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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I've got a bit of a scruples question (remember that game?!) We've been dancing around this topic quite a bit so I'm just going to throw it out there...I'm never going to be a professional fire performer. It's not a career path I'm interested in. But I certainly do enjoy spinning fire for an audience. I have a few friends that are promoters. I have quite a few friends that are fire performers.I like to spin fire for free. I feel that if I'm donating fire performing to a promoter that I like I get all of the little perks (free drinks, etc.) and none of the hastle (contracts, commitment, etc.)The vets on the board see my pickle. For the newbies, I'll spell it out...If I spin for free, I'm infringing upon other spinners who devote more time, energy, and legwork to their craft. I am bringing down the level of fire performers. I am underselling the professionals.But I REALLY want to spin. And I REALLY don't want to put in the blood, sweat and tears that it takes to be a pro...
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This isn't a problem in teaching for me. If I want to tutor a student from another school for free rather than charging the $70 an hour that I usually do, it only directly takes money out of my own pocket. Also, teaching has a strong UNION which keeps me from going over the line. If I work on an assigned project or job I MUST get paid...Any ideas? Comments? Rageing insults and accusations?
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Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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SteelWngs
BRONZE Member since Aug 2001

SteelWngs

member
Location: Malden, Massachusetts United S...

Total posts: 169
Posted:You could always put out a hat like they do for street performers. It's only professional work if your getting paid. If your not getting paid it's either practice or fun you can take your pick of which one. If you do make a few bucks. Just enjoy it and buy some fuel or whatever. Who knows you could make good money in your area.As for being a professional. As for being a "pro" I have met "professionals" in many different art-for-money professions and it seems that the motivation is MONEY. If the money isn't there and you still do it it's because your doing it for the art alone.At least that is my opinion.------------------Blessings to all, Peter "In motion, move like a thundering wave. When still, be like a mountain.Rising up, be like a monkey. Land swiftly and lightly like a bird. Be steadylike a rooster on one leg. One's stance is as firm as a pine tree, yetexpresses motion. Spin swiftly and circularly like a wheel. Bend and flexlike a bow. Waft gracefully like a leaf in the wind. Sink like a heavy pieceof metal. Prey like a watchful, gliding eagle. Accelerate like a gusty wind." Wushu Proverb

Blessings to all,
Peter
When you find yourself in the company of a halfling and an ill-tempered Dragon, remember, you do not have to outrun the Dragon ...you just have to outrun the halfling.

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:I've commented on this before myself. I've had a few paid gigs, and I'd like to get more, but I'm not busting my tail to find them. Firedancing is not going to be my trade, but if I'm giving a performance, and it isn't as a gift for friends, then I expect to get paid, dammit. There's a principle involved. If someone is deriving benefit from my twirling (especially monetary benefit, as at a club where a firedancer would be an attraction), then I deserve to get compensated. Just going to a gig, getting set up, putting on the show, packing up, and leaving can involve quite a bit of time and bother--another reason to be compensated.I guess one could argue that payment in kind (free drinks, etc) is a form of payment, but the other party is getting off cheaply indeed, in that case.The professionals I know don't seem to be hurting for work, but I don't want to contribute to what I call a "climate of contempt" that devalues performers.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:True... To further complicate things, as the weather gets colder I'm finding that clubs are the ONLY sensible place to light up. Normally I could just find a park and such but I'm a wimp when it comes to winter...

Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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Cantus
SILVER Member since Jul 2001

Cantus

Tantamount to fatuity
Location: Down the road, United Kingdom

Total posts: 15965
Posted:We could abolish money. Then barter for stuff.So much easier. I'm surprised no one thought of it before.I'll trade this chicken for those eggs you have there.....no, wait, hold on.....If you decorate my house, I'll let you keep the brush.I'm getting better at this.If you spin those poi near me I'll break every bone in your hands....I think I've cracked it!------------------C@ntusDance beneath the stars, we sound system, we the collective, with a open heart, we the solution - should be respected!

