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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Doing shows for a party business . . . (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Habu
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Veteran user
Texas / Alabama
393 Posts

Profile of Habu
I have a request for advice.

I started posting on this site exactly a year ago today. Some of you (not too many) know my story so far. I joined the Café' after deciding to go back into magic after a long dry spell (pun intended). I had just about gotten my show routine worked out for performances, purchased all the necessary tricks, props and support materials when I had a severe accident (this summer). I am now able to hobble about and continue to work on physical therapy, but am able to practice some and prepare, once again, to get my magic show on its feet.

Now here is where I am asking advice. In the past I went to people’s homes, businesses, and schools, etc for birthday parties or stage shows.

What I am considering now, is to make an arrangement with a local businessman. He is the owner of a movie theater, a go-cart amusement center, and a game room / pizza parlor. I am considering approaching him to see if we can set up a magic party business where I do shows in his game room. Actually I would not do it in the game room itself because of noise and distractions, but am looking at doing it in an adjacent room if he has one.

I like the idea of having a secure place to leave some of my items so I can breeze in, do the show and lock it all back up. I am going to see if we can use a special room with a stage just for the magic shows.

I know some of you have probably dealt with local businessmen and may have things to look out for. If you have any advice that I should consider before I approach him, I'd love for you to share it with me and appreciate any comments that will help me decide if this is the path I want to go . . . before I am locked into some kind of agreement.

Note: I had an arrangement with a party entertainment business in the 1980's where the clown owned the business and booked all parties in his name first, and threw me the bones. It was his business so naturally he took care of himself first, but it was not a good experience. That is why I am getting advice early this time.

Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on this kind of arrangement.

Habu
www.magicbyhabu.com
Real name: Rick Jackson
Habu: Taken from SR-71 spy plane I worked on. It's name came from a poisonous snake on Okinawa. Hope my magic isn't poisonous!
KC Cameron
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Inner circle
Raleigh, North Carolina
1882 Posts

Profile of KC Cameron
Some do it, and it can be quite nice, depending on the deal you strike. he will probably not want to pay anywhere near the going rate, but you won't have travel or set up either.

MOST of the time, they get HS & college students to dress up like a clown. It is not as good a show, but people are not there so much for the clown/magician, but for the other activities.

Personally, if it paid ok, I would think it would be a great gig. I am looking at doing stage shows in places like this too.
MagicSanta
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Inner circle
Northern Nevada
5845 Posts

Profile of MagicSanta
There are lots of things to look at. Do you want to do shows in rooms for reserved birthday parties where the company charges X amount and pays you an agreed upon amount? Or do you want to rent a room and charge for a couple shows a night or on weekends, basically four walling? Is this a place where the same kids show up all the time thus limiting the number of kids who will want to pay extra to see a show after seeing it once. What I mean is if it is a touristy type area you will likely be able to fill up a room, if regulars the pickens get slim quick.

Do a check on Carl Andrews, great magician and an outstanding guy. He use to rent a room at hotels and put shows on, kind of similar to what you may want to do, and he has some booklets on that subject.
Chrystal
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Inner circle
Canada/France
1552 Posts

Profile of Chrystal
Hi,

I did a regular gig at a Children's Amusement place for 2 years a few years ago. The atmopshere was great and the management would turn off the rides for the duration of my show. In my case, I was hired for the weekdays to draw the crowds in, as weekends would have as many as 40 birthdays booked. So from a management perspective they may want to know how you can help/increase their business during their slow time. Something to think about and perhaps be prepared to answer and relay to him.

Here's the possible dilemna: Most often the slow time is during the week and day times when the majority of us are working possibly at other jobs.

At that time I was performing magic full time so welcomed day gigs. The majority of my audience were daycares and preschoolers at this particular place.

You could convince him that performing walk around magic at the Pizza parlor would be beneficial and draw customers in. Not just using a back room for parties but entertaining all his customers. Thus, they may also be able to book you for private birthday parties in the other room you spoke of. So a win win situation for both of you.

