09-06-2013 09:26 PM
OK, I am a small-time sound guy who works mostly with local acoustic groups. I have done festivals, weddings, parties, and regular acoustic performances. I continue to be amazed that event co-ordinators find it acceptable to ask the sound guy to provide equipment and services for free.
I did a local festival last Spring for a group that I had worked for in previous years. This year they decided they had not made enough money on last years festival and wanted my input at their planning meetings on how they could save money on the entertainment. Making a long story shorter, I attended all their meetings and made suggestions; the end result was, they decided to pay the entertainers but use another sound guy who was willing to volunteer his equipment and services. This of course was not my advice to them. Somewhat disgusted, I essentially washed my hands of any further involvement with the festival. At 9:30Am on the morning of the event they called and asked if I could bring some equipment and help the volunteer sound guy who was somewhat overwhelmed. I said yes, but not for free. I helped out and got paid. In a post-mortum meeting the organizers agreed that I was correct when I had advised them not to take this route if they wanted a professional outcome.
Next page; I got a call this morning from a different local festival organizer wanting me to step in at the last minute to provide sound for their two-day festival. It seems that the sound guy they had arranged for cancelled out and they were in a pinch. Here's the corker; the entertainment was getting paid at their pre-agreed rate, but the organizer said "we don't know how much money will be left" so we can't agree on a fee for sound. I interpreted this as meaning "there's a good chance you will not get paid". Apparently they found nothing wrong with asking me to provide equipment and services for free. I said no, I am no longer a rookie and I don't do two-day events for free.
As my title says, I continue to be amazed that event co-ordinators have the audacity to expect a professional sound guy to provide equipment and services for free. Anyone out there have similiar experiences?
09-06-2013 10:39 PM - edited 09-06-2013 10:43 PM
09-07-2013 12:12 AM
Yeah, I get this a lot with my sound work as well. I used to be a professional photographer, doing staff work with some local sports teams. I didn't do weddings, portraits or any of that stuff, but I would get requests all the time.
Hey can you shoot my wedding? You get dinner and drinks, free! They thought it was a great deal, but would reel back in total shock once I'd quote them my price. Really? That much, just to take some pictures? Well my fiance's nephew said he'd do it for $40... get him to do it then, I'm not interested.
One of my relatives was getting married and asked me to shoot their wedding, I offered them a one-time super-discount rate but they turned it down. They found another photog who would do it cheaper... fine. I was invited to the wedding anyways, so I met the photog they hired. She literally took all the photos with her iPhone... and missed cutting the cake because she was too busy telling me about her fine art photography.
09-07-2013 06:13 AM - edited 09-07-2013 06:35 AM
I'm seeing more and more of this as the "me generation" comes of age. It's easy once you realize that the world revolves around them. I've been part of a fund raiser for a nonprofit for abot 20 years. Local businesses support this by supplying members of their management as organizers. This year I was hit with the "donate your services" question. Mind you this is in my hometown and is about 75 miles away from where I currently live. I explained that at about 12 mpg I'm over $50 in gas alone and they were free to find someone that was willng to donate their time and effort. Then mentioned that the idea was to increase the profits on the event from year to year. Bigtime change in attitude when he realized that the outcome of the event would reflect upon him. Mind you we had left somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,500 in seed money from the year before. Thisis the organization that I make a sizeable cash donation to every year.
09-07-2013 08:43 AM
09-07-2013 06:36 PM
I don't care to save some $$ as long as I get some help. That's always my philosophy, help me a bit with manual labor and I'll take care of the technical side. That suggestion is fading away very fast though. Oh, and I don't care if there's gonna be "people there to help you"...I need someone I can rely on. Will I do the occasional free show? Sure, I'm at one right now, buddy of mine is using my system and his board, and I'm running lights. I charge very reasonable rates for the stuff I use, and the stuff I do.
09-07-2013 10:29 PM
09-08-2013 04:41 AM
nothing in this game surprises or amazes me any more
take charity gigs, "can you and all your mates turn up and sing and play and provide gear at my bar for free", charity gets about 100 quid in raffle tickets, bar has the busiest night of the year and donates a 3 course meal to the winning raffle ticket holder.
on one occasion i suggested helping but me not singing, give some newbie a go i said, but for the sake of charity, i will buy a barrel of beer trade, and on the tap, put a litte sign " lager by kevin tyler" charge them anything over 2 euros and give all this cash to the sick kid/ dogs home,
f*ck off said the owner, i have a business to run.
09-08-2013 01:56 PM
09-08-2013 03:42 PM
I got a call to play in a band at this event in September. The money was not great but the people in the band are stellar so I said okay - being that it was a Sunday. Then I got asked to provide the PA. I was told that I wouldn't need to bring much, and could I provide a quote. Now I should mention that there are about three bands playing and that they are all pro musicians, who have toured the world and blah, blah, blah, and will want something relatively decent - even though it's in a small two hundred seat restaurant.
I knew that there was no money, so I said I would match Long & McQuade's prices, which are the lowest rental rates in North America AFAIK. They countered with - how's $25.00 for the whole PA!!! I was literally speechless. I was thinking along the lines of 2 x U15, a 720P and two or three powered monitors with Mixwiz... But for that price I guess I could bring my 100 watt mixer, two 8" speakers and a mic and stand.
I don't get it. I really don't get it.
09-08-2013 04:03 PM
09-08-2013 06:21 PM
Sure I get asked...............(religious groups are famous for this)
That's usualy where it ends. If it's something my heart's into, I might help out but I make sure no one expects me to have my "game on" for free. If it's no fun, I'll leave.
09-08-2013 08:01 PM - edited 09-08-2013 08:03 PM
09-08-2013 08:18 PM
Don't do the free thing.
I'm virtually certain that the food and alcohol vendors as these charity events are doing them for free. So why should the bands or the sound?
My band has been paid very well to play some charity events that went on to raise very good money for their wonderful causes. That's as it should be. When they are charging big money for people to donate to a cause, those people expect good food and good entertainment. It's a win/win for everyone. We don't do them for free or even discounted rates anymore. In my view, what we offer is part of the draw that helps people feel good about the money they spent on the charity.
It shouldn't be any different for the sound/lighting providers.
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