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Topic: How much do the tricks in your show cost you?
Message: Posted by: Red Shadow (Nov 28, 2011 09:11AM)
Hi Guys,

Iím interested in what your thoughts are regarding the cost of your show.

I always like adding new tricks to my show, especially stronger magic routines. At the moment there are two routines in my show that cost 30p each. The first is my metal bending and the second is my themed balloon routine.

Because of the cost involved, I donít always perform them. I pick and choose my audiences whom I think respect the show and so spend a little money on that particular audience, rather than doing my colouring book routine for example, which costs me nothing to perform. I might also perform these effects when Iím bored of doing the colouring book and want to rehearse those effects again or itís a repeat booking etc.

Entertainment wise, they are equal to all the other tricks in my show, that donít cost me a thing so there is no difference there. Itís more about me wanting to save the pennies and not wasting money.

But recently, Iíve been looking at ĎGypsy Ballooní. It looks like a great trick. But helium costs £30 for 30 balloons worth, and the balloons costs £1 each. The string is also a little bit special and goes into the cost. But letís say it costs £2 each time you perform the effect Ė would you ever include it in your show?

Other tricks like the torn and restored newspaper cost you the price of the paper, the rubber cement and a ton load of time. Ignoring the time factor, there is still some cost involved and how do you justify that trick and its cost over performing a dove pan effect or other cost-free routines like Tricky Bottles.

What tricks in your show currently cost you money to perform, how much and how often do you perform them?

Steve

P.S. I just remembered flash paper Ė that stuff isnít cheap. How many of you use that in your show?
Message: Posted by: yachanin (Nov 28, 2011 09:24AM)
Hi Steve,

I perform "Silk to Egg" (cost of an egg), a torn-n-restored newspaper (cost of papers), and Sands of the Desert (cost of the chemicals - although I only perform this in my adult show). My total cost, then, is typically about $2.00.

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: btedeski (Nov 28, 2011 09:49AM)
Balloons are my largest expense for a show

Lets see what else

1 small Banana,
Bag of pretzels (not used for a birthday or holiday show)

for a normal kids show about $5.00 depending on the number of kids I need to make balloons for
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Nov 28, 2011 10:01AM)
For expendables I use 5 modelling balloons and 2 party poppers every show and that costs me about 60p.

I don't see the other tricks as costing me nothing though as I tend to have to replace most of them about once a year. My flyto flower for example is pretty tatty after about 100 shows and needs replacedso that ends up costing 65p per show. Which is more than all my expendables put together.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Nov 28, 2011 10:40AM)
I use two balloons during my performance, so perhaps 12p in your money - 14c in real money. I don't do anything that involves expendables, or pre-show preparation. At the end of my show, for private parties, everyone gets a balloon, but that is not what you are asking about.

For my adult show I used to do Russian Roulette with exploding toilets, but I added E20 to the fee to cover the four pyro-flashes.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Nov 28, 2011 12:10PM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-28 11:40, TonyB2009 wrote:
For my adult show I used to do Russian Roulette with exploding toilets, but I added E20 to the fee to cover the four pyro-flashes.
[/quote]

Awesome!

That doesn't sound like your bog standard roulette routine.
Message: Posted by: Sam Sandler (Nov 28, 2011 12:47PM)
Cost can add up but if you are factoring that in to your fees then the cost is covered.
it cost me about $150 a show. from Flash paper, blow thread, throw stremers, Baby chicks, confetti, and a host of other special effects and disposible props.

now that is for my big show

for my private parties and solo shows my cost is about $70 a show.

you mention that you wont do some effects because of cost and I say that is not the way to go. if you are not performing the effects on the regular basis you will never perfect them. you will never work all the bugs out of them and improve them to the point of being a stand out effect.

my show is the same every time. sure my assitant and I work on new stuff through out the year but we only add some thing new maybe once or twice a year and some times that does not even stay in the show.

back to the cost factor- I think if the effect is powerful enough then it should be done all the time. such as the torn and restorde paper I think this is a very very good effect. although I have not performed it in years (considering putting it back in my smaller show) I do remember it being something that many people would talk about after the show.

sam
Message: Posted by: MichaelCGM (Nov 28, 2011 12:59PM)
I always use expendables in my shows (both kid's shows and adult shows). To me, it's just the cost of doing business. In my kid's show, I use at least two mouth-coils, 1 pint of milk, a hat-tear, 6 balloons (total: about 5 bucks), and (occasionally) a few other items.