"I'll carry this....It's harder to spill a hat" - Chellybean
"...like a rabbit caught in a lighthouse?" - Chellybean

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:I can relate to that from both sides NYC. What I would suggest is to tell people you are pleased to do it for perks (and fuel and transport costs) so you don't lose anything.And also let them know how much local pro's in your area sometimes charge (and contact details
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, so they understand the deal you are giving them and that they can get others in as needed for more cash...Undercutting isn't too bad (DID I SAY THAT???) as long as the client understands that normally, this sort of performnce costs $200-$400 (or whatever).It's more of an educational thing and your odd free performance might even get more work for the pro's...Just a suggestion of course...------------------Charles (INFERNO)newdolbel@hotmail.comhttp://juggling.co.nz


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Peregrine


member
Location: Mystic, Ct. USA

Total posts: 428
Posted:undercutting bad, bad bad esp, I think, for a relatively new unseen performance art thing like fire dancing trying to establish itself. this is apparently quite the problem among professional bellydancers. the glut of people charging less for performances (not necessarily good ones) over the years makes people value it less and so therefore the experienced people are now making nothing. when once people could make $300 a night in New York dancing now they make $50. these are the people who have been dancing for 20 years and deserve that $300.If you perform at a club, officially sanctioned, where you can ask for $200 or more, why do it for free? its not like you are desperate for work that you need to ask for less to compete with other performers, and by doing it for free or for almost free you set a standard for anyone else who wants to try to perform for money, and for yourself later when you think maybe your skills are better that you can charge more. chances are you would have to have a huge show of improvement, 5 part harmony, fireworks, choreographed linedancers, etc. to up your price, since the sudden learning of behind the back weave is not going to get you a $50 raise. (just do the weave fast effect). These are not burningman decompression people who have seen all possible kinds of stuff with fire in these clubs right? These are people who think its a big deal to swing flaming balls of death and wrap them around your arm and should be easily convinced that they need to compensate you for the risk you are taking to entertain their customers. plus, you probably put some liability on their shoulders, should you accidentally set someone on fire. otherwise they can wipe their hands of you if there's no official agreement and you could get totally screwed, even if you have the insurance.and you wont make any friends from the people who were charging money if they find out the reason they lost their job is cuz that loser down the road is willing to do it for free just cuz he's too wimpy to put gloves on and spin outside
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just my 2 cents.of course, we made a whopping $50 out of $200 at a festival the other month which got rained out....Peregrine


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Meenik
SAPPHIRE Member since Nov 2001

Meenik

enthusiast
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Total posts: 272
Posted:It's silly to give fire-dancers a hard time for performing for free. It's trying to maintain high "wages" by artificially lowering supply. Think of it as the difference between regular party-goers who are good dancers, and professional dancers with a choreographed piece. For a club, it's good to have people busting moves on the dance floor. A club doesn't have to pay people to do this, because there will always be people who will do it for free. It would be silly for professional dancers to get angry that "amateurs" are dancing for free ("look guys, get off the dance floor, will you? How am I supposed to make a living if you're doing this stuff for free?"), and it would be silly for such amateurs to feel bad about competing with professional dancers ("Sorry dude. We didn't realize that we should be charging for this."). The club will hire professional dancers who offer something that regular dancers can't.Fire spinning is fun. If you want to get paid for something that is fun, you have to deal with the fact that you're competing with people who do it SIMPLY BECAUSE IT'S FUN!
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So... roll up your sleeves and push the envelope somehow. Best to all,Nick


"They're interdimensional fractal intelligences. That's why they wear funny shoes."

