Forums > Social Discussion > Pay equals Professional? I don't think so...

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Frederick the Reckless
Frederick the Reckless

Troupe Leader and founder, Fire and Steel
Location: Oregon
Member Since: 5th Aug 2004
Total posts: 241
Posted:recently my troupe and i did a show at an SCA event... there was a guest troupe from southern oregon there, and they asked if they could share our stage. we said yes, mainly because we don't blackball other performers unless they're not sober. once things were set up, their leader asked if we had enough towels for them to use as well. i informed the man that he needed to bring those for his own people (the risk of communicable disease is not one i take lightly). his response: "thanks... thanks for nothing." excuse me? wait a minute. this is professional? you're unprepared, you're informed that you need to be prepared, and you respond like this? to the guy who is in charge of the stage? wow. i had no idea that this is how a professional performer is supposed to act. i thought that no matter how well known or how well paid you are, you're not supposed to think that you are owed anything. in fact, you should never forget that you are in debt... you owe the popularity you have to the audience... to the people behind the drums (the unsung heroes in my opinion)... to the guy in the dj booth. everything you have comes with a debt. this guy has a group that gets two regular paid shows a week, and figures it's ok to go prima donna? not a professional in my opinion, more like a paid amateur. there's more to being professional than geting paid. if you're in it for the money, you're in it for the wrong reason, and it hardly makes you a professional. pay is the least part of it. this is my opinion at least...what do you think makes a true professional?

Frederick the Reckless,
Troupe Leader,
Fire and Steel

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MiG
MiG

Self-Flagellation Expert
Location: Bogged at CG
Member Since: 16th Apr 2004
Total posts: 3415
Posted:based purely on definition, a professional is one who derives their income from what they do. I'm a professional student at the moment.

However, there are expectations that arise from being a professional. In my example, it's that i go to class, i do any assignments i have, stuff like that. If i didnt do those things, i'd still be a professional student, i'd just not be a good one.

Thus, a true professional is one that obtains a good living from their chosen profession.

A good professional is one that meets and exceeds the standards recognised by that profession, and, more often than not, loves that profession such that it ceases to be work.


"beg beg grovel beg grovel"
"master"
--FSA

"There was an arse there, i couldn't help myself"
--Rougie

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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:*pssst*
If you look to the right of all the pretty letters on your keyboard, there's a big one with a wibbly arrow on it. It makes post much easier to read if you use it wink

I agree with MiG - A "professional" is someone who earns their money from their act. However, this is no garauntee whatsoever to their likeabilty as an actual person, and tends, in fact, to hinder it - as there is more scope for pretention and snobbery.

Fortunately I have to say I've never met any pro's as you describe above smile


Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

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Sethis
Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1762
Posted:A professional in my book would be someone who is Good at what they do, and aren't arrogant or cocky about it. They just do their job rationally, sensibly and with care for others.

"Professional Detachment" I think it's called. You are representing the job, not you as a person. So you have a responsibility defined by that job.


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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Dom
Dom

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Bristol, UK
Member Since: 19th Dec 2001
Total posts: 3009
Posted:Written by: MiG
A good professional is one that meets and exceeds the standards recognised by that profession...


Yep, I'm with MiG & Durbs. Lack of prima donna complex isn't part of that definition. In fact many of the biggest and best professionals are prima donnas, and conversely many are really lovely people.

This guy messed up the professional aspect by not being properly prepared, which can happen to anyone. This guys problem was that he was arrogant. Nothing to do with being professional or not. Many people think they're owe & they're all wrong.

Gotta love human nature!


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Pele
Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA
Member Since: 15th Dec 2000
Total posts: 6193
Posted:There is alot about this topic from a couple years ago actually, in threads about Fire Ettiquette and such. And as you might imagine, it is a subject near and dear to my heart...and one I am *EXTREMELY* passionate about, and those who have been around awhile know that when I am passionate about something it also means I am wickedly opinionated about it. So sit back, keep your hands and feet in the car and enjoy the ride wink

I am going to start by disagreeing with Durbs and MiG.

Getting paid, in my eyes, does NOT equal professional. All getting paid does is show that you got a job, and *ANYONE* can do that.

Now I know you are thinking..."Really Pele? Tell us how you really feel."

Thanks for asking..I think I will. wink

Professionalism, for any career, I view as much more than being paid...

1. Accurate representation of self-
This means that you don't lie through your teeth to get a gig and that you can do what you say you can. This includes a knowledge of what you are proposed to be doing.

2. Respectful and Composed behaviour at all times-
Most especially when facing down those who are not respectful or composed. It also means that when something goes wrong and you feel like screaming at everyone, you wait until you are amongst friends in private and do not do so to the audience from the stage (I've seen it). It is a "show must go on" attitude, with graciousness but also with straightforward toughness...and yes, you can be both at the same time.

3. Forethought and Flexibility-
While these may seem to be contradictory they are not. A good professional will walk into a show with a full game plan but yet be prepared to roll with it if things change, as they usually do.

4. Preparedness-
This means showing up with everything you need, as much as possible (lord knows I've forgotten a lighter a time or twelve) and the ability to figure it out quickly and smoothely if you do happen to forget something.
This includes all props, safety measures, insurance papers, contract copies, costume pieces, etc.
I've taken to list making.

5. Punctuality-
Self explainatory really.

I also would like to add in, that these do apply in any career field- business life, but take on a different meaning for performers:

6. Presentation-
This is showmanship, skill and overall appearance.
I have seen people get paid who show up to an event in jeans, crappy t-shirts and spin the way they do in their backyard. This in no way represents a professional attitude in my book. Presentations need not be elaborate but I do feel they need to show a concideration for the audience and a respect for the field beyond the backyard, and this includes some form of showy costume, a rehearsed skill presentation and a focus on the audience- not on self.

