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Topic: Entertainers who don't own a car
Message: Posted by: Red Shadow (Apr 11, 2011 05:42AM)
Hi guys,

Quick poll / question. I'm aware of numerous entertainers who don't own a car, yet still perform shows. I would like to find out how many magiccafe members are in this same situation and how they get to their bookings.

I know the obvious answer would be taxi. Simply because buses won't get you to where you need to be. I have one friend whose wife drives him to every show. Another friend whose parents drive him. Those in large cities like New York are famous for using the subway and walking to the bookings, especially when a show is in a high-rise building and your entire show is contained in a briefcase, it makes sense to take public transport and you can carry your show easily.

Can I ask, how do you get to your bookings, and is that related to what type of city do you perform in? Also, how long is your show? (as it depends on how much equipment you need to lug around).


P.S: I live in a big city and drive a car. I perform up-to three-hour long shows and have tons of equipment. I also perform on average 4 times a week, so cost wise, its more effective for me to own a car. But I understand that if you only do one show a week, then public transport and a shorter show might be the better course of action.
Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (Apr 11, 2011 06:32AM)
Hi Steve,

I have always had a car (a Toyota Matrix mini-station wagon) and my wife does all of the driving, thus keeping me fresh for the shows (bless her heart!). I do on the average 6-8 shows per week and carry plenty of equipment, even a back drop, sound system, and all my props and especially all my puppets (I am a kidshow vent). I perform in large cities to small venues in the country...mostly schools, with libraries being the main focus in the summer and even a few daycare centers thrown in for good measure. I have always had a car and probably always will as we don't have the intricate train and mass transportation systems like in Europe. Americans tend to like their cars.

Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 11, 2011 06:42AM)
How serious of a performer can one be if they don't have their own transportation? Responsibility and dependability are key factors in any professional or even amateur doing this for pay, and to not have control without having to rely on others doesn't bode well with me and I'm sure wouldn't for their hiring customers either.
Message: Posted by: Ken Northridge (Apr 11, 2011 06:59AM)
I tend to agree with you Mindpro, but there are exceptions. I imagine one can make a very nice living in New York City without car. In fact, I think its a huge financial advantage [b]not[/b] to have a car. I did a gig in NYC a while back and had to pay $65 to park for a couple of hours!
On 2011-04-11 07:32, kidshowvent wrote:
I have always had a car (a Toyota Matrix mini-station wagon) and my wife does all of the driving, thus keeping me fresh for the shows (bless her heart!).
More proof that behind every great man there is a good women!
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Apr 11, 2011 07:52AM)
I can't imagine anything but close-up working on any kind of transport other than my own vehicle...

But I know a female magician who contracts private drivers for busy times like Christmas etc and books them for the whole season...and uses cab drivers who know her the rest of the year. It seems to work for her.

Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Apr 11, 2011 07:52AM)
If I am not mistaken silly billy (david Kaye) dose not drive to his shows and he does a boot load of them in NY.

agreed though in general you need reliable transportation to get to and from your shows. I put about 35,000-40,000 a year on my truck doing shows. I do all the driving and love it. love traveling to other states to do a show. its fun for me and my assitant. my daughter goes with me as well and its a great time to spend with her.

Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Apr 11, 2011 08:03AM)
Oh go on then...

I can't drive. I took about 10 lessons 10 years ago. I didn't like it.

I would earn a lot more money if I drived and I would love a funky painted up van or car (a magicgeorgemobile)

However, I have managed as a full-time performer for 12 years. I hire people to drive me around at the weekend and use taxis and occasionally buses during the week.

Clients are often surprised I don't drive but I always arrive on time and have a back up plan if anything goes wrong so they don't lose anything as far as service goes.

Also it means I can drink a bottle of whiskey before I do a show and don't have to worry about driving.