I've performed at Movie Theaters too during Customer Appreciation Weeks. Sometimes corporations will rent a movie theater or even Real Estate companies will do that to thank those that did business with them. However, I can also see potential using that stage during non movie time for a magic show.

You should also check out the forum, "Tricky Business" for suggestions on how to approach him from a business standpoint.

Good luck to you
Chrystal
AshleyW
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Regular user
174 Posts

Profile of AshleyW
I have worked restaurants for years and can give a little advice, do NOT promise that you will bring customers in! You will be out of a job in no time when they do not see a significant increase in traffic, because they have not properly promoted you. Only promise that you will be fun, professional, magical and that your magic will be a great ADDITION to his business. A big term in corporate America over the last 10 years is Value Added Mechanisms. Many companies are asking themselves how can we add value to our clients experience with us? A magician is a great V.A.M., and you can promise to enhance the experience of the customers already there.

Present your case to him, bring him lots of referrals that he can call and hand him great reviews from some of your clients and if he seems uninterested, be prepared to give him an example of your skills. Also offer to go on a trial basis if he's still not sure. Ask him for a few weeks trial. During that trial time, when people compliment you, be sure to ask them to let the management know, be honest with them and let them know that management is only trying this out and that you would like to stay. If you can at least get the trial time, the only thing that will convince him to keep you is if the great comments start pouring in. He will then see the VALUE in having you there!

Once he seems serious about keeping you, you will have to work out whether it is going to be by contract or as an employee. There are lots of posts at the Café about contracts. Check those out. I have had business' sign contracts as well as I have been made an actual employee which is nice as well.

Good luck!
Habu
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Veteran user
Texas / Alabama
393 Posts

Profile of Habu
Thank you for the advice everyone. The suggestions seem to be sound advice. I will consider what you have said as I make my plans.

Thanks again,

Habu
www.magicbyhabu.com
Real name: Rick Jackson
Habu: Taken from SR-71 spy plane I worked on. It's name came from a poisonous snake on Okinawa. Hope my magic isn't poisonous!
alexa
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Veteran user
NJ
393 Posts

Profile of alexa
PLease keep us posted! This has given me some ideas to contact similar venues in my area, and I would love to hear how it goes for you!

Good luck,

Alexa
Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
11047 Posts

Profile of Al Angello
Rick
On the surface it sounds like a good idea, but be careful that you are not expected to work for free, or even worse work for exposure. You must also be able to advertise your services for outside of that venue too.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Habu
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Veteran user
Texas / Alabama
393 Posts

Profile of Habu
Thank you Al, good advice about advertising for outside services.

My plan, in general, is to make an arrangement with the owner to include the following.

:formal: To begin on a trial basis to see if I get enough work from it without obligation to work longer.

:formal: To do magic shows at a reduced fee as an add-on for his parties, he can add a surcharge for my services as well--amt to be determined--as part of the total price.

:formal: To provide a 15 min, 30 min or 45 min show. Priced accordingly.

:formal: To reserve the right to distribute handouts advertising my full rate for an in-home show.

:formal: I will also have after show magic gift sets available (need to research the best place for this)--alternatively he may have them available for sale at the counter where the prizes from the games are kept. That is negotiable; I may provide them to him for a slight charge over cost.

It will be made very clear that (other than a possible audition) there will be no free shows. The audition would be comprised of some rope magic and a chair suspension or guillotine, to show magic skill and a wow factor with the illusions. I have plenty of pictures of children's props to show I have what I need for a show.

I will want him to cover the cost of advertising a magician being available for parties, and to have posters and handouts available at the register and possibly on his window front.

I am going to be visiting the location tonight incognito just to double check the lay of the land, and to check about their party packages.

I'll let you know more as it comes together.
www.magicbyhabu.com
Real name: Rick Jackson
Habu: Taken from SR-71 spy plane I worked on. It's name came from a poisonous snake on Okinawa. Hope my magic isn't poisonous!
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