Sorry about the delay in posting — I was on the road with the family for 22 days, 4500+ miles, and a bunch of shows at various locations. Plus there were meetings. A birthday celebration (mine), followed by an anniversary (our: 13), both spent on the road. This time, instead of just sacking out wherever, we took a night at a nice hotel and made dinner, plus let the kids (9 & 12) hang out in the pool while the adults hit the hot tub.
On the way back to the house from the final gigs, rushing to get the kids back in time to return for the first day of the school year, we did make a stop off at the City Museum in St. Louis, MO to let the kids run wild and have fun as a reward for having such fortitude during the shows & traveling. It was a lot of late nights, hours in the car, hard work followed by boredom, loading & unloading then reloading the van… plus endless meetings, too. They were troopers, and definitely deserved the reward.
Cause if we were not on stage or back stage at a gig, performing or getting ready, we were in the car driving somewhere – except for the little bits of sleep here and there. Sadly, there was no time to finish up the multiple drafts in the queue for this blog and get anything posted.
And now… first day of school is tomorrow. But first: TO BUSINESS!
Let us continue (as always) to be honest: If you are at ALL having any real success, someone somewhere is talking shit about you. Hand in hand with that, if you are in any way even a semi-decent person, you are going to have some concern about that. No one worthwhile likes to hear of any beef concerning them. Most people do not want lies or rumors about what they are doing circulating around out there sullying their name.
This is where it gets dicey to discuss this topic. Here’s why:
In our current American culture there is a real leaning towards crass instead of class. And, folks, we are leaning HARD. Lowest common denominators including language, reactionary attitudes, etc. Frankly, there is just too much to list… but there are examples here, here, and here to get you started.
What it amounts to is the disregarding of social convention (i.e.: the business of getting along so we can get things done) and becoming obsessed with selfish, personal gain only.
Not getting into the politics behind some of this (no blaming or name-calling here), or the very real social problems our country is facing that have led to some of this (not getting into it… that is a face-to-face discussion) – suffice it to say everyone could be doing a little better in our day-to-day interactions.
And while most folks are quick to break out the ole catch phrase “Haters Gonna Hate,” which in the Daily Beast article above and here, is a massively overused phrase that I hope seeing as the title of this entry did not turn you off of reading it. But it does have significant social meaning in this situation, so let’s delve into it. There are too many folks who automatically assume that if someone talks badly about them or what they are doing, that the talker is a “hater,” who just does not “get” what the person being talked about is doing.
Just saying “Haters Gonna Hate,” makes it really easy to dismiss legitimate criticism & concerns. It is an excuse to not improve or move forward. It is a cop out.
Once again: if you are doing anything right and well, someone somewhere is talking shit about you. And if you are even a semi-decent person, that concerns you.
It should concern you – but only you can control how you react and how much credence you give it. There is certainly no shortage of folks in sideshow who want to criticize others (especially on the group I love to hate being a part of, Sideshow Spectrum). But with a few hints from me, try putting these comments into perspective and their proper place.
Here is THE suggestion (with examples) to help you weather this storm of hatership:
Consider the source. Who is it, exactly, who is talking the trash? Someone you respect? Someone whose career or life is where you want to be? Someone who has influence on your industry, clients, or employees? Someone who has real knowledge and expertise in your field?
CONSIDER THE SOURCE.
Someone who is where you want to be is the key phrase here, followed closely by real knowledge and expertise. It is plenty easy for anyone to spout off at their piehole about anything — so always look at if that person actually knows anything. Something about our human condition makes us all want to be an, if not the authority about something. I have noticed that especially when someone is starting out (or has been doing some halfway decent work for a bit) in a field that it becomes very important for them to be acknowledged by others for their work. Understandable. In my experience, however, I have seen that more often than not, rather than good advice it is just a spewing of info completely based around “pay attention to me!”
When someone is telling you your way of doing things is wrong (and it happens all the time), before considering it even a little, take a look at that person. This may take a couple moments of research – but, do they have a successful show? Like, really successful? Cause there is “Real Success,” and there is what I call “Famous ‘Success.'”
