(Close Window)
Topic: What's worse than arriving late?
Message: Posted by: Eric Leclerc (Dec 10, 2005 01:35PM)
Ok..I am sitting here, still dressed in my magician outfit, raging at myself...

For 4 years I have done this company's Christmas party for kids. Great crowd, always at the same place. I show up today only to find theres not a soul there. My contact and I only communicate by e mail..I don't have a phone number... wow.. It's 12:20...show time 12:30..

I race home to check my e mail...decide it would be faster to stop at a computer store and plead my case..they happily let me check my hotmail.. (one of the reasons I use hotmail for bookings even though it looks less professional) I find the new address, it's close to the store..niiiiiiiice

I get there at 12:35... explain what happened, we all share a good laugh over it. Everything is cool... I open my case to set up, and I grabbed the wrong one..It was my 45 minute mentalism adult show... ARRRRRRGH what to do..........

I go to my contact and explain what happened (should I have done this?) I run around the office looking for random things to do magic with. They had done crafts earlier on so I found some stuff.. heres how the show went..

-Cut and restored rope
-Colour changing timbit (tiny doughnuts)
-sponge balls (pompoms)
-crossed arm trick (copperfield did it on tv)
-crayola colour divination
-crayola manipulation (a la cigarette)
-Jumbo invisible deck
-backpalm routine with the ONE regular sized playing card I had lying in the case
-paddle move with popsicle stick...(they picked any colour) and it changed to it
-Thumb through kid's ear
-Egg bag routine with some little girl's santa hat and a small bouncy ball
-I closed with a picture divination a kid drew...(went over so well)

Obviously I am skipping the jokes and byplay I always do..

Everything went well.. Everyone was happy.. still, I am SO MAD at myself.... I don't even know whay I wrote this on here..I guess I want to hear stories and people relate to this... anyone?
Message: Posted by: Billy Bo (Dec 10, 2005 01:43PM)
All I can say is well done for thinking on your feet and using stuff around you.
well done
stevie d
Message: Posted by: Steve V (Dec 10, 2005 01:46PM)
I did a show last night, corporate thing, after the kids I was doing walk around with the adults. Very nice place, very nice group. I'm doing my thing and the guy who was my agent suddently starts talking very loudly to everyone promoting another of his 'ideas'. I had just finished up but he is wanting each table to do this or that and he was organizing some bizarre game to promote with. The guy who owned the company stood up and said to his administrative manager "this is enough, I don't know what is going on but it is OVER, get them out NOW". I didn't blame him at all, the administrator, who had a few belts in her, started crying because she said her head was now on the chopping block cuz of this. I did my thank you and headed out, turned around, and the 'agent' was handing out flyers! I got him out and to be honest, he still doesn't understand why he was wrong. I hate when that stuff happens....
Steve V
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Dec 10, 2005 01:51PM)

I guess te only thing I can say is that we can all live and learn from experiences like this. You did the best you could with what you had and the situation you found yourself in. You still went on and like a professional, gave the best show you could give to them. You also explained the situation as a professional should to their clients. Well done.

I also think that posting here shows you are not just forgetting about this. That is the worst you can do. By posting it here it shows you are willing and wanting to learn from a bad experience so that you can avoid the same thing happening in the future.

I guess A few ideas could come from this as possible solutions for you to think about at any rate. This certainly is not ment to seem like me preaching to you about you should have done this and done that. This is only ideas that should be thought about that might help you come up with means and ways that work best for you to minimize the chances of this happening again.

- Perhaps you label all your cases so that you know just by looking at them which case is what show. The minute you pick it up you will know that it is the right or wrong case. Perhaps having a location for each case in your magic room, may also help you keep certainshows together. Just an idea.

- I have also done shows via e-mail, but I too learned the hard way and now I always ask for a phone number and a cell phone number. I then make it a policy to call a day or two ahead of time to do a verbal conformation just as a double check. Having their cell phone number allows me to call them while on the road or if I get there and can not locate my client. Also just an idea.

- I also personally would have done what you did and talked to the client and let them know of the situation. I also personally would have offered to give them a discount because I did not deliver on the perfect solution and show that I had promised to them. This is just me of course and to each his own. In most cases, the client would be so pleased that you did what you did, that they would want you to keep the money. Just as a professional, I feel obligated to offer them a discount if I do not deliver on a set promise that we agreed upon.

As I said this is not ment in any way to say you messed up or I am better than you. I hope it is not taken that way. It is just some thoughts that might help you. I mention them because I too have had those problems happen to me in the past.

Hope it helps.

