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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » You arrive at the party, and the client tells you to get lost. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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martin king
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This exact same situation happened to me once in over twelve years.

It was a booking through a nightmare of an agency who defended me like as if they were a road...anybody client walk over them (but not the acts)!

A similar situation happened when I refused to enter the house and perform at a party.

The story goes like this...One incredibly full day of bookings, (I'd started early that morning and it was now getting on towards night time.), I arrived at the front door of the house for the very last booking that I had that day, contract in hand, and the man of the house answered the door.

He looked me up and down and told me that he'd booked me as a clown. (I was performing as a magical clown and and as a magician at that very early stage of my business.) I immediately showed him the contract that he'd signed proving that he'd booked me as a magician and not as a clown.

He asked me if I would go away, put my make up on and come back as a clown. Well, the performance was due to start in 5-10 minutes time and putting my make up on would take 30 minutes, so I refused.

He said that he would be prepared to let me perform if I would reduce my fee by 50% due to me not being a clown as he'd asked. (You should know that in those early days my full fee was £25, about $37.) I refused. (I remember my intuition telling me at the time, "That's exactly what he's been trying to get since I've arrived at his front door.")

Well needless to say that, as we couldn't come to a mutual agreement, I refused to perform, said goodbye and went home early!

I'm very glad I didn't because I have a feeling, that if I did concede and put my make up on, he'd have found some other way of paying only 50% of my fee...Either way, one of us would have left with a very bad taste in their mouth.
Ken Northridge
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Atlantic City, NJ
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Quote:
On 2008-11-08 16:18, MagicSanta wrote:
Worse still some of you have the audacity to send those stupid lists on 'how to have a successful party' things. What makes those people experts? Nothing...that is what.


Magicsanta,

I like your post but I'm having a little trouble understanding the above comment.

I began my list of party tips about 14 years ago by using, by his permission, a highly successful birthday magician's list of tips. He compiled his tips from first hand experience performing at thousand of birthday parties. In the past 14 years I have added and refined many tips from my thousands of birthday parties. I consider myself an expert in this field and I use it as a selling tool. When the customer books me they receive "a comprehensive list of party tips from a 30-year veteran."

Is this what you consider audacious?
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
zimsalabim
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This is interesting. I never have had it happen to me but as Donald says I use a conf letter and I call not only a day before the show but even when I am on my way to the show from the car. I keep a pretty steady contact with the client. I am somwhat suprised ot see people here that say I called them a month out and everything was fine. HMMMM.

Z
Joe Zimmer

"The Second Greatest Magician in the World"

Who is the Greatest? Everybody else! Borrowed with respect from the late Great Eddie Fechter Owner of the Forks Hotel

Zimsalabim

Orlando Florida
rick727
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Houston, TX, USA
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I have a performance agreement that I send to the customer. This is a "protected" MS Word file that acts like an electronic form where they have certain fields that they can type into. At the bottom is a place for them to type their name with a clause that states "By entering your name in this above field you agree to electronically signing this document." This way there is no confusion that they are hiring me and agreeing to the terms. I prefer to use this method instead of faxing. Most people have e-mail, few have faxes.

I personally do not like the idea of suing someone. I understand that those who would do it are perfectly within their rights. However, I feel that if it comes to that point it means that I did not do my part right.
Practice what you present.

Present what you practice.
Wanlu
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This happened to me a long time ago...about 18 years ago.

When I got to the party, my agent was at the gate and she told me that I won't be able to perform but no worries because I will still get paid. I asked why, and apparently my pal Lou Hilario will be performing. Smile

The dad booked me...the mom bookked Lou Smile

I was given a table...had dinner while watching Lou's great act...and I went home with my full talent fee Smile
"The Old Path"
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Potty the Pirate
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If this is happening to you a lot, then you need to really question why? There will almost certainly be reasons why you seem to get problems like this a lot. On the other hand, if you think these are isolated incidents, my advice is to swallow your pride, behave in a very dignified manner, and simply accept your loss. Certainly in the latter case. BUT - if someone had booked two entertainers, and then turned one away at the door, that's a bit bloody rich! I would want to know which other entertainer they had booked, and I would hope that if it were another professional entertainer, neither of you would perform unless both received their full fees.
If someone's just got to the party day, and realised they just can't afford your fees, or whatever, I think it makes a lot of sense to be magnanimous, and cut your losses. No point in making a big fuss?
Just my opinion.
MagicSanta
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Ken, I assure you I have no knowledge of you or your list and I've not only never checked anyones web site, including yours, I have absolutely no interest in checking to see your site, assuming you have one, which you likely do. My refernce was to people who do magic shows for kids who think they are adding value when they are actually just being a pain in the arse. Very few mothers think anyone knows more than they do about their kids party. They don't care about a list that says "prepare the food ahead", what? Do you think these people are idiots? I should note that since I tend to confuse you that by saying 'you' I am not refering to you specifically but 'you' in general and you should not take this as a personal attack. I'm sure your list has real value and top secret info etc..

