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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » How Do I Get Gigs In A Highly Competitive Market? (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Domino Magic
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If I remember correctly, the context in which Joel Bauer gave advice about crashing parties was (and I'm paraphrasing here) "if I needed money today, if I needed to feed my family today here's what I would do..."

As what others have said regarding the op's request, we don't know the context. What kind of shows? What's your level of experience?

Here are three suggestions if you need to book shows right away:

1. Retirement communities.
Get on the phone and call independent living communities and you'll book shows right away. In the LA area, I would guess you'll make about $150+ a show.

2. Daycare Centers.
Do the same. Get on the phone and call. You'll start booking shows right away.

3. Restaurants
Get in the car and go to restaurants, talk to the manager/owner. If they're not interested you will know within a couple of moments. If they're on the fence, offer a free couple of hours. If you're good, you'll get the job. The money may not be great, but it's a great showcase.

You will find virtually zero competition in these markets. It just takes getting on the phone or getting in your car to book the shows.
Howie Diddot
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If Benji has actually succeeded with all the special cleaver self promotions that work so well for him, he should be booked solid.

I would be more at ease with Benji activities if he would not attempt to impress us with his marketing ideas and come on to amusingly relate the preposterously insane shenanigans he played on people the night before.

Now that would be entertaining
*Mark Lewis*
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Quote:
On 2011-07-03 11:52, Dannydoyle wrote:
Mark has oddly enough hit the nail on the head when it comes to business! Seriously Mark you claim not to know business so that shocked me.



Danny. I don't know business but I know people. Agents and event managers are very sharp people and a fair few of them know quite a bit about double dealing and wicked activities themselves. I reckon you would have to get up very early in the morning to fool them.
Dannydoyle
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Exactly Mark. It is about relationships.

Again I say good point. All selling is about a relationship. Now Benji comes along and prays at the alter of deception prior to the start of a relationship. Not the best way to start out.

PLUS as Mark points out most of the good people to deal with were not born yesterday.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
jay leslie
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In a national survey I was voted the very best magician in the world by 3 out of 4 people
I just never tell anyone that I only called my mother, my father, my brother and a complete stranger.Smile

- - - -
Seriously. If an agent gets a Must Have call from a client then does not book anything, they usually assume (99.9 percent) it was a ploy because remember... they are bigger scammers then you and can probably teach you a few tricks of their own.
- - - -
My new pitch line. " I must be good because I am not available". It's so similar to inverse pricing except, that the 220 dollar bottle of perfume is sometimes purchased just because it DOES exist.

- - -
So a lady walks into a pharmacy and asks for Epson salts. The pharmacist says they cost 2 dollars. The lady responds they only cost 1 dollar, down the street.

The pharmacist tells her to go back to the other store.
The lady responds that the other store is sold out.

"In that case" says the pharmacist "When WE are sold out.... the price is only 50 cents."
*Mark Lewis*
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Here is the system mentioned by John Booth. It worked in the thirties anyway.And I do know that Robert Harbin had some success with it. Before I describe it everyone I know including James Munton who is a bit of a marketing guru thinks the idea is absolute nonsens and it probably is. However, I am not describing it here for the sensible among you but for Benji who will probably be daft enough to try it. It is for the foolhardy and brazen type of performer with more guts than sense. Benji will like it since he is the type who likes to barge in where angels fear to tread. If he tries it out by all means give us the results. he'll have to do it under a different name though since the agent in question will probably read all about it here.

Anyway here it is for all it is worth. You either have to be good at impersonating other voices or get an accomplice to make the call for you. You send an agent your promo but of course you never hear from them. You then call or get someone to do it for you. You say you wish to hire a magician. The agent tries to sell you various people. You ask if they have the great Benji on their books and they still try to sell you someone else. You say you ONLY want Benji because you have heard how fantastic he is and that he is the absolute best. As I am typing this my scepticism is now beginning to chime in since the agent might think "well, if you want him so much why can't you google him and book him yourself?" Of course they didn't have the internet in Bill Williston's (who Booth said tried it) or Robert Harbin's day.

Still, I will press on since the concept amuses me. Eventually the agent says he will try and book Nemji the Great. He then phones the Benji personage who quotes a fantastic fee and refuses to back down on price. He also says he is booked on the day in question but may be free on another day.

The agent then phones the "client" and relays the bad news. The client is unfazed by the quoted price and says she will be happy to pay it. Not only is the client unfazed by the price she is quite happy to alter the date of her even to accommodate the great Benji.

The gig is duly booked and Benji receives a fee for the non existent show which he happily pays to himself. The agent takes a cut so Benji loses a bit of money. However he accepts this a cost of doing this devious business.

The "client" then sends the agent a raving testimonial letter about the great Benji and the theory goes that Benji is now in the agent's good books for ever and ever and makes pots of money out of him in the future.