My adult shows: tons of envelopes, rope, newspapers, books (that I give away), dice, lotto tickets, an occasional tambo-coil, etc. Cost: about $15-20 per show.

I wonder, though, isn't that an expected cost of performing the type of shows we do?
Message: Posted by: danfreed (Nov 28, 2011 01:12PM)
Balloon for Gypsy balloon are just regular party balloons and you can buy a bag of 100 for around $8-$12 US. Shop around party supply stores for helium tanks and also shop around companies that provide helium tanks for industrial uses - look up helium or gas on Google or use the local phone book.
I sometimes do the giant climb inside balloons which are over $20 each so I only do it when the fee I'm getting is good enough or if I want to make sure I put on an extra fun show and I think it's worth it to impress the clients. I also use various regular and animal twisting balloons and slush powder , but that's the cost of business.
Message: Posted by: bowers (Nov 28, 2011 01:28PM)
Bag of lolypops a egg some balloons and flash paper
that's about it for regular shows.
todd
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Nov 28, 2011 01:54PM)
Minor consumables such as SP and balloons total about £10 a show. Other expenses add up too: PA and microphones, backdrops, costumes, props, all of which get wear-and-tear, and need regular maintenance or replacement. Probably another £15 per show.
Then, I think we should consider the cost of maintaining the office: phone line, broadband, printer ink, paper, stamps, etc: probably another £5 per show.
And the cost of driving: let's say on average £30 per show.
That adds up to about £60 per show in material costs.
Which makes a fee of at least £200 seem very reasonable, don't you think?
Doug ;)
(And note, I didn't include investment in new props and stuff, which makes the ongoing costs even higher.)
Message: Posted by: The Mighty Fool (Nov 28, 2011 01:57PM)
I use a 50' rainbow mouthcoil (1.25) for the daycare shows. I also use inflatable wands (8 @ 1.12 each) and throw-coils (2 @ 1.75 each) for a birthday show. Then there are the giveaways for volunteers: For daycares these are little glow-in-the-dark stars (about .13 each) and for birthdays, I usually have a giant change bag with small tricks, glo-bouncers,rainbow slinkys and other little treausures kids love(bulk-rate=1.88 each) and of course a special present for the birthday child: neon-string-spinner (11)

Daycare:$2.55
Birthday:$44.75

Like Steve, I'll break out some more expensive effects if the client seems well-connected or likely to tip.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Nov 28, 2011 02:21PM)
Absolutely nothing to a few thousand dollars each. The sound system and music alone are a few thousand,
Message: Posted by: mpacyga (Nov 28, 2011 02:44PM)
Bag of Hershey's Kisses (From the Dove Pan), Picture Frame, 5 X 7 photo for the birthday boy/girl, 50 or so Balloons.

About $8 to $10 without counting Gas in my truck.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Nov 28, 2011 03:05PM)
Oh. I misunderstood... consumables... 4 dollars. I would use something like that for stage shows where the fees are relatively higher.

On the one hand. If you build it they will come - on the other - they have a budget and won't part with more money just because you do.
Message: Posted by: tboehnlein (Nov 28, 2011 08:30PM)
About $10, 2 goldfish, bag of candy, a couple of balloons, veggies and 2 paper bags.
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Nov 28, 2011 08:32PM)
If you spend $44 on items for your birthday show, that is a price you have to pass on to the mother. I am not sure - at least in my market - that the mothers would be happy to bear that cost. If I suddenly raised my price by $44, I know my competition would be delighted, because it would mean more work for them.

