Show Vs Business
In January, during the NZ summer holidays, I spent 10 days at the NZ Singing School as their invited international ‘Artist in Residence’, offering mentoring to the 80 odd students. It was an incredible learning experience, not only about our industry and the next generation but also about myself. One takeaway for me was the unavoidable fact that in our entertainment industry, it’s 20% show and 80% business.
Thanks to the TV reality shows with huge ratings figures, and the current power of celebrity, so many young people want to be ‘famous’, and then, of course, all their dreams will come true. Yeah right. Many want to sing, dance and act because they love it, not just for fame, but passion or fame won’t necessarily put food on the table or a roof over your head.
As a performer, artist, actor, musician, singer or dancer you not only need to be an expert in your craft, I think you also need to know how to sell and value yourself, how to generate revenue and you need to understand the machinations of commercial reality to enable you to do what you love AND make a living from it.
My school education, Bachelor of Commerce degree at Uni, and experience in accounting, finance and the corporate world of banking and recruitment in my early professional life has been invaluable. Learning about managing money, cash flow, KPIs, profit and loss etc. has been vital for allowing me to financially make my dreams come true, providing for my family, for giving me experience and information which has helped me in my career as a performer but also helped me establish a 19-year-old business which facilitates the careers of extraordinary performers around the world.
If I didn’t respect, understand, protect and prioritise the 80% business side of showbiz, everyone at Incognito Artists would be out on the street. It’s not just about technique, breathing, creativity or showmanship, or all these important aspects of the profession. If I can generalise, we singers feel like singing is as fundamental to our lives as breathing. But also, crucially, it’s about how to always have the money to pay your bills, or even better, generate multiple streams of income, while you’re living the dream.
There’s no business like show business, like no business I know…
Let’s get on with the show!