Author Topic: How to Get a Cruise Ship Musician Job  (Read 9712 times)

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Offline CEO

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How to Get a Cruise Ship Musician Job
« on: 18/June/2008 »
How to Get a Cruise Ship Musician Job

There are two ways to get a cruise ship music job, first directly through the cruise line, and second through a talent agency.

I've only worked with one talent agency, Proship Entertainment (www.proship.com). They have a lousy website if you ask me, but there are nice people there. I used to think that they were a bit callous with their treatment of musicians, sending people out on ships like cattle with very little information about the gig and very little warning - but I don't feel that way anymore. The agent I usually talk to these days, Martin, is very communicative and friendly, and I've taken that to mean that the company has generally become a lot more communicative and friendly.

Although headquartered in Quebec, Proship auditions all over North America, often at colleges and recording studios. I auditioned for them in 2003 at a recording studio on the south side of Chicago. They gave me a 3 on my audition and told me that they never hire anyone that scores less than a 4. Two months later they hired me for a 6 month contract. Everyone I worked with had scored a 3, so I must say I was and am still a little confused by the judging system. In the audition I played a few jazz standards and sight-read a short song to a recorded accompaniment.

If you as me, the sight-reading portion was a little stupid hard. They give you a sheet of music that changes meter, key, feel and time signature erratically every 4 to 9 measures and has very little distinguishable melody. Or, at least they did in 2003. Of course it'll sound like a mess when you play it - it is a mess.

Assuming my experience was normal, you'll have to wait a few months after auditioning before you can get out on a ship. When you finally get the call to go out on a ship, you'll have only a few days to a week's notice before you have to be on the ship. I got my call on a Tuesday, and I was in northern Germany by Thursday. In the company's defense, they often get very little notice about positions that need to be filled, especially in replacement positions (which mine was).

There are other talent agencies, although I believe Proship is the most popular in North America. There is also Oceanbound Entertainment, which is also a Canadian agency based in Quebec (what's with the Canadians?). I don't know much about Oceanbound other than what I found on their website, and from a brief email from the boss over there, Marco Kasel. From what I can tell, Oceanbound is a smaller company run mostly by Mr. Kasel. There is a forum and a blog at the site, and the boss often updates both of them. I think that kind of communication is a really good sign for a company, and although I don't have any other information, I would recommend the company based only on that. When you are being sent to a ship in Tunisia for 6 months, believe me, you want to know everything you can, and a talkative talent agency is a real value.

The second way to get a gig is directly though the cruise line. If you go this route, call the cruise line headquarters (not the reservations toll-free number) and ask for the entertainment department. Tell them you are interested in auditioning. They will set up a time and I believe you audition over the phone or send them a video. I've heard that this way of getting on ships takes a little longer, but I've also heard that this is becoming a more popular route, so perhaps that's not true anymore.

There are pros and cons to both ways of getting on a ship. I've only experienced the talent agent route. Although they do take 10-15% of your paycheck, I would still recommend the talent agency route, at least for your first contract. After that you'll understand cruise ships enough to do it yourself directly with the company, but if I were to give advice, it would be to let a talent agency guide you through the employment process the first time.

Posted by Harry Adelman on 5/1/2008
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Offline CEO

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Odavno ne plovim. Sve odgovore pronađite na forumu.
http://youtu.be/gABS8a4wm9o (door=forum, ja Morpheus ti Neo)