How did you get that gig?
I’ve been asked this many times over the years. There is no secret formula. It as much as being in the right place at the right time as it is in who you know. It’s also being really good at your gig and being available at a moment’s notice. I’ve had more than one gig come about last minute- getting a phone call asking, ‘Can you be on a plane in the next 24 hours to start a tour?’
Sometimes it’s just being in the right place at the right time. You could be the house soundgirl/guy at a venue where the band that is playing that night just fired or lost their FOH engineer. You mixed them that night, did a great job and made it known to the PM or TM that you are available if they ever need anyone. Two days later they call and ask you to join the tour. You could be the monitor engineer who happens to do a great job for them right about the time they are ready to employ a monitor engineer….
Many times, I have gotten gigs from colleagues/friends I have worked with on previous tours.
Sometimes it’s been through the bands management. If you do a great job mixing one of their artists they’ll tend to call you for another one. Sometimes it’s through the Record Label.
It could be the Creative Director or MD from a previous tour who call you to do their next artist.
TMs and PMs are great contacts to have. They are generally the ones doing the hiring. But you never know when someone you are working with now will be in a position to recommend you for a future gig, so make friends, do your job, don’t be a problem child, get along with everyone.
Be ready to go at a moments notice. If you desperately want to get on the road, you should make sure everyone knows and that you can drop everything in an instant and jump on the bus. People get fired, people get sick, people have kids, people leave tours for all kinds of reasons. Some times things happen mid tour, sometimes at the last minute and when it does, if you get the call and can’t commit, the TM is going to go to the next name on the list and you might not get another chance.
Word of mouth- bands rarely hire someone that they or anyone they know has never heard of. Make connections, especially with people you’ve worked with and keep in touch so they know who you are. If your name gets brought up to the TM, band, management, etc… and they don’t know who you are, usually the first question they are going to ask is- ‘how do you know this person and where/what tour have you worked with them?’
Network- this can be a tough one for a lot of women. Most guys have no problem dropping names and telling anyone who will listen about what tours they’ve done. Women tend to think of this as boasting and I think by our nature are uncomfortable talking about our accomplishments. Instead of looking at it as bragging, it’s just how guys size each other up. It’s a “Hey, this is who I am and this is what I do, how about you” kind of thing. They put it all out there right away because they don’t like the murky waters of having to figure people out and not knowing their intentions. And since this is a male dominated business, it benefits us to work that way as well. Think about it, you’re doing some big festival with tons of bands and crew and you strike up a conversation backstage with a few crew guys. They don’t know who you are. “Who do you guys work for? I do, FOH, Mon, etc… for …” That’s it, that’s all you have to say and it’s all out in the open. Now they aren’t trying to figure out if you’re just looking to hook up, meet the band, get something signed by their artist, etc..
Remember, everyone you work with is a contact that could lead to a potential job.
Be ready for opportunities when they arise.
Every job you have has the possibility of leading to another.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!
For more tips on getting ahead of the competition check out: How to set yourself apart from the competition and get the gig.