Good Work is Quality over Quantity
Whether you think it’s delightfully determined, or seriously stubborn, I have always preferred to do everything myself. I’ve been called a control freak and a bitch, but due to inspiration from the ancient words of wisdom, “Bitches get shit done,” I was never really offended. I worked hard, and built a great foundation for an incredible troupe. But I finally realized that doing it all myself could only get us so far. In order to level up, I had to let go.
Each member of Frisky Business Burlesque was chosen for the variety of skills and styles they could bring to our stage. Luckily, they also came to me with a work ethic that they readily employed for behind-the-scenes production work. As our show grew, so did our needs and duties. Some of the things that needed to be done I didn’t have the skills to do, like graphic design and video editing. Other things I just didn’t have the time or energy to do well.
The Business of Burlesque Production
What I found as the best way to organize the production duties was to create departments. What were all the jobs that were needed to make this business successful? We have four main divisions of work- booking, preshow promotions, and night-of operations, and general management.
Booking includes setting the date with the venue, hiring guest performers and Emcees, hiring stage kittens and crew, hiring photographers and videographers, lining up vendors, sponsors, and raffle prizes, securing studio space for large rehearsals.
Preshow promo covers graphic design, web design and management, printing and hanging posters, press releases, ticketing, social media marketing, advertising, media outreach, and tourism outreach.
Night-of operations involves VIP table set ups, merchandise table set up, stage management, VIP bottle service, tech and door lists, house financials, and VIP and Merch breakdowns.
General management covers everything else. Buying supplies, accounting, admin, storing and organizing digital music, photo, and video files, storing merchandise, setting and running troupe meetings, productivity tracking, and one-on-one performer counseling because the growth and happiness of the performers is just as important as anything else.
(Writing all of this, I realize it was complete madness to try to do it all on my own.)
Once I had all these tasks mapped out, I took into consideration each performer’s business strengths. I was then able to divvy up the duties into proper departments and assign each department a manager.
How We Delegate Production Duties
Graphics/video/web design all go to Aetheria Lovecraft because she is a computer Goddess and fully understands my creative vision and makes it come to digital life. She also gets Sabor Insanity as her assistant, because Great Odin’s Raven, that is an eternity of work.
Vendors/sponsors/raffles donations goes to Stormy L’Amour because she understands business to business relationships.
Street team lead is Sado Moore. Note, we are our own street team, and Sado keeps us organized by making sure we all have posters to hang, and that we know where we are assigned to hang so we can cover the city more efficiently.
Advertising/media liaison is Amelie Ahmose. She’s bold enough to contact different media outlets and landed us an upcoming spot on the radio.
Tourism liaison is Dame Stella Pipes. She makes sure the hotels have our information.
Our newest member, Dame Dynamite is an instructor at 1st Street Dance Studio, so she sets our rehearsal time when we need a proper studio.
Everyone splits Night-of duties like VIP and Merch table set ups and breakdowns. VIP bottle service is performed by many of our TABC-certified cast and crew.
That leaves me with booking dates with the venue, booking guests and hosts, press releases, ticketing, social media marketing, website management, tech and door lists, stage management, house financials, VIP and merch breakdown, all of the general management tasks, and overseeing and assisting all other departments.
The Benefits of Working as a Team
Frisky Business Burlesque has gone through a few lineup changes since its creation in 2011, but I guess the world of showbiz expects that. However, the delegation process didn’t start until the summer of 2015 and since then the troupe has become a solid team. Giving each member more responsibility in the business of the troupe gave them more commitment to seeing the troupe as a whole succeed. Not only are they more invested in the mission of the troupe, they see all the work that everyone is doing and they respect each other more too.
Working together for the same goals has made the performers closer to each other and it has made our stage show grow tremendously. We are more organized, more thorough, and able to do so much more than I could on my own. This system we have set up may not be perfect, and it may not the system we stay with, but it is a good start and it has definitely elevated our work.