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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Where to get gigs for a beginner? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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seamagu
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Hi everyone, I'm just wondering f anyone has any tips on getting gigs for a beginner.
I'm willing to them free while I build up my experience.
I'm based in Ireland so if any other Irish performers have specific advice on open mic nights etc I would much appreciate it.
Thanks and regards,

Sea
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brehaut
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Please define what you mean by "beginner"? Thanks
Michael Zarek
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And also what kind of stuff you're performing
Reader discretion is advised.
seamagu
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Hi guys,
I've been studying mentalism for about 3 years now.
I've done 1 stage performance for about 50 people.
I have various routines but my current act starts with a few small effects and builds to a demonstration in coincidence using 5 volunteers

Regards
Sea
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IAIN
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Here's a question for you...if you owned a bar, what would be the perfect approach/behaviour that you would expect from someone approaching you, to offer their services as a mentalist or magician?
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seamagu
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Hi Iain, I like your thinking, a lot.

Thanks,

Sea
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IAIN
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To be honest, to get paid to perform in a bar/pub IS difficult - as most managers will just equate the money to how many staff they could hire for the same price... however, if its more a case that you want to get some healthy experience under your belt, dealing with lots of people, and to work out what works best for you and the people you are performing for - then be prepared for a challenge...but a fun one...it is the basics though (from my experience, and from friends who do it a lot)...

explain clearly what you'll want to do
explain WHY having you there will be a benefit
show them something
get to know the barstaff and be nice
personally, I'd have no problem doing it for free for a set time period, as long as you're upfront about what your needs are, and let them see (hopefully) positive results, then you can you can discuss payments and making it official

start small, build confidence, always, always be positive and polite, yet still never make a deal to your detriment, value yourself and what you can offer...that's what I've done, I'm sure others will have something different to say and offer you...
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Cervier
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Here's a good piece of advice a magician gave me when I started: construct your act as modules, so you can easily adapt it to the venue. The only modules you always keep are the opening and closing ones.

For example, your act could be in three parts, 3 routines each, designed for a 45 mn stage show.
Then, if someone likes it and hire you for 10 mn in a cabaret, you're ready. And if, on the spot, the cabaret owner asks you for an extra 10 mn because the exoric dancer got strangled by her boa, you can.
"A friend is someone who know you well but loves you anyway" H. Lauwick
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Mindpro
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Performing mentalism in bars is a difficult venue even for more experienced performers.
seamagu
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Thanks for the great advice lads. Does anyone have experience with other types of venues such as Cafés and restaurants? Are they worth approaching or are bars more open to hosting you?

Thanks,

Sea
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Mindpro
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In the perfect ideal performance situation in your mind with your eyes closed, what do you see? I ask this trying to determine what type of performance you are seeking. To me mentalism should be performed on a stage for an audience that is there wanting to see mentalism. No distractions (t.v.s, pool tables, video games, people chatting). But if you are thinking more strolling, closeup or informal performances, that will have a influence on the advice your are seeking and being given.

Who is your audience? Over 40 adults, young adults, teens, families, etc. It all makes a difference. If you are a young performer and put yourself in the wrong performance situation it not will only impact your confidence and ability, but also how you are perceived and ultimately how well your performance is received and goes over.

Do you perform straight mentalism, comedy mentalism, mystical mentalism? There is much more to performing, especially mentalism, than just learning some effects and jumping into performing. Give us a better idea of yourself and your interests.
seamagu
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Hi mindpro,
Fair enough questions.
I am in my mid 30s and ideally would like to perform on a Stage for 40+ adults (number not age).It is straight mentalism that I perform,not comedy or mystical, they are just not my style, however I would like to think that in my patter that I get a few laughs and everyone has a good time. Maybe it is more caberet that I am thinking of but I don't know your definition of that.
I have done one performance already and really loved every minute of it. I just want to more. My sister hooked me up for that performance which was a 40 birthday party. I put a lot of serious thought into it and I was very happy with it and got great feedback.just interested in doing more Smile
I don't claim how I do any particular effects, I prefer to leave that up to the audience. I have apersona in my head but I don't vocalise it if that makes any sense.

Thanks,
Sea
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David Thiel
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MindPro makes some great points.

The choices for venue really do depend on the kind of show you are doing. I've no issue doing close up in bars, as long as its not too late and it's the right kind of bar and you've carefully chosen your material to be high impact fun stuff.

But you referenced shows. This is a little tougher. Comedy clubs, the "toughest but probably the best" venue for working new material have open mic nights. Keep in mind that this is good only if you have funny stuff in your show, it doesn't have to be laugh out loud funny...but those audiences are brutally honest. You'll learn. You'll cry. Then you'll learn some more.

I contacted a pile of charities. I did their staff parties and even some fundraiser s when I was more polished. All for free, because you're sending yourself to Performer's University. The shows taught me a lot..and the contacts were invaluable later on. Just ensure they know you're doing the show at no charge because you're learning. Avoid the word "free" at all costs because it devalues you.

