It’s summertime and I’m already thinking about the holidays.

I hope you are doing fine this Saturday! It is hot hot hot in New York City, and all I can say is FINALLY! I’ve been missing the feeling of being able to slip into a dress and flip flops and head out the door. There’s a freedom that comes with not have to wear layers and coats.

As an assistant, I continuously have to think ahead for my clients. They are busy CEO’s of their own companies, trying to run their career, run their personal lives and on top of that, keep on creating. A lot happens daily for them, so as their assistant, it’s my job to plan ahead and foresee “disaster”. I remember when I was starting out, I spoke with an assistant to a HUGE name (think Grammy and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame kind of name) and she said to me, “We’re such worriers. It’s what we do.” And it’s true!

While we aren’t worriers in the typical sense of sitting on the coach with a frown, we learn about what our clients are doing and when planning, try to think of everything that they will need to know about to make it as seamless as possible.

It’s not easy to think of everything that might go wrong or what you will need during your next project, but that’s why CEO’s hire assistants so that they can free their valuable time to more important, revenue making tasks and leave the planning to us.

You might remember that last December, I went on the road for the first time as tour manager for a nationwide Christmas show tour, with a tour bus and all. As you probably know, that didn’t just come together a few weeks beforehand. It took MONTHS of communication and planning.

Which is why, I’m making June the first official month to start planning the tour. Sure, we’ve secured the performers in January right after the last tour was over, and the management has been booking dates since 2013. However, some slight changes and confirmations to the band personnel means its onwards to start organizing everything we will need for the tour.

What I start out with is very basic – but EXTREMELY essential if you are planning out a tour of your own with a band.

IMPORTANT INFO THAT YOU NEED FROM YOUR BAND

 

Once you’ve confirmed availability and talent (and if you want to work with them) with your band, here’s what you should have documented to make the beginning stages of planning the tour go smoothly and quickly.

1) Full Name, exactly as on their ID. (for flights and payments)
2) Scan of the front and back of their ID. (if you or some of the band members are driving a tour van, you’re going to need scans of their drivers license to rent the van.)
3) Birthday. (for flights, and maybe their birthday is during the tour. Hello, cake on the bus!)
4) Departure City – (When booking flights, where are they flying from for the first show?)
5) Returning City – (Where are they headed to after the last show?)
6) W9 – assuming you, the lead, are paying your band members more than $600 for the tour, you’ll need their mailing address / social security number, so get both with a W9 Form.
7) Frequent Flyer Miles numbers. (Especially if they are flying. Saves the hassle of them going into the reservation and adding it afterwards!)

These six important information points can be organized and ‘stored’ in a spreadsheet for you to reference when making reservations, planning routing and make things go quickly without having to constantly email and track down the band members.

So, now that June is around the corner, what future tours, launches or projects are you looking forward to plan for in 2014? What are you going to do to take one step closer to preparing for that said tour, launch or project?

Comment below and put it out in the universe and make it happen!

Enjoy the last day of May, friends!

Sorting through licensing companies?

If you’re in America, I hope your grill is heating up, you’re shades are on and you’re gearing up for the first weekend of summer. It’s amazing how fast the year has gone, isn’t it? This weekend I’m taking a step out of the city into New Jersey to visit me and my boyfriend’s friends – rumor has it, (and vegetarians, including me, prepare yourself) they ordered a roast pig as the main meal for the day. Oh yeah, we take it seriously here!

 

I’ve had a really fun week working on various projects, being a part of a few live events and also rolling out my new website. So many advancements with my company and brand, as well as my clients!

 

In today’s industry, it’s quite common for independent artists to look for music licensing companies to a) create a revenue source and b) breakthrough with an amazing deal on say, a commercial. It’s like a licensing deal with a big name brand or company is the new record deal.

 

Most of the time, these licensing companies are searching for independent artists, like yourself perhaps. They are looking for a new sound, a new voice or new face for these companies looking to feature music in their marketing that will excite people – aka not necessarily the music that is already on the radio.

 

My clients do get emails from licensing companies seeking to work with them. My clients are looking to get their music licensed. But what happens when they are too busy recording a new album, going on tour, or sticking to a writing or composition deadline? These opportunities get lost.

 

Don’t lose opportunities to expand your music. This is where an assistant steps in and can take the hours of research from the musician to help them determine the best fit for them. Here’s how.