Perhaps the USA is different in that way. But I am quite happy to use a business model where I keep costs down to a reasonable level and keep my show affordable. In Ireland that is essential, especially now the country is bankrupt.
Message: Posted by: Howie Diddot (Nov 28, 2011 08:44PM)
Always perform your best show; you never know who is in the audience. If it costs $7.00 to do a show, raise your price $7.00. the corporate event planner attending his sonís friends birthday party may see a vision of you performing at his next convention dinner meeting
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 28, 2011 10:07PM)
A lot of pet food to keep my animals live.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Nov 28, 2011 10:19PM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-28 23:07, Dynamike wrote:
A lot of pet food to keep my animals live.
[/quote]

What about feeding your assistant, Mike... or is she on a diet?

)I wish I could get away with feeding the animals and not the girls) :o:
Message: Posted by: tboehnlein (Nov 28, 2011 10:22PM)
No pet food needed for the goldfish as I swallow them in the act.
Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (Nov 28, 2011 11:01PM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-28 21:44, Howie Diddot wrote:
Always perform your best show; you never know who is in the audience. If it costs $7.00 to do a show, raise your price $7.00. the corporate event planner attending his sonís friends birthday party may see a vision of you performing at his next convention dinner meeting
[/quote]

I think this is an excellent point. I recall other magicians proudly telling me they use the free throw away papers, prepare them far in advance to save time and money when performing the Torn and Restored Newspaper. I never agreed with that notion. To use a current paper adds to the story line and seems more genuine than a old less recognized one. (Ray Pierce once offered an exception to this, as an older paper fit his story line) I also use a few give away items selectively to ensure everyone is having the best time. I offer lollipops (when I produce them during the performance) after the show. I buy them in bulk for a few cents each. I spend $7 to $9 and budget $10 in my cost to cover breakage and loss.
Message: Posted by: tgs (Nov 29, 2011 01:59AM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-28 11:01, magicgeorge wrote:
For expendables I use 5 modelling balloons and 2 party poppers every show and that costs me about 60p.

I don't see the other tricks as costing me nothing though as I tend to have to replace most of them about once a year. My flyto flower for example is pretty tatty after about 100 shows and needs replacedso that ends up costing 65p per show. Which is more than all my expendables put together.
[/quote]

This is something too many of us overlook... some props literally last forever, but most of them get replaced eventually. If for no other reason, regular wear-and-tear keeps props from looking their best.

So if a $50 prop needs to be replaced after 250 shows, its true cost is $0.20 every time it's performed. With a trick like gypsy balloon, there's no main prop to repurchase every however many hundreds of shows, so the entire cost is the balloon, the helium and the string. It probably costs more than most of your other tricks, but not by as much as you think.

One other point on this topic: consider all the money spent on effects that never make it into your show. Here's a chance to use your budget for something that will definitely be in the show, as you are specifically purchasing it for performance.

Whether or not to include it in your act should hinge primarily on whether you think it makes your show better; an effect that uses a relatively low-priced consumable almost always has a lower marginal cost than it first appears.
Message: Posted by: Red Shadow (Nov 29, 2011 05:10AM)
I don't agree on the cost of wear and tear. Yes, there are tricks that require it, but for the most part you can protect against it, like laminating the cards. I have several tricks that have been in my show for over ten years. They require a bit of re-gluing and tlc, but they can pass the test of time. Things like that come down to trick selection and not choosing effects made from cardboard. I also add those into a different category of costs and don't cost to be used specifically for each show.

But from the clients point of view, they have no idea that our show costs us money. They have never seen a magician before, or if they have, understand the cost involved. They can only compare us to what they have seen, like a comedian who uses no props. A football coach who has no consumable costs, a dance teacher or even a bouncy castle. The only costs they see for those business are the initial startup costs of advertising and basic props like a football.
And when they see a magic act, they compare us to those trick sets they had as a child, where the props do most the work and they are repeatable without consuming any costs.
They have no idea how wrong they are, as they have never seen or performed a magic show in their lives. Even when you see someone tear a newspaper, how many of us ever think about how much that trick costs while it is being performed? It never even crossed my mind until I wanted to do the trick myself and learnt, this trick is costly and time-consuming.

