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itshim
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Milton Keynes
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Hi,

Just taken half an hour to read through all those comments. Now my 2p. If I was going to offer a refund to a customer who has let me complete my show before complaining I would not refund 100% but more like 50%. And only then if I agreed with what they say (which you do). My letter to them would thank them for their remarks and apologise that they hadn't appreciated the show but also add that I was glad that their children had enjoyed it. Why? because I'd want them to be saying to their friends that the kids liked what I did even though I was obviously beginning. I have advised beginner magicians in the past to do as much work as they could at cheap prices but ALWAYS charge a fee. No fee = no good in far too many peoples minds and you don't want to create that image. Tell them before they book you that you are inexperienced and that is why your fee is lower, they will probably be much freer with advise because they feel they can help. Working the streets as some people have suggested is a good idea of you have the right personality for it but I would suggest that if you are fairly nervous it might not be the best thing for you. The street is all about confidence, great if you have it but if you don't it might make you give up.

Again as others have advised you don't mess around too much with the tricks you perform but think about how you want to portray them. Far too many beginner magicians try to perform the trick the way they saw it on the video kids will spot this because you won't be happy when you perform. Try and write your script so that it incorporates some of your personality (the outgoing bit that wants to perform) and try to take on that personality in your show. Acting lessons and performing on stage in different ways will help your confidence so try that if you want to do something for free.

Last comment, listen to everybodies advise but feel free to ignore any or all of it. (especially mine) It's you who is doing the show not anyone else so it's you who will learn what works best for you.

Nigel
I knew a man who kept saying "pliers, pincers, scissors". He was speaking in tongs.

www.itshim.co.uk
Harv
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I'm building a fence with
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Unfortunately I am not going to be so kind. Your comment "I didn't practice but I took the show anyway" sums up the major problem in our field. Your performance reflects on all of us. Was I great when I first started? Heck no, but then I didn't pretend to be a professional and receive payment for my shows. Did my hands shake? You betcha...I was a human vibrator at times until I gained confidence through practice, practice and more practice. You have received some very good advice here, and it was fortunate that the parents were honest with you. You should practice your routines until they become second nature, look for weak spots, and try to improve them and think of some "outs" so if something doesn't work the way it's supposed to (happens to everyone once in a while) you will be prepared. Best of luck...I really do hope you succeed.

Cheers,
Harv
genemccarthy
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I think that there is a possibility the point being made by the 'buyer' is revealed here;
3) Some of your tricks were not very well executed or were pretty
obvious, not magical at all, nothing new....the general consensus was that you
needed to update your show for bigger tricks -something the kids would enjoy
that a regular Joe can't buy from a magic shop.

We really appreciated your time and effort and thank you for being a
part of XXXXX's party. However when I told everyone how much I paid you, they
all thought it was a little too much. For the amount of experience you
have, we suggest lowering your cost.

When were they last in a 'magic shop'? A bit unusual for a lay person.

And the complaint about the fee. They wanted to complain and no doubt they have practised that art the entirity of their lives.

Never refund.

gene

http://www.ienz.co.nz
KyletheGreat
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Georgia
560 Posts

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Quote:
On 2005-03-07 20:11, RideorDie99 wrote:
I thought I'd share with you these comments that I received from a parent after a show I did this weekend. It's kinda dissapointing since I put effort into my magic to try to create a great show. When do you stop thanking people for the negative feedback and start saying "What you talking about WILLIS??" "You don't know what you're talking about!" My show went okay. I screwed up one trick which makes me think I need to take out the Finale of the trick and change it up a bit or take it out completely and replace it with another. But here's the feed back.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks for being part of XXXXXX's party. The kids all enjoyed your
show, balloons and booklets you passed out. HOWEVER, there were some
comments from the adults that I thought I'd share with you to help make your
next event more successful:

1) Your hands were shaking like crazy. It really showed how nervous
you were, which made the adults question your experience.

(THIS IS TRUE I NEED MORE PRACTICE)

2) Some of your tricks did not fall through. You will need to
practice more to prevent huge mistakes that cause good tricks to flop.

(THIS IS TRUE I NEED MORE PRACTICE)


3) Some of your tricks were not very well executed or were pretty
obvious, not magical at all, nothing new....the general consensus was that you
needed to update your show for bigger tricks -something the kids would enjoy
that a regular Joe can't buy from a magic shop.

(I had tested tricks. People think that I just bought tricks from a show and just brought it to the show!!!)


We really appreciated your time and effort and thank you for being a
part of XXXXX's party. However when I told everyone how much I paid you, they
all thought it was a little too much. For the amount of experience you
have, we suggest lowering your cost.

(I'm already lower than the competition in my area. I think it's culture to because the family may just wanted DAVID Copperfield style illusions for a KID'S SHOW!)

Thanks, hope you don't mind the honesty.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now these are the comments from the ADULTS and not the kids because the children
enjoyed the party. Since the show is FOR the children show I not really care what the adults think? Because overall I think the children enjoyed the show.

Do some of you guys get this some times? Any advice is appreciated


Well...you are correct, that you were hired for the childre...but you knew that adults would be there too...and the adults are paying the cash...so I think that it is best to always use at least one adult participant from the audience and get them in an act that the adults will enjoy as well. This way, they usually do not feel cheated. Plus, the kids enjoy seeing somebody they know, or an older person in the show. I always get an adult participant and perform 20th century shorts with the toilet plunger hat thingy (wizard apprentice hat). The adult usually plays right along. THe kids and the rest of the adults love my routine...they stand in the back and take about 15 photos of this trick as it is going on. My point is not to embarass the spectator...but to cut him in half...that is my goal in the routine...but at the end, everything goes wrong and the worse happens. It usually tears the place down, and that is one of the thing the adults enjoy the most aside from Rocky raccoon.