“Real Success” is, to me, lots of gigs with repeat business, overall good business dealings & reputation with our clients, getting the brand name out, and making money. Making lots of money. But what I see is a lot of…
“Famous ‘Success,'” which is when there are a lot of pics on social media, a lot of posting about “the big gig” (which, inevitably, does not officially feature the brand)
Story 1: Within the past couple years, I was in a conversation with a sideshow performer about an industry issue. Not a newbie – someone who has been around. In the conversation this person says to me, “I’ve seen your show, it is good. Really good. I don’t understand why you guys are not as big as (show name withheld).” I thought my head was going to explode, as the show named is, in my opinion, not nearly as “big” as FreakShow Deluxe. The other show does not work as often, for as much money, or for the gigs FSD does… It took a number of conversations with other professionals in the industry – who all agreed with me about this comparison – to talk me back from the edge for a moment (cause I really thought I might be crazy).
But I realized this other show and, in turn, this performer, were much more about getting Famous than having Success. Getting their picture onto social media (never mind that the name of the show/performer is not out there), or attending a big event with lots of “stars” is more important than the long-term effects of taking the gig for the money they did. Especially when that show in question has a reputation for not paying performers (among other bad business practices).
Story 2: Very recently, I was give screenshots of comments a performer made about FSD to other performers being recruited for a new show. The reason why the shots were sent to me was because these performers were being told not to work for FSD specifically because “they only do one show a year,” and “would you rather do one show a year, or have your picture tweeted out by rock stars.”
A valid question, to be sure. EXCEPT that I know FSD is doing way more than 1 show a year. I, personally, am on the road more than 30 weeks in 2017. There are shows 6 nights a week at Beetle House LA. PLUS all the other shows all over the country… Amusement parks, concerts, festivals, fairs, theatres, clubs, biker rallies, tattoo shows, universities… you name it (and pay the fee), we are THERE!
While tweeting out my picture is great, whomever may be doing it, it does not compete with getting paid. If I had to choose between having my picture tweeted and getting a paycheck – I’ll take the check! And, if I have negotiated the deal, the check is pretty good.
So I do not know what the end game by saying these kind of things is – especially when it is easy to look and see everything that is going on. Just takes a moment of research.
The other side of the coin is this…
If you are the person who wants to give advice/criticism: How are you presenting your thoughts?
If your show specializes in performing at bars and clubs, what insight do you really have to doing a fair circuit? Even if you have gotten a fair gig or two – it is not the same as someone who has done/is doing a circuit. Especially if they have done it for years.
Now, do you have some ideas to suggest based off of your work? I would hope so! However, maybe best to not come in swinging with the phrase, “Well, you know what you ought to do is…”
It can be frustrating for someone who actually has some good advice.
Story 3: A few years ago, I had someone come to me asking for some advice about a television contract. My advice? “Get a lawyer. Specifically, an entertainment lawyer.” I also offered to give it a glance and tell them what I thought of it, if they wanted.
After all, I have experience working for an entertainment law firm handling A-list clientele. I had read & written many a contract for that firm, and was lucky to have many conversations with the lawyers to get some insight about the ins-and-outs of contracts and contract law.
But this person never gave me a copy of the contract to review – or got a lawyer. Instead, as they told me later, they followed the advice of a couple of other performers instead. More concerned with Fame than Success, it was not a great deal and, at the end of the day, did not bring what it should have. Sure – the person DID end up on television – but not to the capacity and for the money that they should have. It was frustrating that this performer would take the advice from a couple cats with only a passing knowledge – and not someone “on the inside.”
Story 4: After a convention I was seeing a lot of tweets, Instagram photos, etc. of some performers who were there (not affiliated with FSD). I saw posts about how “they were rockstars,” how loved by the audiences they were, and “how much money they made” busking the queues for tips. And I am sure they did quite well… for them.
We had a few photos, yes. Crowds were good for our shows (the same as for their shows, which I watched). We sold a fair amount of merchandise, I suppose, and made some tips. But, at that same convention, while other folks were running around getting pics & hustling for dollars, I booked and signed two (2) big contracts for gigs where FSD’s name will be on the promotion, my cast members will get paid their fee, we have exclusivity and right of first refusal to return. The company will make some serious bank at each event. I do not doubt that we will return for these recurring events. PLUS we worked that night…
The takeaway: I’m just complaining, I guess. Haters gonna hate, bro… haters gonna hate.