 

1) Forward the email requests you’ve gotten that you would consider to work with to your assistant. Forward all of the emails you’ve gotten from companies saying they want to license your song(s), as well as forward companies you know of that you’d be interested in working with.

 

2) Ask your assistant to research licensing companies that would be a good fit for you. This would require your assistant to know your music and listen to what you’ve released. Ask them and be sure they’ve listened to your music, give them a list of similar artists to you, and they can return with a list of companies that have licensed similar genres. Better yet, they can sniff out companies that don’t have what you have to offer so they would be more interested in including you in their roster. This happened recently in an inquiry where a company was looking for a sound that my client offered.

 

3) Build an easy to read spreadsheet. Have your assistant keep this research organized. Below is what you should include. Some are self explanatory, but others are very important.

Build a spreadsheet that lists:
Company Name
Company Website
Contact Name
Contact Email
Contact Phone

Artists they have licensed – Get an idea of their roster to find if you compliment the other artists. If you were a songwriter, you wouldn’t go for a licensing company that works mainly with rappers.
Companies they have licensed to – See what level the company is at. Do they have connections to brands that will help you break through? Do they impress you?
Non-exclusive or Exclusive Agreement –  Are you going to be able to license your music to other companies or opportunities with that certain company? Some won’t allow you to. You have to decide if this is important to you, or it’s worth putting all of your eggs in one basket.
Payment terms – How much do you get and how much do they get if a deal goes through? Do you have to pay any fees upfront? Find out exactly where the money comes in or goes out.
Summarization – Ask your assistant to summarize and say if they think it’s a good fit or not and why. Having this discussion can help a decision happen faster and easier.

 

4) The contract – Once you’ve evaluated your choices, the next step is looking over a contract and a package from the company to help you get started. While an assistant can assist in looking over a contract, you should really find a lawyer to go over the agreement to make sure your music and yourself are protected to your interests. A few sites to find a lawyer are Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts or Avvo.com.

 

Go ahead, go back to your songwriting cave. Your assistant has this. Once you return to take care of business, your assistant can have a clear explanation of the best licensing company for you.

 

I hope you found this helpful, whether you have an assistant helping you find the licensing company for you, or if you are doing this all on your own.

 

Have any questions for me on this? Head over to my blog here to comment with your question. Or, just hit reply with your question and I just might answer your question in the next newsletter.

 

Have a great Memorial Day weekend,

How I set up a video shoot in less than 24 hours.

I get asked quite a bit what goes on in my day as an assistant to a musician. I find it hard to fully explain, but I CAN tell you, it’s never dull and I learn something new every week. This makes it highly rewarding and exciting with a dash of the good stress. The stress that pushes you to blow your own mind and do something you didn’t think was possible.

 
Here’s an example.
 
Last year, one of my clients had a very exciting new CD/DVD release. It was definitely an album that included a concept never done before, so everyone on the team AND the public were excited for it to be released.
 
During a meeting a few months before the release with our publicist, she suggested that we create a video press release – a visually exciting video that would showcase the release and highlight it’s importance and what makes it so different than any other album anyone has ever done.
 
The problem was, my client was traveling constantly for other performances months before this needed to be completed. Even when he was back in the office, other activities were already scheduled. I was stuck trying to figure out when this could be created since I knew my client wanted to make this happen, if at all possible.
 
I saw an opportunity. My client had one day free, and our team member who specialized in videography was also in town. I emailed them both saying, “If we’re going to do this, we should do this tomorrow.” So without delay, they responded with a yes, let’s go for it, and the countdown began.

While we had the manpower and we had the space (an apartment), we didn’t have the proper video equipment available. This had to result in a high quality and professional video to be able to release to the worldwide press, so we needed top-notch video cameras and lighting.
 
Believe it or not, a company in New York accepted rental inquiries and fulfilled them within 6-8 hours. I struck gold! After quick approval from our videographer, I put in the rental order and gave them all the requirements (scanned IDs, Credit Card Scans, Insurance forms, etc.). I went to bed thinking, “The impossible has been done!”
 
Once the rental store opening up in the morning, I went straight to the store and easily picked up my video equipment. In a matter of hours, they put together a video camera, memory card, stand, light stands, blubs and reflectors for me to take away to the apartment. It was on!
 
