Albert Einstein once said,  “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”

I’ve given thousands of performances over the past 30 years. I’ve saved clients headaches and heartaches with some simple advice to help them in the planning stages. Here are 7 things to keep in mind when searching for talent for your next event.

1. Hire Local Talent

Searching for talent on the Internet can be a challenge. Look for entertainers who use local addresses and phone numbers. You don’t want to conduct your search and find out later they are located on the other side of the country.  Don’t just communicate through email; speak with them on the telephone. Make a list of questions to ask.  Listen to their answers.  You’ll get a good idea as to whether this person is right for your event, how they will work with you in the planning stages and how they will interact with your guests during their performance

2. Book in Advance

The best entertainers get booked up months in advance.  Planning your event about 8-weeks in advance is a smart approach. The earlier you begin calling prospective entertainers, the more likely they’ll be available and the less you might have to compromise.  You will have plenty of time to meet with them and discuss the details of your event.

3. Shop Around

Call and compare multiple entertainers.  When getting quotes, be ready to provide a specific date, time and location of your event.  Also, be sure to ask about the following:

  • Cancellation policy.
  • How many attendees (adults or children) are covered under their price.
  • Any special performances or talents they will provide for your specific audience.
  • Ask them to describe their show, how they open and close their act.

4. Ask About Additional Fees

Many entertainers will charge for traveling expenses. Find out what is, and what is not, included in their fee.   Consider additional charges for sound, lights, curtains, stage risers, etc.  The entertainer may require for you to rent these items, or they might be able to provide them at a nominal charge.  By the way, adequate sound, lighting and stage risers are very important to insure a quality performance. You will be wasting your money if you hire an entertainer and your guests can’t see or hear them.

5. Get Confirmation in Writing

Mistakes and miscommunication can happen.  Getting an email or written confirmation that includes the date, time, duration, and cost will protect you against any misunderstandings and will ensure that you can hold the entertainer to their part of the deal. A 20% initial security deposit is customary. Some entertainers may ask for additional deposits as the event date draws closer.

6. Prepare the Entertainment Space

Ask them about any special accommodations or set up they need to make their performance the best it can be for your guests.  Find out if there are specific space, height, or safety requirements so that it won’t interfere with the rest of your party preparations.  The less time that you and the entertainer have to work around logistics on the day of your event, the more you can focus on hosting your guests and enjoying the event.

7. Look at More Than Price

The cheapest entertainment is rarely the best value.  Once you have set a budget for what you can spend consider the following important variables:

  • How willing and enthusiastic is the entertainer to being a successful part of your party or event?  This should be evident in their tone of voice, the amount of information they’re willing to provide, and their flexibility to accommodate your wishes.
  • Does the entertainer customize his/her performance?  A talented performer will work with you to personalize their performance to best compliment your event.  Ask if they use audience participation and if so, how do they involve them.
  • Does the entertainer provide the range of talents that you are looking for?  Can this entertainer grab and hold the attention of your particular audience?  Does this entertainer have any memberships or qualifications they can provide you with?

Final Comments

By the way, consider adjusting your budget after speaking to a few entertainers and getting price quotes. Most clients I speak to have “no idea” as to how much talent costs.  It might be sticker shock at first, but once you understand what the performer “brings to the party” then you’ll begin to see the real value they provide.   Furthermore, if they are a seasoned professional, you will be tapping into their knowledge garnered from years of experience and thousands of performances and help you iron out the details, smooth out any problems that may arise, and to ensure a successful event with maximum impact for everyone.  These are just a few tips to help you along your search and planning stages.  Drop me a line and I’ll be happy to assist you.