I am just saying...try to get the adults in on a little magic as well. They want to enjoy the show too...don't leave them out!
Kyle Jarrard
"Entertainment at its Best"

http://www.kylesmagic.com
http://www.hypnobilly.com
Bill Nuvo
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Even though I do children's birthday parties, I do not do "kid magic". I found early on that if you didn't keep the parents interested, a couple of things would happen. They would begin chatting...louder than the kids would get. The parents might leave the room leaving you to babysit. To combat these problems I do what I call a Family Show. It is fun and full of energy (I've performed feeling like crap but they didn't know. When you are on...you are on). As already advised here, use some of the adults as volunteers. This not only creates interest from the kids, it helps show the kids how a volunteer should act...better crowd control. By keeping the Parents/adults around you don't have to babysit, which is a situation you should never be put in. Never be left alone with kids. I repeat, NEVER BE LEFT ALONE WITH KIDS.
I recently did a party where I had the mom in tears from laughing so hard. The whole group (kids and adults)had such fun that they were asking for many business cards so they can have my number and give the cards on to their friends. Nothing beats word of mouth advertising.

You should be glad that they took the time to give advice to you. This means they actually care for your success. And they do know what they are talking about since, as performers, we are only as good as our audience percieves.
Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
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A long time ago an agent complimented an associate of mine for his professional costume and told him his choice of clothing was much better than my poor choice of clothing. She has never hired me since, and because of her comment to my friend I imideately went out and bought all new clothes, now I'm generally the best dressed man in the room at all of my shows.
Stuff will happen
Al
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
chris mcbrien
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It's interesting to see this thread brought back after so long....it's a great thread and brings up many important factors...one of which is you have to look at every show as if it's going to be your last. In other words, do the very best you can. Also, keep in mind that anywhere from the moments OF the show, to AFTER the show, to MONTHS after the show, you may see things you could improve on...Magic is like a painting that's never completely finished or perfect. Like all art forms we'll always see things that could be better.
I do agree that you should'nt charge anything or very much when you're beginning. I started by offering free shows and now work professionally full-time. It takes lots of work to get to the point where you feel like you've 'ARRIVED' at your destination...aka "I'm comfortable charging this much money and feel I"m worth every penny of it".
Criticism is an integral part of our business, and you have to welcome the "good" and the "negative". However, what we perceive innitially as "negative" may turn into the most important advice of all...
Chris
danryb
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I admit - I havent gone through and read these 3 pages but if there has been one nasty response I ever got it was from a single mother who booked me to perform at her daughters b.day party in her home.
The room was tiny (luckily there was only abbout 8 friends). The only way I could perform was sitting down because there was no space to stand up, she and her friends baby and pram were right behind me, the lighting was very dim and so on went the list.
Now I have a lot of experience ferforming in all sorts of venues - I've performed on yauchts, in windy gardens, ballrooms, stages, in a bus and even in the desert but never have I come across a b.day party like that one.
She expected more for her money than a sit down close up show for her child and she is right but what could I do? take the kids downstairs and outt the building? it just wasnt possible.

enjoy,
Dani the magician
Mike Brezler
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Waynesboro, Pa.
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RideorDie99

I also suffer from shaky hands ALL the time, but mine has been diagnosed as benign hand tremors by my doctor. I take a medicine called Inderal daily,
and I don't suffer from this anymore. If anyone else has shaky hands at other times than being nervous, seeing a doctor could be the answer.

You have received excellent advice from your Café friends. My one bit of advice would be your presentation skills. I know a couple of tricks didn't work correctly and this can happen to anyone. I think the most important thing is if you are entertaining and have great patter, then an error in a trick might be overlooked. I have had tricks not work in the past and I blow it off and tell my audience "that's why they call it magic, it doesn't always work."

I have been lucky and have never had anyone complain about my shows. At the end
I always ask the kids what trick they liked best and I get several answers. I also ask if they didn't like any tricks and 99% of the time they tell me they liked all the magic.

Work on your patter and being an entertaining magician. This will be the difference between being an average magician, or a good magician. I am not saying it isn't important to practice your magic. Afterall, almost anyone can do a self-working magic trick right out of the box. MHO

Mr Mike
chris mcbrien
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I'm going to add this even thought I have added this advice way too many times here. "A magician is nothing more than an actor playing the part of a magician". I'm hoping I got most of Robert Houdin's quote right, here. Just doing tricks out of a box does not make a magician. You could be a sleight's genius and still give a horrific performance. It's your character, your acting ability. I'd be the first to tell you I've been where you are. And I did the right thing. I refunded money, I sat down with my "show" as it was, and realized I WANTED to do better, so I found out how to do so. This seems to be the next step here. Without this first humble step, you won't go any further. You're there for your audience's pleasure, not to impress with "look what I can do".
Chris
graemesd
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Ill second all of the above
I'm not sure about free shows though - I never did a free show when I started out - I tried to act as a professional from the very first show and therfore charged.
I did tell them that I was just starting out and I was also cheaper than anyone around (im now one of the most expensive aparently). I always felt that if you were receiving money then you have a responsibility and an added pressure to perform 110% but a free show could lead to a 'what do you expect for nothing attitude'

I'm not sure ive explained that too well
Billy Bo
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Just wondered how this turned out
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