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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The October 2013 entrée: Paul Romhany » » Advice for Enrichment Lecturer spot on cruise ships » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Fermax
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Hi Paul!

I was in attendance at Taylor's Super Day when you were a special guest and I purchased a number of your books about Cruise Ship entertainment.

I would like, one day, to become an Enrichment Lecturer on occasional cruises as a way of having a low-cost holiday with a bit of fun. I'm only a backroom magician so I'm not going for a performer role, and magic is not really my primary focus. However, I am an experienced IT trainer so I'm comfortable speaking to crowds and keeping them entertained.

I'd be interested in your advice on how to approach cruise companies as an Enrichment Speaker, and whether your the advice in your book for Entertainers would apply equally in this situation? For example:

* Would it be better to come with a "fully prepared" presentation that is fully written (with video highlights to show a sample), or would it be better to first discuss potential topics with the cruise organisers? For example, I have a wide range of interests ranging from Technology to Origami to European Board Games, so I should I present a "menu" of potential offerings, or should I concentrate on one in order to prove my capabilities?

* Do you think it would be be okay to only have "one" presentation topic available, or should I hold off until I can prepare a "range" of topics so that they can utilise me in many situations, running the risk that they might not be interested in all those topics?

* Do you have any general advice given that you've no doubt been on many cruises and attended many Enrichment Speakers, as to what is well-received by cruise lines?

Any suggestions for cruise lines or methods of contacting them would be great. I'm not in a hurry to do this -- it's more like I'm preparing for my retirement, but I'm happy to start working on potential proposals and talking topics.

Many thanks, Smile

John
Sydney, Australia
Paul Romhany
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Hi John - nice to see you on here.
You need to find an agent who looks after the speakers. If you Google you'll find a few. I have no contacts for that I'm afraid. I recently asked my own agent and he said he doesn't deal in guest speakers as they don't get paid, just a free holiday.
From everything I've seen on lecturers they need at least five to eight 45 minute presentations. It would depend on the length of the cruise of course but you'd need to tell them what your topics are. You would also need each presentation to be 'ready', if you need video or photos you must provide all that yourself so each presentation should be fully finished.

I have done guest speaking spots if I'm on a long cruise with my Humor in The Workplace and that has always gone over well. It also enabled me to sell product which is a nice bonus on top of my regular performing fee.

Quite often the speaker is a specialist in a subject but offers more than one topic. I've met astronauts, Lords, MPs, archeologists, famous entertainers, etc. who all offer such a variety of topics. I quite often attend these lectures as you can learn a lot. The bottom line is they have to be entertaining and educational. You often find that passengers attend the first few lectuers of a person, ad if they like the topic and the person is a good speaker passengers come back. If not, by the end of the cruise only a small handful of people go to them.

Keep in mind you would be different than the 'Port Lecturer' who talks about the upcoming ports, everybody attends those.

My suggestion is to get topics you are passionate about and start developing your presentations. The more you can offer the better. Keep them entertaining and professional. Even go to Toastmasters, etc to work through your techniques. Actually offer them to as many groups as you can prior to approaching ships so you have them down. This is certainly something you could start doing on land now and it will help build up quotes and perhaps some video of you speaking, which will help sell yourself to the agents.

There might be an agent in Australia who handles this, actually there probably is. You could search out Robin Wade as she might have contacts. She was my very first cruise agent in Australia. I'm not sure if she is still doing that but might be a start.
"life is like a movie ... you write your own ending" - Kermit the Frog

http://extrememagicmakeover.com

http://www.paulromhany.com
ku7uk3
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I will only add my advise to add to the conversation, as I have studied this market a lot.

The P&O cruise liners only want speakers with a PowerPoint presentation that goes with it. As do several other boats. They might take speakers without a PowerPoint if struggling, but the cruise ships I was on, liked to run the PowerPoint over the ships TV system so that guests could watch the talk from their cabin. They would also record your voice through the microphone and have that playing over the slideshow. However they did not use the video camera, so the artist was not seen on the TV at any time (unless they included a slide within the slideshow with their face upon it).
So basically, for 2013, they are looking for speakers with a PowerPoint for all the talks they do. Even if your talk doesn't need pictures, my advise if find something to give it pictures to make yourself more attractive to the agent and cruise directors. You also need to have a laptop and know how to use PowerPoint and hook up to an external system. There will be technical staff to help with that, but it doesn't hurt to knew what your doing yourself.

This does make rehearsing the talk more difficult as most WI and working means clubs don't have the ability to play a PowerPoint or a projector. Bringing your own is also often more trouble than its worth and you become 'difficult to work with' which can effect future work at those venues. Having said that, your talks must be well-rehearsed as you are entering a market that is based on feedback forms and rating systems. If your talks don't attract enough people or are obviously unprepared you will be asked to leave.

The speakers I saw all required eight talks for the 16 day cruise, which they did for each day they were at sea. They were also told to have a ninth talk just in case they break down or get caught up at customs and were at sea for an extra day. Although the artists I spoke to all said that they have never done this ninth talk, and if they did it would probably be a q&a session to kill time.

I know a speaker who works the boats (unpaid) for a week and has to do four talks. He had lots of cruise ship jobs until the whole powerpoint requirement came into effect, and as his talk didn't have a slideshow with it, he hasn't been ask back for a while.

The speaker in theory has to be an authority in their subject matter and all the talks should have a common-thread to connect them. So you could do for example eight talks on the history of magic, with each talk looking at a different decade. The speakers I saw did talks on concord, Maritime boats and transport. They were all very dry subjects and I couldn't watch any of them from beginning to end. But all the talks were 40-45 minutes. And at 45 minutes you had to finish and be off the stage. Timing was very, very important to the stage crew and if you were even thirty seconds over your time slot, you would get bad feedback. You must know your timing for each talk to the second. This is helpful with your laptop on stage for the PowerPoint and the speakers I saw had a countdown clock in the corner to let them know when to wrap things up.
So with timing being an issue, its wise not to have too long off a set-up and pack-down also.

When I do my talks on land, they go for 55 minutes which means I have to make some major edits to any talks I do on the boats.

Many speakers have a book to sell afterwards. The commission a boat takes changes for each boat, but all of them had quality control on the products. It couldn't just be something run through the photocopier, the product represents the cruise line and it had to be at a professional grade in quality before they allowed you to sell it.

Some speakers do get paid, but most agents have learnt that speakers are willing to work for free so they take the payment as their fee for getting you the gig. It might not sound fair, buts that just the way it is. The speaker gets a free holiday and the agent gets paid for having the right contacts and doing all the paperwork etc. the speaker recuperates some of their lost income by selling their books onboard.

You will need a full Crb check, and will have to pay for your car parking and own transportation etc. so it can cost you a bit of money upfront also. You may also need to stay in a hotel the night before embarking and when you get back, which comes out of your pocket. I had to sleep in a train station after one trip as we returned on a sunday and I had no way of getting back as all the trains had ended for that day. I do advise getting a taxi from the station to the port though - don't walk it like I stupidly did once. Its a lot further than it looks on google maps!

Hope I helped answer some of your questions and I'm not barging into Paul's thread with this advise. Im simply trying to share my knowledge and help.
Paul Romhany
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Thanks - that's is awesome advice and you can barge in anytime. I'm not too up with the play when it comes to speakers on ships as it's not my field so having your knowledge is great. I get asked a lot by friends who want to go on as speakers so can now share this with them as well. Great job.
"life is like a movie ... you write your own ending" - Kermit the Frog

http://extrememagicmakeover.com

http://www.paulromhany.com
Fermax
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Many thanks to both of you for your advice. I'll see you on the seven seas! Smile
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