Fee for coaching

The commerce side of improv - keeping it viable & solvent and saving the chaos for the stage.

Moderators: happywaffle, arclight, bradisntclever

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby Jastroch » January 5th, 2013, 7:59 pm

Spots wrote:
Jastroch wrote:$5/person is a good starting out point. As Buckman puts it "$15/hr will make me leave my house. $20 an hour will make me want to leave my house."


Yep. That's the current market value.


Word. I actually charge a bit more per hour than that, based on my current skillz. There are people I've been working with since I was a green teacher who I still charge a lower rate, mostly since they invested in me by hiring me before I knew what I was doing. As I said, starting out point.

And there are certainly coaches and instructors I would pay a shit ton of money to learn from -- $100 for a session. The price matrix is determined by the free market (a combination of demand, supply and a premium for your particular skills). I think Jesse -- if I may try to paraphrase you -- is that you are saying that artists shouldn't be afraid to value their product highly? No? I completely agree
--Jastroch

"Racewater dishtrack. Finese red dirt warfs. Media my volumn swiftly" - Arrogant.
User avatar
Jastroch
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: December 3rd, 2005, 3:04 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby ratliff » January 5th, 2013, 8:14 pm

Teresa, I forgot to mention that I've had good luck with the pay-what-you-want model. My main concern was making sure that people would actually show up, so I capped the number of students and then required people to sign up in advance. I think knowing that if they didn't show up they'd be depriving someone else of the slot helped solidify attendance. And the money worked out fine. Some people were genuinely hard up but others were very generous so it all worked out. It's hard for me to imagine improvisers thinking, "Yeah, I'm totally gonna screw that teacher out of a free class."
"I'm not a real aspirational cat."
-- TJ Jagodowski
User avatar
ratliff
 
Posts: 1602
Joined: June 16th, 2006, 2:44 am
Location: austin

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby TeresaYork » January 5th, 2013, 8:16 pm

Ratliff: I'm charging you for the hundreds of hours I've spent learning, watching, performing, and thinking about improv.


I think I'm going to try and calculate this as a fun exercise. Also, how much $ I've spent.

Money spent (ticket prices + classes + workshops + Gas money to LA) DIVIDED BY (estimate on how people I will be able to coach until retirement) = FEE

IT CANCELS OUT!
User avatar
TeresaYork
 
Posts: 233
Joined: August 13th, 2007, 11:15 pm
Location: San Diego

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby Spots » January 5th, 2013, 8:17 pm

Jastroch wrote:Jesse -- if I may try to paraphrase you -- is that you are saying that artists shouldn't be afraid to value their product highly? No? I completely agree



Most definitely. Because we tend to do the opposite. We undercut or undervalue our work.

And then we end up not paying our bills and working for some narcissist at a tech company, corporation, or call center. What does this guy have going on for himself? A complete lack of empathy for human beings? That's his skill set?

Now someone tell me what THAT guy is doing which grants him his hourly rate. How many calories is he burning? How many thoughts & insights is he offering?

We all know him. We've worked for him a few times throughout our lives.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby Jastroch » January 5th, 2013, 8:30 pm

There's also Lassalle's Iron Law of Wages that posits wages will fall to the lowest amount that people are willing to work for. Coaches, the path is clear: we need to unionize.
--Jastroch

"Racewater dishtrack. Finese red dirt warfs. Media my volumn swiftly" - Arrogant.
User avatar
Jastroch
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: December 3rd, 2005, 3:04 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby Spots » January 5th, 2013, 8:38 pm

There are some shades of gray here & there to try before it gets to that. My current agenda is to find up & coming folks a little more disposable income.

Not alot, but some. Stuff like van tours or the museum gig we tried last month. There's also another opportunity I'm crossing my fingers for. Whatever value is hiding out there to discover for future comedians. Then the value of the work becomes obvious. The value of the teacher/coach is never questioned.

You can make money doing this. Therefore your training was a simple investment.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby Jastroch » January 5th, 2013, 10:20 pm

I was being glib about the union thing.
--Jastroch

"Racewater dishtrack. Finese red dirt warfs. Media my volumn swiftly" - Arrogant.
User avatar
Jastroch
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: December 3rd, 2005, 3:04 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby valetoile » January 6th, 2013, 11:57 am

I think I undervalue my services. But I really LOVE coaching! I feel honored every time a troupe asks me. I would probably do it for free, because seeing more good improv, and seeing troupes get better and more confident and discover things together is the best reward I could ask for! I probably shouldn't have just said all that here in public, but there is it.

