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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » I passed on this. What would you do? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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RJE
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Just to give a reference to my point of view, Pat and I do not do children's birthday party shows. That being said, I would have suggested Neale did the show and here's why.

When many potential clients approach an agent, they haven't a clue what they are looking for or what they are going to get. True, some call the agent with a specific request for a certain act or performer or genre, but many do not. They have a function, special event, party, etc.... and they are looking for some entertainment and the agent's expert advice on what is available.

Typically, the client's primary concerns are the cost to them for the entertainment, whether or not the entertainment can fill a specific time requirement and are they any good. Given this type of inquiry, the agent is then left to offer the client options of what they can provide; magician, juggler, face painter, vent, etc.... The client then asks questions that may or may not show any knowledge of the industry and makes their decision.

Often, at this point, the client has no idea who is going to show up at their door because the agent still has to check on the availability of the act(s) they suggested that might be suitable for the client.

At this time too, the client may ask what the performer does, but just as often they do not understand the answer unless it is generic; they do lots of jokes, they get the kids up and do magic with them, they have a live rabbit, they sing songs etc....

What it comes down to, more often than not, is that the client is really asking, "Do you have someone that you can send to my kid's party for 60 minutes that is an entertainer?"

So the request Neale got is typical or to be expected. In fact, I don't even see it as an insult to Neale or performers. The only difference I see is in its blunt truthfulness.
Cesar Munoz
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I turn down shows all the time--when the FIT is wrong. My "ideal customer profile" is an audience comprised primarily of 4-9 year olds. That's it. If they are within my driving range and willing to pay my fee, THEY QUALIFY. Buyers will often disguise what they REALLY want, in order to put downward pressure on a fee. Agents are masters at this, as they get to keep the difference between your fee and what the customer pays. If your "instinct" sent you a danger signal, then you should be mindful of that. But, EVERY person who hires a children's entertainer has the secondary (or primary) goal of getting the children sitting down in a controlled environment for an hour, so that in itself shouldn't prevent you from taking a show. If you’re not the right performer for them, they will disqualify themselves by not hiring you.
Red Shadow
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We should also not forget that this enquiry came through an agent. You should never turn down agent work because they often get your more work in the future. But if turn them down for one show, that's the last you will most likely hear from that agent. They'll just continue through their books, find someone who will do the job and just call that entertainer in the future.

You should always stay on good terms with agents if you want to continue working with them, even if it means doing the occasional babysitting job. It will pay for itself in the long-run.
Gordyboy
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Neale, I would have referred it to me ;-)

Sorry, for the right price, I'll babysit, and probably have a blast doing it.
The Great Gordini

http://www.MagicCanada.ca
Neale Bacon
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This same customer also emailed me directly, trying for a better price, so my agent was not unhappy with me but with this customer. (I told the agent about them contacting me)

Ultimately it comes down to fit or comfort. Yes, I could have just sucked it up and done the show just for the money, but that's not what I am about.

I have bills to pay too, but I also have to look at myself in the mirror. If I feel people are being disrespectful to me or my art, I will pass.

If you guys want to be a babysitter, knock yourselves out.

I guess what I have really learned here is to keep my questions to myself.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
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Canada's Favourite Family Ventriloquist
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Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2009-11-26 01:19, Jeff Haas wrote:

They probably would have taken anyone who would have agreed to do the show as long as it fit into their budget.


Right. Good point.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
TonyB2009
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I will take any gig. Just because the booker is not specific about what they want doesn't show disrespect for what you do. Also, I am not worried about whether an adult is in the room or not (aside from the obvious safety of the kids aspect). I am quite happy to work in a room close to where the adults are, so that they know they can look in on my at any time and check that nothing is going on that should not be going on.

The only time I will turn down work is when someone tries to go behind the bookers back and book me direct for cheaper. That is a disloyalty to the agent, and I always say no - through the agent you contacted orginally, or you don't get me. Apart from that, I say yes to everything - and I mean everything.
ERIC
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[quote]On 2009-11-26 11:22, ku7uk3 wrote:

Look at it this way, instead of turning the work down because you thought it was a babysitting job, why not charge the client double. If they book you, and you end up babysitting - at least your getting paid handsomely for it. They might be looking for the cheapest, but you've left the option for them, and not just turn them down outright.

[quote]
That is exactly what I would have done and advised. If they still booked, your making out, If not, Oh well.
keeblem
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Quote:
On 2009-11-26 22:20, TonyB2009 wrote:
Just because the booker is not specific about what they want doesn't show disrespect for what you do.


Spot on. I think some perfomers take themselves way too seriously.

Mark

Quote:
On 2009-11-26 18:34, Neale Bacon wrote:
but I also have to look at myself in the mirror.


I would have looked at myself in the mirror and said to myself, "Hey Mark, you did a great job!" And felt very proud! Smile

Quote:
On 2009-11-26 18:34, Neale Bacon wrote:
I guess what I have really learned here is to keep my questions to myself.


Not at all! It's created a very interesting debate. Everyone has their own ideas and opinions. It's what this forum is for.

Mark
Potty the Pirate
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I think the message is to be a little less sensitive. In my opinion, the client was showing some initiative going through an agent, though of course, he then contacted you directly. Well, that is likely to be a coincidence, as you turned down the gig - so the agent wouldn't likely have mentioned your name. this client was calling around - perhaps someone explained what to expect from a good entertainer, and secured the booking.
I regularly have clients who have no experience with kids' parties. I take the lead in describing what COULD happen. Once a picture of a fab party is planted in their mind, they will then have much higher expectations.
Potty Smile
sleight king
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This is easy, If they meet the fee and you get paid before in cash, take the job.
There is NO room for sentiments as a childrens entertainer, you are there usually just to fill a GAP.
Also a most importantly there are innocent children there who may have that one truly amazing magical moment in their lives. Why not let that be you!

