In the hopes of clearing up misconceptions, preconceived notions and prejudicial ideas; in an effort to maintain transparency; and with the ultimate goal of ending speculation and rumor I am now laying out - in plain language - my own personal criteria for booking shows.
All producers work with a different set of professional standards, but I do believe that similar ideas prevail within our industry. Though I don’t presume to speak for anyone else, I daresay that I am not the only person who considers any or all of the following conditions when hiring performers; regardless, to all those who wonder – internally or aloud – why so-and-so gets booked so often while they themselves do not, I offer the following considerations:
Do you have a rounded head which is large relative to your body size? A wide forehead and large eyes placed below the midline of your face? Rounded, protruding cheeks? In short, do you have kinderschema? As a producer it’s my job to engender in an audience feelings of protectiveness and sympathy and the desire to nurture, shelter and support. I primarily book performers with the physical traits associated with 1940’s-style animated woodland creatures, infants, and small, palm-sized rodents in order to elicit these maternal instincts in a paying audience.*
The Casting Couch
Call it smarmy but it’s the truth: I only hire performers who won’t sleep with me - which certainly limits my casting pool. But it’s one of the perks of being a producer, and I intend to work it for all I can, without apologies. Hell, if I could get away with it’d never book anyone who I’ve ever actually spoken to, or even made eye contact with for that matter ... I’m just saying, the performer who’s freaky enough to leave the building every time I enter could go a long way in my productions, if you know what I mean.
Listen, I don’t know how many times I have to say it: I’ve got nothing against Belgians. (Well, not the Walloons, anyway.)
Awards and Recognition
If you look at the lineups of my last dozen or so shows, you’ll notice among the performers eleven Fulbright Scholars, one recipient of the Carnegie Award for outstanding work in literature for children or young adults, six Nobel Prize winners (2 in physics, 3 in chemistry and 1 for peace), various members of World Series and Super Bowl championship teams,** and no less than twenty-three Emmy and/or Oscar nominations (mostly in the technical and production fields, but impressive nonetheless). This should tell you something.
Like many producers I negotiate different rates with different performers, based largely on how many of my booking criteria they meet; but it is my policy to pay all of my performers and staff across the board in pre-decimalized British currency units. Therefore any performer – no matter their pay rate – who can’t convert £3 12s 6d into an understandable and contemporary monetary unit *** is simply of no use to me and won’t be booked until she can be bothered to learn how.
Gifts go a long way.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive - but a dead bird, bit of string, piece of tinfoil or small shiny button left on the doorstep certainly knocks you up a few spots on my booking list. Really want to impress? Just drop half a mouse in my lap, lick your butthole while staring at me for a minute or two, and saunter away like you don’t care … then check your inbox for that booking email.
A Personal Connection
I’m getting an N, an N – do you know an N? An M? Do you know an M? Someone who recently passed. An M … or a W? It’s a W, yes – I’m getting a Wanda. A Walther. A Waldo … Wendy? You had a neighbor named Wendy when you were a kid. Yes, that’s it – it’s Wendy. She’s here with me now and she wants you to know that she’s happy, and she loves you, and she’s wondering if you’re available for a 9pm show in Brooklyn on the 14th.
What have you done for me lately?
Seriously - I know you used to do a lot of nice things for me, but what have you done for me lately?
[They’re rare cases, but please note that all of the above conditions are automatically superseded by ancient familial oaths, wizard’s curses (Level 16 or above) and any obligations of Masonic membership.]
* It’s a science fact that being subliminally reminded of cartoon bunnyrabbits makes audience members purchase on average 3.72 more drinks each – certainly something to consider when attempting to drive up bar revenue and maintain a profitable relationship with venue owners.
** The 1972 Dallas Cowboys, the 1964 St Louis Cardinals, the 1986 Chicago Bears, the 1910 Philadelphia Athletics, and the 2007 Boston Red Sox.
*** About $66
*** About $66