I also think Aden hit on a really good point that I wanted to add to- a one-time session with a coach requires more out-of-rehearsal prep time, and is really more like a private workshop. It makes a lot of sense to charge a premium price for that. Think about it- a two hour workshop for you and your four troupemates focused specifically on the things you want to learn or improve most with an expert that you picked for only $20? That is the bargain of the century.

Whereas an ongoing relationship with a coach is a different thing. Charging a little less for some thing like that makes sense to me, because it's an ongoing cost for the participants so it needs to be affordable, it's a reliable (well as long as the troupe stays together) source of income for the coach, so it doesn't need to be as high, and there's probably less ground-breaking revelations in each session and more task-mastering, reminding them of the same things, and watching over long periods of time for the more hidden patterns and habits that the players are unaware of. I think this kind of coaching and teaching is more valuable for both the players and the coach over the long term. It's easy to go in and give people some new ideas in your first session, but how do you keep being valuable after six weeks or six months? It's the relationship.
Parallelogramophonographpargonohpomargolellarap: It's a palindrome!
User avatar
valetoile
 
Posts: 1421
Joined: August 15th, 2005, 1:31 am
Location: Austin

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby Spots » January 6th, 2013, 2:08 pm

valetoile wrote:I think I undervalue my services. [...] I would probably do it for free [...] I probably shouldn't have just said all that here in public, but there it is.


This is 100% cool. Again it's a free market and this is art, right? It's oral tradition or some beautiful notion like that from human history. We are indeed spreading a language.

So in my roundabout tangential way of providing allegory, I'll take a crack at highlighting when this mindset would work against a field of study or industry.

Look at my study of videography. Look at the market value of these services before/after the digital boom. Before digital cameras flooded the marketplace, there used to be a few guys in every market who charged thousands of dollars for the laziest job of wedding videographjy ever. A camera slabbed down here, a camera slabbed down there. Three uninspired wide angles of the Bride's back. Some George Lucas style editing transitions that were automated. This guy could make thousands & thousands and be considered a craftsman. For not even trying, just investing in equipment.

But when the field was opened up, hundreds of people had cameras and it suddenly had the potential of becoming an artform. My friends and I were trying to differentiate & create stylized, heart-warming videos. I personally preferred doc-style videos where I captured as many human moments as possible. Twenty hours of editing, treating your wedding like it was Coppola's opening scene for "The Godfather." Doing something unique & spending quality time on the project so the client could *feel* the heart shine through. Performing better interviews than the local news channel-- capturing friends and grand parents exclaiming their love for the bride and groom.

We all clamored for gigs that paid half what they used to. Or in most cases one fifth of the price. But that was still too high for what the market wanted. Because there was always someone willing to undercut the entire field.

So the market demanded FREE.

"Hey our cousin has an iphone. Let's get him to film it."

Now this has more to do with technology but basically all those abstract skills like frame composition, seemlessly interacting with guests, getting them to form a dance circle around the camera, the ability to get people out of their shell on camera-- went out the window.

The market saw a crack and exploited it.

Only a small fraction of the market cares about skill sets. About value. Instead people want free. Because every guy who owns a camera is suddenly considered a craftsman. Naturally this is an illusion but it doesn't matter. Pandora's Box has been opened.

Every week you'll see posts on craigslist where someone OFFERS film students the experience of filming their wedding for free. The experience? The experience in preparation for what? The mythical client who one day will pay for goods & services?

(disclaimer: there's still a bit of a market out there of people who appreciate quality but you REALLY have to brand yourself and work your butt off to find them. In some cases, charging ridiculous amounts like $10,000 is the only way to find these people. Because they appreciate that confidence you have in your abilities. But who does that?)

I could see this trend happening to web design or graphic design, fields like that. I'm not positive about acting coaching and things of that nature. But you could see how it could happen where the market shrinks & shrinks. In most cases it seems to be a form of psyche-out where all the artisans collectively trick themselves into devaluing their abilities.

(don't get me started on public education & teachers)

This is exactly why we are all in the business of selling. Selling is a form of educating. Carving new value where there used to be none.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby Spots » January 6th, 2013, 4:03 pm

I'd like to mention that this is one reason I have zero problems with a big improv theater coming to a smaller town.

