A muso friend receives an email offering a too-good-to-be-true career opportunity. What is she to do? My advice is 'just say yes!'. What if it is actually the real deal? You're going to say no because it's too good? When an unknown Madonna got offered her first record deal, did she say 'Nah, that's exactly what I want but it seems way too good to be true so I'll pass thanks!'
I got a strangely-worded email a few years ago asking if my band and I would like to come to Malaysia as guests of a world-famous cognac company, to perform as part of their publicity campaign. It would entail being treated like rockstars, staying in luxurious accommodations, doing gigs in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Oh, and how much would you like to be paid for the privilege? And did I mention we need you here in a week? The email lacked punctuation and had no signature at the bottom - it certainly didn't look corporate. What was being offered was almost dream-like. I had a little laugh when I received it, but instead of pressing the 'delete' button I employed the 'R.Fukert' attitude and replied. I came up with a figure I thought would be pretty generous on their part and promptly forgot about it and went on with my real life.
The next day I received the paperwork to sign, including the generous figure I had proposed - really! Of course I got the contracts checked out and then we all had to scramble for visas and re-organise our lives for the next couple of weeks. But that trip still goes down as one of the most rockstar experiences of my life. As well as everything they had promised, they put on a huge press conference, with us as the star attractions. I did a photo spread for Malaysian 'Cosmopolitan' magazine and there were larger than life size banners of my face in the centre of the city. Sitting down one tropical evening - with drinks provided by the sponsor of course - I had an interesting conversation with our host. He was the one who had sent me that initial email. He asked me if Australian bands were perhaps not very internet savvy - a very large percentage of the emails he had sent to bands apparently went ignored. I'm sure it was because the bands had assumed the email was of the same ilk as those offering 'up to four extra inches'.
So now my credo is, 'just say yes - until you have to either sign something or pay any money'. Of course you have to be careful if it involves contracts or cash, but until then...why not go with the flow and see if it leads to an exotic rockstar experience?