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p.b.jones
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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I rearly go further than 30 miles and I allow a bit more time then. but most shows are within 10 -18 miles Haverfordwest, pembroke, pembroke dock are about 10 miles away and normaly that takes 10 -15 mins Tenby is about 16 miles and takes 20 -25 mins
At sensible speeds.
Phillip
kaznzak
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Australia
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We are magic clowns and offer two packages only - 1 1/2 hours and two hours, although we are very flexible if parents have other requirements. We offer magic, balloons, games and face painting and have prices for over and under 25 children (over 25 children and we use two clowns).
All children get a prize, Birthday child gets a b'day present and photos are taken with the birthday cake.
Distances are a major issue for us as we often have to travel 50 - 70 kilometres between parties. Also clowns do not have the luxury of arriving 30 minutes early and having a cup of tea - once the children spot you you are on so it best to arrive only 10 minutes before hand to give a bit of setting up time.
We don't offer any "added extras" - I think we do enough really and know from expereince that we would not have the time or resources to do it properley. A word about jumping castles - I hate them! We often arrive at parties to find a jumping castle in place and competing with the castle is a pain!
Our parties are certainly busy and full, and the children are well entertained. Because of our climate we are almost always outdoors and in the summer this can be very draining when there is no shade - three jobs in a day is the most we will book, and allowing about 45 minutes to an hours driving between jobs that makes it a pretty full day!
Cheers
Kaz Smile
p.b.jones
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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I hate them! We often arrive at parties to find a jumping castle in place and competing with the castle is a pain!

Hi,
I do not find them a pain at all, I just get them turned off before I start.
I have never had anyone object. I simply explain that it will be a distraction and that the pump will drowned my voice. The one thing I have found over the years that really impoves your show and how you look to your clients is as much as you can sorting out your working conditions yourself.Polightly of course
Phillip
Andy Wonder
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Auckland, New Zealand
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I quite often have all the children sitting inside a bouncy castle to watch the show.
Smile
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
DavidEscapes
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Hi

On the subject of balloons. A couple of folk here have mentioned selling balloons, or limiting them to 100 animals before starting to charge. I used to work pretty much soley as a mix and mingle entertainer, taking ballons, stilts, unicycle, juggling stuff etc to break the day up. And I always thought, and still do, that no matter how many ballons I made that it was what I was there for. Sometimes I would go through 5 bags a day. Thats 500 balloons for those not in the know Smile

The cost of that, about £20, my fee, £150 plus travel, it is a bit higher now. I also made a point of refusing tips and pointed those nice enough in the direction of a charity box or the like. At the start of my career that was £130 a day, easy money!

I still don't care how many balloons I go through, it seems to me that we are there for that purpose. Balloons are cheap at about £3.50 per hundred, but we are not at around £200 per day. on that basis alone I would disagree with anyone charging extra for them. It seems to be built into the price from where I sit.

I also like arrive no less than 30 minutes early, most agents seem to demand it these days anyway.

have fun

Duncan
David Victor - The artist formally (and still occasionally) known as David Straitjacket.

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Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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Yep, the bouncy castle has to be deflated. Although if the kids are only there the same amount of time as us we make sure they use the jumper as of course they have paid good money for it. Balloons, we blow them up electronically and bag them. (We get ours at £3.45 + Vat by the way Duncan from Rainbow at Alderley Edge). We give them all (about 16 a party) to the birthday child. If they want to pass them on then fine. We personally could not sit comfortably selling them as extras at private parties, but if we did fetes, fairs etc. (which we don't) we would sell them. Appreciate your point on arrival times as a clown Kaz (do you ever have any hassle on the road in outfit and makeup?). Re: travelling times. We used to travel 4 hours either way to the English East Coast to do a 45 minute marionette cabaret spot (crazy days!) - Best Wishes, Tony. Smile
DavidEscapes
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Hi

I get mine at the Alderly edge shop too. Though I don't go there much anymore as I rarely do kids stuff these days. Used to be a good living for me busking them in Stockport, boy did I go through a LOT of balloons doing that!

I would pay more for the balloons in that shop just for the pleasure of playing with the dog there. He is fantastic!

Duncan
David Victor - The artist formally (and still occasionally) known as David Straitjacket.

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SpiffnikHopkins
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I've found this works great as an upsell: Balloons, a pump, and a short book on how to twist. Buy in bulk and mark them all up.

~Spiff
p.b.jones
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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Hi,
I buy my balloons from Qualltex (poineer Europe the address is on the back of the ballons) I buy bags of 250 7.15 less 10 % because I buy in boxes of 5,000 £6.43 for 250 + vat or that works to £2.57 per 100 +vat
£3.01 per 100 invlusive of vat
Phillip

Hi,
I notice that I do not make upsells the way most here seem to. I do not sell balloons, bags , ext

But rather offer different entertainment packages. even if if someone says that they want balloons for the 300 kids at the school (I have done this) I tell them fine and would quote them my fee for an additional 3 Hours.
Phillip
Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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Thanks for info. Phillip. Yes, we get the Qualatex magazine through the post, but would not buy 5000 a time in case we hit a 'bad batch' as you know is sometimes possible. The guy we now buy off offers a good discount - incidentally he is from USA and was one of the first to bring the helium balloon idea to UK 20 - odd years ago! Smile
p.b.jones
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Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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Hi,
I Have never had a bad batch. if i did I would complain, they are date stamped and I store them correctly, also 5000 does not last me very long.
Phillip
JSMagic
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Boston
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Hi- I suggest selling a little kit of easy magic. Sell them seperate for a smaller price and together for a little discount price. A few good ones that are easy are profesors nightmare and the Svengali. JSMagic
If a magician is not intending to "trick" a spectator, why is every "trick" called a magic "trick"?
Dynamike
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My 1 hour package is a magic show. My two hour package is magic, face painting and ballons scluptures. Ask the patron if they want the show video taped also. I place a camcorder in the corner if they want a taping of the show. I don't charge much because the tape isn't professional quality.
I give them the tape before I leave.

