I had a perfectly good blog entry, and then some stuff happened, and now this is the bee in my bonnet
How NOT to apply at the renfaire and some red flags when you do.

How NOT to apply at the renfaire and some red flags when you do.

Negging is not a good strategy
Negging Not for dating, not for life, not for getting into a renaissance faire. Everyone who has something awful about our group, I am *absolutely aware of it.  I travel in the same circles, chat with the same people, and in some cases, we have been standing next to us when they did it. So first of all, uh.. lack of situational awareness does not make you look smart when you are complaining about someone, uh…to that someone. Some real-life examples

Someone telling my partner that I was a terrible performer and didn’t even blink/apologize when they said
“That’s my spouse”

Sword class: Complained to my SWORD TEACHER while my partner was standing there.
On various boards where I use my real name and fortunately, some folk in the community tried to get them to stop and, in the end, deleted the comment.

Most Aggregious Example: Came up to us, used our ring and then asked us (let me pause a moment here) to speak to the organizer to release us and hire them because they clearly were more qualified.  This person is an excellent scholar and internationally famous (Some for his work, some for his enormous lack of social awareness). My partner (in some way far closer to sainthood than I)  repeated back

“So that I am clear, you want us to go to X and say, please fire us and hire You?”

It took a few moments but that person evaporated in a heat ray. (Not really, they just excused themselves)

And the organizer told us, clearly, she did not like this person (he made quite the impression on the whole business) and she showed him the door and rescinded any invitation he may have in several circles.

We sent that organizer a huge bouquet as a thank you for the boot plant to this goober.

So yes, don’t go attacking people to solidify your credentials, it IS solidifying them, just not the set you hoped.

Do research/Be Prepared/Do admit that you would like to know what criteria the organizer is trying to achieve.

First, it shows you can listen (unless you know previously via website, mail or discussion)

Asking for clarification gives you a beat to prepare answers and see how this person conducts themselves. And you know they might talk a good game and be awful but like any job interview, if you show up, are fairly honest and have clear expectations on both sides that will go a long way to developing a working relationship

DO ask around-much like the example above, Rennies talk sometimes it is BS, sometimes it is vaguely hinting, “yeah you don’t want to work this faire” and networking (despite social media, brochures, and business cards) has been our #1 source of leads.  Be open to new situations. One of our most lucrative events has been because a parent at a school wanted to run a renfaire and NO ONE would offer them help.  I offered it freely, and as a result, we were one of the first hired.

Red Flag time:

Long-time acts are not rehired-Many faire organizers will say they like to “freshen up” their acts.  That’s honest, their money, their choice of hire. But if you see this with people who are faire STAPLES at other faires, that’s a red flag. One local big faire underpaid some local acts and promised them loyalty and then, started hiring big acts and did not ask them back. And THEN the big-name acts were not returning because there was some f*ckery in their paychecks and contracts.  I won’t discuss this unless asked and then the fire hose might get opened.  Some people call my attitude sour grapes, but if so there are A LOT of fellow acts sipping that wine.

“Handshake” contracts

Get it in writing

Be prepared to lose some money initially.
First, it takes time to tweak your costs; this will come with experience. I kind of die inside when new people ask,” what should I charge?” But that’s harder to quantify. Confession time-I initially stole our price list from a local zoo that did animal programs in schools. I figured we were at least as interesting as an iguana.

Sometimes it’s okay to work for free or entry-are you a musician or do children’s crafts or tokens? If it’s a fun thing then sure definitely dip your toes in. But be careful the next year if you do want to come back for a pittance and hear
But you did it for FREEEEEE-EEEE Last time????!!!

But now you are an experienced performer.Again how much should you charge? I hear Ru Paul in my head say

“What you are worth, Honey!”

But honestly, it’s renfaire-get what you can LOL

Finally, there is no “One Size Fits All” the renfaire isn’t super-lycra
I wish I had better news for you; we made a lot of mistakes. Katrina destroyed our bottom line one year (far worse for the folks living there).   If you are living hand-to-mouth, it’s not the best idea for a starting performer. Apprenticeships exist, but they are rare.  You will make mistakes too. I can only speak from my own experience and freely offer bad advice. But I wish you well.