I personally perform no tricks that require set-up at home. I do however use about 2p of rope for my cut and restore and that's about it unless I do the tricks I previously mentioned. It's not about doing the best show possible, the non-consumable tricks are just as entertaining as the others. I have absolutely no need to perform gypsy balloon. I already have 5 x 45 minute shows that I rotate whenever I wish, with only a tiny consumable cost. But I have an idea for that particular trick which would require specifically themed balloons costing a little more than normal. I'm trying to justify adding an expensive trick to my act when I have no need to.

I don't think its wise to increase price based on the tricks in your show. As mentioned earlier, the client has no knowledge what's involved and only ever hear the price, and compare that price to your competitions. If your going to spend money in your act, then it comes out of your pocket and you have to absorb the costs.

Those that argue that you sell your show and all that, I don't think have a lot of competitioin their area. I have lots of compeition and keeping my price competitive and not pricing myself out of my Market just because I want to perform a few tricks that I want to, it not good for my business.

Steve
Message: Posted by: Zuke (Nov 29, 2011 05:21AM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-29 06:10, ku7uk3 wrote:
I don't agree on the cost of wear and tear. Yes, there are tricks that require it, but for the most part you can protect against it, like laminating the cards. I have several tricks that have been in my show for over ten years. They require a bit of re-gluing and tlc, but they can pass the test of time.
Steve
[/quote]

You should come with me on a school tour some time. :)

I'm not sure whether it's just the pace of school tours or the roads in Australia (and the dust) but I guarantee if you bring a piece of granite with you, it will need to be repaired or replaced within 6 months.
Message: Posted by: Red Shadow (Nov 29, 2011 06:09AM)
Most props break in transit. I learnt a while ago to pack all my props tight, into one box. Not only does it make loading and unloading quicker, but they all cushion each other over speed bumps and protect each other. I also create effects that can't break, such as tricks with socks and coins. It's pretty tough to break them.

I removed tricks that required additional care, such as water effects after one of them leaked and destroyed several props. The suitcase table itself requires the most care, but the props inside can take a beating and often do. 260 shows a year, for over ten years. They might not appear in every show, but they stay in the box for when I need them.
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Nov 29, 2011 06:39AM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-29 06:10, ku7uk3 wrote:
I don't agree on the cost of wear and tear.[/quote]

I'm not sure what you are not agreeing on. As you have stated it's not a major factor for yourself but that doesn't mean it isn't a factor for others.

I have to replace my hat, raccoon, flito flower, silly wand, puppet, flowers for my wand quite regularily. It all adds up but it's all the things I like to perform so I'm not going to replace it all with sturdier stuff just for the sake of my budget.
Message: Posted by: MichaelDouglas (Nov 29, 2011 07:07AM)
For the 70% of my business that are birthday parties:

$ 2 for Consumables (sp, mouth coil, balloons)
18 for 8 goodie bags included with my "standard" bday package
5 for average cost of gift for birthday child
8 for magic t-shirt with my advertising for birthday child
20 average cost of milage & tolls
1 thank you card sent to client
5 gift and postage for thank you for filling out my feedback survey
(I've collected enough surveys so that I don't send these every time anymore.)
______
$54-$59 for the average total cost of a birthday show for me.
Message: Posted by: Red Shadow (Nov 29, 2011 07:14AM)
I mean that for most cases, the wear and tear on a prop is determined by the model you buy. The raccoon for instance - if you buy the model from Dave himself, it will last for several years. But if you buy the cheaper version from magic makers, or one of the knock-offs from the pound shop, it will last a week.

The same for the flito flower. I have had the cheap versions that broke on me continuously. I then got Jolly Rodgers version with metal insides, and it has and will last for many, many years.

I know for some tricks, the choice of materials is not there and replacements will be necessary. And I also understand that you may not be aware of the alternatives available to you. Magic by its very nature is suppose to be secretive and certain props are only made aware to us at lectures (like Shoots Thimbles). I like the thimble argument as you cannot get them anywhere else other than from his lectures and yet I would not be doing a thimble routine today if I didn't have his thimbles, they are the only ones that work for me.