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:::wondering how many people who replied use performing as a primary income source::Anyway, PWB read this to me yesterday. I fumed and was really pissed. I walked away and wouldn't respond because I wanted to put thought into this and gain more perspective. And now that I have read the responses I am even more driven in my response.NYC, I think what shocked me most was that this came from you. You have such an awareness about these things that I really thought you above undercutting and underbidding, though I appreciate your asking. Now that I am past that, I can answer fully. So, batten down the hatches.....1) Underbidding is bad for the reasons Peregrine eloquently mentioned. You are lowering a standard we are struggling to set. This is a new art and should be promoted as such and not always as a free show hobby.2) Why should I suffer because you are lazy? Two of your main reasons for doing this are because you don't want to spin in the cold and you don't want the hassle of contracts, routines, etc. I got news. I spin in the cold to practice. I bust my ass in all ways to put together a show. What you are saying displays a blatant disrespect for what other performers and I go through. This, as Adam put very well, is a breeding ground for contempt instead of solidarity.3) It is not maintaining "high" wages by lowering supply. It is understanding the difference between being a hobbyist and being a professional. Anyone can create a contract and get paid. Try it. There is no lowering supply there. It is encouraging an industry standard, and like it or not this is becoming an industry.4) Damn straight it pisses me off when someone does half the job I do (not saying you do NYC, but it happens), performs for beer in front of other promoters which looks damn unprofessional which then reflects poorly on other fire performers. Next show instead of hiring fire performers, jugglers or mime's or whatever get hired. It's just like the media covering only the accidents and then we get blackballed based on that and lose future jobs. I disagree with Charles rational that your free shows will encourage people to hire professionals. It will make promoters/organizers seek either you out or someone else who will perform for free, or very cheap, or not at all. After all, without the work put into a whole show it is only fire in circles, which people will only watch so many times before wanting something else.5) Myth disclaimer....that performing for money means that I don't love what I do as much as a "hobbyist". I love what I do enough to make it more than a hobby. I love what I do enough to invest time, money and commitment along with blood, sweat and tears (literally) so that I can spend my hours doing what will make me happy instead of being stuck in a daily grind job that makes me miserable. That is what this is about. It is about having a career that puts food in my sons mouth and a roof over his head, but that also gives me a sense of fulfillment and joy. If I don't love what I do then I turn into a **real** bitch.So along these lines I see it as this NYC, you love teaching. More specifically you love teaching Chemistry. One day some guy with a knowledge of Chemistry and a good teaching ability comes in and says to the school, I want his job and I will do it for free. You get bumped from what you love and from what pays for your needs. Are you pissed? Damn straight! Is it fair? Hell no. Then why is it alright for you to do that to us just because it is performing? Performing is no less important than teaching. We teach while we do it. We enlighten. We make people smile and sometimes we touch them deeply, and that can be the greatest gift of all. We are more than a backdrop. Why treat us like one?I recently had this conversation with Knagi actually. What I am finding is a "norm" among fire performers is no less than $100 per hour, and that is for the basic swinging. Anything more and the show price goes up. (just so you know.)I agree with Peregrine, what is so bad about getting money for spinning, for doing something you love? You do it during the day, why not at night? If it is all about contracts, and the promoters are your friends and fire performers are your friends then hook them up. Get them working together and then ask your friends if you can spin with them, and if you don't want any money for it then you get to spin. This way you all win, the promoters get their show, the professional fire community gains respect and ground, your friends get paid and you get to spin.Also, There are a million places for the hobbyist to spin (just buck-up cowboy) and venues are limited for good fire performers. Please stop limiting them more.I don't saunter into your classroom and take over, please don't do that to my stage. For the persons who are isolated and there isn't a real fire community (this is where the Knagi conversation comes in) I encourage you to set the standard where you are. Insist on being paid money for your talents and not slutting them out. Performing Professionalism is much more than getting paid, it is an attitude you carry with you and a way of approaching these things. It is about respect for your art, for yourself and for the fire community, both earning it and displaying it. It is caring about what you do enough to want to not only leave the audience (and the venue) with an impression but with a GOOD impression overall, not just on the stage.Unfortunately this art is in it's infancy stages enough that it is very easy for the general public overall to get basic impressions of those behind it, that we are all cheap and this is a fad, or that we work and present ourselves professionally and are here to stay. Everyone who performs has it in thier ability to have an impact on this, and I encourage thought to be put into it.And no I am not saying to be this aware every time you light up in a park and draw a crowd, or every time you busk. I am saying when someone approaches and asks you to spin for free, think about how you are representing the professional fire community. Think about who won't be getting food in their table. Think about how you would feel if someone stepped all over your beloved career with their hobby. That's all I am saying. ------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com

Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Cantus
SILVER Member since Jul 2001

Cantus

Tantamount to fatuity
Location: Down the road, United Kingdom

Total posts: 15965
Posted:If I ever upset you Pele you will give me some warning before you start ranting won't you?

"I'll carry this....It's harder to spill a hat" - Chellybean
"...like a rabbit caught in a lighthouse?" - Chellybean

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Shouden-CrD
SILVER Member since Apr 2001

Veteran Member
Location: Tampa, FL, USA

Total posts: 495
Posted:Couldn't have said any of that better myself Pele.
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)CRD


-=razyRaverude=-

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Cantus
SILVER Member since Jul 2001

Cantus

Tantamount to fatuity
Location: Down the road, United Kingdom

Total posts: 15965
Posted:Yeah but I bet you'd have used less words CRD
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*dashes off to hide before Pele starts shooting*------------------C@ntusHave you seen an ocean deep and wide? Have been an island, lost inside? Or have you ever walked the streets in Black and White? But you're in colour. Alienated and afraid.Well, look from the outside, as you go through. Keep on walking, cos you don't know what to do. Well, there's plenty of time. There's plenty of time in a day. But in just a turn your mind can go away.


