Your art is your business. When working in the hectic arts world, professionalism can be your greatest asset to ensure patrons value your work and come back for more. These guidelines are meant for artists who are not very experienced with performing at events and may not be aware of the high-level of service patrons expect.
Unionized performers and artists should adhere to the guidelines set out by their union.
As a professional you have rights:
- The right to a fair wage
- The right to compensation for use of your image and performance
- The right to safe and acceptable working conditions
- The right to artistic freedom
- The right to maintain control over artistic output
- The right to be treated respectfully as a contributing member of the Canadian cultural fabric
Guidelines for patron interactions:
- When you accept a booking from a venue client, agent or gallery make sure you have a clear idea of the requirements, the location, the time and the date of the event. If you need special equipment, this is the time to mention it.
- At the time of booking, inform your patron, gallery or agent if you have a commitment for other work that could limit your ability to do overtime on that day.
- Be on time. Try to arrive prepared to work at least 10 minutes before call.
- Be organized. Ensure you have the equipment you need for the event.
- Don’t bring valuables to an event.
Working rules to live by:
- Don’t work without a signed contract.
- Don’t work for a fee less than the minimum according to the standards set out by relevant associations (see list of resources for a list of professional associations. Many have standard minimum fee calculators and agreements available to the public).
- Don’t accept bad behaviour, harassment or discrimination.
Creating a Contract
If the client does not have a contract drafted for your performance you will not be in a good position to defend yourself in cases of client misconduct. If you are unsure what should be included, you can begin with a search for performer contract templates, or take a look at the resources provided by professional associations (Equity, IATSE and ACTRA have great resources for drafting a contract for performances).
While online templates can’t replace legal advice from a lawyer who knows your business, they can be a good place to begin. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should contain provisions for foreseeable issues.
Resources for Artists and Performers
When it comes to providing business advice to artists, there are many organizations that focus on avenues for understanding best business practices. Our goal is to support Artscape artists and our clients. Please take a look at our Resources for Artists PDF for links to professional associations that provide resources including templates and guides for creating contracts.