Matthew’s Throat vs. The Evils of Commerce
It’s a cruel, double-edged sword, this convention thing. On the positive side, I get to meet all kinds of cool people wearing cool outfits and wielding cool props. On the negative, every dealer’s den (or sales floor, etc.) is the same torturous shout-fest no matter which convention I go to. Anthrocon‘s aircraft-hangar-sized room is by far the largest I’ve seen, though it actually isn’t the loudest. Still, it managed to take its toll after two days of meeting with fans and fellow fluffy freaks.
My voice is my livelihood. When I’m not singing, I’m recording audiobooks or narrating videos for paying clients. Without these two little fragile folds of flesh, I’m really not sure how I’d even earn a living. I try to baby them as much as possible, even though I do enjoy a martini now and again (you can’t live in a bubble, after all). Still, nothing tortures the voice more than talking, and the louder you speak the worse the damage.
And yet, I can’t afford to hire a dealer table assistant (some would call it a Booth Babe, but that brings up terrible GoDaddy-esque images). In fact, part of me doesn’t WANT to, because the dealer table is where I meet a whole lot of new people. I didn’t get into this business to hide in my hotel room, perform, and turn back into a hermit. I love meeting people and seeing costumes like these.
Every year, though, I play a show that I know could have been better. Why? Because by the time I actually hit the stage, my voice is already worn out. I’ve gotten much better with warmups and strengthening techniques, but it always feels like I’ve run a marathon the day before I’m supposed to climb a mountain. Notes feel shaky, some aren’t even there at all. When it comes to my live performances, I try to be a perfectionist… and this is just simply unacceptable.
I suppose at this point I’m writing to ask my fellow performers, my minions, my fans, and my friends for their thoughts. How can I put someone ELSE at the merch table for the duration of a convention when I can’t yet afford to pay my drummer full-time? I’d love to take volunteers, but would people really be willing to give up MOST of their convention time? Even a full day? I can’t just leave an empty table with promo materials on it, that’s several shades of lame.
Getting a megaphone ain’t an option either- I HEARD YOU THINKING THAT. In a crowded dealer den, that’s the equivalent of annoying your neighbors with loud parties every weekend. At best it’ll make other artists hate me, at worst it’d get me booted out entirely.
Where do YOU think I should go from here?