"I'll carry this....It's harder to spill a hat" - Chellybean
"...like a rabbit caught in a lighthouse?" - Chellybean

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Bendy


member
Location: Adelaide, SA, Australia

Total posts: 750
Posted:With the risk of being stomped hard, I don't see it as a problem. Sure I understand that especially in such a developing arena, we need to be sensitive to the community, but is it really much different to 2 professional twirlers with competitive prices? A professional who charges half the price will probably get more jobs - whether the performance is as good is another thing.I don't know about being approached to twirl for free etc - that just sounds dodgy, but if the performer is the one who initiates the exchange, I think it is ok.I honestly believe that if you are charging $X then your performance should reflect that and be better than a free performance. This may mean catering to the lowest denominator (eg simple moves done fast). Depending on the situation, you are often hired to entertain, not necessarily to display your art. A free performance is more of a blank canvas, no obligations.Now if you are having problems with your studies (eg chemistry). Would you go to a chemistry teacher who charges $70/hour or a friend of a friend who loves chemistry that says "I'll do it if you make me dinner"? If I wanted guaranteed results - I'd go to the teacher, but if I was satisfied that I would get what I wanted out of the friend's friend, I'd go to them.I know it sounds harsh, but I am one all for competition in the marketplace. I have been known to have rather vicious business opinions - so I would not be surprised if everyone disagrees - that is ok with me
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------------------Tomorrow - the day before two days from now


Courage is the man who can stop after only one peanut

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Bendy


member
Location: Adelaide, SA, Australia

Total posts: 750
Posted:Cantus - I have this really shiny rock. It is really pretty. You can use it to make things look nice. I'll swap for your firestaff. No wait... My friend Bob has an even nicer rock.I'll give you this piece of red paper with my signature on it. He will know what it means - we use them a lot and call them rocknotes. These red ones are worth 1 "extra nice" rock, which we normally swap for about 10 "normal" rocks, so I guess you can call it a 10 rocknote.So I give you this 10 rocknote, you give me your best staff and you swap the 10 rocknote for that extra nice rock.Is it a deal - or do you want 20 rocknotes?

Courage is the man who can stop after only one peanut

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Cantus
SILVER Member since Jul 2001

Cantus

Tantamount to fatuity
Location: Down the road, United Kingdom

Total posts: 15965
Posted:Give me the pretty rock or i'll punch you repeatedly in the face and then just take it.

"I'll carry this....It's harder to spill a hat" - Chellybean
"...like a rabbit caught in a lighthouse?" - Chellybean

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Cantus
SILVER Member since Jul 2001

Cantus

Tantamount to fatuity
Location: Down the road, United Kingdom

Total posts: 15965
Posted:Ah, extortion. The natural offspring of moneterism
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------------------C@ntusIn the past, the fools would pay, to see the freaks of the day. The contradictions of the norm. The bizarre, the wonderful and deformed.No need for the tents and the cages now. The wool is over our eyes. In front the TV circus - a freakshow in disguise.


"I'll carry this....It's harder to spill a hat" - Chellybean
"...like a rabbit caught in a lighthouse?" - Chellybean

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Hey Pele, before we get any more heated I just wanted to say: I loooooooove youuuuuu!
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You're not going to get upset if we continue this discourse are we? If so, let's stop because it's not worth our friendship.
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A few points...1) I'm not acutally currently underbidding anyone that I know of. I know of no other fire performers that work any of the venues that I do nor do I know of any NYC full professional fire people. SO this is all hypothetical.WITH THAT IN MIND.I am a sponsor/advisor of student tutoring. That is I not only tutor myself, but get students to tutor which essentially takes money out of my pocket. And I think it's great. Cantus' arguement is quite valid. If you sauntered into my school and volenteered to teach Chemistry for free, thereby leaving me without a job I'd feel pretty silly for being relatively useless. Not angry at you for taking my job.Frankly I WAS an actor coming out of HS and realized how utterly foolish it was to pursue a career where there was more supply than demand. I wouldn't want to be in a career that had more supply than demand because it's not economically smart AND it makes me feel useless for not being wanted! If we lived in a world where people enjoyed teaching chemistry enough to do it for free I sure as heck wouldn't be a chemistry teacher for a living.Resolve: (Hypothetical questions for us to chew on. NOT personal attacks or acusations.)If a knucklehead like me can walk in off the street after spinning fire for 5 months and do a good enough job to cause a venue to pick him rather than a professional then is fire spinning really a commodity?If you can't get the job by being more skilled and professional than me (a hobbiest), than do you deserve the job?If society does not deem your job to be worth while, do you deserve to get paid?Don't get me wrong. I KNOW you guys bust your asses. Do you work harder than me? Maybe. But if I can step up and take your job away, then something is seriously wrong.Just as, if you can step up in an interview and out perform me or convince a prospective employer that you are more cost effective than me, then I have no problem with you getting a teaching job instead of me.At the end of next year, my school district will sit down and decide if I am worth signing for another year. They'll look at all of their options and candidates, some of whom have less experience and would cost them less than me to hire.Frankly, I think they'll stick with me. Because I believe that they'll see that I'm worth it. And if I don't get my contract renewed because they don't think I'm worth the extra money? I've got no one to blame but myself.That's the world I live in everyday.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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Cantus
SILVER Member since Jul 2001