Also, the talk about FIT being wrong. This is crazyness. Things are never that straightforward and if there is the odd 10 year olf in with the 5 year olds it is VERY bad not to do your best to make sure he/she has a great time also.
Neale Bacon
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OK.. let me try to clarify again
1. She called my agent and said she didn't care who she got as long as they worked for her budget
2. She then emailed performers directly trying to undercut the agent
3. I didn't feel it was right.

Sleight King - I am NOT there just to fill a gap. I am a professional entertainer there to do a professional show. I don't want to set the reputation as a performer who will do anything for money.

Potty - yes maybe I am a bit sensetive. When others say "I would have taken it" that's fine. When I get comments about performers taking themselves too seriously or I was stupid to turn it down, I get sensative.

Maybe more children's performers should take themselves and their art seriously.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
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LVMagicAL
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I most likely would have taken it (through the agent). You never know who you might meet at the event that might be a good connection and/or referral source. Maybe...maybe not. You never know what kind of shows might follow as a result. Perhaps you'd get some additional shows, perhaps not. I've met some great people and some great referral sources at the most unlikely events. I agree with the previous post about not wanting to let the agent down. That'll be a stumbling block down the road (most likely).

I do have the "2 adults must be present during the performance" clause in my performance agreement...for a variety of reasons, and I would have insisted on it at this event too. That might have been a deal killer...but I've seen too many stories/posts where Magi have been accused of inappropriate behavior at shows....I don't want to be one of them. In fact, I now video tape ALL of my performances for personal evaluation purposes as well as for my protection against allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Just my 2 cents worth...
Donald Dunphy
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Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Neale Bacon
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For those who worried that I let my agent down - when she found out the client was contacting all the performers directly to undercut the agent she really didn't care.

She told me she was having nothing to do with this woman.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
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www.baconandfriends.com
seadog93
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Quote:
On 2009-11-27 05:21, sleight king wrote:
This is easy, If they meet the fee and you get paid before in cash, take the job.
There is NO room for sentiments as a childrens entertainer, you are there usually just to fill a GAP.
Also a most importantly there are innocent children there who may have that one truly amazing magical moment in their lives. Why not let that be you!

Also, the talk about FIT being wrong. This is crazyness. Things are never that straightforward and if there is the odd 10 year olf in with the 5 year olds it is VERY bad not to do your best to make sure he/she has a great time also.



So your saying that if someone offers you cash you should do what ever they want, because we're ...entertainers? I can think of plenty of other jobs where I can have people tell me what to do and not give myself the option of considering what I want to do.
If you would take the job, right on. If you can't understand not taking the job, I respect that. However, to say that there is only one right answer, and that it comes down to doing anything that the person with money asks you to do, is just sad.

Quote:
Sleight King - I am NOT there just to fill a gap. I am a professional entertainer there to do a professional show. I don't want to set the reputation as a performer who will do anything for money.


Seconded.
I am willing to "fill a gap," in the right circumstances and to give children a wonderful show. I also reserve the right to decline a show.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
keeblem
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Quote:
On 2009-11-27 19:15, Neale Bacon wrote:
When I get comments about performers taking themselves too seriously or I was stupid to turn it down, I get sensative.

Maybe more children's performers should take themselves and their art seriously.


I've looked over this entire thread and I can't find anyone calling you stupid. Someone did say "some performers take themselves too seriously".

Oh wait - that was me!

Hey, I didn't mean any offence. I admire anyone who stands by their principles. However my principles would have allowed me to take the money and not worried about being disrespectful to my art. As far as I'm concerned, I wasn't.

Mark

P.S. I take what I do very seriously. But let's not forget what is really important...
Potty the Pirate
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I do feel that this client has only done what one would expect. From the posts I've read of Neal's, I don't believe the client had high expectations. That doesn't make her someone to be avoided - my opinion is that she's just the kind of client you should welcome with open arms!
There's no reason why someone shouldn't contact an agent as well as several performers directly. She's keeping her options open, and you can be sure, will learn a lot about hiring kids entertainers after her experience. My hope is that she did eventually find someone who can go along and knock the kids' socks off.
That said, there's no doubt that there ARE clients who should be avoided. I find that almost every time I have a client who looks for a deal, for a cheaper or shorter show, or who asks me to provide things that I don't normally offer, the event turns out to be difficult.
So there is much merit in the discussion, and my position is that in this case I would most likely have been happy to accept the gig. But I would have asked a lot of questions, and also filled out my booking form, which leads me through all the stuff the client needs to know.
Potty Smile
seadog93
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Potty,
that's a really interesting idea. Could you say something more about your booking form? I've never heard of one, is it standard?
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
Potty the Pirate
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Quote:
On 2009-11-28 15:06, seadog93 wrote:
Potty,
that's a really interesting idea. Could you say something more about your booking form? I've never heard of one, is it standard?

Well, we must all have some kind of booking form. After my sales pitch (largely a description of the show/party I'm offering), I ask the client if they'd like to go ahead and book the date. If the answer is yes, I take various details, such as contact address/phone no, type of event, number of kids attending, venue, etc. The form I complete includes everything I need to know about the event. As we go through, important matters like the numbers of kids, and adults being present, etc, are covered.
My aim is that after talking to me and booking a show, my clients:
...feel reassured
...understand what to expect and what not to expect for their event
...have a clear idea of the show they will be getting
...understand what is expected of them during the event
...are excited to be having a pirate show - hopefully the kids will watch my internet video clips!
Potty Smile
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