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Potty the Pirate
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Profile of Potty the Pirate
I have a question: what are the signs that you should have spotted when you accepted that gig that turned out to be hellish?
Was is that the client was unusually vague? Was it that the client battled you down on price?
In my own experience, most of my "bad" gigs had certain little warning signs which I could, with experience, have spotted. Such as the examples above, and also clients who aren't interested in hearing about the details of the show, clients who seem uncomfortable letting go of the "reins" and letting their entertainer take control when appropriate, and that general unease you get when talking to certain folks.
I decided to start this thread following on from this debate: which was about an enquiry through an agent. I'm thinking more of those gigs that come directly, and the interpretation of the client's enquiry. Agents are another matter.
Potty Smile
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Profile of TonyB2009
The problem with warning signs is that they can often signify nothing. I have been tempted to run a mile from some clients, based on my contact with them over the phone. But when I showed up they were lovely.

I agree that most of my problem gigs (not all) have carried warning signs. However if I had heeded those warning signs I would have lost some good gigs. That's why I grit my teeth and take the gigs.
Red Shadow
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Well I get clients that call me saying they want a disco at their party. Now I never do a 'disco' because you have no idea what the client expects a disco to have (mirror balls, spots etc.), and what type of music the child and client likes. I've done them in the past and they are not suitable for children. No child wants to dance at a disco in front of their friends. Especially if no-one is dancing first.
I do however offer a 2-hour magic and dancing games package. You-know, Hokey Cokey, Cha Cha Slide etc. But with the magic show in the first hour. I know this formula works and I know how successful it is. But...

You get those clients who think that they know everything, including how you should do your job. They start giving you specific orders on what their child will want, even though you (the entertainer) knows from experience they will not. They usually try to say 'well my child won't sit still for 5 minutes, never mind an hour - so can you just do 2 hours of disco instead' I respond by saying - I'm a professional award winning magician who has been doing this for a living for the past 13 years - I know what they will like' (in a nice way). But when the client argues with you, and won't take the fact that you do this for a living seriously, there the calls I personally give up on.

I won't let others dictate how I should do my job and if they start that, then its often the biggest warning sign.


P.S: not to be confused with a client knowing what she wants and looking for it, I'm talking about the clients that try to change what you do to suit their 'idea' of what they 'think' their child will want. Not giving you a chance to offer a solution that's tried and tested working.

P.S.S: Oh, and clients that tell you they've hired a bouncy castle, face painter, DJ, balloon artists, fancy dress co-coordinator and a bunch of other rival entertainers for the same birthday party. Clients that hire more than you are often those problem people.
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Profile of keeblem
I'm with you on a lot of what's been said above. However, I often try to ignore "warning signs" because often I have a booking which I was a bit concerned about (for whatever reason) but it turns out to be a great gig - with great children and appreciative adults. I think sometimes your own preconceptions can get in the way of a lucrative booking.
mr shiney
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I put a ? mark next to booking I think mite be dodge and mite cancel last minute
then if Ive not got the confirmation back I chase it up more quickly and I if someone phones up for the same date and Ive got the confirmation back I phone up to check all the detail.
Id say I'm right about 80% of the time and I end up filling the date.
I don't but many ? about 8 a year
I guess this is different to what you guys are talking about.
but I agree when you think its going to be a hard party its often not.
Best Job in the world

Mr Shiney
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Profile of randyburtis
I had a birthday client, who was calling me a bunch and seemed high stressed and I thought" this is gonna be a client I won't want repeat business from" but at the show, she was an angel, sent me tons of pictures from the show and permission to use them in promotional material, a great reference letter(before I even asked for one) and tipped me. Yet at the start seemed like red flags.
I think if a client won't sign a contract that is a red flag to walk away from. Other wise forewarned can be forearmed, you plan for the worst, and if your assumptions are wrong, awesome, if they aren't, you are prepared to still do the best job you can and so you can walk away knowing you did your best
Randy Burtis
Calgary's Kid Show Magician
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Profile of Ronald72
I agree with steve, my worst gigs is when a client tells me how to do my work. For example when I have a show for kids from 5-7 and the birthday kid is turning seven. The mother ask for the older show (8-11) because her kid is much wiser then other kids. Then it becomes a bad party. The show doesn't fit at all on the needs and responds from the children. I have to say it is my mistake to let the client decide what fit. A learning point.

I also have experience what Tony is saying. At the telephone it sounds horrible but at the party ever so nice and helpfull.

my best,
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Profile of TonyB2009
On 2009-12-01 03:13, Ronald72 wrote:
The mother ask for the older show (8-11) because her kid is much wiser then other kids. Then it becomes a bad party.

So how about you promise the mother the older show, then go ahead and do the proper age-appropriate show. She will never know.
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