It may or may not be a silly idea and the former is probably more likely than the latter. Incidentally I can recommend thoroughly the "Forging Ahead in Magic" book by John Booth in any event.

There. I can now guarantee that you will say it is an extremely daft idea and Benji will think it is wonderful. Let us find out if it actually works. I heard about it decades ago and never had the nerve to try it. I think it was probably just as well.
Howie Diddot
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Quote:
On 2011-07-03 17:18, jay leslie wrote:
In a national survey I was voted the very best magician in the world by 3 out of 4 people
I just never tell anyone that I only called my mother, my father, my brother and a complete stranger.Smile



We think alike, I am listed as “Voted best Ventriloquist, in San Francisco”, if you goggle Ventriloquist in San Francisco, I am the only one working in San Francisco; there is no other Ventriloquist with an office in the city to vote for; I gave out a few ballots to people and requested that they pick by writing in the name of a Ventriloquist’s name they know,

I WON!!!
RebelEntertainer
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Wow! This thread took quite a turn...

Ok, back to the original subject.

Hey Marty,

I was born and raised in Torrance and cut my magic teeth in and around there. I am very familiar with that area and still perform there occasionally. I can answer a few of the questions you may have about the area.

First, is there enough business there? The good news first. I don't know exactly what market you want to get into, but no matter what it is, the answer is HECK YAH! By my second year in business I was turning down and referring out as many birthdays as I was doing (5-6 each weekend). I’m now in the School Assembly/Library/Daycare Market and doing just as well. There is business out there. Here’s why.

Torrance is an upper middle class neighborhood and has a lot of Family business (birthdays, daycares, schools etc). But 15 minutes away is Palos Verdes, one of the highest per capita income in the country. In fact it's where Trump built a golf course. You're within 15 minutes of Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach. All have money. You're also only about 40 minutes from Beverly Hills and Pacific Palisades. There is certainly money and business there. You're also only about 30 minutes from Downtown L.A. - So no matter what market you're in, there's TONS OF BUSINESS in and around your area. No excuses there.

Now, your next concern may be that L.A. is saturated with great entertainers. Yes this is true. It is also saturated with mediocre entertainers and downright bad entertainers all going after the big dollar, the medium dollar and the small dollar gigs. Consistent work is available in all areas.

But here are the problems that I see…

Once again, I don’t know what market you’re going after and from looking at your website and your profile here, it appears that you don’t quite know either. Your profile says “Close-Up”, your website says “corporate events, birthday parties, picnics and other happy events!” and yet the pics on your site all (except one) have you performing for a child.

Here’s my suggestion.

Choose a specific market. Become familiar with your competition in that market in your area. It’s easy on the internet. Once you understand that market a bit better, customize every effort to that market. Your show(s), your marketing etc… And you say that you have a lot of marketing materials. USE THEM. I see bare-bones Eric Paul/Dave Dee marketing on your website, but it’s not enough to attract a “truckload” of customers. Dig deeper.

Next, I don’t want to offend you, but your website looks like “every magician”. In L.A. especially, you need to be UNIQUE. You need to offer something that nobody else does. Or at least make it look like you do.

Lastly, I don’t see any specifics on other ways you’re trying to get business (ie Direct Mail, Organization Networking, Social Networking, Directory Advertising etc…), but if you’re relying on your website only, it ain’t gonna happen brother. Look into other avenues of booking shows.

There IS a lot of competition. So you need to do your homework and be ready to really compete. But it certainly is possible. It’s all a matter of how much you want it and how much work you‘re really willing to do to accomplish your goals.

Good luck. Never give up. Follow your dream.
Ray Pierce
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John... there are so many great points in a very well thought out and written piece.

My only problem is the tag line... "Never give up. Follow your dream"

Yes, it is great to have a dream... it is possibly better to have a market, a clear plan, and the stamina to work hard to achieve what you want. I see athletes, rock stars and other top tier performers telling people that you can do anything you can dream. Sadly this isn't the case in 99% of the real world cases. Yes, it might have been true for that person that got into the top 1% of the business but let's not use them as a standard as the odds are greatly stacked against the same thing happening for us.

Dreamers make great artists but frequently don't make a living. I know a lot of magicians in LA that are trying to live their dream. It spawned the joke "What's the difference between a large pizza and a magician? The pizza can actually feed an entire family!"

Make a plan, test it, then work hard. John had some very practical ideas towards those goals.. Good luck!
Ray Pierce
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*Mark Lewis*
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Oddly enough I was thinking exactly the same thing as Ray about the tag line but I decided to bite my tongue for once. Still, since Ray has already spouted about the matter so will I.