I hopped in a cab, carrying more bags of equipment than I had hands, but somehow handling it all and headed to the apartment. Once I got there, the videographer and I got to setting up.
 
While the camera was being tested, my client approached me with a list of questions for me to ask him that he put together the day before so he could easily and comfortably talk about his new release. It was brilliant and effective. He could speak to me, someone he was comfortable with, to be able to say what he wanted to say about them album in the video. It wouldn’t have the effect of him talking AT the screen.
 
Then, we thought it was all over. We turned the lights on in the room, and not 15 seconds later, half of the place lost power. We blew a fuse! We all looked at each other and literally cursed. My client wasn’t sure where the fuse box even was. We started looking and found it behind a bookcase that was mounted on the wall. (I cannot make this up!). So, we got unscrewing and unloading books from the case so we can access the fuse box. Minutes later, we opened it up and reset the fuse. Success! I also moved the lamps to the other outlets in the apartment so that it wouldn’t happen again. 🙂
 
With that fiasco out of the way, we set the stage with a nice background, focus and got to the ‘interview’. Not even an hour later, we had some great footage and we all felt great about the look and feel of the video results.

Can you believe it? In less than 24 hours, we had footage for a video press release. Just the day before, I didn’t even know if it would happen.
 
That is a moment that I feel highly rewarded for staying persistent and making a goal happen. Most people might have given up and said, “Oh, we should have planned this better,” or “It wasn’t meant to be this time around.” But our team knew that for this release, it was important for this video to be created.

The key to take away here was that the team worked together to make it happen. You might have the will yourself, but you are going to need the support to help you see it through.
 

The result? Well, see for yourself!


Hope you enjoyed my story and that it inspires YOU to build your team so you can keep pushing toward the goals you have. 

Have a great weekend,

Make your next album release stand out to your fans.

Lately, I haven’t been feeling so well, so I’m trying to take it easy with lots of tea and rest. I think with the season changing, I’m also getting a little bit of a spring cold. Nevertheless, things are moving along here for me with a website being built, a DIY Tour Packet being written and my clients are creating exciting new products! Recently, I celebrated with my client who just finished off the recording and mixing of his new album. I am really excited for him and cannot wait for it to hit the stands. I’ve been listening to it nonstop these past few days!
 
One of the many reasons I love working with musicians is being able to be part of the process of all that goes behind releasing a new album. A part of me is amazed at the entire process and I admire musicians for pouring their hearts into an album and allowing just about anyone come into their world for a listen. It’s even more amazing to allow fans to peek into that process, because I know they are so interested in how the music happens!
 
This release was special in that we involved the fans more than usual in the process. We feel the music from this album is going to be a real crowd-pleaser for his fans, so we wanted to make them feel a part of the process!
 
Setting up the schedule for rehearsals and recordings was quite the task. This album was particularly special in that it involved many duos and collaborations. I had to coordinate with several different musicians to find time for rehearsal and recording for both my client and the studio. It took focus, but keeping a Google Calendar kept me organized. I also would check in each week with the studio to make sure all times were right. Weekly emails to the musicians was also necessary to avoid any confusion – being on a deadline, we didn’t have time to waste from people not showing up!
 
Because these rehearsals were happening months in advance to the release, we thought it would be a perfect idea to videotape the duos and release them one by one before the actual CD release! We knew fans would love to see the collaborations and the recording studio; plus it was a neat way to get them excited for the new music and see some of behind the scenes while also hearing a preview. We released 6 videos, spaced out every few weeks, each of them easily gaining 1000 views the first day they posted.

Don’t have the budget to video tape? Create videos on your phone with clips of recordings and messages to your fans and post on Vine or Instagram!
 
While the rehearsals and recordings were being scheduled and happening, we had our wonderful graphic designer create some options for the CD cover.  To involve fans, we actually posted options of covers on Facebook and let the fans tell US which cover they liked best. That was a lot of fun to hear their comments and suggestions; I highly suggest it for your next album! You might get some ideas you wouldn’t think of on your own or with your team.

Take this idea to the next level and invite fans to vote on their favorite cover. As incentive, offer a free download of a new single from the album! Your fans will really appreciate that.
 
