I live my life in airports and hotels. I liken it to the guy from the 80’s TV show Quantum Leap. I leap from airport to airport, hoping the next leap is the leap home.
Professionally speaking I would never agree to travel and shows on a schedule like I’m about to describe. Occasionally your agent will convince you it’s a good idea and you say yes and roll with it. It’s never a good idea.
Two weeks ago, I flew from Toronto to Anchorage Alaska. Sadly, I don’t sleep on planes. Accounting for time at the airport prior to leaving and a connection in Vancouver, the travel day was 14 hours. I arrived at 5:30 p.m. Anchorage time, I was out of my house at 4:30am Toronto time. That’s a long day. Did I mention I was a little edgy and grumpy upon arrival?
I had to perform that night, after all that travel. Two shows in a theatre holding maybe 900 people, 8 and 10 o’clock shows. I had just enough time to go directly to the theatre for a quick sound and lighting rehearsal, eat a salad, shower and press my suit for the shows. Shockingly the performances were fantastic, either because of exhaustion or sheer luck…wow did I kill. Once it was all finished I was up for 24 hours without sleep.
I may have had a few drinks to celebrate that incredibly lucky day, because why not stay up longer once you’re on a roll. Yea, sometimes I make bad decisions.
I guess what I want to say is this. Everything COULD have gone completely wrong. This is not the professional way to organize travel for a performer. It happened this way because of a booking error from the agent in L.A. but consider how things could have gone sideways; completely destroying all chances of a successful show.
My luggage could have been lost on the connection. Not only a connection but a change in airline. Luggage vanishes often on the hand off between airlines. I blame codesharing.
There’s a possibility I may not have made the connection. Flights could have been delayed, making me miss that first 8 o’clock show. I could have become ill from food in an airport or airplane (to address this I rarely eat during travel days, but that becomes a problem for performing that night, one does need to eat to perform and you know… live ). The outfit I wear onstage for that night may have been damaged in transit or wrinkled to the extent it needs professional attention. Customs may have held my props or me. Though I have a work visa, a NEXUS card and Global Entry, this does not 100 percent guarantee me entry into America, and a customs official could have decided not to let me in or detain me long enough to miss flights. All these things could have prevented shows from happening and a client paying a lot of money for no performance.
That said, I’d like to recommend to clients booking talent of any kind, that if you’re flying them into your location, make sure to bring in that talent the night before show day. What you spend on hotel is minimal in comparison to the cost of no show at all. Avoiding hassles is easily worth a couple of hundred dollars in hotel bill. Knowing your talent is in town, gear in hand and well rested before the performance is priceless. It’s fun and special for any group to bring in out of town talent. Sometimes that perfect talent you’re looking for just doesn’t exist in your city. Maybe it’s so unique there’s only one of them in the world and you have to fly them in. Whatever the reasons for booking them, avoid any problems on performance day by bringing that talent in the night before. It’s a small price to pay for security that your entertainment dollars are being spent correctly.
Until next time,
Good Night and Good Luck