Building a business can be tough! Especially when it may start as a side hustle…
1. What to Expect from a Paid Pole Gig as a Newbie
As a performer, paid roles can vary by who hires you, what/who you’re actually performing for, the purpose of the performance, etc.
If you’re booked to perform on any type of professional set tied to a known musician, TV show or film, you will be expected to be:
- Prompt and arrive on time or earlier.
- Act in a professional manner and follow any instructions given by crew members, production assistants, directors, etc.
More often than not, you will not receive upfront payment but will typically be sent a check in the mail. They will give you paperwork to fill out once you arrive. Often times you will have taxes taken out as well.
You’re an Actor Playing a Stripper, Now What?
If you are tasked with playing a stripper in any capacity, remember these six things:
- You’re not actually a stripper. Unless it was previously discussed and you’re being compensated as such, you do not actually “strip.”
- Make sure you feel safe and comfortable. Production SHOULD give everyone on set a talk about respect and making sure you and anyone else in your group is treated with respect. It is NEVER okay for anyone to touch you inappropriately while you’re on set, make crude comments, or make you feel uncomfortable in any way. If someone does, notify your PA immediately.
- Do not perform any moves that you’re not comfortable with/haven’t learned how to do.
- Only do moves/tricks you are super comfortable with because you will have to do them several times back-to-back.
- Ask if robes are being provided. If they’re not, bring one with you. Not a sexy sheer one but like an actual bathrobe.
- Do not do anything outside of what was discussed when you were booked that you’re not comfortable with. You are not obligated to do so.
When On Set
Set Etiquette—the Basics
Your Production Assistant (PA) and/or AD will probably mention several things to you at the start of the day. Pay attention to what is being said! You’ll probably learn where your ‘holding’ area is (where you’ll be hanging out until you’re needed on set), information about hair and makeup, wardrobe, a bit about the scene you’re filming that day, etc. This is all important information.
Never leave set unless if it’s an emergency.
Make sure your phone is always off or on silent unless you’re on a break or ask permission to step outside if you must make a call. Wait until any scene is filming to leave.
You will be getting paid more than any regular extras on set. Do not discuss your pay rate with anyone. It’s just common courtesy. If anyone asks, just say you’re being fairly compensated for your time.
You typically will be given an outfit to wear that day unless you previously had a fitting or were advised to bring some of your own items. You don’t really get to have a say in what they put you in. These outfits may totally offend your personal fashion sense! Unless it’s unsafe to perform in, just suck it up.
You may or may not have a slightly more elevated lunch than the regular extras. Be thankful and gracious about it. Usually the food can be so-so. If you have any dietary restrictions you may want to bring your own food just in case your restrictions can not easily be accommodated. This is especially true if you’re vegan or have allergies it’s best to error on the side of caution and bring your own food.
If You’re Performing in a Music Video
If you’ve been booked to perform on a music video, make sure it is in an environment where there will be other people present. If they just want to film you somewhere that isn’t a film set, like at a pole studio doing tricks, make sure that both their company and the pole studio carry the appropriate insurance. Do not do any moves you’re not comfortable with/haven’t learned how to do. Sometimes you’ll be paid that day sometimes you may have to wait for a check. Make sure to ask upfront about how payment will be handled.
If You’re Performing Live On Stage with An Artist
If you’ve been hired to be a performer at an event and/or onstage with an artist, there are some general guidelines:
- Make sure the event is insured
- Find out when and how you’ll be paid.
- Ensure your safety and comfort at all times—Test the poles before you use them, bring grip with you, ensure you can take a break every so often, give yourself plenty of time to change outfits if necessary. If someone treats you with disrespect or says something you’re not comfortable, find someone you can address these issues with.
It’s All Over! Now What?
Follow up after any performance. If there were any unresolved issues that still need to be addressed, let the person who booked you know. Ask when the episode will be airing or when you might be able to get a recording of the performance. Thank them for your booking. Always be polite and professional whenever possible.