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Jai
Jai

Member
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Member Since: 26th Oct 2004
Total posts: 52
Posted:Hey all,

I would like to make a thread to inform everyone on the firetwirling industry that is being taken advantage of by many corperate bodies. Our art is no different than painting or film makers. We have a skill that is available to the community and we are being taken advantage of because of the lack of information that is out there for performers. Thats why i am writting this thread and need everyone to read this and post any information that i have left out. I am going to focus on 2 issues this poses for the future of fire twirling.

1. When someone performs for free it takes away business from the professional performers that spend their days perfecting their skills and routines.

2. Because most people who do work for free are amateurs, the quality of the performance is not as good as it would be from a professional. The corportations usually dont use firetwirlers again because there wasnt a good response from the crowd. And therefore more business is lost for professional performers.

So we need to stand up against the corporations who make millions of dollars each year and take advantage of our unorganised artform. They will tell you that they are doing you a favour and trying to give you 'experience', but all they want is free entertainment. Next time you are approached to perform for free, tell them that you will not do it. Tell them that you should be payed for your services and will not be taken advantage of. It is the for the good of the industry.

Now im sure there are alot of people out there that think im like a crazy 'twirling nazi'. But believe me, fire twirling has a great future for some people and in the future i wish to be one of those people. Would you paint a picture for a cafe for free? It is the same concept.

Please invite everyone to read and write in this thread. This is an important discussion for our industry.

Jai.


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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:Hear hear! clap



A while back I decided to never perform for free unless it was for family, friends who are fire spinners, or charity.

That was after I read this thread and realised how damaging it is when someone does perform for free.



simian posted an excllent analogy:

 Written by: simian

Hello, I'm looking for some amateur cleaners to come tidy up my house and do my washing up for FREE to gain experience.



Who knows it may possibly maybe lead on to other paying gigs...





How many of you would do your job for free just because your boss said you would gain experience from it?

Anone would think you were mad if you did...



ubbrollsmile


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polarity
polarity

veteran
Location: on the wrong planet
Member Since: 16th May 2005
Total posts: 1228
Posted:If we don't perform (in public) for money, how else are we going to afford insurance?

You aren't thinking or really existing unless you're willing to risk even your own sanity in the judgment of your existence.

Green peppers, lime pickle and whole-grain mustard = best sandwich filling.

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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:Totally! biggrin



If you dont get paid for non fire gigs, you cant afford the insurance for when you need to use fire for a gig, and often fire gigs are higher paying.



ubbrollsmile


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Jai
Jai

Member
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Member Since: 26th Oct 2004
Total posts: 52
Posted:Believe me i have hardly even started on alot of my thoughts about performing for free.

There are alot of issues about insurance, yes i understand those issues. But in our profession, which just happens to be a very high risk (or so the insurance company says) job, we get pushed around alot. It is very hard to find a company that will actually give fire twirlers insurance, and SOME OF the companies that do offer it, offer a 'tree service' as i like to call it. It means that a company buys one insurance cover and then re-sells it to us as performers. The problem is that only one person can claim the insurance if something was to happen. The first person is covered, after that first claim everybody else is left without a leg to stand on. (This isnt with every insurer, some do offer proper insurance where your completly covered. Always read the fine print!!!)

Anyways, thats for another post. I just want people to understand what is happening to fire twirlering. I do understand the people who fire twirl for fun and just muck around. Doing the gig at a friends party. Well go for it i say because thats how i started. But when it comes to big comanies like Crusty Demons who dont pay performers, that is just absolutly annoying!!! And for people who say, 'there are 15 people who do it for free for every one person who actually wants to get paid' yes that is true. But there is a huge diffference in quality between the two.

Anyways i love fire arts and i believe that we are being taken advantage of quite badly. I wish to do something about this. Either through a company that is responsible for all the fire performances in a particular area or through a magazine that informs us on our rights and responsibilites as performers and fire twirling enthusiasts.

Peace all.

Jai.


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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:biggrin I had made a thread similar to this on a German forum and did not get much applause for it.

I fully and totally agree with you, Jai and Sym put it exactly in the correct context... I'd certainly would be looking for a free (yet professional) massage therapist, a free graphics designer and tailor, besides my trailer could use some (free) repairs and the list goes on.

"Friends" is a totally different thing and I would never take money of a friend for providing a massage or help him out.

But whenever one performs on a commercial occasion for free, an amitious fireperformer goes out of business.

Professional performance requires practice, practice, practice - an investment of time, money (blood, sweat and tears) and usually an insurance that needs to get paid.

I have little compassion for ppl who perform for free (on commercial occasions) and I even criticise friends harshly, when they do.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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newgabe
newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali
Member Since: 3rd Mar 2005
Total posts: 4030
Posted: Written by: Jai



1. When someone performs for free it takes away business from the professional performers that spend their days perfecting their skills and routines.

