Being an entertainer and performing for the public is a dream job for some people, for others, it is a nightmare. Magic, dancing, singing or juggling: whatever your specialty, if you cannot do it in public then there is not really much point in doing it at all. It is a great way to earn cash, either a side hustle or, if you are lucky enough to live the dream, then as a full-time job. If a career in entertainment is something that you are keen to pursue then there are several things that you will need to consider before taking the plunge. It is not as hedonistic as it might look, because the truth is that there is a lot of hard work and effort that goes into living the dream.
The financial stuff
Once you start earning as an entertainer you need to start thinking of the financial implications. You cannot simply live from hand to mouth for the rest of your life, you need to start adulting. Things that you will need to consider are fees to belong to a union like Equity. As an entertainer, you need to deal with a public most of the time. You need to understand your risk while you are working with your audience. There are various competitive public liability insurance for entertainers covers against a variety of risks including injury to the public/audience. And obviously, it is a good idea to set up some kind of retirement plan too. The latter is hard to plan for because entertainers tend to earn irregularly. So, find a plan that works for you and which covers you for the days at the end of your career when you retire, but also something that affords you some type of income protection in the event that you are ill or injured.
Being a performer can be a very lonely place if you are doing it by yourself. Granted, a solo career means that you get a complete creative license to do what you want. But it can be a sad place when there is nobody there to share the highs with you. The same naturally applies to the lows – it is easier to cope with and a whole lot less personal if there are others out there with you, rolling with the punches. Even if you don’t join fully together to form a team or act, you can still collaborate. Be on tour with another act or two, join a circus or a show, open for another band or singer. Building networks is important and it is how entertainers will sustain themselves.
If you want to be working regularly then you need an agent. If you feel like you are at the top of your game, then you might even want a public relation person as part of your team as well. The very minimum though is an agent – somebody who will keep you up to date with auditions, who knows what parts are out there and what is needed and somebody who is networked well within the industry. You will pay this person for the work that they bring you, but it is completely worth it, without them you are never going to graduate beyond solo performances at the pub down the road.