing. During that year you said that I was fine to be there performing as long as I didn’t make Balloon Animals so I didn’t compete with the people who had paid to be there (THE COMPETITION).
I understand that it is possible that you had forgotten what had been said, however I feel that I have been slighted and I would like to know why. Did I do something to cause you to not want to use me as an entertainer? Last year when you gave me my check for the FESTIVAL you seemed to be happy with the service I provided, if you weren’t I would like to know how I can improve those services so I can work with you in the future.
I would also like to know why you didn’t even try to contact me about the FESTIVAL to provide wondering balloon art like you have THE COMPETITION doing? I have the ability to provide the same quality of service as THE COMPETITION and am at a loss as to why I wasn’t contacted to bid on doing the wondering entertainment at the FESTIVAL?
I realize that this is a little whiney and also somewhat snotty, but it was how I felt.
The response was thus:
First of all, As far as Cinco de Mayo is concerned, the Steering Committee found a bilingual clown and balloon artista€¦As you being hired as a paid performer, our records show that you were hired in 1999 as Auguste the Clown (was that you?) and again in 2005.Â Ia€™m a little confused about you just showing up and performing at the eventa€¦we usually dona€™t allow that to happen!Â With a festival as big as the FESTIVAL and as many different components that comprise the event, we need to keep track of everything and everyone that is in the park or it turns into a chaotic mess!Â I apologize if I promised to use you at the event while you were performing at the Festival of Treesa€¦If you want to wander around the park, (doing something different than balloons) on Sundaya€¦ (I have a long standing contract with Funny Business for Saturday), I will contract you and pay you but the program is already printed so you wona€™t be listed…At least you will have exposure!Â If this is something you would want to do let me know as soon as possible so we can get a contract to youa€¦we would not be able to pay you until a week or so AFTER the FESTIVAL instead of the day you will be performinga€¦if that is ok.Â
I realize it is hard for one person to compete with THE COMPETITION but they really do an excellent job and everyone is always very pleased with their work.Â We dona€™t plan on having you perform at the Festival of Trees this year as the committee thought it best to limit the additional activities we have in the lobby space in front of the displays.
After receiving this email I thought two things. One, if she has a contract with funny business so she doesna€™t want me doing strolling entertainment, why does she have THE COMPETITION doing strolling entertainment? Second, she says that the competition does a really good job and everyone is always pleased with their work. Well thanks a lot. That must mean that since she didna€™t think to contact me then I must do crap work and no one enjoys my entertaining.(self esteem dwindling). I also find it interesting that she dosena€™t remember me just showing up to entertain for free. I was there in full clown makeup entertaining the kids when she walked up to me a said that I was fine to be there entertaining as long as I didna€™t make balloons since one of the vendors (THE COMPETITION) was selling them. So I sent her this:
I have performed and been paid for 4 FESTIVALs, I have just performed at one without being paid. I am confused by the long standing contract with Funny Business. Is that a strolling entertainer or is that the clown that performs on the little stage. I understand that events such as the FESTIVAL are huge and hard to plan. I just felt that since I had performed for you in the past that you might remember me and want to use me.
As you said about THE COMPETITION “they really do an excellent job and everyone is always very pleased with their work.” Have you had complaints from people about the work I do? If so if you could please let me know.
I am interested in possibly doing Sunday but I need to check my schedule for that day.
As you can see I was feeling a little sassy.
So this got me thinking. This summer I have had almost no business as an entertainer. Obviously I am getting beat at the entertaining game by THE COMPETITION. This of course means war.
Step One: Ramp up the API entertainment propaganda machine. Start bombarding local businesses with resumes, photos and demos. Start practicing daily. Put together a short 10 minute demo video to send to perspective clients.
Step Two: Hit them where it hurts. Aside from just Actively Pursuing Injury, actively pursue balloon decorating jobs, learn to face paint, get Sarah involved and make a kick-ass website (Harper you know who you are). Start going to bridal events to advertise decorating options as well as entertainment contact every city about doing summer events.
Step Three: Finish the earlier plan with the stage show, include in that show a full complement of juggling, unicycling and balloons. The show will be presented in a year hopefully on stage at the FESTIVAL.
Oh yeah its on.