Message: Posted by: Eldon (Apr 11, 2011 09:53AM)
I have a friend that lives in New York City. He is a full time performer. He does mostly kid shows. He is very busy and makes a good living doing magic. He takes the subway or walks to all his shows. He is the king of "packs flat and plays big". Almost all his props pack flat. He has a two wheel luggage cart that holds his entire show minus his rabbit that he carries in a small travel cage.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Apr 11, 2011 12:49PM)
I have a van, and put in about 50,000 miles a year on it. I could not imagine doing the job without my own transport. However if I lived in London or New York, perhaps. I never recommend a performer, or hire a performer, who has no transport, with one exception. I have a friend who is a very good magician but who has his wife drive him everywhere. However there is a good reason; a childhood accident means he will never be able to drive. Apart from him, I find dealing with guys who don't drive is too complicated.
Message: Posted by: bp3535 (Apr 11, 2011 01:05PM)
I live on the edge of London own a car and use for most gigs however I agree with Ken parking in big towns is expensive and doing show in London during a weekday could cost £10.00 for the congestion charge and £25.00 for parking. That sid I know a very succesfull entertainer working in London that dosn't own a car.
Message: Posted by: keeblem (Apr 11, 2011 01:10PM)
I've just had a letter from the Ministry of Transport to say that if I take my van into Greater London as from the 3rd January 2012 it's going to cost me £100 A DAY as my van doesn't meet the required "clean air" standards.


Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Apr 11, 2011 01:22PM)
I know of several entertainers who don't drive. I have no idea how they manage. Many of my gigs are in the middle of nowhere, though admittedly a large number are in central Brighton or Worthing, where parking can be an issue.
I worked with a face painter yesterday who had walked 40 minutes to the seafront for the Brighton Marathon. Mind you, she was exceptionally good, possibly the best face painter I've ever seen. Actually, I'd describe her as an artist, not just a painter!
Message: Posted by: Tony James (Apr 11, 2011 03:20PM)
I know a number of London based entertainers who work without a car and they are far, far, far superior to George.

They can drink at least TWO bottles of whisky before every show!

Any advance?!!?
Message: Posted by: seadog93 (Apr 11, 2011 04:01PM)
Well, I do OWN a car but it doesn't work.

If it's not convenient to take public transportation (it usually isn't) I rent a car.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 11, 2011 04:01PM)
I can understand it in a major metropolitan area like NYC where you have a great deal of public transportation, but for the vast majority of the rest of the entertainer community who do not live in such areas I stand by my original post.
Message: Posted by: Mind_Magic (Apr 11, 2011 04:49PM)
I have been seen a lot of performers in Europe using the public transportation service.

In North America at Florida, all of the performers use its vehicle.

In big urban cities like NY, it is easier to use the subway system.

In Canada I have a friend that always use the subway.

So, I think it depends on the country / City you live.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Apr 12, 2011 05:22AM)
On 2011-04-11 13:49, TonyB2009 wrote:
I never recommend a performer, or hire a performer, who has no transport...I find dealing with guys who don't drive is too complicated.

I get that not driving makes life less convenient, more expensive and more complicated [i]for me[/i]. I don't see how it would effect anyone else. What's the difference between you hiring someone with a car and them turning up on time and doing a good job and hiring soomeone who doesn't drive who also turns up on time and does a good job?
Message: Posted by: Red Shadow (Apr 12, 2011 05:46AM)
George, can I ask - How long is your show and how much stuff do you carry? Do you work out of a briefcase, suitcase, roll-on table etc and do you take a microphone or backdrop with you?

Many thanks.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Apr 12, 2011 05:56AM)
Hi Stephen,
I do a 50 minute show or an hour and a half with balloons. This all fits into one medium sized luggage case that turns into a table.

For larger shows I also have an amp. I very occasionally use a backdrop.

If I wanted I could take more stuff with me as most often I am travelling by car to gigs anyhow.

Message: Posted by: Red Shadow (Apr 12, 2011 06:12AM)
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Apr 12, 2011 10:04PM)
I get that not driving makes life less convenient, more expensive and more complicated [i]for me[/i].

