This Sue’s Views will be a little shorter this week due to the fact that I’m going in for knee replacement surgery tomorrow. I had this idea in my head so I’m just going to plow through it before I forget about all of my recent observations.

Since I am a lifetime student, I am a keen observer of behaviors and patterns. My life has been spent trying to find the most efficient way to get things done. Organization is my life!!!!!!

My day job, back in the day for 23 years, was as a Managing Administrator, full-charge bookkeeper and payroll manager for a private entrepreneur and family so I have also have mad business skills. Not bragging…it’s just the truth.

So, how can this relate to saving money in this business we call Cabaret? Well, the more organized you are for a class, a show, a rehearsal, a first meeting with your Director…the more money you will save. It’s simple…Time = Money AND…the little time you spend prepping = the more money you will save.

I take a trio class where we know that we will each get 3-5 numbers done in our 20-25 minutes on stage so how does one maximize the entire 20-25 minutes to guarantee that you will get 4-5 songs done vs. only 2-3?

Well firstly, you organize your piles of music in order in 3 sets to hand to each member of the band on your way up to the stage. What happens a lot in this class is that people have their 3 copies but they are not in order and they hand one copy at a time to each band member in between each tune. Many times those charts are not taped so pages get out of order and now they are having to find the right pages and put them in the right order and guess what? You’ve just wasted a good 5 minutes of your total singing time. Why? It takes maybe 10-15 minutes to do this before you come to class? If you are paying $xxx dollars for this class…don’t you want to get every moment you can working on your charts?

The other thing that happens a lot in pretty much all of the classes I have ever taken,  is that you’re on stage, you are feeling a little self-conscious that the teacher is giving you constructive comments and, rather than stand there and listen to these comments, some people try to “justify” or even argue with the teacher! Again, I ask you why? If you are paying money to take this class, I have to assume that you respect the teacher and want to hear what they have to say so, why talk over them…shut up and listen! You may not agree with them but, if you want to do that 2nd or 3rd tune, listen, say you understand what they are saying and they will either have you do it again, trying it their way or they will move on to your next tune. If they do want you to try it again…sincerely try it their way…you never know…it may be better! The final choice is always yours so what is there to lose?

First time meeting with a Director to discuss a new show concept? How prepared are you? Do you know the concept? Do you have 2 or 3 ideas? Do you have songs that you are thinking of for each of the concepts  you are considering? Do you have any patter or an idea about the “thread” of the show? Have you made two copies so that you and the Director can look at things together and they can make notes? Did you bring any of your songs on tape for them to hear that maybe you have previously run with your MD? If not, why bother going and paying for this meeting? You have 1-2 hours at a rate of anywhere between $50-$100 per hour…why would you want to sit there and talk to someone…you came there to work and you’re supposed to bring the agenda!

Are you leading the meeting or are they? What I usually do is, BEFORE I go to the meeting (especially if I am working with someone new) I ask them! “So, how do you work? What would you like me to bring to this first meeting?” If you are serious about singing, consider it your job to prepare! Give your singing as much consideration as you would give to a project that your boss is asking for…this IS your other job!

If you have a specific idea…tell them before you meet what you have and ask what else you can bring to the meeting? This way, they are prepared to help you in a way that’s more guiding you to your goal and concept vs. creating something from the ground up. If you come unprepared and have not told them what you’re thinking and are all over the place, any good Director is going to take over and try to focus you…at that aforementioned $50-100 per hour rate. They are going to earn it but couldn’t you get so much more from your session if you just prepared a bit more and had a place to start?

I spoke about doing Group Shows in my last Blog and how, if you come prepared and present like a professional,  you are more likely to be asked back for future shows by the producer. Again, if they tell you 3 copies of music in plastic sheets or taped accordion style or to send your music to the MD prior to rehearsal…DO IT! If you have a 15 minute slot to run 2 tunes for a show that’s going up in 2 hours…(Ha! Welcome to one of my shows!) then you do not want to be fussing with your music in that 15 minutes…time is THEIR money!

On Sunday, I organize my weekly TO DO, I do all my finances, I post all my shows, I post on MAC, I update my Website, I do my Cabaret Hotspot Spotlight Picks, Blog, Pre-Views and Re-Views and I organize my music for my weekly rehearsal sessions and/or my new show.

I take a clear plastic folder, put a label on it with the show name and put in my songs. It’s there. Monday’s rehearsal for the Leukemia Benefit…done. Wednesday’s rehearsal of new tunes with my MD…done. Ella Show for CT…done. 3 copies each of up tempo songs for Cast Party…done.

OK…admittedly I’m a bit of a freak BUT…it’s not rocket science…it’s simple organization. Trust me, not only will it make your life so much easier…it will save you time which ultimately always saves you money!