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Offline Terry Griffith

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2008, 10:28:21 PM »
Just one more short thought, I promise.

As a performer, I don't hold it against anybody who does not tip because I don't know anybody's story.  Except the people who request songs and then walk away without even throwing a quarter in the hat.  That is just plain wrong and I will talk about them after they are gone if not while they are still within earshot. 

And yes, it has happened.
"There's a unicorn that's hangin' in what's known as father's room......"

Offline jarethmorgan

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2008, 02:14:24 PM »
Just thought that I would add my two cents...

I have been performing at festivals since 2000, both as a variety act AND a music act. The bottom line is that music acts are the lowest paid acts at the faire. The management expects that we will make up the difference through hat passing and CD sales. Some faires are just NOT good CD faires. As a variety act, we ("The Magik of Morgan deGrey")were paid our daily rate and allowed to pass hat after each performance. Tips were good. However with my current music act, our daily rate is much lower and tips are just not as generous.

Think about this, if you will...

The stage acts are paid a daily rate for their performance, by the festival. Any money collected in hat, helps to cover expenses and other costs of travel to and from the festival, expendable props used in the show (ie. flash paper, paper streamers, blank ammunition, guitar strings, etc), not to mention things like fuel, tolls, hotels or campsites... Most people just don't realize how much money goes into being a performer. At a recent faire, we were spending more than 50 % of our daily rate for expenses. That is just not good business.

It seems (and please correct me if I am wrong)but it seems that if you are performing an act that is or "appears" dangerous to your own health...an audience will throw $$$ in your hat. If you are performing a "bawdy" act...people will throw $$$ in your hat. If you are working just as hard performing a music act or puppet show or children's' show...the tips are low, as people do not consider these show to be as entertaining as others. What about a bad weather weekend, where attendance is low? Very little in tips and very few CD's get sold on those days...even though we are still there and still performing.

If it were up to me, all faires would be "no hat pass" faires and we could all just be paid more and not have to worry about tips to make ends meet.

How much should people tip an act? Good question. But, I feel that if someone sits through your entire show, sings along with a song or two, smiles a bit, and stays until the very end...it must be worth a dollar or two.

maelstrom0370

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2008, 04:12:13 PM »
As a somewhat regular faire-goer, it never dawned on me that the acts were paid by the management.  I always assumed the performers were doing it FOR the money they collected after each show.  With that mentality, I've always tipped $2-$5 per show with the odd $10 tip thrown in if it was a really good show (Delirio del Arte' and Washing Well Wenches being the most recent).  I once tipped $20 out of pity to a marionette who was being abused by a bunch of kids but other than that I always try and leave something in the hat.

Offline jarethmorgan

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2008, 05:04:25 PM »
As a somewhat regular foregoer, it never dawned on me that the acts were paid by the management.  I always assumed the performers were doing it FOR the money they collected after each show.

Just to clarify...

A great many renaissance faire stage performers are full-time, professional entertainers. Performing is the only way that we make our living. After watching these performances and seeing the dollar bills get dropped into the hats...along with the loose pocket change...and even the occasional religious advertisement that is disguised to look like money...do you really think that we could possibly make a living without getting paid by the festival management?

Some of us travel great distances to get to the faires, so that we can perform and entertain the patrons. With the price and gas, food and everything else going up and daily rates staying the same...it sometimes makes it really tough to continue in the festival market. That is why it is really important that patrons continue to show their generous support for ALL of the performers. Without the support of the patrons and fans, there are very few acts that could survive.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2008, 05:06:02 PM by jarethmorgan »

Offline Emerald Shaunassey

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2008, 07:21:11 PM »
Just thought that I would add my two cents...

The bottom line is that music acts are the lowest paid acts at the faire. The management expects that we will make up the difference through hat passing and CD sales. Some faires are just NOT good CD faires.

Think about this, if you will...

The stage acts are paid a daily rate for their performance, by the festival. Any money collected in hat, helps to cover expenses and other costs of travel to and from the festival, expendable props used in the show (ie. flash paper, paper streamers, blank ammunition, guitar strings, etc), not to mention things like fuel, tolls, hotels or campsites... Most people just don't realize how much money goes into being a performer. At a recent faire, we were spending more than 50 % of our daily rate for expenses. That is just not good business.