2. Because most people who do work for free are amateurs, the quality of the performance is not as good as it would be from a professional.



Imagine how sex workers must feel! wink


.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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beavis
member

Member Since: 4th Jan 2006
Total posts: 33
Posted:if you are a beginner and you doing it cheap just for the experience don't get ripped no one should have to make a loss in the entertainment industry unless they make a gamble. at least do it for a free meal free transport to and from the gig and leave with some form of payment to pay for the eventual deteriation and replacement of the stick as it eventually detieriates
if you really wan to be a performer go to the insurance company and see how much the public liability insurance is and then tell them you are a beginner and see if it is any cheaper if you do gigs like this for free you are just wrecking the industry and these companies need to know that they will only get quality if they pay
anf if they realy want fire dancers they will pay and if they want quality they will pay more if we band together and dont let any one do a gig for free unless its for a good cause we can controll the industry and stick it to the man experienced or not every one should get paid for their services.

an apprentice doesent get paid as much as some one fully qualified beacuse he has less experience but he does get paid!


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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:Hey Beavis, you forgot to write so censored you! wink ubblol

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted: Written by: newgabe

Imagine how s*x workers must feel!





ubblol I was trying to avoid that, but next time I see an amateur performer on a commercial event I will ask her, if she comes over to complemantary take her clothes off for me wink



But: all the girls know that there is nothing "for free" in life - especially not s*x. We pay by putting up with all kinds of crap, girls with their period and guys with PMS *hides from incoming drilling toys* wink



offtopic

EDITED_BY: FireTom (1161156236)


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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newgabe
newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali
Member Since: 3rd Mar 2005
Total posts: 4030
Posted:S*x ain't free? No kidding, Tom, I have kids!! Most expensive 5 minutes I ever spent!!!

.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:The majority of the bills must have been for Dave's hair gel wink

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:5 minutes? Poor newgabe... or should I call you lucky? umm Some mums have to deal with it 9 months, errm are lucky enough to call it "an entire night".......

offtopic errm.... "wrong forum"


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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mcp
mcp

Flying Water Muppet
Location: Edin-borrow.
Member Since: 20th May 2003
Total posts: 5276
Posted:I agree wholeheartedly. No freebies for big business and corporations.

They have money and they must give it to me before I associate with them. smile


"the now legendary" - Kaskade
"the still legendary" - Kaskade

I spunked in my friend's aquarium and the fish ate it. I love all fish. Especially the pink ones. They are my bitches. - Anon.

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solar_bear
solar_bear

journeyman
Location: Kent, UK
Member Since: 19th Feb 2006
Total posts: 78
Posted:A very interesting thread and one with several echoes of my own experience on the other side of the planet, in a different sector of the entertainments industry.

Since 1987 I have worked as a self-employed lighting technician (although I'm a bit less active on that front now). Over the years in general and the last decade in particular, the costs of being a freelancer have skyrocketed. Firstly, we were told we needed Public Liability Insurance, fair enough - we work in high risk situations, but the cost of cover has since trebled. The increase in computerised equipment requires a higher level of skill to do the job, not to mention more expensive tools. Now we're being told that we need to be able to demonstrate "evidence of competence through training" for Health & Safety purposes, meaning we now have to do expensive (100 per day) training courses.

Meanwhile there are some crew bookers out there, who think that ten year old rates are "a bit expensive" and no shortage of fresh graduates and moonlighters from full time jobs, who think that a fifteen year old rate is "good money".

It's a hard slog sometimes, but the best way to proceed is through client education, particularly from a health and safety point of view - professional fire performers are (generally) safer fire performers; they may cost money, but they can save a fortune in terms of lawsuits and criminal prosecutions if the unthinkable happens.

One way to help make this a little easier, is to form trade associations (as opposed to trade unions). For example: as a lighting technician, I'm a member of the Production Services Association (PSA). Among (many) other things, they've been able to arrange insurance discounts for members, identify decent training providers, be a voice for the industry at a national level and generally encourage people to take themselves a bit more seriously. The PSA was launched in 1995, following 2-3 years work by the dozen or so people who came up with it. After an initial rush of interest, nobody paid much attention for the next few years (mainly because doing so often involved facing a few ugly home truths), but recently membership has started to swell considerably as the message has finally started to sink in.

So that's my 0.02. Professional and maybe "serious amateur" fire performers should maybe look at banding together and forming associations which can at least give them some kind of collective voice, that they can then use to educate not just clients and event organisers, but regulators and officialdom too, along with aspiring performers and even each other.


It may stop, but it never ends.