Message: Posted by: danryb (Dec 10, 2005 01:52PM)
Excellent stuff.
I couldn't have done that job as well as you although I have found myself in similar predicament when I prepare for a stage show at one of the hotels where I perform and for some reason or other, only 5 to 10 kids arive.
I also had to ask the hotel kindergarden to get me some pompoms and styrofoam cups for sponge ball and cups and balls. Also some doctor sticks to perform the paddle etc etc.
I then sat the kids around a table and performed a close up show. I was as unprepared as you were for this little "treat" but it just goes to show - only a childrens entertainer can get away with something like that.

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Dec 10, 2005 01:58PM)

But I guess it is also safe to know that in this case you learned a great deal because of ther situation you found yourself in and how you did what you did to fix the problem? I would think that you gained a lot from the experience. I know I learn a ton from failure.

It sounds really weird when I say that, but you can indeed learn from failures. I say often that failure is only failure if you fail to learn from the experience. If you truely learn from it, then failure is only a stepping stone to further success. =) Works for me.

Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Dec 10, 2005 02:19PM)
One way to solve one of the problems is to have a stand-by show in a case always in your vehicle.

In mine, I carry:

4 juggling balls
Rope, Scissors
Jumbo Cards
Regualar Cards
What's Next
Sponge Balls
Rocky Racoon

Some of the stuff, isn't in my regular shows, but I have done them in the past and have routines for them. And just to make sure, I take out the case and rehearse with the stuff at least once a month to keep it fresh and to replace the cards which can get brittle sitting in extreme temps after a while.

I have had to use the case once. Not the whole thing, but I left my one Rocky at home and had to take the one out of the case.
Message: Posted by: danryb (Dec 10, 2005 02:26PM)
Yes Kyle, you're absalutely correct in assuming I have never experienced the same situation because I am now always, fully, prepared for this circumstance.

And your statement - "you can indeed learn from failures" - is an understatement.
It is advised to make mistakes - this is the best way to learn, ever. I don't mean literaly go out and purposely make mistakes but do what you do and don't be afraid to make mistakes. It is funny how some people are so "perfect" and do their best to be perfect without taking chances or trying anything new and different out of fear of making a mistake. This is a mistake to start with and these people will not get very far.

If only we'd all been a little more alert during our history lessons we might have been better qualified and more experienced through others mistakes.
I suppose there is no need to get too philosophical but the only way to confront fear is by facing it and the best way to learn by mistakes is by making them.


Posted: Dec 10, 2005 3:31pm
Funny you should say that mrbilldentertainer, cause my car was stolen yesterday.
Vanished - just like that during the night.
lucky I didn't make the mistake you make by leaving valuable props in the boot.

If there is one thing I would never do - it is leave stuff in the car.
the vehicle wasn't insured though - that is a lesson I am going to have to overcome and learn to correct in the future. But I am not crying. If I'd of had some magic in the car, I think I would have cried.

so, yes, have an extra show with you but - no, don't leave it in the car.

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Dec 10, 2005 02:53PM)
MrBill: Great suggestion and one that is a wonderful solution if you have a show that is fairly small that you can keep in your vehicle. This way you know you have a set show you can do in the event the worst situation happens. It also may work when you hear oif a situation where someone could use a show at a place you are at and you can tell them you have stuff in the car and could do that for them easily. This way you can obtain possibilities of an instant show if the chance ever came about. Nice thoughts on this.


I am glad that you have learned from your own sitiations. I think we all do. I know that I learn from every performance both good and bad. How can anyone become better if one never makes mistakes in the first place. The only failure is failing to learn from mistakes. If you make a mistake, take the time to study the mistake and look at it from both sides and realize and learn what you did wrong and what you could change to address the issue. Now you are learning from a bad experience. This prevents you from making the same mistake twice.

I would not mind leaving a second show in the car as long as it is a simple one in a case that can be stored under the seat or somplace out of view. If it is stuff also that is easy to replace, like psongeballs, rope etc, then even if it was taken, there would be no harm done. This way you at least have a show ready to go if you have to and it does not take up much space to do so.

Message: Posted by: Eric Leclerc (Dec 10, 2005 05:37PM)
Hey guys..thanks for the suggestions!! Kyle, no worries I posted it on here for a reason, I don't get offended easily and appreciate your good advice.

I to, NEVER, in 15 years, have left props in my car.. If after a show I go to a friend's house or what not.. I bring my case in, its just something I have always done and will keep doing forever.. I will, however, start to carry an emergency kit I believe. Thanks for the tip..

