Steal This Job

Steal This Job

Steal This Job
Vicki Savoula (above) is a talent buyer for the Black Cat club in Washington, D.C. (Claire Duggan)
By Danny Freedman
Wednesday, September 21, 2005; 1:59 PM


JOB: Talent buyer at the Black Cat

SALARY: $25,000 to $40,000

EDUCATION: Bachelor's in sociology from University of Virginia

WHAT SHE DOES: Savoula books bands, DJs and other events for the indie and alternative music club's two stages, a task that requires serious calendar-coordination skills. When bands or their booking agents contact her, she adds them to waiting lists that can be six-bands deep per night for the larger Mainstage. To gauge a band's worth to the club, she asks how many people they drew at recent shows, and, for bigger acts, she does Web research and calls local music stores to check on album sales. Groups are shuffled around until the schedule is set (and all with a pencil and paper: "I'm kind of a dinosaur in that sense"). Final contracts are edited for over-the-top hospitality requests, like fresh underwear or Easy Cheese -- "stuff that's like, "'Why would we give them that?'"

WOULD YOU WANT HER JOB? Savoula works hard at staying anonymous (hence the cagey photo): She gets approached while out-and-about by musicians, sometimes angry over not being booked.

HOW YOU CAN GET HER JOB: You'll need experience pulling together a show. Savoula suggested trying to book friends' bands, which she did for several years, or building shows for ad hoc venues like churches or rented warehouses. Other possibilities: Work at a club, in any capacity -- Savoula previously worked the door at the Black Cat -- or intern at a talent agency to learn about the field and pick up word-of-mouth tips on job openings.

This article first appeared in the Express on August 8, 2005. 

© 2005 The Washington Post Company