After my client mixed the audio and the master’s were created, we decided to upload the audio to SoundCloud, letting people stream the music and simply, just get to hear the music. Fans love free, especially when it’s a high quality product. Now we have the ability to share the album before they can buy and they can decide if they would like to have their own copy. Once it’s available for download, we’ll make it available for purchase, but having the previews available is a nice way to welcome your close fans to your new piece of work.

Don’t want to make the entire album available? Just choose 3-4 songs that you think represent the album the best. You want fans listening and excited to hear more!

What are your favorite ways to promote an upcoming album? What unique ways have you involved your fans in an album release? Did you notice better sales from it? Send me a message, I’d love to hear your experience!
 
I hope you all have a wonderful day, wherever you are.

Do you know your value?

So you may have noticed these past few emails of me mentioning a tour packet that I’m working on. Yes, it’s true! I’m working hard every day to put together a DIY Tour Packet to be released with my new website for independent musicians to reference while planning a tour!  Essentially, it’s going to be for musicians who need direction and organization when planning for their next tour, especially if they don’t have a tour manager or assistant to help them. I’m really excited about this and it’s just going to be FULL of information (and photos!) that I’ve learned personally, first-hand, on the road and over the years as an assistant.

There are a load of logistics and check lists for any tour, but the first step is initially booking the dates. Maybe you have an agent organizing your tour, or maybe you are doing it yourself. Either way, you want to get yourself organized and prepared before you start making those calls to save time and frustration. Getting clear about your fees will make booking quicker and easier for everyone!

Here are some tips to creating your rate sheet.

1. Determine your fee
Determining your fee as a musician is not straightforward, so definitely take some time and care into finding what works for you. Here is a wonderful article on how to determine your hourly rate and then from there, buckle down your flat rate. Things to consider is not only the amount of time you play per set, but also the travel time. Travel costs come in step 3.

2. Paying your Bandmates
If you are a solo artist, then you don’t have to worry about this. However, if you have a band to pay, determine their rates and add it onto your solo rate to determine the band rate so you can ensure to earn your fair share. Also, be sure to include in this amount you have to pay your band to rehearse, not just perform.

3. Travel & Hospitality costs
Most of my clients keep travel fees separate from their performance fee, which I think is your best option. Putting this statement on your rate sheet will make it clear:

Arrangements for travel & hospitality costs are additional and are to be specified at the time when an agreement is made between the Hirer and the Musician

So when you have a lead, determine if you will charge for driving, flying, train, etc. and hotel for the duration of your stay. And be sure to say ‘in addition’ to your performance fee!

4. Create a clean, easy to read rate sheet with a chart
Keep it simple and include a chart at the top with your rates, clearly stated and number any additional statements, including the travel and hospitality costs, below the chart.

Even if you aren’t going on a tour and just looking to book shows when you are available, this rate sheet will help save your precious time and energy when negotiating an offer.

Thanks for reading!

Get close with your fans.

Good afternoon, friends.

imageI hope you are having a great week thus far. I feel like all anyone is talking about is how COLD it still is and how no one would complain if the sun came out and roasted us to 100 degrees. (I took that picture on the left that looks like Christmas morning this past Thursday, btw) brrrr.

So I’ll stop here and mum’s the word on the weather…let’s talk about what I came here for, shall we?

A few weeks ago, I assisted in helping my client launch her website, and with that, we coordinated an amazing live stream concert (via Concert Window) to celebrate her re-branding! She had 100’s of viewers tune in, great interaction and also earned a pretty penny (ahem, $400) for just spending 1 hour online!

With a fabulous team behind her and a plan, we pulled of a great show that any other musician, like you,  can do. I have spoken before about which live stream platform to use for these ‘living room’ gigs, but here’s some pointers for creating an effective and profitable live stream show.

imagePromote!
This is the most important aspect of your upcoming living room gig. Give yourself at least a week to promote your event. Send an announcement to your email list, create a Facebook event, post, tweet, Instagram the event to your fans to get the word out!
imageSet the stage.
Yes, this concert might be in your living room. Yes, you could just sit on the couch, in your PJs, and be comfortable. However, this will come off as lazy to your viewers. These people are choosing to spend their time away from Facebook, from going out to see a movie, from washing their hair, to sit down and watch YOU. Take it seriously.

Consider this just as important as a regular show. Use your resources and make your livestream look like a pros.

