Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dramarama: or When To Fire Your Manager

Today we discuss when to fire your manager.

I never officially had a manager, I just fell into a relationship with a very hard working person that taught me a lot about being a professional vocalist in SL.  For that I am grateful.  As I added to and refined my act, however, our relationship started to decline.  Further, she has a nasty reputation in the music scene as an unprofessional and extremely rude person that no one wants to work with.  Though she never treated me that way in the beginning that was changing.

The last straw came when a friend of mine referred me to a talent show.  Dutifully, I turned it over to my manager as I had other opportunities many times before.  Usually I heard nothing back, but this time she chose to get as many of her people involved as possible.  Suddenly she started harassing me for not being online hours before the event (?).  Though I didnt win, I was thrilled when these individuals asked me to perform a few weeks after the event.  I got my manager involved, again dutifully, as she was not returning their IMs.  Though I accepted the gig, she started harassing me immediately and pressed the point that she could send someone else.

I have school inworld, and though I was in a class meeting I sent my avi to the club in advance. I explained this to my manager. I arrived and chatted amicably to the owner while my manager continued to bark at me in IMs. When at 15 till I still wasn't rezzed we all agreed I needed to dump cache and reload.  I got back in 5 minutes later and my manager informed me I was too late, she had subbed me out.

I said "You're fired".

Subsequently I spoke to someone in her stable I considered a friend and discovered that, well, he wasn't.  From what I can tell from statements he made, he'd been fed some massive bullshit about me, which he proceeded to believe.  Even though he cant stand this person either.  So he says.  All the time.  Whatever.

How do people believe this crap?  SL or RL its the same.  Is there a drawer they put their common sense in before they go to bed and just forget to take it out some days like a retainer or something?  But I digress....

Always remember:  SL is like RL.  Save all your chats (I have all this on my PC).  If your manager/agent has a bad rep its for a reason.  Take everything with a grain of salt - and don't assume everyone's your friend.  Be smart about it.  Watch what you say - its in WRITING in SL.  The person I refer to is really into cutting and pasting,  so be careful!

Just like in life, communication is key!  Whenever I had an issue that kept me from a gig I always alerted my manager in advance if at all possible.  I make sure to check and double check notecards against my online calendar - even so, I would show up and find the owners had no idea I was scheduled.  My manager also sent me to gigs at clubs that were gone.  Personally, it takes 3 hours for me to adequately prep for a specific event, thats a lot of time to lose when I arrive ... to a vacant piece of ocean.  The communication had deteriorated to such an extent that when I took a look at my calendar most of the gigs I had were my own, few were through her.  Things had reached their natural conclusion.

Make sure you have your IMs forwarded to your email.  SL doesnt deliver anything - but if someone claims they are sending you things and you are getting everyone else's but theirs...It's NOT you OR SL...

And if you are turning in more offers than you are getting, maybe you've outgrown your manager. Maybe you need a different agency.  Maybe you just need a booker.  Once thing's for sure - these people work for you not vice/versa.  They need to understand and endorse your vision, and they need to communicate freely and well.

Finally, for pete's sake be professional.  We are all human, we will miss gigs or otherwise fuck up (and hate it, in my case anyway.  I cry. You'll find your own way of dealing).  By all means tell the venue in advance if at all possible. I contact the venue with a genuine apology and, well, grovelling.  I am still recuperating from a car accident and the pain is worse some days than others, then there are technical issues that affect everyone from time to time without notice.  SL is still "life".  Personally, I visit the venue ahead of time, that seems to eradicate a lot of issues and it's good business.  Then if you have to bounce from gig to gig there is less lag.  Unless you crash.  See?  Life.  You do what you can.

My x-manager has personal issues that impacted our relationship negatively.  I also believe I just outgrew her. I really make a concerted effort not to hurt anyone.  I certainly didn't want to fire her.  But  the time had come, and from the way she spoke of others that left her stable, I knew leaving on a positive note would be impossible.  I still would have liked to try.

*sigh,  Such ends your lesson for today.