But the old argument of buying a pair of shoes I think applies to magic as well. Buy a cheap pair and the soles will wear down in a month. Buy Adidas, and they may cost six times as much, but they last ten times as long.

But I think we should separate the line between expected expenditures like wear and tear, new clothes and PA Systems as I see them as part of the start-up necessities and are an expected form of expense for any show. But choosing tricks that literally means you are paying to perform them, thatís the difficult decision to make here.

Even though it might only be £1 for a piece of flash paper, that's £1 coming out of my pocket. Do I want to spend £1 on a stranger to show them a trick, or perform my ambitious card again which doesn't cost me a thing?
Message: Posted by: magicgeorge (Nov 29, 2011 08:02AM)
Dave who?
Williamson? He doesn't sell them. I do use the same make he uses though and they last about a year.

If Jolly Roger does a flito flower then I can't find it on his site. I think Richard Hughes probably does a fancier version. I see what you're saying about the quality props lasting longer but on the other hand some shoes cost 10 times as much and last 5 times as long so it can be false economy.

As for spending money on consumables I don't really sweat the small stuff. To me it's about doing a good show rather than looking at it as purely a money making exercise. If I want to use flash paper I'll use flash paper, if I'd prefer to do a card trick I'd do a card trick.
Message: Posted by: Pasquale (Nov 29, 2011 10:24AM)
Just replace a piece of sting on the chinese sticks......
Message: Posted by: Beowulf (Nov 29, 2011 12:45PM)
Birthday party show: balloons, two poppers, hat tear, blown egg, flash paper, hat coil, Tootsie Pop, inflate wand, Big Buck giveaways: $6.00

Use confetti wand for a mall/library show: $11.00
Message: Posted by: ldl1017 (Nov 29, 2011 12:48PM)
I used to do a routine where I had two silks signed. So it would be the costs of two 6 inch silks, balloons, stickers and wands for helpers and rope for a C & R rope routine. Maybe $6 to $8 dollars per show.
Message: Posted by: MichaelCGM (Nov 29, 2011 01:18PM)
[quote]On 2011-11-29 06:10, ku7uk3 wrote: I don't think its wise to increase price based on the tricks in your show. As mentioned earlier, the client has no knowledge what's involved and only ever hear the price, and compare that price to your competitions. If your going to spend money in your act, then it comes out of your pocket and you have to absorb the costs. [/quote]Wisdom is a rather subjective concept. That being said, there are two points to consider. First, one's "tricks" are very important in setting one's "price." Second, if your client is only comparing your "price" to your competition's price, you already have a marketing problem. (Being less expensive or priced the same as one's competition is not a great selling point.)

In your OP you said, "Itís more about me wanting to save the pennies and not wasting money." If that's your mindset, that's fine. It's just that it certainly isn't the only mindset that is correct. I don't raise my prices based on a few pennies here or there. My prices are based on what I believe my show is worth (which includes the cost of performing, as well as the skill of performing.) My clients don't get a breakdown of those aspects. They just get my full price and my reputation as justification for my price.
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Nov 29, 2011 01:44PM)
I put into my show whatever I feel like, regardless of cost, unless it becomes outrageous. As I menitoned above, the overall cost of a show is considerable....the relative cost of consumables, compared to all the other expenses, is minimal.
And if the costs of your show are high - then charge more. Presumably, all those extras will make your show better. If not, then why are you bothering with them?
A snowstorm, flash wool, SP, etc, will all add a little "pizzazz" to your show....and are surely worth the small cost.
With petrol (gas) at about £6 a gallon, and my car only does about 25 miles for that, £265 a year for road tax, £350 a year for insurance, and about £700 a year for servicing, it's the cost of running my car that really eats my budget.
Doug
Message: Posted by: MichaelCGM (Nov 29, 2011 01:49PM)
[quote]On 2011-11-29 14:44, Potty the Pirate wrote: I put into my show whatever I feel like, regardless of cost, unless it becomes outrageous. As I menitoned above, the overall cost of a show is considerable....the relative cost of consumables, compared to all the other expenses, is minimal.
And if the costs of your show are high - then charge more. Presumably, all those extras will make your show better. If not, then why are you bothering with them?
[b][i]A snowstorm, flash wool, SP, etc, will all add a little "pizzazz" to your show....and are surely worth the small cost.[/i][/b]
With petrol (gas) at about £6 a gallon, and my car only does about 25 miles for that, £265 a year for road tax, £350 a year for insurance, and about £700 a year for servicing, it's the cost of running my car that really eats my budget. Doug[/quote]Well said!
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 29, 2011 03:50PM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-28 23:19, jay leslie wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-11-28 23:07, Dynamike wrote:
A lot of pet food to keep my animals live.
[/quote]