  • Have a friend with a studio? Ask to use it for your livestream so you can set a professional set. Bring decorations, a backdrop, some props, like CD’s, flowers, etc. depending on what mood you want to convey during the show!
  • If you’re setting up in your home, do the same and be conscious of what’s behind you. You don’t want a boring white wall, or have too much going on behind you that it’s distracting.

imageGet interactive.
Take advantage of having your fans tuned in for this special livestream concert. Many streaming services include chat features. Between songs, take some moments to answer questions, take requests and say thank you to your fans. Have your assistant man the chatroom and feed you questions when you are ready. It makes the show even more intimate and exclusive for your fans – a feature they couldn’t necessarily find during a live show.
imageSound check, check, 1, 2, 3, check…
The look is important, but the sound is just as important for the show. What’s the point of performing your songs for this live stream or answer questions during a live q&a if no one can hear you? Take a few minutes to warm up and do a sound check just like you would for a live show. Make sure people will be able to hear you when playing and speaking.

This is where having an assistant is helpful, they can check on another computer for sound, or during the show, let you know when to adjust your volume in playing or speaking!
imageCover charge?
If you have an established following, you should charge cover for your show. Concert Window makes it easy for your viewers with a pay what you want cover charge ($1 minimum), so people can watch for the small amount of $1, but can also pay more if they’d like (bonus!). Plus, Concert Window processes payments to you within 24 hours after your show.

I believe live stream shows are a great addition to add to your streams of income as a musician – just read this success story from a pianist who starting using ConcertWindow!

So if you have an upcoming milestone, like a record release or tour, set it off with a livestream show! Even if you don’t have such a grand event, utilize a livestream concert to connect and sustain a great relationship with your fans. And that’s always a good idea.

Behind the scenes of my Photo-shoot!

Hello readers!

The branding process continues to be exciting – last weekend, I had a photo-shoot to get new photos for the upcoming website! Okay, sure, I’ve arranged and assisted on plenty of photo-shoots for my clients, but have never been on the other side of the camera. So needless to say, I was both excited and nervous.

When I am asked to assist on a photo-shoot for my clients, it usually involves:
– Making sure everyone knows when / where the shoot will be
– Picking out outfits
– Assisting in carrying said outfits or props
– During the shoot, I just make sure my client is comfortable; I suggest angles if I see the opportunity, and basically keep up positivity for my client and make sure they are comfortable!

Never being the one being photographed, I never truly related to my clients or was able to say that I’ve experienced a photo-shoot. But now, I’m proud to say I can give some input and advice if you are going on your first (or 100th) photo-shoot!

Enjoy my story being on the other side for once, as well of some things I learned from the experience!

Surround yourself with positivity!
This was the most crucial thing for me the day of the shoot. I asked my friend, who graciously did my makeup, to stay while the shoot began for not only photo taking, but moral support. She was a close friend, so she was able to make me laugh and ultimately relax!
She gave thumbs up, said encouraging words, saying things I needed to here! Sure, they were subtle and seem silly, but it made a huge difference to have a friend or assistant to lighten the mood and in the end, relax and give you confidence. By the end of the shoot, I was making silly faces at the camera and twirling around!

Play upbeat and FUN music!
Getting ready, I kept it to a nice, chill, relaxed playlist. But, once the shoot began, I switched it up! I wanted powerful and strong pictures, not relaxed and sleepy!
Once we changed the playlist to upbeat, fun and powerful music (think: Beyonce!), the mood instantly changed! I shook out the silly nerves and we all started to have more fun! So put together a playlist of music to play during the shoot that reflects the vibe you want from you pictures. It’ll help more than you know!

Wear your favorites!
For this small shoot, I decided to go with just two outfits. One dress was a color I was using on my website. It was new and I never tried it on before, so when I put it on, I wasn’t absolutely comfortable in it. I was unsure how I looked, which made me stiff and more difficult to relax in front of the camera.

My second outfit wasn’t matching my brand colors exactly, but it was one of my favorite dresses in my wardrobe. It felt great on and also looked great on! Even the photographer reacted with ‘oh yes, I love this dress!’ once I put it on. I shook my hips and twirled around – I was instantly having more fun! Whodathunk! So, lesson learned: pick outfits that you know and love – it will reflect in the photo results!