Cantus

Tantamount to fatuity
Location: Down the road, United Kingdom

Total posts: 15965
Posted:Where is it you live again NYC? I can never remember....------------------C@ntusIn the past, the fools would pay, to see the freaks of the day. The contradictions of the norm. The bizarre, the wonderful and deformed.No need for the tents and the cages now. The wool is over our eyes. In front the TV circus - a freakshow in disguise.

"I'll carry this....It's harder to spill a hat" - Chellybean
"...like a rabbit caught in a lighthouse?" - Chellybean

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mobygina


member
Location: Beranghi, New South Wales, Aus...

Total posts: 9
Posted:Hoooeee,This is seriously good sh@t and shows the worth of a board like this.LONG LIVE THE NET!!!I see worth on both sides and am reminded of my early ameture career as frontman in a rockband in Melbourne.During the eighties venues were closing down (to make way for kareoke) and joint had heaps of bands wanting gigs. You were lucky to get a couple of jugs of beer and a few pennies! Yet we still did it! losing money to play!Must have enjoyed the exposure, and I certainly didnt think I was putting Midnight Oil out of a job!!!I now perform with fire, getting a crew together to do occaisional benefit gigs for just causes.I know some hot professionals and tend to steer offers of paid work their way because for me it is a hobby! I teach as well- I teach troubled youth about the art of fire! have good results too.I believe if you are a good performer, you will get work! It is mediocre spinners charging lots of money that will bring the art into disrepute!otherwise, if you feel like a spin, DO IT!it only makes them long for more!------------------Share your skills so others may grow

Share your skills so others may grow

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Hitokage
SILVER Member since Oct 2001

member
Location: New York, NY, USA

Total posts: 70
Posted:NYC brought up my main question--Do you guys (who are against the underselling) feel the same way if there is no "competition" in your area? Or even closeto your area? I think I know what you'll say, but I'm still curious, just in case.------------------"Burning--the process of breaking things down into a simpler form." -Hitokage---FireStorm---(jimidawg@snet.net)

Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever -Mahatma Ghandi

Burning--the process of breaking things down into a simpler form. -Hitokage-

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Posted:Katinca and I have been thinking a lot about fire twirling as a commodity lately, as we are considering moving into the paid-for realm of twirling.What we have decided is this;We are not prepared to do the 'performing' thing (ala - talking to the audience, routines, acting, perfectly polished routines containing crowd pleasing moves only etc)...we only want to freestyle. If we dont get any business, we will not mind, because we havent sacrificed anything - however, if anyone thinks we are good enough to watch and get enjoyment out of (at a party, in a parade at a gig etc etc) then we would like to get paid. I think there is a market for freestylers (semi-pros?) and pros.I think fire *performers* that do more than just freestyle should charge more, because they are DOING more. However I think that charging $100 an hour (US) for freestyling is too much, I think that pricing structure is relying on the obscurity of fire twirling, not the price of the equipment, or the price of the fuel or the amount of skill, and as we all know, this art aint so obscure anymore
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added to this, I've seen pros who arent as good freestylers as some amateurs I know. ADDED to this, semi-pros are only taking from pros when competeing in the same market. AFAIK, most of the promoters who ask ppl to twirl for free wouldnt be prepared to shell out for a full blown pro performance...Josh


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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:A key point some seem to be missing is that these employers are more than happy to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on bands, magicians, and other performers, so why not get paid for it? AS LONG AS THEY ARE HAPPY, WHAT'S WRONG WITH CHARGING THEM?Josh - you say US$100 is too much for freestyling. I understand what you mean but you are forgetting that they aren't paying for your technical firedancing skills.They are paying you to entertain the audience. If a freestyler with a mesmerizing style can entertain the audience as much or better than the DJ/Dancers or other acts that the promoter was considering then it is likely worth much more than a measley $100
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The whole reason someone is performing is to entertain, it has nothing to do with their skill or whether they are 'better' or 'worse' than someone else. It's all to do with why the promoter wants you there in the first place. And that is to help the patrons enjoy themselves and make the event memorable.Whatever your reasons are for doing it, the only reason the promoter is allowing you (or paying you) to be there is their own agenda, which is to make the event a success.Please try to look at it from their point of view rather than ours and it will make a lot more sense...[This message has been edited by Charles (edited 26 November 2001).]


