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Profile of Close.Up.Dave
This isn't something I am currently dealing with, but the thought occurred to me today and I realized I wouldn't know what to do. I would love to know people's thoughts on this.

How exactly does one go about canceling a performance date? The only time I have ever felt the need to cancel a date was for being sick. And, the only time I've canceled was for a restaurant gig, and they didn't care because they were understanding. There was always next week.

This is more specifically for more serious private events where the date has been booked far in advance. How does one go about letting down a customer and explaining that they cannot make it? Life can get serious, and everyone needs time to take care of their life. Personally, I would rather offer them an alternative performer (if one is available) and see if that is acceptable. But, that solution doesn't fit all situations.

I'm reading Jim Kleefeld's The Contract Book, and he recommends not even putting in a clause about cancellations as to not even give the customer the thought that it would occur (which makes sense to me). However, I'm not sure how well that covers me legally. How does everyone else go about this situation?
Sam Sandler
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Profile of Sam Sandler
Hi Close up dave

well I can tell you I totally disagree with NOT including a clause about cancelations that is just common sense.
my contract states details for both whether I have to cancel or if the client has to cancel

think about it for a moment - what does the performer gain by canceling - nothing there fore it is not something to worry about or even think that the client will worry

I have done a lot of shows over the years and never has some one questioned my contract regarding cancelations HOWEVER I have had to use it to get paid by a few clients t hat did cancel with in the peramiters that I have set in the contract.

one show never called me to tell me they canceled and when I called a few days prior to the show no one answered so I left a message. tried again the day before still no answer. day of the show I show up and no one answers the door

I wait almost 30 minutes and leave only to find out 2 days later that they decided to go away instead of having the show.

having my contract go me paid! well I was nice and worked a smaller rate as they promised to book me in the future and indeed they did

as for actually having to cancel your right if your sick your sick! that's life but you should have a back up plan as best you can meaning a qualified sub that can fill in for you, no it wont always work out but if you have 2 or 4 people that you know and can call upon that will help.

if indeed you have to cancel and there is no sub then honesty is the best policy.
explain the situation to the client and decide if and how you will make it up to them.

good luck and hope this info helps

sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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Profile of Dynamike
I would do as you mentioned earlier, get someone else to take my place. There are a lot of magicians in Il, so you should be able to find someone. But I will not cancel it.
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Profile of Mindpro
I am happy to say in 34 years as a full-time performer I have never had to cancel a performance, or even been late to a gig. The closest I've come is if an event had to be canceled to weather condition (snow in the upper Midwest).

If you must cancel it should be done professionally and within the terms of the contract. If terms are not detailed in the agreement, I would simply contact he other party with your need to cancel and try to offer a reasonable solution that would be mutually acceptable such as the offer to reschedule the date (if that is possible for the type of event) or explain why you must cancel and offer to find a suitable and mutually agreeable replacement.
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Profile of Close.Up.Dave
Let me rephrase what I meant: Jim Kleefeld does not include a clause about the PERFORMER canceling. He does include a clause about CLIENT cancellations.
Scott Burton
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Profile of Scott Burton
I do have a clause about myself, the performer, cancelling. It basically states that if something happens beyond my control (sickness, injury, "act of god" meaning weather etc, etc) then I can attempt to find a reasonably close replacement or refund all monies paid (their choice). I lose the money including deposit regardless.

I haven't had to use it yet but it'll happen one day I'm sure. Hey, we're human (likely the client knows that too).

It's never been an issue being in the contract.
Donald Dunphy
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Profile of Donald Dunphy
Be aware that if you are using a customer's contract, it may have a "play or pay" clause in it.

Not only do you not get paid (or have to refund deposits) if you cancel, but you have to pay some sort of fee to the customer for cancelling. I worked with one customer this summer and the fee on the contract was 20% if I cancelled. This was regardless of finding a substitute.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Al Angello
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Collegeville, Pa. USA
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Profile of Al Angello
Last year when I was in the hospital I got magicians to cover 8 holiday shows for me. All of my customers were happy that I had a replacement magician before I even called them, and in the end everyone's needs were met.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Domino Magic
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Profile of Domino Magic
I've done the same thing Al did (without the stay in the hospital though). When I knew I wasn't going to make the gig, I found a replacement and then notified the client. No problems.
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Profile of TonyB2009
Al is right. I would always have a substitute ready before I make the call. Then they can choose to cancel (and get any money back) or go with the substitute.
I only cancel under extreme circumstances (broken leg once, funeral once, hospital once, missed flight once).
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