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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Showcasing (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

KeirRoyale
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Denver, CO
550 Posts

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I am looking for showcases for performing arts theaters. Specifically a showcase where you can perform for a crowd of potential theater represenatives that can hire you for their theater. Does anyone know of any?
Starrpower
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Inner circle
4070 Posts

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Nope ... but I know of people who have put on their own, and invited agents and others whom they were interested in working for. One in particular I know of had the advantage of knowing a LOT of people in the business, so he had a great turnout. Seems a bit risky to me, but the risk takers usually are the most successful.

NACA, of course, has showcasing at their conventions (though it generally takes some time and commitment before being allowed to showcase) and most fair conventions also have showcasing. I've never heard of comparable shows for theater owners, but why not call a few theater people and see if they have anything of this sort?
icentertainment
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Inner circle
1429 Posts

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It doesn't have to be risky.

What I would suggest is you put on a public show and then set aside good seats and invite agents, so therefore the public is paying for the room hire.

Go one step more and get 3 acts that do not conflict with each other to help market the show and do say 25 minutes each and remember to video it so you can place on DVD and send to those who couldn't make it.

Very simple in theory. In practice you'll need to do your homework and find out who your customers are and then invite them. Call them up first and find out if they would be interested in coming along. If they all say no then you've saved yourself cash but have a huge list.

I am currently selling a public show and have gone to the local shops and asked if I can place an A3 poster up in their shop and it really surprised me when they said yes.

What you could do is get a story in the local paper and announce your sponsors and when I say sponsor all they are really doing is allowing me to place a poster in their shop.

I also have flyers which I hand out at public places such as train stations early in the morning and petrol stations and ATM's and all the community boards around my area. It's great and very cost effective Flyers and a few posters that cost $2 each flyeras are B/W very simple.

I think one thing that has clicked with me is that you have to rely on yourself completely to get the work and to get noticed.

I knew it before but it really has sunk in that you've got to do your homework and study who you want to invite.
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
7424 Posts

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Well, such a thing exists. I know of two showcases / organizations here in B.C. One is more slanted towards school shows (block bookings by school district representatives), and another more slanted towards theatres, etc. John Kaplan recently booked a large number of school shows in our province from showcasing at one of these events.

It is more of a rarity that magicians / illusionists be allowed to showcase / get booked via these events. Sometimes they don't consider our art to be artistic enough. You will need to do the right things, over a number of years, to be invited.

You have to do your homework. In your direct mail and phone call approaches to customers in these venues, if you follow the rabbit trails, some customers will start telling you about them, and how to get in touch with them. Because some prefer to do their bookings that way.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Bridgewater
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North Carolina
184 Posts

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Every large city has theaters which book a variety of performing arts shows over the course of a year.

Why not contact the booking manager of a similar venue in Denver and ask him how they select acts for their annual schedule? There are showcases for those looking to work the college circuit and also for those looking to work community festivals (I don't recommend the latter. The showcase, that is. Working festivals is fine).
"Don't run with those..."
London
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U.S.A.
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There is the APAP Assn. Performing Arts Presenters. Not sure of any contact info but it was mentioned to me by a theatre owner. It may be worth looking into.
THOUGHTfully,

LONDON
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
20518 Posts

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You usually book theater work once you have done theater work.

Dosn't really matter what theater it is actually. I worked a small community theater in Arkansas. about 750 seats at best. Word got out from board members who are on other theater boards and so on. Pretty soon I was being deluged with offers to do their theater.

I can't do any of them, but once you do crack the nut, it really has a LOT inside.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
DanielSteep
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1409 Posts

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Up here in Canada we have Fallen Rock Production in Toronto. My friend just got done there doing Grease and she got scouted by many talent agents.
TheDean
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Reno, Nevada
2164 Posts

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The APAP convention is past for this year, but is worth checking into for many reasons...
Dean Hankey, *M.D. - The Dean of Success Solutions!
Serving & Supporting YOU and Your Success!
"Book More Shows... Make More Money... SERVE MORE PEOPLE! - Not Necessarily In That Order…"

(*Marketing Doctor) Smile
London
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U.S.A.
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THOUGHTfully,

LONDON
Yellowjacket
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Wisconsin
159 Posts

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Kier,
Although it sounds like a great idea, it has very little chance of working for you. I will explain why. I have done many showcases, from NACA, APCA, small theater groups, resorts, fair & festival, to corporate buyers. Each group has its nuances.

The toughest of these groups is the one you asked about. For the simple reason, magic is not looked at in high regard in the performing arts theater arena. Let me explain. Magic is a variety act and for most theater buyers is not what they consider a theatrical art. Don’t get me wrong there are a few who have made it, but the majority of them have failed. They are looking for acts that emphasize artistic expression and not a Vegas-ee variety piece. Jugglers, Magicians, Vents all have a very hard time breaking into this market. You would have to show why your act is not like every other magic act.

It will not matter if you have the best manip-dove-illusion act around. To them, you are just another magician. You would have to come across with a very unique approach to attract them. Even after you establish that they will first review all acts on tape/DVD. So you better have your hottest 3 mins ready that say what your act is about. And you need to have an impressive promo pack.

If you make if past that part of the test, then you will do a 20 minute showcase. Now, showcasing is an art unto itself. I have seen many very good acts bomb their showcase because they did not design a showcase act. You can not simply just go up and do 20 minutes of your act. Well you can… but it probably won’t work. A showcase act should be a show unto itself and not bits and pieces of a bigger show. It took me a couple of years to really learn how to showcase properly.

I remember one year I and another magician did 3 showcases in the course of two months. His show was pretty good, but he did not know how to showcase. After each convention I would book 8 – 12 shows and he would book 1 or 2. He was getting really upset and blamed everything and everyone except himself for not understanding how a showcase should be. I did not see him the following year.

You very seldom see magicians in the performing arts theater showcases. I would suggest you take Dannny Doyle’s advice and book yourself into one and make it successful. Trust me, other theaters will take notice… (and make sure they do) and it will make it easier for you to book others. It is never easy to break into a new market, but one thing is for sure, it will take work. Trust me… most of the time you will find that the magician in front of you made your work harder.

Good Luck,

Yellowjacket
NormanMagic!
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Portland, Maine
15 Posts

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Its hard, but not impossible.

Check out:

http://www.westarts.org/ = Western Alliance of Arts, Showcase is every September

http://www.artspresenters.org = Association of Performing Arts Presenters

There also are consortiums that hold showcases like:

http://www.ncpresenters.org/
http://www.oapn.org/
http://www.swpap.org/

There are also lots more, that you can look into. I am a current member of APAP and the WAA and I see a few magicians like the Spencers in the magazines, and mailing lists frequently. There are also lots of Vaudeville acts like Lazer Vaudeville, Fred Garbo, Avner the Eccentric, The Passing Zone, and many more working this field.

Good Luck and don't let anyone stop you.
keithmagic
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There is a decent book out there on this kind of stuff by Rena Shagan called Booking and Tour Management for the Performing Arts. It is available on Amazon.

Back in college it was a text for our "Entertainment On The Road" class. I used some of her advice as a foundation for developing some of my fair and festival tour stuff.

Keith
Author of "The Festival Entertainer" The Professional Entertainer's Guide to Booking and Working Outdoor Fairs, Festivals, and Events.
Available at http://www.howtobookfestivals.com
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