If you just want to work the blocking for your act, try senior citizen homes. They are desperate for entertainment all the time. You can do a nice thing for some old people and help yourself at the same time. Remember to go slower and use the aides for the effects if the people are really old.

Keep a careful record of the people you talk to as you do these shows as they will be perfect contacts when you go pro.

Above all...get out and perform. Have fun. Learn stuff. It's a great ride.

Good luck, Seamagu. Let us know how you make out,

David
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IAIN
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I really like performing up close, one on one or for a table's worth of people...it feels like one long conversation between us all, segueing into different bits and pieces... me and a friend have got a new residency at one bar in london starting up soonish... I have a table to myself, it can be one-on-one readings, group stuff, and there is an element of jazzing it - but that's down to personal choice rather than any kind of demand. I pick what I feel is most suitable on who is there at that table. Or rather, I change the presentational angle of an effect if I think it'll work better for a particular group...

I feel you learn a lot at these kinds of venues, its a very personal experience being up close, and I've done everything from giving a reading to a very skeptical italian psychiatrist, a greek psychologist, a couple of scientists, to drunk guys wanting to show off and having to tame them...couples out on a first date and doing OOTW with them, and the bloke sneaking back by himself later to thank me again, group readings for a roman-catholic family who were anti-tarot but ok with cartomancy (go figure!) and giving the mum of the family a bent 10p coin as a birthday present... and bending a coin for a man sadly celebrating his marriage ending cos it was such a release for everyone, and him crying as his coin suddenly warped in his hand... having people write me nice messages on the backs of my little tickets I sometimes use for readings, I keep all of them...

people wave their drawings at me that we've made together, many, many months after... fun design dupes that suddenly draw in (pardon the pun) a small crowd cos they wonder what's going on in the corner of the room... supposedly only performing for an hour or so, but ending up being asked to visit a table or five to give readings or read a mind... it is sheer madness, hectic, but absolutely lovely (and tiring)...

laughter, silence, eyes wide open...and that's before I realise my fly is open (boom boom)...

its not a bed of roses by any means, but for me, its been very good to me...i have 3 bars I can work in, and I'm always welcome to test out stuff there too... (who'd have thought doing a mental epic on a paper napkin would lead to such opportunities eh)... and when we have our little mentalism/magic/readers meet-ups, I know we're "safe" in those places too...

90% lovely people, made some friends into the bargain too...and you get to learn and experience so much from meeting so many different people...

never done stage, don't think it would suit me...
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Cervier
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Of all of what's said above, I'd only avoid ond folks home. Most of them have an attention span of less than 3 seconds, can't see, can't hear, can't remember a card (I know, I've been there... ;-). Magic is ok, as long as it is colorful, because as I said, most of your spectator don't know what's going on, but will be happy if they see colors and hear music.
A friend of mine often works in old folks homes. But he's a magician, and told me he once wanted to joke: he took back the spectator's card, really lost it in the deck, took out another one at random (which he knew wasn't the good one) and said "this is your card!". He was expecting laughs, but the whole audience went "Wooooow !!!" and applauded...
"A friend is someone who know you well but loves you anyway" H. Lauwick
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Mike Ince
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Have you tried contacting a Masonic Lodge? Maybe you can perform for them. I don't know what the lodges are like in Ireland but here many have elevated stage areas.
The secret of deception is in making the truth seem ridiculous.
Mark_Chandaue
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In the UK Masonic lodges don't tend to have stages and most lodges in the UK only have two opportunities for a performance, the Christmas meal (only some lodges) and the annual ladies night. The ladies night is good work because if you go down well you will get other lodges and there are a lot of them. Might be different in Scotland because although in the Uk Scottish masonry is a little different.

Mark
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Mindpro
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I agree, social clubs, fraternal clubs, ladies clubs, charity events (they are always looking for a free performance donation), and senior centers (not old folks homes or assisted/convelesent living - there is a difference, but active baby-boomers as we call them in the states some living in 55 & over communities.)

If you are willing to work for free, there are many possibilities. I would also suggest that you ask/get something in return for your "free performance". Asking for testimonials, the ability to videotape your performance, ask them to make or be able to be used for referrals or recommendations, etc. You may even be able to convince them to advertise your show on a flyer or in their newspaper or in-house ads which you can use for future promotional possibilities.

Gaining performance experience is important but so is working on the business or promotional side of your business or being a performer. If you are wanting to learn, I suggest learning and working on both aspects at the same time.
Bill Brunelle
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I don't know what it's like in Ireland or France, but there is no generalization possible about working for seniors' homes. In the states, I might not do "nursing homes" as readily as I would assisted living places, but I would take it on case by case basis. I've done some wonderful shows in some of those settings. In the US, people in assisted living are often very sharp, still drive cars, and are only there in case they need medical help. But even in hospitals and nursing homes it is possible to do one individual or a few people at a time and have very rewarding experiences. LCervier says it's unbearable in France, but you'll have to check it out in Ireland. They can be incredibly appreciative. I've even done things in the psych units of hospitals successfully.
Mindpro
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Not everything done in senior living is for the residents, as there are many events that could feature the staff as residents love to watch the staff as part of the entertainment.
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