What about feeding your assistant, Mike... or is she on a diet?
[/quote]
She feeds me. It is her job to bring home all the bacon.
Message: Posted by: randyburtis (Nov 29, 2011 04:03PM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-29 14:49, MichaelCGM wrote:
[quote]On 2011-11-29 14:44, Potty the Pirate wrote: I put into my show whatever I feel like, regardless of cost, unless it becomes outrageous. As I menitoned above, the overall cost of a show is considerable....the relative cost of consumables, compared to all the other expenses, is minimal.
And if the costs of your show are high - then charge more. Presumably, all those extras will make your show better. If not, then why are you bothering with them?
[b][i]A snowstorm, flash wool, SP, etc, will all add a little "pizzazz" to your show....and are surely worth the small cost.[/i][/b]
With petrol (gas) at about £6 a gallon, and my car only does about 25 miles for that, £265 a year for road tax, £350 a year for insurance, and about £700 a year for servicing, it's the cost of running my car that really eats my budget. Doug[/quote]Well said!
[/quote]

indeed, well said!
Message: Posted by: ldl1017 (Nov 29, 2011 05:34PM)
I agree...Doug said it perfectly.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Nov 29, 2011 05:54PM)
I have a lot of money invested in silks, and costumes. Everything else is ropes, scissors, ring, bags, wand, juggling clubs, cards, and tubes. I am the star of my show, and everything else is there just to make me look good.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Nov 29, 2011 06:07PM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-29 06:21, Zuke wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-11-29 06:10, ku7uk3 wrote:
I don't agree on the cost of wear and tear. Yes, there are tricks that require it, but for the most part you can protect against it, like laminating the cards. I have several tricks that have been in my show for over ten years. They require a bit of re-gluing and tlc, but they can pass the test of time.
Steve
[/quote]

You should come with me on a school tour some time. :)

I'm not sure whether it's just the pace of school tours or the roads in Australia (and the dust) but I guarantee if you bring a piece of granite with you, it will need to be repaired or replaced within 6 months.
[/quote]

I'll bet it's not you.... it's usually your assistants who ding and dent things worse then shifting while transporting.
Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Nov 30, 2011 01:36AM)
[quote]
On 2011-11-29 19:07, jay leslie wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-11-29 06:21, Zuke wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-11-29 06:10, ku7uk3 wrote:
I don't agree on the cost of wear and tear. Yes, there are tricks that require it, but for the most part you can protect against it, like laminating the cards. I have several tricks that have been in my show for over ten years. They require a bit of re-gluing and tlc, but they can pass the test of time.
Steve
[/quote]

You should come with me on a school tour some time. :)

I'm not sure whether it's just the pace of school tours or the roads in Australia (and the dust) but I guarantee if you bring a piece of granite with you, it will need to be repaired or replaced within 6 months.
[/quote]

I'll bet it's not you.... it's usually your assistants who ding and dent things worse then shifting while transporting.
[/quote]
He he...how many times has my kid helper dropped my Duck Pan base, when I add some yucky ingredient?!
Message: Posted by: Leland (Nov 30, 2011 06:30AM)
Mouth coil, give away wands (maybe 4-5 per show @ .40 each), 1 paper bag, balloons (if they request them)- adds up to maybe $8. Add in the feed for my bunny, fuel charge, it has to be under $20 per show.

Not bad as far as overhead goes.