I thought about the discount as well, but everyone was happy, smilling and having fun. I didn't think it was necessary (although maybe a nice touch) A nice e mail from me to her will do the trick.

I will forever bring a contact number with me from now on... That will NEVER happen to me again.
Message: Posted by: Eric Leclerc (Dec 10, 2005 05:42PM)
What about the hotmail acount? any thoughts on that?? I have a real email (magician@ericleclerc.com) but always write back with the hotmail...i can check it from anywhere... does this advantage outweigh the "non professional" look of it? I think this is a whole other forum..but whatever...let's double topic this badboy
Message: Posted by: Michael238 (Dec 10, 2005 06:03PM)
Nice job on the show!
Thinking on your feet, that was good.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Dec 10, 2005 07:19PM)

Great to hear back from you and it is also great to see that you are also setting new plans into action and you are thinking of ways in which to help yourself in the future. I commend you for striving to learn from every situation you find yourself in. I only wish more people would do that.

I think the nice e-mail from you to her aplogizing for the situation and hopoing you stillmade their event a memorable one, would be a really nice touch and one from a professional. Not many folks would take the time out to do that and I think she would really appreciate you doing that for her. You build upon the client relationship even after the event is over.

I always bring a booking sheet with me that has all my information printed out and this is placed into a plastic sleeve to prtect it no matter what the whether conditons. Just something that has helped me to stay and remain organized.

In regards to the e-mail question, hmm let me think here. I do not have aproblem with the hotmail account at all. I think the problem lies in using two e-mails inconsistently. This would cause confusion to your clients and prospcts. I would use just one and stick with it. The idea of being able to check your mail from anywhere is a great advantage and I do not think it being unprofessional is that bad at all. I think it works as long as you use the e-mail in a consistent manner.

just my thoughts and I hope they help.

Message: Posted by: Magic.J.Manuel (Dec 10, 2005 07:31PM)
Hotmail should not be a big issue. But, "Free" web hosting that has advertising looks very amateurish. It is also important to have a personalized web address.

If you don't like your customers seeing the Hotmail address you could have your email forwarded to a hotmail box after it gets to your personalized box. Or, many ISP and web site hosts provide web access to your email box, as long as you catch the mail before your PC is turned on to download it, and it will not be accessible after you download and read it on your PC. Some people never download email leaving it on the host server for backups and easy access, but then you have to respect space limits. You can also set-up your home PC to be accessible on line, but this is more effort than most people want to spend on a small system.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Dec 10, 2005 08:24PM)
Manuel brings up some good points. Thank you for sharing them with us. I agree that the hotmail account should not be a big deal as long as you use one e-mail consistently in your branding and materials.

I also agree that you certainly do not want abnner ads across your website. The website should be clean and designed well and easy for prospects to navigate and use.

Message: Posted by: Andy Wonder (Dec 11, 2005 12:08AM)
On 2005-12-10 18:42, Eric Leclerc wrote:
What about the hotmail acount? any thoughts on that?? I have a real email (magician@ericleclerc.com) but always write back with the hotmail...i can check it from anywhere... does this advantage outweigh the "non professional" look of it? I think this is a whole other forum..but whatever...let's double topic this badboy

You can use a web based system like hotmail with your own domain name. I have one supplied with my web hosting package. Most web pages hosting providers will allow you to have a web based email with your own domain. It looks professional like a regular email address without any banners added etc.

I can think of no advantage to using hotmail other than the fact that it is free.
Message: Posted by: macmagic (Dec 11, 2005 07:28AM)
Well like its been said make sure you get a "at show contact number" cell phone of the person hiring you etc. there are so many things that could happen, stuck in traffic car problems etc. you will seem a lot more professional if you call and let them know then just showing up 30 minutes late and then telling them what happened, by the they already have an ulcer from being stressed!
I have also found that soemtimes when we perform for the same client for a few years we get kinda lazy, like not asking for phone numbers etc and just assuming we have the correct info in our database!
the whole email thing? I have an aol account and an msn account and can pretty much check them from anywere as well, just have to know your password! your web host can set up an alias name for you, mine would be Greg@mcadamsmagic.com and that goes to my aol account! so it is consistant, don't want to send them stuff under a different email and have it end up in spam folder!
Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (Dec 11, 2005 11:59AM)
You should be able to set up access through your ISP to access your email remotely.
It's very simple to do.
If your ISP doesn't have that service then you might want to consider changing companies. This way you don't have to use an unprofessional looking hotmail.
If your instincts tell you it looks bad, then others will feel the same way.