I've seen some of the lists produced by 'experts' here and just laugh, but that isn't an insult to them because many lifted their list from party sites.

Secondary note: The contract thing does not apply to agencies which I think, because of the parties involved, should have conditions in writing just to protect the magician who really isn't involved with the party.

Thirdonary note: Paranoid parents double book because so many kids performers are flakes, don't be a flake.

Fourthanitory note: for those in certain states who don't understand my Southern/Western terminology "donzu be insultin' dem mudders by tellin' demz dey don' know $@#$ 'bout dey boithday pahties"
Dynamike
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Quote:
On 2008-11-07 20:51, MagicSanta wrote:
I had it happen once at a fund raiser for a church. What it turned out was one of the members had a nephew who was a wannabe magician and he was hired over me and no one had the idea to call me. Being a mean mutha I restrained myself and after the punk screwed up his seven minute show I went into the parking lot across the street and put on my show. I got a call that people were asking why they didn't hire me instead...bummer eh? I didn't pursue the money.

Just because it was a church does not mean something can go wrong. Always receive something in writing.
itsmagic
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Interesting thread. Funny story Lou and Wanlu!
Michael Taggert
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I have only been stiffed on a show twice. the first was a "producer" who signed the contracts with my self and all of the others at the festival and then promtly made off with the money. The second was a lady who did not read what she had signed and expected me to provide the party favors presents and decorations for half of my usual fee. after thinking about it with her she had actually hired me thinking I was osmeone else. she eventually paid up. In all of my shows I get an electronicaly signed letter of confirmation (for Birthday partie etc.) or a signed detailed contract for platform shows and larger. I get deposits for the contracted shows but not for birthday parties. I do have parents who wish to pay in advance so I take credt cards over th ephone or checks up to 5 days in advance. This has worked for the past 27 years.
Believe you then that I do strange things
Ken Northridge
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Quote:
On 2008-11-09 16:59, MagicSanta wrote:
Ken, I assure you I have no knowledge of you or your list and I've not only never checked anyones web site, including yours, I have absolutely no interest in checking to see your site, assuming you have one, which you likely do. My refernce was to people who do magic shows for kids who think they are adding value when they are actually just being a pain in the arse. Very few mothers think anyone knows more than they do about their kids party. They don't care about a list that says "prepare the food ahead", what? Do you think these people are idiots? I should note that since I tend to confuse you that by saying 'you' I am not refering to you specifically but 'you' in general and you should not take this as a personal attack. I'm sure your list has real value and top secret info etc..

I've seen some of the lists produced by 'experts' here and just laugh, but that isn't an insult to them because many lifted their list from party sites.

Secondary note: The contract thing does not apply to agencies which I think, because of the parties involved, should have conditions in writing just to protect the magician who really isn't involved with the party.

Thirdonary note: Paranoid parents double book because so many kids performers are flakes, don't be a flake.

Fourthanitory note: for those in certain states who don't understand my Southern/Western terminology "donzu be insultin' dem mudders by tellin' demz dey don' know $@#$ 'bout dey boithday pahties"


MagicSanta,

Thank you for responding. I understand your point better now and I agree there are some pretty lame tips out there. My tips have gravitated toward things that make MY show look better. Perhaps this is a bit self-serving, but hey, it’s business—the better I look the more likely others are to hire me.

One of my tips came after the parents served all the kids soda and cheese doodles 5 minutes into my show. Some of my props are still stained orange! And what about this piñata tradition? How many times have you seen piñata accidents on America’s Home Video’s? Is it really a good thing to teach children to beat the heck out of an animal with a stick until its insides burst with sweet things to eat? Where are the animal right people when you need them?

In other words, Mudders donza always knowsa whatsa besta…. but try to tell them in a nice way. Smile

ku7uk3, sorry for the diversion in topic.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
MoonRazor
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A Contract? So what, are you going to sue them? go to small claims court, get a judgement, then chase them for the $ for the next 24 months. Nope a deposit maybe. but that's just me.
rossmacrae
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Quote:
On 2008-11-11 09:55, MoonRazor wrote:
A Contract? So what, are you going to sue them? go to small claims court, get a judgement, then chase them for the $ for the next 24 months. Nope a deposit maybe. but that's just me.

