Email/DM Etiquette with Venues and Producers (Business of Burlesque)

Remember that every single person who sends emails and messages has accidently violated one of more of these guidelines at one time or another. Don't beat yourself up if you've already mistakes, because you're in good company. Progress, not perfection, is always the goal.

1) Spell their name correctly.

2) If you're responding to a casting call, google them. Are they real? Who are they? What are their preferences? What can you learn about them before you approach? Know who they are and let them know you admire their work and that you are not sending out a mass email to a bunch of people you don't really care about as long as you get a gig. 3) Read their website and/or social media carefully to see if it's a good fit, and to see if they are looking for what you are offering. You aren't just asking for something -- offering yourself as a volunteer/performer/etc.; you have value! You just may not be what they need. Remember your value and all the hard work you've put into it, but don't forget that their needs and yours may not be compatible. Scan their media for compatibility.

3) Keep in mind that burlesque folks occasionally get knocked off of social media because of pasties and naughty words. If at all possible, make sure you have an email for them, and use that rather than a DM -- unless they request that you use DMs, because you should always contact them in the manner they specify. Email is more stable, predictable, organizable, and permanent than DMs.

4) Email in the formats requested, if they offer specifics. If the email says to send a separate email, don't respond by hitting "reply." If specific words or wordings are requested, use them -- they may be keywords the they use to organize.

5) Sign with your stage name. They will probably only need to know your stage names unless they have to write a check to you.

6) If you are asking them if they are interested in having you perform, have a package ready; have your social media, videos, photos, whatever you have, ready to send via links and attachments, in the manner they request. If you have a website with links to all of that, you can include it in your signature, but don't send any unsolicted attachments.

7) Use the same syntax and grammar you would use for a job interview, whatever that means to you.

8) Remember that they are probably as overwhelmed and anxious as you, and that they are not all-powerful. Treat them like humans you respect, not like over-achieving gods who can make or break you. You don't need them, and they don't need you. You're looking for a good fit, not asking to be recognized as a worthy being. Burlesque is a voluntary enterprise and no one in it is that special -- or, as I prefer to think of it, everyone in it is that special.

9) Respect yourself, and don't apologize for being new. It's an asset. Being experienced is an asset too -- it is a matter of finding those who like what you already have to offer. If they're looking for experienced people, and you're not one or can't present as one onstage, it's a compatibility issue. Look for people who want newness. You'll find the right folks.

10) If they don't respond, email again in a week or a month, or whatever you think. They may not have seen your email, or they may have gotten it right when the dog threw up on the carpet and then they lost track. Don't take it personally. If it's just your second email, refrain from saying, "Per my previous email," or "I emailed you before"; no matter how you say it, they will feel guilty about not responding, whether they saw your email or not.

See my article on how to keep files and promo prepared and ready for queries and applications:
Apply Yourself

What do you think of these tips? What questions do you have? What would you do differently?

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