Less convenient? Absolutely. More complicated? Probably. But more expensive? I am not sure. Keeping a vehicle and all that goes with it (a place to park, maintenance, fuel, insurance, etc.) is quite expensive.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Apr 12, 2011 11:01PM)
I have to admire George hitching rides to shows, drinking botles of whiskey before each show, but at my age, if I did not have my own car, and several bottles of spring water I would be forced into an early retirment. My old friend in Toronto ML also uses public transportation to all of his shows, and how tho old fellow does it I'll never know.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Apr 12, 2011 11:03PM)
I have been traveling around performing for over 20 years. I ran into all type of situations. My vehicles were totaled a couple of times, stolen a couple of times and damaged several times. I paid friends/relatives to escort me. I rented a car or U-Haul truck many times. I used a relative car several times. A few times I offered the customer a discount if they would come pick me up and take me back.

The rental cars cost less on weekends. An average of $65 for the weekend with unlimited miles.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Apr 13, 2011 06:53AM)
On 2011-04-12 23:04, Starrpower wrote:
... But more expensive? I am not sure. Keeping a vehicle and all that goes with it (a place to park, maintenance, fuel, insurance, etc.) is quite expensive.

In the long run I'm pretty sure I do pay out more, my accountant certainly thinks so. The good thing is at the end of the day it's all been paid and I'm not hit with any big unexpected bills or out of the blue repairs.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Apr 13, 2011 07:16AM)
I would think that your whiskey expenses equal my gasoline expenses.
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Apr 13, 2011 04:47PM)
Well, George, your accountant certainly knows more about your expenses than I do ... but I must say that I am quite surprised as I would have thought otherwise. My vehicle is easily one of the most expensive portions of my business. But, having read your post, I am feeling much better about it.

And I have to take this time to say, this being a children's performers thread, I am appalled -- appalled, I tell you -- that you would drink whiskey before a show.

Being from Wisconsin, I would drink nothing but beer or brandy, myself.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Apr 14, 2011 05:19PM)
I happen to live in San Francisco (and previously in Chicago)
two fairly major cities, both with lots of surrounding towns/cities.

--In my city the price of an indoor garage space is about the cost of renting
a one-bedroom apartment in another part of the country.
--There is no, thatís no, street parking due to tourism and city congestion.
--Insurance is high, mostly because of the many hills, partly because of car theft.
--We have almost the highest gas prices in the country.
--Monthly car payments are high these days, car maintenance even higher.
--The traffic congestion in rush hours, or tourist hours is mindboggling.

Iíve done the math (for my particular area and market) and
Iíve found I can take a taxi cab, anywhere, thatís anywhere, in the SF Bay Area to shows,
and still pay far less per-month that I could on all the above expenses for a car!
I save a ton of money with cabs, imagine that.

I always arrive early, thatís ďon timeĒ to me,
arrive stress free as someone else did the driving,
and I have no worries when itís Showtime.

For my full formal show I travel with three tables, backdrop, floor covering,
costumes, sometimes a mic, and
enough props for a 45 minute to hour long show.

I fit all that into two medium size suitcases or one rather large one.
Iíve honed to a science the art of packs-small-plays-huge over many years.
When I fly there is under 50 lbs. of stuff for a good size show.
My commando act of 30-40 minutes fits into carry-on.

Added to all that we have a reliable far reaching transit system
of busses, trolleys, subways, and trains,
they all are more punctual than sitting in traffic.

All this adds up to me saving time, money, and hasslesÖ.
by not owning a car! And the cabs are tax deductible.

And Iíve done it this way for well over thirty years. Amazing right?

Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Apr 14, 2011 05:27PM)
Not amazing .... sensible. As my previous post hinted, I suspect that owning a car is more expensive than using public transportation and cabs, and it's obvious in your city.

Betcha didn't have to do that in Chicago, though!