It seems (and please correct me if I am wrong)but it seems that if you are performing an act that is or "appears" dangerous to your own health...an audience will throw $$$ in your hat. If you are performing a "bawdy" act...people will throw $$$ in your hat. If you are working just as hard performing a music act or puppet show or children's' show...the tips are low, as people do not consider these show to be as entertaining as others. What about a bad weather weekend, where attendance is low? Very little in tips and very few CD's get sold on those days...even though we are still there and still performing.


Jareth,
     As the owner of a stage show that does NOT perform music (of any kind), I would have to disagree with you.  Musical stage shows DO make more per day/per weekend/per event than does my own 6 year old COMEDY show - always have, always will.  Just one of the many lumps of choosing to be comedic rather than musical.  Dangerous shows, bawdy shows, and musical groups get top billing, top stages, top dollar, and sooner return contracts over comedy shows - at least in my own experience with the many shows we've performed at across our geographical region.  We've even had events turn us down when they learn we are a comedy group. 

     You are correct that faire management does expect any stage show to pull excellent tips and merchandise sales at ALL shows EACH festival day.  The sad reality is that is doen't happen that way.  When it comes to the average faire goers budget, musical acts will outsell groups such as mine in CD's and T-shirts - I haven't figured that one out yet, but I'm still trying.  Part of it is that comedy isn't for everyone - while another part is that it is easier to drive and listen to music rather than attempting to do the same with comedy.

     Tips are the livelihood of my group; especially when one considers the costs "behind the scenes" that gets the finished product on the stage - the hours of prep/rehearsal time, the props, the trunk to hold the props, the merchandise, the fuel to haul a cargo trailer to contain all props, merchandise, the garbing and mundane clothes of 3-8 people.  Not to mention the cost of website and application/media packages that are sent out to 15-20 faires and events through out the year.  Then, there are the realities that my employees want to eat and drink during faire day; whether we bring our own or eat "on the faire."  And both options are going through the roof with today's economy.  In short, being a stage show of ANY kind makes absolutley lousey business sense.  And it gets worse as you go down through the "ranks" of the different kinds of stage shows out there (again with the top billing, top wages, etc). 

     Do any of my girls or myself expect a $10.00, $20.00 or higher tip during the day, let alone at EACH show??  No, absolutely not.  Would we like to see every person of every audience give what they can?  You betcha, it makes life easier for all of us.  Are we tickled when someone drops in a handfull of change or a buck?  H*ll YES!  BUT, we are also just as tickled when someone tells us "good show," "you really made me laugh," or if they ask to take a photo with us.  For we know we've made an impression and are now someone's "faire memory."  The money is very nice to offset the business side of what we do, don't get me wrong.  But the 'spiritual payment' is just as nice. 

     My advice to those who patronize hat-pass faires - give what you can - spread your wad of cash around to ALL shows; big names AND little names.  Give a buck to each stage show through out your faire day.  Encourage others to do the same and it will grow and spread.  Remember that those big name acts you follow from stage-to-stage where once a no-name group who were doing what they love to do and trying to survive.  And support those of us who are up-and-coming.  Most importantly, do what you can do/can live with to continue your support of performers everywhere, regardless of their choice of genre in which to work; buy our CD's, T-shirt's, and bumper stickers IF you can.  Tell us what you enjoyed (and didn't enjoy) about the show - surprisingly, performers listen (or they should, IMHO!).

     Sorry to rant and vent, just very passionate about what I and my troupe do and the very real double standards I've seen among stage shows at faires and other events.  We ALL work hard at what we have chosen to do - we ALL deserve to be listened to and supported, in what ever way works for our patrons and as equally among the stage shows as possible.

Thanks for "listening" - go out to your local faire and support my fellow artists!

Fair Winds
Emerald
IWG #979, IFRP #569, RMG # 614, Bard # 171.
Creator, Owner, & Manager of Williams Entertainment: Home of The Ladies of the Salty Kiss, The Shanty Lasses, Native Souls, & Grand Lake Renaissance Festival.

Offline anne of oaktower

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2008, 11:25:35 PM »
Jareth and Emerald...

Thank you both for offering such a candid view of how acts are compensated...or not.  I have great respect for what all of the faire performers do, but respect doesn't pay the bills.  Henceforth, I shall set aside a wee bit more from each paycheck so that I may better do my part in supporting the acts I see at faire.  Who knows, I may one day be performing at faire myself and will certainly hope to see of that nice green paper landing in my hat.

