Tips to Master your First Virtual Gig

First Gig online presentation

You’ve been sitting on the sidelines, hoping this virus will go away, and you realize maybe it’s time to start doing some virtual gigs. But you are not sure what’s the first step? This is some practical advice from someone who went through the same as you to get his first virtual gig.

        1. Just do it! (And no in a Nike commercial sort of way)

As a professional entertainer myself, I know your first virtual gig is the scariest one. Just like you, every entertainer had doubts and made up many excuses not to start:

I don’t think my show will translate well to the screen.

This is not the way my shows are meant to be.

How will I feel the energy from the audience?.

I don’t understand technology.

What if I suck?

These are all valid concerns. If you can relate to any of them, It means you’re human. 

Try to look back to when you started. I’m sure you had similar fears that went away over time because you learned to overcome them.

This is not any different. The virtual stage is a great fit for many, and it could be just as perfect for you.

So, regardless if you are a musician, a comedian, a speaker, a magician, a juggler, or a teacher, you can make a virtual gig work (even if you have ZERO experience on Youtube, Facebook, or ZOOM).

So here is my first tip to start your virtual journey: Just DO IT! The important thing here is to take the first step.

        2. Don’t wait until you have all the ducks in a row.  

I know what you’re thinking right now. How can I do my show if I don’t have a professional microphone to highlight my trained voice or a professional? How can I perform without a professional camera?

And, yes, the sound is SUPER important, but even if you buy the best and most expensive mic, and you don’t know how to set it up, it won’t be much better than your computer built-in mic. 

You also have to think about what suits your show better. Most of the things you already have may work perfectly for your first virtual gig. Once you do more shows, you’ll realize what it is that you actually need. 

I, for example, use my old iPhone as a second camera, and I set it up to get an overhead shot of my desk when I do card tricks. 

So stop telling yourself you can’t start because you don’t have a good enough microphone, camera, or lights. All of this will improve progressively! Trust me.

The only thing you need to do your first gig is a Laptop and a stable internet connection. If you have that, you are good to go.

        3. Stop watching videos, start making content

Once you’ve decided you want to do your first virtual gig, and you’ve watched a couple of videos (hopefully mine), you have to stop. 

You can’t watch videos forever. They are only guides, but they won’t tell you what your specific needs are. You are the only one who knows how to do your show, and what works best will depend on it. 

And, just like in the previous subheading, you won’t know what you need to perform unless you actually do it. All of this knowledge comes progressively, from the experience of your first virtual gig and the ones to come. 

So go do your first virtual gig! Look for what you want to improve, and then go back to researching how to do it.

        4. Where to start when making your first virtual gig?

Here’s what has worked for me and other entertainers: organize a small performance for your inner circle. Call your family, friends, maybe some past clients, people who have already seen you perform live. This will create a safe space for you and take off some of the pressure of having a perfect show in your first virtual gig.

Tell them straight up you are testing your new virtual show, and you would love them to attend. Even if you get five people to show up, that’s ok. Think of it as a first test, instead of a super important and decisive moment in your career. Allow yourself to make mistakes and have fun.

After the show, ask them for their feedback. These are people that love you and know how good you are on a real stage. They will be honest with you if you insist. Then, evaluate how you felt during your performance. What can you improve right now? What would you like to improve in the future?

Next, do one more show and invite more people. You can even offer your service for free to your community. They will be very appreciative, and will even give you your first testimonial. 

I encourage you to set up in your calendar a date next week for your first virtual gig. If you are determined, why wait?

The experience of my First Virtual Gig

For my first show back in March, I posted on my Instagram that I was offering a free show to test my material. That was my first virtual gig.

I performed for a barber who was trying to figure out what the next step was for his business and wanted to bring some joy to his team. 

To be honest, I was terrified my magic wouldn’t translate well to the screen, that it would be boring, or that my 2013 MacBook Air would freeze in the middle of the show. But everything went great! 

Yes, if I look at it to this day, I might think it wasn’t my best show. But I’m sure I will say the same in a few months about my current shows. That is a sign of change and improvement.

So what if you suck at your first virtual gig? That’s fine! Maybe you will suck, but I can tell you that you’ll do better than what you are thinking right now.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you do a high paying gig as your first show. They won’t forgive you if you suck. You can always add better lights, mixers, microphones, etc... And you will. But that should not stop you!

Start low and get it going. Leave your excuses aside. 

Keep up the good thoughts,

Alan Chamo

Entertainer, Mentalist & Keynote Speaker