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Topic: Getting your agent to book you help
Message: Posted by: SpiffnikHopkins (Jan 29, 2003 09:59PM)
I'm 20 years old and have been performing to pay my way through school. So far it's been working pretty well. Between my fiancial aid and my magic, I'm able to stay in school and support myself. I get a lot of gigs via word of mouth and now ask for a good fee. About $200.00 for an hour.

Recently I got myself an agent through a friend of a friend. She got me 2 shows pretty quick but I haven't gotten work from her in some time. What can I do to get her to book me for more shows? I know she manages a few other magicians, and I understand she has to take care of old friends before new talent, but come on!

So far it's been a trip to be able to tell people I have an agent, but she hasn't been good for much else. She takes 10% of whatever she gets me so it's not like I lose anything keeping her on board, but I'd love for her to book me for more gigs.

Do any of you have any ideas? I live in Baltimore and my client base is mostly in DC. I started out there but go to school at Hopkins in Baltimore. She's Baltimore based which I was excited about because it's nice to work closer to home. Don't get me wrong for $200.00 a pop I don't mind going home to visit my folks every now and then.

:)

Thanks guys!
~Spiff
Message: Posted by: rkrahlmann (Jan 30, 2003 01:10PM)
Agents are a tricky bunch, no pun intended. They need attention and pampering, just like clients. Keep your name in front of her. Send her postcards or other notes every couple of weeks. Don't make them "Hire me" style notes. Send a funny card, or an interesting article, along with a note of "I thought you might like this." Also keep her up to date on any new tricks you've added to your show.

Not only do you have to keep your name in front of her, you have to keep feeding her ideas about how to book you.

You could also ask her to coffee or lunch, and discuss all this in person. Here's a tip--ask her advice, even if you don't need it. Agents love it when you ask their advice on your show or how to sell it. And the best part is, you don't even have to take their advice. Just nod thoughtfully; say "That was a great idea!" follow it up with a thank-you note, (by the way, you should send a thank-you note after every gig) and don't change a thing if you don't want to.

The agent won't notice anything, but will remember that you sought her wisdom.

If all of this seems like a pain, it is. We hope that our agents will just be anxious to book us. Not so. Often, they book the client who's name came across their desk during a phone call from someone looking for a performer. Until you're at the top of your game, with your own reputation; they make their money whether they book you or someone else.

Persistance pays. Don't be discouraged if nothing happens for a few months. Keep in contact with them.

Good luck!
Message: Posted by: TroyRoark (Jan 30, 2003 10:00PM)
Spiff,
Wow, you're ME ten years ago.

To me, there's a difference between an agent and a manager. A manager is someone you have an exclusive contract with. If you don't have one of those, then I would try and pick up some more agents. I'm sure there are several in your area.

I have about 7 agents working for me. I get a bunch of work from a couple, and a little work from the rest (the old 80/20 rule in effect). I do comedy magic and juggling, and it pays the bills.

I think my success with agents has a lot to do with longevity (I've been working with some of them for nearly twenty years.) It also has to do with listening to what they have to say. When they say my 8x10 needs updating, I update it. When they show me a new promotional bit from someone else, and it's better than mine; I update my promotional material.

Call your agent, and ask her what you can provide her in the way of promotional material. Do you have a video? If not, that's a good starting point.

I could talk all day about this subject. For that matter, I'm going to begin a thread regarding your rates vs. agents rates. Please give your 2 cents (minus 15%).

Troy Roark
Message: Posted by: Jon Gallagher (Jan 31, 2003 10:11AM)
Troy also has one of the most awesome brochures you'll ever lay your eyes on (not to mention a show that will have your sides aching from laughter).
I'm sure that's a big help to his agents.

I've only used one agent in my life and I realize now that the easier I made his job, the more work I'd get. Back then, I just expected him to do all the work. I think my former agent is just about done serving his term now, so maybe I'll contact him after he gets out.
Message: Posted by: TroyRoark (Jan 31, 2003 12:57PM)
Hey thanks Jon!

I didn't know if you had seen it yet. The new flyer does kick butt (if I do say so myself).

Troy Roark
Message: Posted by: braddevant (Feb 26, 2003 06:10PM)
There is an "old school" thought on getting bookings. "If you can get two bookings a week with one agent, you can get ten bookings a week with five." Spread it around and get as many agents working for you as you can. Since they work on percentage, if they do nothing for you, you're out nothing.
Message: Posted by: Scott Ocheltree (Mar 20, 2003 10:52PM)
An idea I read in Tim Ellis's notes, 24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis, he suggests having a friend call your agent and ask to book you specifically. You of course have to pay your rate and will "lose" the commission. The idea is to create the image of a demand for you.
Message: Posted by: Thoughtreader (Mar 22, 2003 04:43PM)
You might not like the advice in it as it is not as easy as we would like it to be, BUT "Can you keep a secret?" has some very hard hitting information on building that demand from agents and bookers.
PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Supplying Unqiue Mentalism World-wide
(search google for AB StageCraft for the link)
Message: Posted by: christopher carter (Mar 22, 2003 06:04PM)
I'm going to recommend Paul Alberstat's book. There's an idea in it, as Paul alludes to, that might take some intestinal fortitude to try at first, but is a great idea to prompt interest from agents.

As Troy Roark suggested, it is not very common anymore for an agent to handle one performer exclusively. However, it is not uncommon for agents to create exclusive arrangements with performers in specific markets. In the college campus field, for example, it is pretty much obligatory to be represented by only one agency.

--Christopher Carter
Message: Posted by: BIlly James (Mar 25, 2003 11:48PM)
I have worked full time for over 15 years now and a great majority of my work comes from agents. Get your name out to as many as you can and keep calling them and sending them updates about your act as often as you can. When you get a gig or two, ring the other agents to tell them you're not available on those dates etc. After a while the work just comes in, they know you and it's easy for them to book you.
Now personal management is a whole other story............