This idea has been skittering around my skull for a while now. I think I’ve been flirting with it for years.
The idea is still a little nebulous, but it is taking shape as I’m facing the giant blank wall of booking tours. The surface of this wall is absolutely smooth, with nothing to hold onto to help the climb. It leaves me feeling stupid and ineffectual. I should know how to do this, but it’s a struggle every time. How do I book the good venues, how do I get people to the shows?
And I think, “If only I had help.” And people keep offering help, but not ‘real’ bookers, with networks and contacts for venues all over the country or world. But maybe I don’t need one booker. Maybe I can have a different booker in every city. And maybe that booker can be you. Or your mom. Or your friend, Sassafras. Or all of you.
I’ve been doing house concerts for years and what I’m thinking of is a little bit like a house concert, in the way that the hosts are the promoters are the audience. But these could happen in all kinds of venues.
What if the concerts were crowd sourced? Maybe one person has a venue contact, someone else does great sound, your cousin likes to hang posters, your dog can interview me for the local paper.
I put on a great show, the problem here is not lack of talent or appeal, the problem is that I am only one person. And hard as it might be to admit: I can’t do everything. At least, I can’t do everything all at once all the time.
So what if I came up with a number? I can break it down. I can say how many people need to attend a show for me to break even.
And what if I pre-sold those tickets before I even booked the show?
It might be crazy, it might not work, but it might also be the only way I can tour. Because I am an artist, busy making the art, and managing about a million things in my career. I do it all myself: the websites, the posters, hanging the posters, the booking, the social media, the blogs. I don’t know any other artists who do as much as I do alone. I know some amazing and successful artists that work very very hard. Not a single one of them works alone. And this is why: because it’s impossible. It is impossible to have a successful career without help. It cannot be done. I know, because I’m here, working with every ounce of everything and not getting anywhere until someone helps. I get intermittent help here and there. Someone books a show, someone else puts up posters. Even something as simple as a retweet, or a mention in a personal blog. And then my career moves forward.
It’s so simple. Help = movement. And I’m too self sufficient for my own good, too good at working by myself. Which doesn’t work. Not really. I need the crowd, and not just as passive audience, I need the crowd management team, the crowd bookers, and the crowd promoters.
I’ve always done things differently, found a new angle, tried a new way. I pride myself on discovering new paradigms. But the truth is that while I have done things my own way I have also spent years waiting for the right person to “discover” me, to think I was worth something, to believe in me.
And what I’ve realized is that the right person has discovered me. The right person is you.
This post, as you have discovered, is not a finalized thought, it is just the beginning of a thought. I hope you’ll join the discussion.
I realized a few things
1.) I do know someone with a successful career who does everything on their own. Jason Webley does everything on his own. But he’s the only one I know who does. And I love him, but he’s crazy.
2.) I do have help. I have a lovely assistant who mails things for me and really does all the things I have ever asked and does them well. My real problem is not getting help when I need it. Not knowing how to ask for help and not knowing how to let people help before it’s too late.
I didn’t mean to lie. Or leave anyone out.