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* Is it the Truth?
* Is it Fair to all concerned?
* Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
* Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

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Shouden-CrD
SILVER Member since Apr 2001

Veteran Member
Location: Tampa, FL, USA

Total posts: 495
Posted:Josh&Katinca, I just wanted to say that I agree with your beliefs on fire twirling. I do not feel I am ready yet to be a full blown fire *performer* however I feel I am of enough quality in my fire twirling(freestyling) that I am of value to a venue such as a club. By the fact that the whole audience stopped dancing, stopped watching the dancers in the club, and all eyes were on stage watching me twirl I would say that the audience was pretty well mesmerized. (:------------------ [PLUR]-=Crazy Raver Dude=-

-=razyRaverude=-

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Ade
SILVER Member since Mar 2001

Are we there yet?
Location: australia

Total posts: 1897
Posted:There are so many motivations for performing, money is just one aspect and I'm sure there are others... I don't think that money helps to create an industry standard as some have mentioned here - surely it's competency that determines a standard, not what performers have agreed is the right price to charge an hour - that's collusion ?An example:In an unregulated industry a tree lopper can still charge $200 bucks an hour and be nothing more than one of the backyard boys. Or he could charge $50 an hour and you'd pick him 'cause he was the cheapest quote. You could employ a fully qualified arborist for $150 an hour and get a fabulous job done. Or could find out he charges $200 an hour and just go with the cheapest quote. For the public who are not insiders into the skills required to do the job, price is not always a reflection of professionalism. It should be related to a fully articulated set of competency standards (that is assuming professional fire dancers want to document their skills and create a professional level of performance...).If that's the case, then the professional fire performers (IMHO) have a duty to educate those that would seek to take up their ways. Both those who wish to become fire performers and those that seek to employ them, in the same way the International Society of Arborists seeks to educate new arbortists about professional standards and the general public about sensible tree preservation and maintenance. A question - some fire arts - once the realm of the 10 in 1, are now trying to become mainstream and accepted as legitimate art forms with professional standards. I haven't actually got a question about this yet, I'm just pondering the crossover from sideshow to main show and the implications in terms of charging and of professionalism.....There's a sucker born every minute.....<just ignore me, I'm talking to myself
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>[This message has been edited by Ade (edited 26 November 2001).][This message has been edited by Ade (edited 26 November 2001).]


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pozee
BRONZE Member since Jul 2001

old hand
Location: san diego, USA

Total posts: 886
Posted:freestyling rocksforget the mind, forget the body, use the spirit...

anyone got a light?

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Cantus
SILVER Member since Jul 2001

Cantus

Tantamount to fatuity
Location: Down the road, United Kingdom

Total posts: 15965
Posted:I like freestylers. More energy and fluidity.

"I'll carry this....It's harder to spill a hat" - Chellybean
"...like a rabbit caught in a lighthouse?" - Chellybean

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Peregrine


member
Location: Mystic, Ct. USA

Total posts: 428
Posted:Required reading: anyone who wants to read about the longterm effect of undercutting, should read the article by Morocco, an amazing elder dancer, researcher, and person who lives in New York, who, I think if she found out you were deliberately undercutting someone, would come out and kick your ass across the floor and tell you to go home to your mother and let the real talent come in
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There are a lot of relevant points about an artform which becomes a fad, which becomes undervalued, club owners who will take advantage of you, being too modest and undervaluing you own skills.... a lot of parallels here.http://www.tiac.net/users/morocco/pricesup.htmlI should point out I know of a *glowsticker*who makes $200 a night glowsticking. not sure how many hours.(this is in providence or hartford CT I believe?). He was ok, in my opinion, had all the wrap moves I guess, but didn't do much in the way of dancing, just tricks. which doesnt really impress me. so if you can dance, spin fire, eat and trail it competantly I think you could ask at least for that for a few shows a night.just as a pricing reference
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Pere


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Bendy


member
Location: Adelaide, SA, Australia

Total posts: 750
Posted:Deliberately undercutting - now that is something else. I don't think an amateur/hobbyist should deliberately prevent a pro from scoring a job. I think if they know a pro is after a job they should let it go and if they want, they could twirl with the pro for fun/experience.Pro's can compete for a job - that is fine with me
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but if it comes to a bidding war - the freebie twirler should give way.


Courage is the man who can stop after only one peanut

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I think Bendy's got a point... perhaps. I'd never go up to a promoter who has a fire act and saying "hey, I'll do that for free!" Nor would I offer to spin anywhere another fire act has performed. Is it underbiding if there was no bid in the first place? Perhaps if it's an implied bid.Heck, I even think it's rude to freestyle while someone else is lit and freestyleing.