The first impression would be "Oh! They're stealing all the students!"

But really what they would be doing is injecting vast amounts of value into the improv ecosystem. This is perhaps controversial, perhaps a debate in itself. But that's my hunch. UCB coming to town would suddenly educate thousands of people to the art form & the overall benefits of "the language."

New students would spill over into all the theaters. The value of coaching would go up.


That's because these smaller cities are nowhere near market saturation. (the public being fully educated on what improv is) And saturation is nowhere in the foreseeable future. Los Angeles is saturated. All my employers jumped at the chance to tell me their various opinions of all the improv theaters in town: who sucked, who was bad ass, places to avoid or check out. (this literally happened during two separate job interviews) So that was unusual.


The pitfalls of hitting saturation is another debate. But not one we have to worry about.
Last edited by Spots on January 7th, 2013, 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby bradisntclever » January 7th, 2013, 12:14 am

poltergasm wrote:That said, 25 bucks per hour? Seems excessive. Plumbers charge less.


1. What plumbers are you hiring? Most solid professional plumbers charge more than $25 an hour.
2. If you'd like to hire a plumber to coach your improv troupe, go for it.
User avatar
bradisntclever
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1747
Joined: February 27th, 2007, 2:25 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby Spots » January 7th, 2013, 9:47 am

Jastroch wrote:There are people I've been working with since I was a green teacher who I still charge a lower rate, mostly since they invested in me by hiring me before I knew what I was doing.


Jastroch: Isn't there a marketing principle called "the early adopter?" I think Apple does this frequently. You reward folks for taking the initial risk with you during the launch of a product or service.

It seems to be a great way to retain value-- as an exception or temporary discount. You maintain or even raise the sense of commodity.
Image
User avatar
Spots
 
Posts: 1442
Joined: September 1st, 2009, 1:08 am
Location: New Orleans

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby trabka » January 7th, 2013, 10:41 am

poltergasm wrote:So what do you think qualifies someone to charge for their services as a coach?


This is going to come off as glib, but that my troupe has all agreed that working with that person would be worth our time and money. This is usually based on past experiences with them either as a coach or teacher, knowing their performance style and levels of shop talk one or more of us have engaged in with them.

That's not to say I think that everyone who charges for their services is qualified to do so, but that's how I decide whether or not they're qualified to charge me (but since coaching is a seller's market, if someone's paying them, I'm probably just an asshole).
trabka
 
Posts: 248
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:49 pm

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby ratliff » January 7th, 2013, 10:59 am

trabka wrote:
poltergasm wrote:So what do you think qualifies someone to charge for their services as a coach?


This is going to come off as glib, but that my troupe has all agreed that working with that person would be worth our time and money. This is usually based on past experiences with them either as a coach or teacher, knowing their performance style and levels of shop talk one or more of us have engaged in with them.


It's not glib. Someone can be a good coach and still not be that useful to a particular group. For me, the best teachers are those with a distinctive point of view, which means they'll be more in tune with some groups than others.

I think this problem is heightened here in the New Jerusalem of improv. It's hard enough to find someone who's simpatico without also trying to map out the Venn diagram intersection of What You Practice and What They Preach.

So one more qualification for coaching: You're willing and able to to tell a group that you don't think you're right for them, even (especially) when you could really use the money. (Ideally, you also know enough to recommend someone more appropriate.)
"I'm not a real aspirational cat."
-- TJ Jagodowski
User avatar
ratliff
 
Posts: 1602
Joined: June 16th, 2006, 2:44 am
Location: austin

Re: Fee for coaching

Postby Jastroch » January 7th, 2013, 11:59 am

Spots wrote:Jastroch: Isn't there a marketing principle called "the early adopter?" I think Apple does this frequently. You reward folks for taking the initial risk with you during the launch of a product or service.

It seems to be a great way to retain value-- as an exception or temporary discount. You maintain or even raise the sense of commodity.


I'm sure there is. I call it "Being a decent human being."
--Jastroch

"Racewater dishtrack. Finese red dirt warfs. Media my volumn swiftly" - Arrogant.
User avatar
Jastroch
 
Posts: 1298
Joined: December 3rd, 2005, 3:04 pm
Location: Austin, TX

PreviousNext

Return to Improv Business & Technical

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

cron