Mark Wade Writes:
FLEXIBILITY A MUST FOR KIDSHOW PERFORMERS
When I create these short columns for Clinton and Adelia I try to make them all as practical as possible. That means I draw upon my 30 plus years experience of doing vent full time..so everyting you read I have experienced. It is amazing what things we, who do performing for children, experience.
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to be flexible. Your show and your performance must bend like a rubber band. For example, I work hundreds of school shows. If I have a start time of say 10 A.M. I ALWAYS tell the principal I need the audience seated and ready to go by 10 A.M. Often the principal will START the kids down to the performance area at 10 A.M. which means the show might not start until 10:15 or even 10:20, depending upon how large the school might be and how much time it takes them to get there. Now that usually isn't a big problem, until I have a very tight travel schedule between shows and I need that extra time to tear down, pack, and drive. In a positive and friendly manner I tell the principal that I really need them all in the gym or multi-purpose room at 10 A.M. on the dot. But here is where the flexible part comes in..I always allow EXTRA time between shows just in case this happens! I schedule myself with a later start time in the afternoon that takes into account that extra 15 minutes. If the show was at 1:30 PM in the afternoon, I try to schedule it at 1:45 PM. If the kids arrive at the first school on time, I have an extra 15 minutes for lunch, or to gas up, check my emails, etc. I never make a big deal about it to the principal, but I always have a plan in place so I won't be late in the afternoon.
I also have arrived at the school and had a counselor or principal ask me if I can work in an extra character word or concept in my shows that the school is working on. I ALWAYS try to do that for them...letting them know that I can't change the entire show but would be glad to see where I
can work this in. I also write my shows with some open ended spaces so I can do this if necessary. If I don't have any requests for extra things from the school, the show goes like I planned and wrote it. If there is, I am ready to drop it in and make things work.
The main objective is to work with the customer...trying to accommodate them any way that I can. They are pleased that I can do that for them, and I don't get myself flustered in the process. It's small thing..but small things add up to big payoffs!
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