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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Helping hands » » Getting an Assistant (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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joshlondon17
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San Diego, CA
685 Posts

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With all the great help I've been getting in this forum, I'll ask another question:

I am going to need an assistant or 2 to do an illusion show. My idea is to use 1 assistant (and have her be the lead assistant) and have her help me with my current shows, that way she can get a feel for the show, how I work, travelling, etc.

Then, slowly rehearse illusions with her, choreography, etc.

Is this a good idea?

How much do I pay her for rehearsals, shows, etc?

Do I need a contract?

As you can see, I have no idea how this works working with someone else, so any thoughts or ideas could help me.

Thanks!
Josh London
DanielSteep
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Inner circle
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So far, yes, good idea... Where are you getting her from?

My girl gets $$ for rehearsals and shows, and it depends on what the girl agrees to...

We have a contract.
joshlondon17
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San Diego, CA
685 Posts

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I put an add on http://www.CraigsList.com and a few girls have contacted me.

Can you PM me with what's on the contract and how much $$, etc?
ClintonMagus
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Southwestern Southeast
3999 Posts

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Man, that's a lot easier than looking for your own dates!
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
joshlondon17
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San Diego, CA
685 Posts

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It is, and it's free!

They even send their measurements, head shots, full body shots, etc.

The Internet is wonderful!

Josh London
Marshall Thornside
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chicago
2016 Posts

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When I was three, I got ten percent.
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magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

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In my case, I lucked out. I married my assistant. Now, she is my partner on and off the stage. It works for us, and I am grateful for that. Smile

Kyle
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Father Photius
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El Paso, TX (Formerly Amarillo)
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Yes, if you are lucky to get a Nani, Gay, or Pam, by all means, sign her to a lifetime contract before some other magician steals her away. (Are you listening, Mark? One false move and Nani is all mine!) We used to contact model agencies or dance programs at colleges / Jr. colleges. Often easy to find a limber girl who already can dance and is pretty well trainable. Local model agencies abound in most fair-sized cities, and you can generally get a girl at far below the cost of a supermodel. But the Phys. Ed program at a local college had a dance program, and we found willing, eager, and inexpensive assistants until the show picked up.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Lusion
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Well, you can make all sorts of contracts. My assistants know what my show is about, and the rehearsals are not paid. They are getting exposure, but they will get paid for each show they do, anywhere from $125 to $250. PM if you want to see the contract that I use to this day.
itsmagic
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middle earth
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I'd be interested to see how much an assistant earns. Consider minimum wage is going to be $8/hr. An assistant should get more than this.
DAVE_ATLAS
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Morganville, NJ
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My assistants get $11 hourly for rehearsals and $500 per show. They also filled out all the standard employment forms and an NDA. I am using girls I found while working at Six Flags, but Craig's List is great. You can also look into getting an audition listing in Backstage.

-Dave
videokideo
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I always got local girls from the college theater department looking for exposure. I would pay them a flat fee per show, and that fee included one rehearsal per week.

Find a girl who is more focused on the show and exposure, and less on the money. I usually paid mine 25% of the contract. I only had one.
joshlondon17
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San Diego, CA
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I think that I'll pay her a flat fee for the rehearsal and show. I'll try to rehearse with her a week or 2 before the show. I'm planning on having 2-3 whom I can change in and out depending on their availability, who I like more, etc. for my shows to start out.

They'll be basically assisting me during my trade shows, corporate shows, etc., then we'll focus on the illusion show in a few years.

How do I go about choreography? I don't know how to dance, move... I can barely walk and talk at the same time.

Do I find a dance teacher at the college or yellow pages?

This is really helping me, thank you!

Josh
videokideo
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Once again... I focused on finding a girl in the department who had some dance background. You don't have to be like so many illusionists out there who incorporate dance. Peter Gossamer is a good example. His assistant dances, but he doesn't. Yet, it still works. Personally, I get tired of seeing dance fever before every illusion. Just come up with a theatrical storyline with a bit of movement and get right into the illusion. Just a thought...
Dave Scribner
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Assistant Manager
Lake Hopatcong, NJ
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Josh, you don't have to be an accomplished dancer, but it wouldn't hurt to take a theater or dance class at a local school to learn how to move on stage. You can have the best show around, but if you move across the stage like a bull in a china shop, the mood is lost. Having a reason to be where you are, a reason for moving somewhere else on stage, and knowing how to get there will impress your audience.

I don't dance either, but I learned how to make a correct gesture, which leg to move for accents, and how to hold myself in an assertive manner. If you hire a dancer to assist you, she should be able to help you in that regard. It's not necessarily choreography, but just a demeanor and presentation skill.
Where the magic begins
fefe_fontane
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Dallas/Los Angeles
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I would be interested in assisting you. I'm going to be in CA beginning June 3rd. Private message me, and we can talk more.

As far as dance goes, don't you worry about it. Yes, eventually you need to probably take some classes, but only to make sure that you move comfortably on stage, not necessarily dance. It is always a plus, though, if you can potentially do a dance with your lead assistant. I taught the magician I recently worked with to dance slightly. The act was amazing because of the chemistry between us. I'm a choreographer and dancer. If you have ANY questions, please contact me...I'd love to talk more with you about this.
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Lusion
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590 Posts

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Fefe,
Nice, I remember reading your resume a few months ago when we were looking for an assistant for our traveling show. Very nice.
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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Dance classes will help, BUT more important is "purposeful movement". This is very important.

Think of it like this... Ever watch a ventriloquist, and it looks like the dummy is watching a tennis match with the head whipping back and forth, then watch a vent whose dummy looks like he is talking with people? That difference is stunning. Your actions on stage need to have purpose. It is tough.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
chmara
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Tucson, AZ
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Why limit yourself to female assistants? Stan Kramien, for years, used men who would also be able to do the heavy lifting during set-up and knock down --- and look at Bev Bergeron's career.

There are many famous and working husband and wife acts, BUT I think that Pam Thompson said it best when she said that if their work would be together on stage, she must get billing before the marriage. She did ----- "and Company".

One potential downside of hiring "an assistant" is romantic or sexual involvement can not only lead to marriage (and there are many happy ones in the business) it can also devastate an act or the lives involved.

One friend in magic hired an assistant who, with her application, proved she was employable and of age to travel with the show. After he and she became involved off the stage, it was learned she was employed on forged documentation and was underage (17). Other parts of the situation finally wound up with him (and I feel unjustly) convicted of "statutory rape" and spending the rest of his life as a registered sex offender.

If you are on the road with an assistant of the opposite sex, make sure you use and document separate living facilities, have adequate dressing rooms, etc. Ensure you document and pay their expenses in a business-like manner to avoid any contention later....and make sure you clearly identify and/or qualify whether they are an employee or a contract performer for taxes, workman's comp, etc. As David Kotkin does, get legal documentation of signed and enforced confidentiality and trade secret agreements.

In other words, an assistant is a professional relationship that must be clearly defined.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ



C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
Lusion
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Dave, you really got big bucks!! And you must have a huge show! You pay your assistants $500 per show! With my show, I would be paying out $2000 for 3 days worth of work for each assistant, and I have 4!!! LOL I couldn't do that. I would really like to know how large your venue is and your price per ticket, you have a lot of overhead. Dave, your pay is more than what Criss Angel paid his assistants when he had his B-Way show. I could not even think of going that high; that's too far out of the norm, in my opinion. There's too many other things that has to be shelled out for a show, I think.
Justin
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