Quick Pro Tip!
Here’s a ‘pro tip’ I learned on the shoot from my photographer. She said that between each shot, to change my pose slightly so I would end up with a variety of shots to choose from. So for example, in one ‘scene’, between each click, I’d change my head slightly: chin up, chin down, look up, etc. Now I have more to choose from and a better chance at finding the best shot!

Overall, once I truly realized we were really there just to have fun (along with getting that great photo), I could breathe and enjoy myself. So just relax, have fun! It is just photos!

I’ll be looking through photos this week and can’t wait to share them! So excited! 😀

Don’t let it slide…

Hey there!

I hate to say it again, but yes, we had another cold weekend (and a cold week ahead of us!) here in NYC. This has to be the longest winter I’ve experienced! Maybe if I close my eyes and click my heels 3 times I’ll appear on a beach?

Yeah, enough day dreaming. Let’s snap back to reality.

If I think too much about my big dreams or long term goals, I lose sight of my to-do list. Does that ever happen to you? You get so focused on writing and recording for a new album that you miss a deadline for the release? Or you are having a really great conversation with a top guy in the industry giving you priceless connections, and when you hang up, you already forgot that persons name he gave you?

It’s easier than you think to forget important tasks when you are trying to balance your business, your creative process and your life!

We’re not robots who have programmed reminders or alerts that will go off – we’re humans. We need to be realistic and set ourselves up for success in reaching our goals.

Whether you are tackling your to-do list on your own or with an assistant, here are some tips I myself use to keep me on track and crossing off things on my to-do list!

1. Don’t count on remembering.

If you are in a conversation and you are conjuring a great plan, say, book a tour next year, don’t count on remembering the conversation after you hang up. Write down dates, names, notes, ask for spellings while in the conversation so you will not forget! This saves a ton of time having to a) try to remember or b) having to call back and get the info again.

2. Use your resources.

There are a zillion apps that can keep you focused. I keep it simple by using Google Task Bar with my gmail account. Take a look at a snapshot:

I’ve blurred this mail account, but you can see the Google Tasks box in the bottom right-hand corner. To turn it on in your Gmail account, just click on the tasks link on the left-hand side of the screen. You can even make it pop-out and open in its new window.

With it, you can quickly create a list to check off for yourself. The great thing about it is that it stays open when you are in your email, so it’s in your face, every day, all day. If you have a to-do list, you need to put it where you will look, right?!

I use the task list to keep track of any emails I need to send, deadlines, quick tasks and more. It’s also my go to when I do need to be reminded what needs to be done – such a great way to keep focused.

3. Write it down!

Currently, I’m assisting a client release a new album along with the sheet music this summer and there are plenty of deadlines with both products. The checklist includes filling out a new release form by a certain date, submitting the cover art for both the album and the songbook, publish the music, get licensing for certain pieces, proof read the book, and the list goes on and on!

For a large project like this, instead of using a task list, I wrote down the deadlines clearly on an old-fashioned paper calendar so that I can see clearly the month(s) ahead and remind my client of the important deadlines. Visually seeing the timeline helps me immensely and I highly recommend it for anyone.

4. Delegate – The most important part!

There will always be more to do than you can handle. Delegate the simple & low profit work to your assistant, such as, sending a quick link to a person interested in booking you, searching for a flight to your next gig, sending rehearsal times to your band, etc. Allocating what you need to do will diminish the to-do list for yourself and get things done quicker.

I hope these short tips will help you keep on track of your deadlines so you can make this year amazing!

What can go wrong, will.

Hey you, I hope you realize January is already over.

Seriously, how did the month go by already? SO much has happened that it’s just exciting to see what the rest of the year will bring! Currently, I’m undergoing a branding and picking out my brand colors, finding a graphic designer and nailing down the plan for a new website. Check out my Pinterest of brandspiration and below are some potential logos!

But before I entered the fun world of branding, I had quite a crisis to handle, specifically when the big snow storm stopped Manhattan a couple weeks ago. Oh yea, if you are near NYC, you remember. I was lucky enough to have a group scheduled to fly the very day it hit...and it went something like this…

(Preface: A group of 4 musicians are trying to fly to Missouri the day before the performance. The members names are Joe (lead violin), Sarah (violin 2), Chris (viola) and Katy (cello) *names changed)

The morning the snow hit, I started my work day per usual, when I get a call from violinist, Sarah. She tells me that she tried to check into her flight and it was cancelled. I checked online and confirmed with her. I told her to keep heading to the airport since there’s a chance they could still fly. She then added that Katy is already in security, they took her checked bag, so there still could be a chance. (I already knew, there was no way since flights don’t go ‘uncancelled’ after they are. Fun fact.)