You may not be willing or able to pursue a birthday mom or picnic-entertainment-lackey through the court system, but the contract will still do most of its job.

Why?

Because THEY DON'T KNOW THAT.

Also, much of the job a contract does is getting the client to actually pay attention to what you're going to do (they tend to imagine you've promised what they only think they've agreed to) and what you need from them (parking, check before the show, rain policy, etc).
Potty the Pirate
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I loves pinatas, but you're right, Ken, they CAN be dangerous. Here are my tips for a safe pinata experience:
A responsible adult should keep the line of kids AT LEAST TEN FEET AWAY from where the pinata will be hanging.
The pinata should be easily lowered and raised, either by a rope over a beam, or by tying it to a broomstick which is held by an adult.
If ANY child crosses the line, apart from the one who's turn it is, the pinata should instantly be lowered, and the game suspended.
TWO pinata sticks are required, so that accidents don't happen in the excitement to transfer the stick to the next child.
Sticks should be held upright at all times, especially when passing them. Holding them horizontally can cause nasty accidents like hitting a kid in the eye (I've seen this happen, OUCH!)
when sweets fall from the pinata, either the kid who made them fall gets them to keep, or I prefer putting them into a big bowl, when the pinata is empty, then the kids can grab their share from the bowl.
All that, and a very alert eye, means you shouldn't have any problems with your pinata.
Kids LOVE this game, so adults just need to be VERY careful.
;)
TommyJ
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I'm with you Ken. I am a full-time professional performer and the only contracts I get is for outdoor events that could be canceled due to rain or large fairs/festivals etc. Birthday parties, it would be more paper work and more of a pain in the a - - to cover yourself in the event that parties are canceled at the last minute. Yes, I have been beaten a couple of times and it does make me angry and it is those times I wish I at least had the 50% deposit to keep for my troubles. But in my mind there is a lot more work involved and more bank book-keeping.
Oh yes, the cheese doodles . . . . I stop Moms in their tracks before a bowl of those things are given to the masses in front of me!! lol
"Keep the Kids Laughing!"
https://www.tommyjamesmagic.com/store
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2008-11-11 07:09, Ken Northridge wrote:
One of my tips came after the parents served all the kids soda and cheese doodles 5 minutes into my show. Some of my props are still stained orange!


You need to use the "dirty hands" towel gag, but with orange handprints instead of black ones. LOL!

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
TommyJ
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I like that Donald lol.
"Keep the Kids Laughing!"
https://www.tommyjamesmagic.com/store
MagicSanta
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Make rules then not tips. Such as 1. kids must be seated not standing. 2. An adult must be present during all times 3. make sure kids hands are clean as they may be asked to handle props as helpers.
Acecardician
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I took a show to substitute for a friend. His wife was face painting and he was to do Balloons. He asked me to fill in just for him and work with his wife. I had another gig but could make it 1/2 hour late.(it was a 3 hour event) He said everything was great and the guy agreed. Nothing in writing, doing a favor for pay. I actually got there early, and went to the corner store to buy H20 and snacks. I pulled up, sat in my car 10 minutes and started to unload 10 minutes early. People were leaving and saying "you are late, you missed it!" I said "NO! I am on time. I unloaded and the big man met me drunk and started yelling and was mad. Well, a friend in AA told me you cannot reason with drunks, so I turned around and left without a word. I know I had lots of recourse. As I sat in the car, this event was on the Navel Base, and I think no one showed up and he was mad, or they all did at the beginning, got what was good and left. Because there was still 2 1/2 hours of the event left. But everyone was gone.
I did not care, it was late in the afternoon and I was glad to leave as I was doing parties all day. By the way, I waited another 1/2 hour, and the face painting wife never showed up. She was stuck in traffic.

I just learned not to take that type of gig.

Now, if you are not one of my regulars, it is contract and deposit!

ACE
MiketheMagicDude
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CT
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Hmmm...I am a performance agreement and deposti kinda guy. And this situation has never happened to me...but it makes me think.

I have my contract worded that the balance is due immediately following the performance. My wannabe lawyer brain says that this might not hold up, because if they stop me at the door, I never would have performed?

Thoughts?

I would also like to say that I think my clients appreciate the contract because it protects them too. Since I started doing them I have had less people call me the week before, two days before the night of and early that morning to make sure I was coming.
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