There is nobody more persistent than me, however I do have doubts about the phrase that is bandied about in American self help literature of "Don't give up". Alas I think this may not be the correct advice. Sometimes it IS a good thing to give up. Some people can set themselves up for great unhappiness by not giving up. You can only bang your head against a brick wall for so long. I remember Cliff Richard the famous pop singer years ago telling people on a chat show that there is a time to give up in showbusiness if you are not making it and go on to something where you will achieve more success. Sure, you try hard for a while but in the end it may be wiser to use that energy for something more productive.

I think I prefer W.C. Field's dictum instead. "If at first you don't succeed then try, try again. And then give up before you make a *** fool of yourself"
Howie Diddot
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Ray, Mark;

I am new as well and want to thank you for the good advice.

I am focusing on Ventriloquism and children’s magic; I work alone and have not been able to assemble good pictures of my performance to post on my site, It’s a problem I am working on to remedy

I have a website and have not gotten on the social networks yet because I don’t fully understand it and I can see that I can make some serious mistakes by doing to wrong..

In today’s economy parents attempt to save where they can; I set up http://www.cheapestmagician.com to attract people to my site in a roundabout way and get them off the search page onto my site from a search I would not appear on in a normal query.

I also have a program to sell the rabbit to the parent and deliver it to the kid on the last trick of the evening by producing the rabbit and then calling the parent’s up and handing the rabbit to them to give to the kid.

http://notmovingmylips.com/rabbit.php

I just started advertising in February of this year
*Mark Lewis*
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I just looked at your websites. I dunno.................
My gut feeling is negative. However, since I know zero about marketing I shall let other more qualified people comment on it.
Howie Diddot
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Which website, the "Cheapest magician", or the "Not Moving My Lips"
*Mark Lewis*
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The cheapest one. But wait to see what others say. Marketing is not my business. I don't understand this stuff.
tacrowl
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Buzz,
I'm not a fan of the Cheapest Magician web site. You have the ability to target your marketing. That site targets the person looking for a cheap act. Someone who doesn't understand the value of an entertainer. While you may or may not get the sale, I'm not certain I'd want to work for that client. I know you can "educate" the person - but it seems (to me) like marketing to the lowest common denominator. There are plenty of markets out there that hire entertainment, have a budget and will treat you great. If you plan and execute properly, it doesn't cost any more to market to them and the rewards are greater.
Tom
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ComedyVentriloquist.com

Learn-Ventriloquism.com

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Howie Diddot
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Tom, I understand your point; you are dealing with the corporate market, and when I have a production worthy of marketing to that market, Cheapest Magician will no longer be a value to me.

How many people do you know that will type in the most expensive magician in San Francisco for a children's party?

The cheapest magician web site does not have my name, or contact information; you have to be interested enough to click on the link and read my information; if they still are interested they contact me from my site, and they are no longer looking for the cheapest magician.

So in a marketing standpoint, I am reaching the normal person that’s typing in a search and looking on the net for a reasonably priced magician to entertain; not really the cheapest; the first line on the web site tells them I’m not the cheapest; if they stay and read on, or click on the link to my site, I have achieved the function of the site

My web site has prices, if they don’t want to pay the price, nothing lost, if I am in the ballpark, and they like what I say, I am the first website they are looking at on an initial search.

I think I made myself clear, I never know lately
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Howie Diddot
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Quote:
On 2011-07-04 10:01, Mark Lewis wrote:
The cheapest one. But wait to see what others say. Marketing is not my business. I don't understand this stuff.



It’s an informational web site to warn people of the pitfalls of hiring the “cheapest magician”

I am carrying out informal research on playing with the search engines on the web; in other words, I'm playing around

The Cheapest Magician website was created to conduct an experiment on creative ways to reach clients; my name and contact information does not appear on the site but there is a way to redirect a potential client to my web site to get my advertising.
Dannydoyle
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"If at first you don't succede, don't take up skydiving".

I contend, and constantly am berated by the "magicians living the dream" crowd that not everyone is cut out to do what we do. Not everyone can or should be an entertainer. Are you more "helpful" when you tell them this flat out, or are you better off blowing smoke up their skirt and telling them to buy a bunch of crap and telling them it is just about the right marketing idea? What a load of hogwash.

I didn't want to say it but if after 5 years with 0 results it is completely possible that the problem lies not all in the marketing. I have no idea, I have not seen the act so I can not say. I can only say that it is a possability.

Someone in the table hoppers section just gave some stupid advice to never turn down gigs, just smile and have fun. Oh lord what a load of twaddle as Mark would say.

It is a harsh reality but not everyone who wants to be a professional entertainer gets to be. Same with lawyer, football player, astronaut and so forth. Why is it considered cruel to tell people the truth of the matter? I mean really it is what it is. I contend that stringing them along with no chance of them ever really becoming a performer is the cruel part. I mean if a 360 lb. guy comes in and wanted to be an acrobat, would it help to give him video on how to do back flips?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Hammer.
Nail.
Danny.
Hit it on the head.
Drove it accurately home.
That's all folks!

Happy 4th.
Walt
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