HUZZAH to all faire performers for their love and dedication to providing such grand entertainment for everyone!
aka: Oak-hearted Annie / Anne of Oak Barrel / Barefoot Annie

"It is never too late to be what you might have been."

maelstrom0370

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2008, 09:02:01 PM »
As a somewhat regular foregoer, it never dawned on me that the acts were paid by the management.  I always assumed the performers were doing it FOR the money they collected after each show.

Just to clarify...

A great many renaissance faire stage performers are full-time, professional entertainers. Performing is the only way that we make our living. After watching these performances and seeing the dollar bills get dropped into the hats...along with the loose pocket change...and even the occasional religious advertisement that is disguised to look like money...do you really think that we could possibly make a living without getting paid by the festival management?

Some of us travel great distances to get to the faires, so that we can perform and entertain the patrons. With the price and gas, food and everything else going up and daily rates staying the same...it sometimes makes it really tough to continue in the festival market. That is why it is really important that patrons continue to show their generous support for ALL of the performers. Without the support of the patrons and fans, there are very few acts that could survive.

WOW...I seem to have offended you.  I was merely pointing out that I've always tipped as I thought that was how the performers made their money.  As I've never been a performer at a faire, I have NO idea what it costs.  I'll continue to tip, regardless of what they're paid or by whom, as I always enjoy the shows and it just seems the right thing to do.

Offline Sir Francis Drake

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #22 on: June 28, 2008, 03:03:54 AM »
Tipping is always a 'hot' issue and IMO the biggest difference factoring into is the faire itself. I have been part of faires that paid each act one fee regardless of what type of act, the perceived danger level, number of performers etc. And I have been on faires where there was a varying scale of pay depending on such things as level of notability, perceived danger, length and number of performances and so on; and down to getting paid nothing but what you can get in the hat.

Faires that have been around a long time tend to do better in tips generally than newer faires; just as newer acts sometimes can take a bit to find a niche among the people.

That is why for full time faire performers tend to do one of two things; travel to a lot of different faires, or if lucky, getting long run contracts at the bigger faires.

For me, I am part-time performer, and have a full-time jobfor the necessary stuff. Tipping with me is more out of politeness and enjoyment of the show then a fiscal need. However, when I am watching someone else's show I always tip somethingso at the very least I acknowledge a fellow performer(s) skill and effort.

Like I have heard from performers all over through the years, and our show says pretty much the same; bottom line tip what you can truly afford and if you truly cannot that is fine, but please do come tell us if you enjoyed our performance regardless of tipping.
Master of the Golden Hinde
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In Service to HRM Queen Elizabeth I

Offline Lady Renee Buchanan

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #23 on: June 28, 2008, 08:22:03 AM »
When we went to Jubilee Olde English Faire last weekend, after a show, I went up with a few dollars and looked for the hat.  There wasn't one, so I asked.  The performers told me that since the faire was held in a State Park, on state property they weren't able to pass the hat.  So I would be guessing that they were paid a decent wage by the faire management.  At least, I hope so!
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Offline Terry Griffith

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2008, 10:02:36 PM »
A humorous side note:

Last year, we were doing a promotional for the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival at the Pittsburgh Zoo.  Not the kind of place nor situation where it would be appropriate to put out a hat and expect tips.  It was hot.  Very hot.  since I am a singer I need to keep my throat wet and water is the lubricant of the vocal chords.  Not to mention I was wearing a dublet of considerable weight and working hard playing guitar and singing.  I was not near the other performers or the Zoo administration which was taking care of our needs so I had to buy a bottle of water.  I poured it into my goblet and placed it in the cup older attached to my mic stand.  The water cost me $250 for the bottle but it was cold and did the t'roat a world of good.

A group of kids all about 15 stopped to listen to my music and seemed to appreciate what I was doing.  After a couple of songs, they decided to move along.  Two of them came over to me and proudly tossed a couple of quarters into my goblet.  I made .50 but lost $250.