Check out Road Runner cable access or something similar.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Dec 11, 2005 02:51PM)
That is what I do. I can go through my ISP via the website and check my e-mail remotely without any problems. This is great when I am on the road and bring my laptop with me. I can wirelessly connect to the internet and check my e-mail and even update my website. It works well.

Message: Posted by: JesterMan (Dec 12, 2005 12:07AM)
I take a copy of my info with me to every show. That way, in addition to having the info if I need to make contact en route, I have the amount of the deposit already paid, and the amount owed. No problem if you are using e-mail; print that out, being sure to have the info in the e-mail, or write it on. Oh, I also print my MapQuest image right on the back of the copy.

As for the e-mail account; I'd see if you can get your personal account available online, as also suggested above. I have multiple accounts, and I can check every one from the Net. It is all up to your host. I have run across a number of folks who think that people who use Hotmail, MSN, Mail.com, or others like them for business are of the 'fly by night' variety (unprofessional).

As for the storage problem when leaving mail on the host server, you can usually set your e-mail client (Thunderbird, Outlook, Eudora, etc. . .) to leave mail on after it has been read by your home base computer for a certain period of time. Unless you get a LOT of big e-mails, you should have no trouble. You can always have a dupe forwarded to the web-based mail account, as sugested above, too. As Kyle mentioned, whatever you decide, DO use one account for the client, as they can get confused if they get mail from magician-at-ericleclerc.com, and OttawaDude1978-at-hotmail.com.

I like the idea of having a bit of magic (cheap, but strong) hidden in the car at all times. I always try to have a bag of balloons in mine, too.
Message: Posted by: magicmanfrank (Dec 12, 2005 01:08AM)
[quote]I open my case to set up, and I grabbed the wrong one..It was my 45 minute mentalism adult show... ARRRRRRGH what to do..........


May I suggest different color cases?
Just a thought.

Message: Posted by: JohnCressman (Dec 12, 2005 04:22PM)
I just did this on Sunday. I made some candy appear... some Tootsie Pops. One of the mom's yells "Ohh... I want one!" so I toss her one. I tossed it in too high of an arch, it hits the blade on the ceiling fan and gets propelled into a lamp, smashing the lamp to pieces.

I felt really bad but continued the show to keep the kids distracted while everyone cleaned up.

At the end, I asked my contact how much owed for the lamp and they said the show was really great and that they'd take care of it...

Message: Posted by: Eric Leclerc (Dec 12, 2005 09:44PM)
Wow!!!! that's crazed.......... makes me feel better!!! hehe j/k

glad it went over well...
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Dec 12, 2005 09:59PM)
Wowsers. That makes my cinema incident seem not as bad hehehe. In all seriousness, I want to say that you absolutely did the right thing. You kept the show going and distracted the kids from a potential danger. You still gave the client what they had paid you for and you were sincere about asking and wanting to pay for the damage that was caused. I think you handled it quite well if you ask me.

Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Dec 12, 2005 10:45PM)
[b]What's worse than arriving late?[/b]

Not arriving at all!
Message: Posted by: Autumn Morning Star (Dec 13, 2005 01:25PM)
Very true, Dennis. A good job of thinking on your feet, Eric!! That is the sign of a true pro. Now to help in future situations with new locations I highly suggest using contracts with everyone. Double check them and bring them with you to each show. You might need it if someone makes a mistake in pay or wants to change the venue on you at the last minute.

Make sure your contract has a place that says: Time of performance...Date of performance...PLACE of performance. A simple contract spells out everything so there are no surprises for anyone.

And believe me, there ARE surprises out there.

Last year one library booked me and I gave them my "deep discount" for libraries. The contract spelled out "place of show" as the library itself. This was a large library with PLENTY of room to perform. When I got there, they told me my show was going to be held at the Convention Center Stage. They were even selling tickets. I had been brought in on a grant, so it was not costing them a thing.

This had only happened once before, with the Boy Scouts. (Now that's the way to teach the kids about honor, truth and fairness, eh?) The scoutmasters tricked me into doing a big show for the price of a tiny show. Same city, same convention center. It was a fully catered event. Sold tickets too. Boy, did I feel ripped off. Because of the Scouts, I wrote a "place of show" provision into the contract.

The head librarian was furious, but the contract was clear and binding. She said her 3,500 sq ft library was just too small for my show. They still managed to pack 150 people into the community room but they could not sell tickets because it was in the library and all programs must be free. Instant karma. You can't trick the trickster.

If you need a copy of my contract as a blank form to go by, pm me. I am happy to share with anyone. A clear simple really helps magicians look even more professional to your clients! Plus, you will end up at the correct place every time :)