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DavidJNolan
DavidJNolan

Precision instrument of speed and aromatics
Location: Vienna
Member Since: 21st Aug 2006
Total posts: 240
Posted: Written by: Jai


for people who say, 'there are 15 people who do it for free for every one person who actually wants to get paid' yes that is true. But there is a huge diffference in quality between the two.




The main problem, as I see it, is that fire spinning as an industry is still relatively new. If you take two people claiming to be proffesional jugglers, one of whom can only do a 3 ball cascade and the other can do a 5-club mills mess, promoters will take the 5-club guy because jugglers have been around for long enough, been paid for long enough, and have sufficently permeated public conciousness that people understand the difference (at least to some extent) between a good juggler and a bad one.
The same cannot be said about fire spinners. When people are looking for a fire performer, all they are interested in is the flames ... the EFFECT. Fire is essentially a gimick, and that is all that they are interested in. For the most part they don't care that you can play hyperloops or fishtales, they don't even know what that is. My experience of playing shows is that now matter what you play people love it, coz they are impressed by the flames.

And as for proffesionals giving a higher quality. I've seen plenty of so-called proffesional fire shows where all you got for your money was a three-beat weave and a costume. I know a lot of amatures who could do better than that.


Not a spinner!

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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:Hmmmmm - but then I'd argue if the 2 people doing a 3-bt weave in cotumes, as long as they had a tight routine with lots of dancing and poncing would look better to non-spinners, especially in terms of a stage show than the best spinner in the world standing stock still on stage doing insane tricks in their jeans and t-shirt.

It is after all about performance
The "higher quality" in question is the quality of the show, not neccesarily of the spinning


Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

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DavidJNolan
DavidJNolan

Precision instrument of speed and aromatics
Location: Vienna
Member Since: 21st Aug 2006
Total posts: 240
Posted:I totally agree.

There will always be people willing to perform for free. I used to do it when I was young and impetuous. Being on stage is great, and if you get a free night out because of it, so much the better.

Proffesionals cannot stop young and eager spinners from giving free performances, and it seems foolish to put energy into trying. The way to compete is to offer a promoter something MORE for their money. Costumes, choreographed routines, shows with a concept. These are things that promoters understand and are willing to pay for. And they are things which usually involve too much work for unpaid performers to bother with.


Not a spinner!

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:*throws in another 2 Baht*

What is a good professional fireshow anyways? And what makes one a good performer?

Problem may be, that until the public gets aware so many accidents might happen, that the entire art is receiving bad credits. Remember the recent fire breathing accident, that got a little girl killed?


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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DavidJNolan
DavidJNolan

Precision instrument of speed and aromatics
Location: Vienna
Member Since: 21st Aug 2006
Total posts: 240
Posted:That is a significant point.
One would hope that a proffesional would be insured and have taken suffient safety precausions. But there is no way to ensure that amatures have saftey equiptment. Who really thinks about it when they start off? I've been at fire gatherings where there were litres of free parafin, but not even a single wet towel for extinguishing.

Short of advising every beginner you meet about fire saftey, or organising large scale fire-saftey meetings, I don't really know how to combat this. And a lot of youngsters don't want to be told such things by a 'know-it-all' proffesional. I dunno if I would have listened much when I was younger


Not a spinner!

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[Nx?]
[Nx?]

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Europe,Scotland,Both
Member Since: 5th Nov 2001
Total posts: 3749
Posted:*agrees 100%*

T wave


This is a post by tom, all spelling is deleberate
-><- Kallisti

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Mynci
Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...
Member Since: 27th Apr 2005
Total posts: 8737
Posted:I agree with everyone.

Has anyone given thought to starting a governing body or style of thing? a fixed place for "paid performers" to get advice or meet or stick together, if you get my drift. actors & dancers have it. Or would it be a guild of circus performers?


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:This is what I suggested already in the thread about this fire-accident.

Poi and firedancing is becoming popular radically fast. With more ppl doing it, we will face more accidents IMHO.

Worst case scenario is that (if we're not taking action ourselves) this will be regulated from outside (and therefore with harsher measures and penalties)... I love spinning, I am not doing it as much with fire anymore, but I'd hate to see fireperformers becoming outcasts... *I painted a really dark picture here - excuse me, please*


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Jai
Jai

Member
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Member Since: 26th Oct 2004
Total posts: 52
Posted: Written by:

The same cannot be said about fire spinners. When people are looking for a fire performer, all they are interested in is the flames ... the EFFECT. Fire is essentially a gimick, and that is all that they are interested in. For the most part they don't care that you can play hyperloops or fishtales, they don't even know what that is. My experience of playing shows is that now matter what you play people love it, coz they are impressed by the flames.

And as for proffesionals giving a higher quality. I've seen plenty of so-called proffesional fire shows where all you got for your money was a three-beat weave and a costume. I know a lot of amatures who could do better than that.



