Remember back last May or June or something, when we were wondering what the fuck Dooce was up to with her HGTV deal and buying a house and all that crap? And we thought maybe Dooce was going to buy a new house and HGTV would be buying it for her or paying her to fix it up or whatever, for a reality show? And then Dooce showed up on my blog and offered to invite me over for sweet tea if she ever moved to LA?
Wasn’t that awesome?
What was I talking about again?
Oh yeah. Right. I still don’t know what is going on with any of that stuff.
But look, if I really wanted to be a real journalist and try to stick to stuff I knew about for sure, I’d have very little news to write about here, because very few of the people I write about will tell me anything until like 10 months after the fact. Like for example, now I know for sure that Dooce was in the market for a new house, just like we guessed she was way back in June. It turns out that it only took us a few weeks to find out that that particular wildly speculative instinct was correct, because the Armstrongs announced the fact that they had bought a house just a few weeks after that. (Go us! though.)
And hey, here’s another thing we speculated about in the comments that it turns out we were correct about — remember when Dooce cancelled her SxSw appearance to go to Los Angeles last March, but she wouldn’t say why, and we thought that perhaps it was for some kind of HGTV or otherwise entertainment-bidness related reason? Well, it turns out that it was!
If you read Jon Armstrong’s recent post, you will have noted that one of the things they did in Los Angeles was sign a deal with CAA. Now, for those of you who don’t already know, CAA stands for Creative Artists Agency, a large agency out here known for representing big time celebrities and other big shots in the entertainment industry. And because Jon Armstrong talks about CAA, links to the main page of CAA, mentions a “production company” they have started in a nearby paragraph, and talks about being relieved to finally have “professional dealmakers” at their disposal, this all points to a lot of important entertainment industry related goings on at the Blurbodoocery! So exciting.
I did a little digging, and it turns out that, while Dooce does seem to have signed signed a deal with CAA, it might be more specifically correct to say that she signed a deal to be represented by CAA Speakers, the division of CAA that handles professional speaking circuit deals. CAA Speakers represents a ton of people on the professional speaking circuit, many of whom you have heard of, and many of whom are getting extremely lucrative speaking deals on a regular basis from corporations across the country. Public speaking can be a good business to get into, particularly for people who have already made a name for themselves in other contexts, and hiring somebody to broker deals for this kind of thing seems like a good move.
Naturally, I was curious what it might cost to get Heather Armstrong to come to speak at one of my (many) upcoming events. So I contacted CAA Speakers and inquired about her going rate. According to Amie Yavor, a representative at CAA Speakers, the cost to have Heather Armstrong speak would be $12,000 plus first class airfare for one to and from Salt Lake City (FYI since I live in Los Angeles, this stipulation would run me an extra couple thousand).
Heather Armstrong spoke at Hallmark Headquarters in 2008, and there is some evidence that she might have had paid speaking gigs elsewhere (Sunstone Symposium in 2008?) since then; however, I have not been able to find a reference to public speaking engagements since she signed with CAA outside of the appearance that is scheduled for later this month at Alt Summit. My assumption is that she won’t be charging her quoted fee for that conference, because to do so would in effect bankrupt the conference, unless they have far more lucrative sponsorship deals than I had imagined. On the other hand, I don’t think that all private speaking deals are necessarily going to be accessible to the public, so how many gigs and how often Dooce is speaking is anybody’s guess.
In any case, private speaking gigs can provide a good living if you can get them. This clears up a lot of questions for me, actually, about the goings on at the Blurbodoocery. Kudos to them, I hope it works out.