7. Peer Respect-
Incuding stage ettiquette and courtesy, avoidance of undercutting, underbidding, poaching and pirating.

8. Audience Respect-
This means to not treat the audience as if they are lucky you are there. To not under-estimate their intelligence and be condescending in an attempt to elevate your ego as a performer. Many people I have seen do this and it loses more audience members than it impresses.

9. Fulfilling all terms to the best of your ability-
This means giving 110% to every presentation, regardless of any situations that arises (yes Sethis, it is professional detachment and it means if you have a personal issue, you check it at the door and keep working). This means also to live up and exceed the standards of the promoter/producer, the audience, and the authorities.

I also disagree with.."A professional is one who meets and exceeds the standards recognised by that profession..." Not at all in my opinion for performers. What standards and who set them?
Michael Moschen (sp??) is probably one of the FOREMOST professionals in the career field of object manipulation. If he sets the standard, then there is no hope for 99% of those out there who are trying to become professional.
I know several, even in CDS or B&B, who would not meet a "technical standard", even set by those here on the bb, in their art but who are incredibly professional. There are waaaaay too many variables in the world for that statement to not be majorly conditionalized in the performance field...which is why I feel that basic principles of professionalism are pretty much what applies.

I'm sorry...anyone can throw on some cheap black leather and spin for $50 at a bar. It is not that hard and it truely is not professional. How everything is handled from the very first booking conversation through the performance to the follow-up a day or two after the show is what it means to be a true professional.

As for Prima-Donna/Diva behaviour. I am a Diva. I fully admit it, and at times am proud of it because I have high expectations of those people I hire to work for me as techs and such. I expect things from those who hire me, or that I hire, and if I do not get it, I get tough and bitchy. I do not expect anyone to rearrange thier lives for me or pick the green M&M's out of a bag, and I will *always* be polite and courteous, even in the face of adversity, because that reflects well upon me. But I demand the same degree of professionalism that I put out back, and I do not find that at all unreasonable.

I *NEVER* expect other performers to kow-tow to me. I do not expect the audience to be grateful that I am there. Rather the reverse, I am grateful for their time and attention, for without them, I am nothing.
All points of contract fulfillment though, I do expect...and if I forget something and I ask someone to borrow something of a similar nature...I will explain the situation and thank them nicely no matter what.

Prima Donna and Diva-ship is not an excuse for rude behaviour, that is human ego and personal attitude and has nothing to do with profession...you get that in every career field..and that sucks.

Sorry you had to go through that. hug


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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MiG
MiG

Self-Flagellation Expert
Location: Bogged at CG
Member Since: 16th Apr 2004
Total posts: 3415
Posted:I'm not taking this as a shot at me, and i don't wish for you to believe that i'm taking a shot at you. I just want to clear up a couple of points that seem to be misunderstood. hug



Written by: pele
Getting paid, in my eyes, does NOT equal professional. All getting paid does is show that you got a job, and *ANYONE* can do that.



I agree with that. however, if your main method of income is from that job, then that is your profession. agreed, with performing it can get a little hazy. however, i still believe that there is a difference between getting paid and getting a living. If that job is the only one you've got, chances are, you're going to put a little more into it than if you're going toWritten by: pele
throw on some cheap black leather and spin for $50 at a bar.



Which, really, isn't a profession, more of a job.





Written by: pele
A professional is one who meets and exceeds the standards recognised by that profession...



umm, mis-quote there. I said:

Written by: MiG
A good professional is one that meets and exceeds the standards recognised by that profession, and, more often than not, loves that profession such that it ceases to be work.



Only a slight difference, but one that, i feel in that context, makes a difference.

Also, when i said 'standards recognised by that profession', i didn't mean the technical ability. That wasn't the clearest, and i apologise for that. I meant for that to be interpreted as stuff like being organised, punctual, safe. things like, for me, being a professional student, Written by: MiG
In my example, it's that i go to class, i do any assignments i have, stuff like that.





For a fire performer, that would be things like making sure you're booked, making sure you get there when/before you're booked, having safety personnel. organised, punctual, and safe smile



There is, of course, still some degree of ability required. That, however, isn't the major part of the standard, and the best in the field doesn't set that standard either. If i was to define it along the lines of a trade, the standard would be that it complies with all needed regulations, is safe, and effective. It should look good and work good. I know that is a little hard to translate across to performing, but hopefully you can see what i mean smile



I suppose that the best i can define what i meant there was:



A good professional is one that meets, and/or exceeds, the generally recognised standards of behaviour, organisation, ettiquette and ability.



Hope that clears up what i meant a little better hug


"beg beg grovel beg grovel"
"master"
--FSA

"There was an arse there, i couldn't help myself"
--Rougie

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Frederick the Reckless
Frederick the Reckless

Troupe Leader and founder, Fire and Steel
Location: Oregon
Member Since: 5th Aug 2004
Total posts: 241
Posted:thank you, pele, for weighing in on this matter. i find it useful when a known TRUE professional has input on any matter i ask about. there are about a hundred or so "professional" fire performers my area alone who could benefit from your advice.

mig, i value your input as well, especially once it was further clarified.


Frederick the Reckless,
Troupe Leader,
Fire and Steel

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Written by: Pele

As for Prima-Donna/Diva behaviour. I am a Diva.



YEAH you are... And we love you for it! ubblove


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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