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[They do not move.]

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:*sigh* I saw this coming......This one is ganna be long too...fair warning....First, I know my first post was long and emotionally charged but I am not angry now and wasn't when I wrote it. I was when I first read NYC's post but calmed down to write what I felt was a thoughtful answer. I am sorry if it was taken in an angry way. I am just very passionate about what I do.Thank you Peregrine and Charles. I appreciate everything you have said and that article was spot on.Bendy and Hitokage, this isn't about competition in the least. First of all, I don't really have professional fire swinging competition in my area, nor in the venues I choose to work. I will also say that in the venues I choose to work, my show is alot more than fire swinging and it is very hard for people to just step up and do it, therefore, none of this is personal to me. However, about competition.... I welcome it. Professional competition is what keeps me on my toes, it's what makes me further my act overall and push on. Professional competition keeps prices from getting exorbinently high, and that is good too. In Ren Faires I have tonnes of competition. There is a set amount of stages with a set amount of show slots on them. Fire eaters are, as two directors have told me, "a dime a dozen" and fire jugglers are even more common. I am competing not only with them but with sword fighters, sword swallowers, hypnotists, jugglers, musicians, magicians, storytellers and dancers for stage space and time. I put a hell of alot of work into my shows to make damn sure I can secure my spot. That means I am probably taking the stage away from someone I know and like but I also know it is legitimate and not because I underbid someone, and I can be proud of that. Does this give me an ego? Nope, because at the next faire it'd be just as easy for someone to bump me off my spot. Competition is my world. No problems here.Ade, I know my post was long but if you read it I mentioned that setting an industry standard is about respect and trying to be recognised as something more than a fad. If people continually step up and say "I just want to spin for free.", it makes that struggle for professional respect all the harder. If we as the performers continue to regard it as a fad, glorified hobby, side show, then how can we expect to be treated in a professional capacity as anything better? I have watched promoters walk all over people because they think that they are nothing but idiots with fire. It takes a group effort and, as Charles put, the education of these people to convince them otherwise, and then we will be treated with the due respect. That is what I meant by setting an industry standard, taking no shit. The more you do it for free, the more they think they can shit on us.Josh. First of all, this is not a professional versus freestyling/hobbyist thing at all. Do you think I just lit up one day and was a professional? I think we all start as a hobbyist, whether or not the professional mindset was there is another thing. I knew from day one I was going to put this into my Ren act, that is the only difference. Secondly, of course they watch you, you are spinning fire. If it was someone up there spinning the weave around in circles they watch. You are doing something dangerous and cool looking. Third, a professional cost list is more than fuel. I paid for my toys and their upkeep, my insurance, my mileage for travel, my fuel, my costumes, a place to stay (since I almost never perform locally), not to mention my safety gear and the time my safeties give to this, and now I also have some technical equipment. And let's not understate my time, which is valuable to me, and I am sure to my loved ones whom I am taking the time away from to perform. When you pay for a mechanic to fix your car, that $40 an hour is not parts, it is his time, parts get tagged on seperately. Lawyers charge for time, so do doctors....in all careers you are paid for your time and then parts come extra. Why should we be any different? It all costs Josh, whether or not I say a word to the audience and just spin or not. In fact some of the most theatric fire groups I know of don't speak to the crowd at all but get up and spin with the audience in mind. A show comes down to that, audience awareness and perspective, and your attitude towards them. You have to keep in mind that just because people watch you now does not mean they will pay to tomorrow, especially when there are a dozen other freestylers who will do it for free. This is where the problem lies. It is hard to freestyle and really hope to get paid. Not that it isn't worth it but because there are people out there like NYC willing to do it for free. And people want what they can get for nothing, which then makes the professionals have to work harder to prove that they have to offer is worth more than nothing.NYC, friendship aside of course (you know I love ya!) in your first post you said that you know fire performers and then you said in your following post that you don't know professional fire performers.
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Of course they don't perform in your venue, you are there doing it for free. Who's ganna pay after that? If your friends perform for money then give them the chance and hand them your venue while performing with them. How can they be professional while you are undercutting them? Help them out and you stand to make a few bucks, at very least the venue says "no but can you keep spinning for free" in which case you get what you want. Now, in the first post you said you spin for free and explained to the "newbies" how this is detrimental to the pro's but then said in the second post you are not currently underbidding anyone.
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If you spin for free at a club, it means the club is interested in the spectacle, possibly enough to pay. You **are** undercutting, whether or not it is one of your friends or possibly a fire performer you don't know is irrelevant. You never gave them the chance.Now, I found it very interesting that you asked for opinions, thought and emotions, didn't like what I had to say and focussed on one example I offered instead of my points, all the while negating how I feel in trying to defend yourself. Hmmmmmm....To your questions. As I said, I welcome competition. If you are better, if you offer something more in tune with the show they want, whatever...fine. And there are seedy promoters who want alot for a little. I choose not to work with them myself. My point was, you are taking work away from us because promoters see dollar signs, you simply aren't giving the pro's a chance by jumping up and down going "ooooh, oooh, I just want to spin." You said that if a hobbyist like you can take my job then how good could I be....first of all, you couldn't take my personal job. I know that. You, in fact aren't stepping up and taking jobs away from anyone per se, you are going behind backs and not allowing any of your fire performing friends the chance to make money. That is worse. Face to face competition, underbidding...those I can fight head on, but when someone sneaks in the back door and goes, "Hey I'll do this for free" without mentioning, "I have a friend who will do this for ya for $50" is just cold. Undercutting is far worse than underbidding. That is my point. Quality of show and pay aside, this is about respecting someone who is trying to eek out a living. Like I said, you have a million places you can spin, why choose a paying venue and take that away from someone who can use it? That is just disrespectful.To all of you who said this isn't a rare commodity. How big is the fire world really? There are under 1,000 people on this board, most of whom are not professionals. I know of about 200 professionals who aren't on here, 100 who have steady venues...and this is worldwide. Now, if people are willing to pay for this, then it is a commodity. If NYC, you can live in one of the largest cities in this country, be "in" with a great deal of the fire community there and not know a single professional, then it is a commodity. If people still go ooooooh... aaaaaaaahhhh...even after seeing you ten times before then you are a commodity. Just because you enwrap yourself in a little firey circle don't be blind to the rest of the world, who hasn't seen it live or who hasn't seen it done the way you do. That is worth something and therefore it is a commodity.If society does not deem what I do to be worthwhile it is because they are not educated in what I do and they need to learn. Luckily the venues I am in know the worth of a skill performer. However, what venues you are talking about, promoters, agents and just the general public need to be educated that what we do is important. All entertainers are deserving of respect, no matter what they do or whether or not I agree with it, we are providing a service under the demand of the populice (otherwise we wouldn't make money at it) and that is taken for granted more often than not. You turn on your television and you expect to see people attempting to entertain, and they get paid disgusting amounts of money to do it. So do movie actors, musicians, good circus acts, but it is taken for granted. You expect more than snow on your screen when you turn it on. We are conditioned to think this way. That models are stupid and actors have it easy. It is all relevant. Artists need to educate in order to be appreciated for what they are instead of the freak show or faddist kid they are thought to be. BTW..You, when I say it unless otherwise stated means the general blanket you and I being the pro perspective. Undercutting is where there was no bid in the first place and you don't either make one or help someone you know to make one.....Underbidding is when you ask for a price lower than everyone else's to get a job, which just breeds disdain.Yup...that's about it....this time.
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------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...http://www.pyromorph.com


