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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » The biggest gig I never got. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Bill Hilly
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In early May I got phone message from a woman who said, "I'm looking for someone who is exactly you." You can probably think of all the things that were going through my head. All she left was her name and phone number.

A Google check of the phone number listed a TV production company in North Carolina. When I called her back, she said she needed a birthday magician for about a dozen small children - IN 3 DAYS!

She said she saw my web site but she apparently missed the facts that I am not a magician, don't do home birthday parties, and don't travel outside of PA.

When I told her that, and the fact that wasn't available on that date anyway, she said something to the effect of "This isn't a typical birthday party. We want a full stage show."

I asked her were she was and she told me her office was in NC but the party was in Reading, PA, about 300 miles from me. That was pretty much it.

I told a friend about it a week or so later she asked me what the woman's name was. All I could remember was either Susan or Suzanne. She told me that party was for a TV show called "John & Kate & 8" and the woman is one of the producers. I only got 2 channels (before the conversion, now I get 1) so I have no idea what that is, but apparently it's a popular cable show with a lot of drama, nasty mother, wimpy father and 8 very young kids.

She saw the show with the party, said the magician wasn't good and the mother was very unhappy. Oh well. Glad I ain't wasting my money on cable.

Beano
Decibel33
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If I were presented with the opportunity to do a show for a television show, I'd say no. Wouldn't matter if the gig was next door.
Al Angello
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Wow
I am a regular watcher of the show, and live about 30 miles from John and Kate. National exposure, with the number one couple in the tabloids, an opportunity of a lifetime, I would jump at the chance.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
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"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
RJE
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I'm with you Al.

Adding a credit to your bio of an internationally recognized television program would only hurt if you sucked during the performance. And even then possibly, only if you sucked and the potential client actually saw the clip.
Al Angello
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Rob
That offer smells like MONEY to me, and the guy they got did not have enough sense to show up in costume. That fool showed up in a T shirt, and chewing gum. Hoochy coochy
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Stevethomas
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However, with editing, even if you were fantastic during the performance, they can make you look inept. They could also make a bad performer look good, too.

Steve
magicmanfrank
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That's true, Steve!

Ah...the Magic of Hollywood!
The Early Bird may get the Worm, but it's the SECOND Mouse that gets the CHEESE!!!



Frank Thurston

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https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Magic-of-Frank-Thurston/116625117910?ref=nf
Al Angello
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If you put highlights of my show into 20,000,000 homes with those 8 children it is a no brainer for me.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
0pus
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I really thought the producers wanted Kate to be highly critical of the magician. That would preclude highlights of the act in favor of "low lights." Hey, it's TV. Birthday party magicians are geeks and worthy of disdain.
Alikzam
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A full stage show? From what I remember of the show clip, the birthday party was held at a park under a gazebo... She was trying to set you up from the start! haha.
Al Angello
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"John & Kates favorite magician"

That sure sounds like a reputation that I would like to have from coast to coast.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Jeff Haas
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Al, I don't know if that's how it would've turned out. Have you read any of the articles on "America's Got Talent" and the stories the contestants tell? It sounds to me like the John & Kate producers were intentionally looking for someone that would produce a train wreck for them. It's reality TV...it's always better for ratings if they have a disaster.
Al Angello
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OK Jeff
I guess that it would be best to hear the offer first.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
RJE
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I didn't see the show, but I don't think they were trying to set up a magician to make ratings. C'mon you guys. Really?

Full stage show. What does the booker know about what is or what isn't a full stage show. This term on its own is very subjective. A competent magician would have asked what they were looking for! What is the venue? Indoor? Outdoor? Stage or platform? How big? Number of people being entertained? Ages of audience? Access to electricity etc, etc, etc..... then you show up with the appropriate show and equipment. That's what PRO's do! If you do all that and the show is still a flop, then maybe you shouldn't be attempting those types of shows.

I may be hanging an innocent man, but from what I heard, it was the magician's fault. He set himself up to look less than competent. I'd still take the job and let the parnoid stay at home. Smile

And if this is the case:

QUOTE: "It sounds to me like the John & Kate producers were intentionally looking for someone that would produce a train wreck for them. It's reality TV...it's always better for ratings if they have a disaster."

Then they got the right guy and a decent magician with a decent reputation never would have got the call.
Bill Hilly
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Since I wasn't available I didn't ask too many questions. I was curious about why a TV producer was calling me and not telling me anything up front about the gig.

I have a few friends in NC and was a little skeptical that I was being pranked.

But from what I've read about the show, I'm just as glad I didn't take it. And as I said, I'm not a birthday party magician anyhow. I use magic in my educational programs, and since 1972 have been a working musician.

I can see both points, and if I'd have known better I would have let you know about it Al. I'm sorry I didn't.

Beano
Decibel33
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Al,

No offense but I think you're looking through a pair of rose colored glasses. Easy come, easy go. That's just the way it goes.
Al Angello
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Decibe33
To poo poo the job without listening to the offer is self defeating. I did not quit my day job so I could sit on my hands.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
RJE
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Beano,

You weren't available so you didn't take the show. That makes perfect sense and that point cannot be argued.

Decibel33, Al is stating what many pro's work towards, a chance for some real exposure to possibly be able to open more doors and bring their act to the next level. It is a no brainer to any pro with any experience to showcase yourself where the potential for increasing your business greatly is offered.

Pat and I do not do children's birthday party shows. Our show is larger and suited for stage, festival, fairs, resorts etc.... However, if we had got that call and were available, you can be sure we would have taken the job and put together the absolute best children's birthday party show that you'd ever seen.

This is not a case of "easy come, easy go." Most magicians will NEVER get an offer like that in their career!
Al Angello
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Rob
It is good to know that I am not the only one who has both feet planted firmly on the ground. If you give me the opportunity of a life time I will sieze it.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Kent Wong
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This gig could have been a dream come true or a performer's worst nightmare. For many of us, performing for kids is easy. Outdoor show? No problem. Under a gazebo? Let me at it. But ... when you suddenly throw in a full network television production and camera crew, the BEST magicians can turn cold. Suddenly, your angles are off, your timing stinks, and your show is no longer your show.

That's because a 3 minute lead up into a 20 second trick just won't play for a television audience. If you don't know this in advance, you will have a producer suddenly asking you "What other tricks do you have?" And you wind up having to change your show on the spot. I've seen many fellow magicians make this mistake and, unfortunately, they come out looking less than spectacular.

To take on a gig like this, you have to realize at the time of booking that your regular show won't cut it. It will need to play larger and quicker, with more pizzaz, and the effects need to be as angle proof as possible. In other words, television really does demand more of a "stage" production. Having made several such appearances, I'll be the first to admit that these gigs are not easy; but they can be a lot of fun if you know what to expect and prepare for them properly.

Kent
"Believing is Seeing"
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