I have seen performances that have absolutly blown my mind. Some of you might know Steve-O. He had(not sure if he is still doing it) this show where he twirled with many other performers, beautifully coerographed with fight scenes, al diardgio (acrobalance) and simple tricks. I dont have any doubt about the professional performance ability. I just wish for professionals to have a better working environment.

Ok, so a union? What does everyone think about this?

Ok, sending posts over this is very hard. I usually have a good idea of what i want to write before i start, then i get interrupted and then the idea goes down the drain.

Would anyone be interested in going to a place for a meeting? I do know this is kinda far fetched for alot of people out there. But to some of us this is a very important topic for our futures. I am living in Melbourne and would absolutly love to meet up with a group of people who are like minded in this area.

This idea will prob be another idea that just never gets off the ground. But i am one of those people who would rather show up and make a fool of myself instead of wondering, 'what if?'

Jai


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Durbs
Durbs

Classically British
Location: Epsom, Surrey, England
Member Since: 23rd Sep 2001
Total posts: 5688
Posted:A union is an idea that has been kicked around for the past few years - and every time it fails for the same reasons smile

(To know the reasons - do a search wink )


Burner of Toast
Spinner of poi
Slacker of enormous magnitude

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Jai
Jai

Member
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Member Since: 26th Oct 2004
Total posts: 52
Posted:I sit here trying to keep my eyes open after reading pages and pages and pages and pages and pages of threads and information about the proposed fire unions. I did a search Durbs. Lol. And you are right, this is a great idea, until you get down to the points of who will make the rules, how they will be goverened, who will benefit. ect. ect. ect. If anyone is interested http://www.homeofpoi.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/23342
. I suggest you just skip to Charles' or Pele's posts becuase they sum up the issues pretty quickly.

So if i was to break it down. The problem with fire twirling is mainly:
Beginners have no real understanding of safety and how to twirl (I know there are some great people out there that are trying to teach safety).

So to combat this, there needs to be more information available to beginners. Possibly such as a Magazine. Lol. Many people know i love this idea and will be doing this over summer. I dont care if nobody thinks it will get off the ground, i am motivated to do this! I think i proved that after i just finished reading information on unions for the past 6 hours. lol.

Anywho way off topic, we are meant to be talking about free performances.

Jai.


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Aeori
Aeori

member
Location: Dorking(home), Sunderland(uni)
Member Since: 16th Oct 2006
Total posts: 77
Posted:A union or even a buisness run by someone or a few people. For example one in the south of england with a list of preformers with rates based on aptitude level. On the internet so that people would be able to find out about it.
Free performers shouldn't pretend that they're good if they do perform for free. State that they're a beginner and all that and that they know some people who are professionals and give details for contacting? It's only nice really.
Just watched the video interview with Pele. My god... I'm speechless and I really hope that everyone who does play with fire watches it because it's insane what she went through. Also why the hell was she being looked over by child protection agencies!! That's just not on at all...


Fear my wrath and call me muffin for I am the muffin of doom!!

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simian
simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London
Member Since: 11th Oct 2002
Total posts: 3149
Posted: Written by: Aeori

rates based on aptitude level.





Apetitude? I'm FULL of apetitude! ALL YOUR RATES IS BELONG TO ME



Hey Aeori - if you think that'd be a good idea, then you could do it yourself, and maybe other people would help out. Talking about organisations that should exist, and what would be great is kinda pointless without some sucka to do the groundwork wink


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted: Written by: jai

Possibly such as a Magazine.



Have a search for this as well! ubblol


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sagetree
sagetree

organic creation
Location: earth
Member Since: 7th May 2006
Total posts: 246
Posted:i am very interested being a part of or starting a poi, staff and juggling magazine which i think would help the performing community with some of the issues being discussed.

(i have experience with graphic design, page layout and typography for anyone interested)


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Kathain_Bowen
Kathain_Bowen

Good Ol' Yarn For Hair
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Member Since: 24th Jan 2006
Total posts: 422
Posted: Written by: Jai


1. When someone performs for free it takes away business from the professional performers that spend their days perfecting their skills and routines.




See, I have to disagree for this on one aspect, one, very terrible, and rather taboo aspect to shout out: Not all paid performers are true professional performers.

There's no standardized licensing/certification system to prove the worth of a professional over an amateur. I mean, there's nothing really to stop someone with enough free time and cash on their hands to go, get insurance, print out a hundred business cards at Kinkos, and call themselves a professional to charge for gigs. The only thing that, at the moment, can stop someone from masquerading as a professional is moral values, which, in some individuals can be severely lacking.

Please do not take this to be an attack on or front against anyone on the HoP forums. Everyone I've personally come into contact on HoP has seemed to be of a rather high moral and ethical standing, and everyone has seemed to be quite professional about taking their safety practices seriously! biggrin


"So long and thanks for all the fish."

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