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:Pele, Despite your confusion by my semingly conflicting remarks, my posts are accurate and consistant IF you read the ENTIRE sentence silly!1) I know fire performers, but don't know any in NYC.2) According to YOUR definition. I am not currently underbidding anyone. I am certainly undercutting the nonexistant NYC professional fire performers. That much is true. I openly admit that I am passively undercutting all of the non-existant NYC fire performers once a week at one venue.3) The reason why I referred to you by name in my 3rd post was you were the ONLY person up until that point to use my name. I was ANSWERING you...I still haven't heard a valid defense of the fact that the rest of the working world competes for their jobs against lesser qualified and cheaper labor.If you're so much better than me, than undercutting is not an issue, is it?If you're not, then who's to blame?If you're choosing a career that a large amount of people will do for free and don't get jobs because people don't think you're worth the money, then I'M supposed to feel guilty?Perhaps this comes down to the fact that I'd LOVE to perform fire for a living but know DANG well that it wouldn't support me because there's not enough demand for it. I accept that and move on. I do what I love for free. You do what you love for money. That's a decision that you made. If venues aren't willing to pay you to do what you love, that's not my fault...Again, this is just one opinion. I'm open to admit that I'm wrong. I just haven't heard a valid arguement yet. My boss thinks that the work that I do is worth the money that he pays me. If he could find someone who could still get the job done for less, he SHOULD. If there are enough people out there who will teach chemistry for free because its "just so much fun!" AND the public is happy enough with the results that they're getting, then chemistry teachers shouldn't be paid.Are you asking for different standards?[This message has been edited by NYC (edited 27 November 2001).]

Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

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