I call the presenter who’s arranging their pick up at the airport when they arrive in Missouri to give him a heads up that the flight is cancelled, a lot of them are, and I’ll try my best to get them on the next flight. He needs to know what is going on because a) he needs to know if the show will go on and b)he’s agreed to pay for flights! So any changes has to be through him. I then contact the travel agent and speak to her about changing their flight and she can only find a flight for the NEXT DAY, leaving at 12noon, allowing the band just enough time to arrive, get to the venue, rehearse and perform. I say, “We have to take it!”. It’s settled, everyone go home, and we’ll try again tomorrow.

Except, you might remember, they took Katy’s bag. Turns out – they FLEW it to Missouri without her! How? Why? It didn’t matter. I told Katy to give me the tracking and I’d make sure it got there so they could pick it up when they arrived.

That evening, I’m having dinner in my apartment, and I suddenly have the urge to check their flight status…do you want to guess what I saw? YES. IT WAS CANCELLED. 15 hours before it’s supposed to leave it’s already cancelled?Sweet Jesus, I had to start all over again.

I emailed both the presenter and agent that evening to give them a heads up so that they would read it first thing in the AM and hopefully make it a priority to find a new option. I called the airline myself and there were no choices for a flight with 5 empty seats to Missouri. It was disappointing. A late convo with Joe, he said he hasn’t missed a performance in decades. I thought to myself, we’ve gotta keep pushing!

The next morning, I get a head start and start calling the agent the minute their office opens. I literally beg her to find us SOMETHING. I don’t know what sort of magic she had in her fingers, but she found the only flight that could work, leaving that afternoon, getting the band just in time to the performance but with no time for rehearsal…I tell her to hold them immediately until I got an okay from the band.

Joe, being down and out thinking he will miss a performance, tells me YES, LET’S GO. Joe calls the shots so I quickly text message the rest of the band that it’s ON and be at the airport in 2 hours. Woo!

I call the presenter and tell him the good news – yes, they were cutting it short, but they were going to make it! He told me he moved the concert back half an hour to help us out which was immensely appreciated. There was a ray of hope for this concert!

Now, I had to figure out Katy’s bag situation. Luckily, her bag DID make it, but it was in a different terminal than they were going to arrive in. Knowing they had no time to spare, I cleverly asked the driver to pick it up for them. They were happy to do it and I set it up right away.

Did the group make it? YES! Funny thing though, they were 15 minutes late because the van that picked them up from the airport in Missouri broke down. When I heard that, I only thought, OF COURSE. But they made it to the performance, played to a full crowd, and celebrated with a late night pizza. I poured myself a glass of wine to virtually ‘cheers’ them from NYC to a safe trip and successful performance!

MY TAKEAWAY

There are few things to learn from this story.

1. Stay persistent – Yes, even I was close to giving up when I have the internet telling me 1000s of flights are cancelled, but knowing how much it meant for the group & the presenter to get there kept me going. I asked about leaving from different airports, having only 1 person go solo, etc. Take the time to stop and think of options and you just might find one…or just enough time will pass where you will get the answer you were looking for! Keep your promises and don’t give up.

2. Have support. – Do you think this could have happened without a person acting as liaison between the agent, airline, band and presenter? Let me sum it up for you kindly…NO WAY. Without having a designated person on your team, crisis like this won’t be handled correctly and they would have missed their performance. If you don’t have a lovely assistant holding the fort, ask a trusty friend to help you figure out a sticky situation.

3. Know who to call. –  knowing who to contact helped make things run much smoother during a crisis. While traveling, make sure you have contacts at the venue handy!

4. What can go wrong, will. – Well, not all of the time! But, I’ve learned to prepare for the worst. Booking the flight the day before the performance was smart to allow exactly what happen not totally crush the plans. So, when booking your flight, give yourself time and cushion for delays if you can.

So, I hope you enjoyed my story of excitement and suspense from the week – I’m looking forward to warmer months so I don’t have to worry about snow storming through travel plans for my clients! 🙂