Some days it doesn't pay to chew through the leather straps.
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Offline Nevik

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2008, 02:25:53 PM »
Emerald is correct.  Musical acts can bring in good money.  I used to work with one that did quite well despite having members who couldn't play very well (if at all) or wouldn't put forth much effort (just didn't care).  The five-piece band could pull in as much as 1-3 thousand per person, per weekend, selling hundreds and hundreds of CD's (up to around 800 units per weekend).  The CD's weren't that well made, didn't cost that much to produce (around $1 per unit to press), and turned great profits.   Tips could be huge and could add hundreds of dollars to your pocket each weekend.  We know comedy acts that could bring in much more than that, btw.  :-)

You don't have to be that good of a musician as long as you have a "show" to deliver (we proved that).  The audience really never seemed to notice or care if the band performed poorly or extremely well.  The tips, sales, and renewed contracts balanced out around the same in the end (as records have shown).

My own personal feelings (opinions) are...money should NOT be your motivation as an "artist" (you'll never really be happy and compromise will get the best of you), don't expect tips (what makes you think people should hand over their money and why would you assume that?), and be grateful that you are able to do what you do (it won't last).  I only tip if I really enjoy their work and want to express just that.  I feel no guilt in not tipping, especially if it isn't exceptional work as I feel no need to provide positive reinforcement for something I didn't particularly enjoy no matter how hard they work at it.  I find it even more offensive if they beg for tips, lay guilt trips on the crowd, or go on and on about it.  If you need the tips that bad, get another job to supplement your income.

Have fun, be grateful, work hard, enjoy yourself.  Life is short!  :-)

Offline nliedel

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2008, 02:58:12 PM »
I can accept tips, but I'm not sure how to do it. I'm a lane act and move around, my character is an Italian flower seller and I sing Aria's in Italian, as well as perform with another artist part of the day. I have to carry a big honking basket of roses and my hats are pillboxes, attached to my head. Just have not figured this out at all, yet. Any ideas?
My journey from mundane to Ren Actor

Offline SPR the Bagpiper

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2008, 06:15:46 PM »
I can accept tips, but I'm not sure how to do it. I'm a lane act and move around, my character is an Italian flower seller and I sing Aria's in Italian, as well as perform with another artist part of the day. I have to carry a big honking basket of roses and my hats are pillboxes, attached to my head. Just have not figured this out at all, yet. Any ideas?

I bought this nifty belt-attached tankard-carrier from a leather shop, and I use it to carry around my goblet.  When busking, I just make sure I've finished the drink (usually water) and set it down in front.  Putting a buck or two into it helps passers by know its purpose, and that way I only have to carry around one thing.
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Offline Terry Griffith

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2008, 07:00:23 PM »
I'll combine some replies here.

SPR, you have the right approach and do your part well.  The only problem with tipping a piper is that most people tend to enjoy piping from a distance.  :)

Nliedel, a small wooden bowl that you could carry in the afore mentioned honking basket would work well.  Just put it down in front of you when you perform in the lanes but don't forget to "prime" it with a couple of dollars AND some change.  The change mounts up and it's better to get change from many people than a dollar bill from a couple so don't forget to put change in your bowl as well.  People like to be seen giving tips so put it right in front of you and acknowledge each tip with a purty smile even in the middle of a song.

Nevik, I won't say you are speaking untruly but you are either stretching the truth quite a bit or your figures are are an exception to the rule.  A large exception.  I just don't want people reading this to paint all stage acts with the same brush.  Tipping is a way of acknowledging appreciation for the talent and ability of the entertainer.  Why would anyone tip a poor act or buy their CDs or pay them to perform badly?  That just doesn't make any sense.  Sorry, just can't accept your figures.  The act may have been very, very funny in which case the music proficiency is of no consequence.  Then they are a comedy act, not a music act but I still can't believe your figures.

To everyone else; we all make what we are worth to the owner and there is no standard.  You can't say any particular kind of act  gets paid more than any other kind.  If a musical act is good, and by that I mean entertaining musically and in presentation, they will be paid accordingly.  Same for any other kind of act.  Sit in the privy and fart sonatas and if the audience likes it, it will be paid well and receive tips.  Have the best garb and a very polished banter and sing off key and you won't be back.  It's as simple as that.  Most people know what sounds good or makes them laugh or cry or be amazed and our job is to get those reactions and how well we do that should be in ratio to what we are paid. 

Now I'm going to go and practice farting Beethoven's Pathetique for my new act.
"There's a unicorn that's hangin' in what's known as father's room......"

Offline nliedel

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Re: Tipping
« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2008, 08:51:08 PM »
I love the tankaredd idea. I have to keep my rose money seperate from my tips, but I built hidden compartments in the basket to hold things like that.
My journey from mundane to Ren Actor

 

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