I do mention I'll take pictures for free. In a few days I'll send back all the pictures. I will edit some. Send them back in small 1" thumbnails on one sheet of photo paper. Of course they will want them larger. So include a business card of your photo service also. They will call about the price of having copies enlarged.

Ask permission about selling magic tricks after the party. Explain the birthday person will get $1 of each trick sold. Sell cheap tricks.

It's best to hire someone that can help you with your props. Especially if you have several shows to do that day.

Merry Christmas to all. Smile
Starrpower
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I have two birthday party shows.

#1 - Basic party. Birthday kid gets a big balloon sculpture (a 7-balloon bunny, which I incorporate into the show) plus a "free" magic trick.

#2 - Same as party #1, but they get one of my magic t-shirts that I have all the guests sign (nice souvenir), a "magic bag" of tricks rather than just one trick, and balloons for the entire brood (up to 12. I charge additional for more than 12 balloons, figuring each sculpture adds 2-3 minutes by the time the kid makes a decision and I make the balloon, as well as extras for the "poppers".)

The t-shirt, tricks and balloons make a nice upsell.
rossmacrae
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Arlington, Virginia
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So MANY different approaches, all (well, most) very good!

I really must start offering balloon-sculpture-for-everybody as an add-on. <any MANY callers ask me "do you do balloons," and I think I'd better rethink my policy. I don't do it as a standard part of the show because the kids get so BORED! And they only lasty about 5 minutes before the kids break 'em and come back whining for a replacement.

As for the other items, I have some thoughts: see http://www.goodmagic.com/magic/goodie.htm
Andy Wonder
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Quote:
On 2004-10-02 15:36, rossmacrae wrote:
I don't do it as a standard part of the show because the kids get so BORED!


Kids love watching balloons. I would not know how to make them boring. Balloons or tricks of course are never entertaining on their own; it is what you do with them. With all my balloon gags and bits of business I could easily use up 20 minutes of my show in 1 balloon routine.

What you do have to be careful with is they encourage greed. Greed is a negative state that is too easy to stir up in kids and get out of control. Try and use their greed to your advantage by having the balloons as bribes for the behavior you want or as a tool to make sure they all want to take away your promotional material.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Starrpower
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Boring? Well, ya gotta add "schtick" to 'em! Snapping fingers and air squirting out and balloons flying across the room after being "accidentally" released is entertaining!

As for greed, yes, that can be a problem. I make a big sculpture for the b-day kid, and some other obnoxious brat wants one, too. I kindly explain, "That's a psecial treat for the birthday child. When you have your parents invite me to *your* party, you'll get a big one, too." Yep, it will get you bookings ...

As for popping, I make sure the b-day mom expects this at the end, and has a "safe" place for the balloons. Then, I haul ass outta there as soon as the last ballon is made, before the popping starts!
NJJ
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Quote:
On 2002-11-15 06:07, Peter Marucci wrote:
Sheesh!
Why not just bring a gun and hold up the household?
Are we THAT desperate for money that we would use magic as merely a sales tool?
In doing birthday parties (which I have been doing since the Dead Sea was only sick!), I tell the hostess (usually the mother) that the show runs a certain length and costs a certain amount. In addition, all the kids get a balloon animal at the end, with the birthday boy or girl getting a multi-balloon creation; as well, he or she gets a magic birthday card (with my business info on it) and a magic-trick birthday present (from the dollar store).
But I most certainly do NOT charge extra for this, or expect a tip, or anything else that could be construed as "hidden charges".
Sure, you might make a few extra bucks by peddling something to the kids or parents; but, for them, that is an unexpected charge and, while they may go along with it, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
And what about the kids who don't have any money with them, or whose family can't afford the extras?
Do you just leave them disappointed because you are so busy lusting after the almighty dollar?
Shouldn't magic be used for a somewhat higher purpose -- say, for example, to bring a little joy into people's lives?
Sorry for the lengthy rant but this is a subject I feel strongly about!
Smile


I'm with you Peter for the most part.

If its all about the money then quit magic and go into real estate!

I COULD stay for 2 hours and do an extra hour of games, jumping castles activities, party food etc....but then I wouldn't be a magician. Just a guy running the party.

In any case, I make far more money staying for one hour (TOPS) and making my show better.

Sure, I do balloon animals as a part of the show and I give out colouring sheets but I don't want to become a party supply company!
Starrpower
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Magic is a good way to make some money, too. I'm all for bringing joy into people's lives, but the people I want to enjoy life most is my family, and money sho' do help!

A friend of mine pulled in over $800 with a "Blade Box" blowoff two nights ago (you read that correctly.) He does it during intermission -- it was so busy he had to close it down, finish the show, and bring the box back out at the end to accomodate the balance of the guests.

So tell me, Peter, if that many people *want* to see it, perhaps it *is* providing some joy to them (and making a happy dollar at the same time!)

As for your initial question, holding up the household with a gun would be in poor taste.
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