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Sam Sandler
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As I read this I'm confused. You want to put on a show and you want places to perform excuse me places to practice ur show till ur ready to perform it in a venue you will 4 wall!

I guess my confusion is if ur doing free shows in the area as practice and then 4 wall in the same area why would they pay when they just saw you for free.
I realize not everyone would have seen you but you get my point.

The bigger question here is why don't you want to perform for pay. Why not put ur show together and then contact some companies in the area and offer them an introductory rate for booking your "new" show. You get more experience and you get paid.

I would also say that if money is important family audiences is the way to go. Just look at which movies make more money!


Again u. Need to be ready with ur show before you perform it for any one. And yes performing it will allow you to gain experience and knowledge of what works and what does not work.

I too will back up the comedians performing for senior centers. My friend is working his but off in NY and he does it by performing at every comedy club he can get into from some SO so clubs to some high end clubs. When I was performing with him one night at the comedy stop he had 3 more sets in 3 different clubs that night. Comedians real world experience from people you want what they deliver.

Best of luck to u. Find what works for you and run with it. But for now sounds as though you need to script the show decide how it runs and then get ur self out there performing in the real world for a bit before you start 4 walling on your own.

Have fun what ever you do
Oh and blk and white flyers are not the way to go today. When I was performing at the tropicana they used mini full color fliers every day had some one walking on the board walk handing them out. Kind of like what they do in NY where guys stand out there in high volume areas handing out fliers for shows in the area.

U could get full color hand bills made let me rephrase that. U should get full color hand bills made take them to every pizza shop in town and ask them to put one with every delivery. In trade you could offer them free advertisement at your show via a program. Heck there is another way to make money and get advertisement.
Sell space in your program. Get companies to buy tickets in bulk for their employees

Oh there is so much you could do. But first make sure you have a great show people want to pay to see

Sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
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JoshLondonMagic
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Quote:
On 2013-11-17 23:59, Sam Sandler wrote:
As I read this I'm confused. You want to put on a show and you want places to perform excuse me places to practice ur show till ur ready to perform it in a venue you will 4 wall!

I guess my confusion is if ur doing free shows in the area as practice and then 4 wall in the same area why would they pay when they just saw you for free.
I realize not everyone would have seen you but you get my point.



This is exactly what I was thinking. If you just want to practice get out and do open mic nights. Also, when you advertise a free show to the public then a few weeks/months later offer the same show but for $15 a ticket I'm not sure you'll have a ton of people knocking at the door. Then if that's the case that means you'll need to travel with this show, which means added costs that will probably exceed the figures you gave.

Is your friend's brother going to go on tour with you for free?

To answer your original question, just get out and perform. Period.

Josh
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latentimage
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Sam, I do like the idea of family audiences. That is pretty much the crowds I usually got, and the stuff I do tends to work well with them I think. Let me try to explain what I meant. If a comedian wants to try out a new bit, he goes to an open mic night at a comedy club. If a close up magician wants to try a new bit, he can walk up to someone at a bar, on the street or many other places and ask if they would like to see a trick. My question was where does a stage magician go to try out his material? A full stage show, as you know requires music, lighting and assistants ect. After reading over everything here, I have come to my own answer. 60 years ago, I think the answer would have been to perfect a bit and join a variety show. Now a days, I don't think there is an answer to my question beyond what you are saying, which is a good advice.

I wasn't trying to suggest that I was going to perform something I felt was not ready. The truth is, for me at least, I'm not sure how a bit is going to go over until I see how an audience responds. I think this is probably something comedians face too. I'm not a comedian myself and I don't know any, but I would think they probably go through the same thing. I could be totally wrong.

Josh, as I mentioned above in this post, I wasn't trying to spend the money to do an entire show for free. Also, as I mentioned in one of the other posts, the figures I gave would be radically different now. That was a long time ago, and was in a very different place than I live in now. I would also be doing this all myself now, and wouldn't have anyone to split the risk with. I all but said those shows were a bad idea and we were extremely lucky to fill the seats. The reason I gave that background story was to illustrate the type of performing I enjoyed doing. It was so long ago, the reviews and publicity information I have left is also totally irrelevant. I figured if I told that story, I could avoid people suggesting children's birthday parties or close up etc. I want to make it clear that I don't look down on these things and have done both, but that's not what I enjoy doing most. One is not better than the other, and stage magic is certainly not (in my opinion) the pinnacle of the art. We are all different. When I told the story, it ended up causing people to tell me that basically I couldn't have done that because the numbers didn't add up. I didn't give the numbers to say that's what I expected or was trying to be doing now. I was just sort of trying to defend myself I guess. Looking back on it, I gave way too much information.

Additionally no, my friends brother will not be going on a tour with me and working for free. My wife will be though, so I have the free labour covered for that position at least. She is always very excited to help and much more attractive than him anyway. Smile

Posted: Nov 18, 2013 6:02am
Quick clarification. I wasn't trying to "four wall" a show for free, trying to sell tickets and such. I was wanting a place to try out the show (or at least some bits) without that. It would be well worked out and not sloppy or thrown together. I would want to gauge the audiences reactions and possibly get some feedback. Senior Citizens centers are a great answer to my problem, and I enjoy performing for that age group. Perfect solution to try lots of my stuff. The fraternal organization I belong to often has us helping in places like this anyhow. I should have thought of it!
"Come to the edge," he said, They Said "We Are Afraid," "Come to the edge," he said, They Came, He Pushed Them...And They Flew. -Apollinaire

"If there be a skeptical star, I was born under it. Yet I have lived all my days in complete astonishment." -W. MacNeile Dixon
JoshLondonMagic
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Seems like you have it all figured out!

Josh
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latentimage
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Well, certainly not all figured out, but the messages here and PM's have given me some great direction. The most important one might be to just perform whenever and wherever, as you mentioned. I think I do know what I need to do to get started now. Big thanks again to everyone who has made suggestion!

Allen
"Come to the edge," he said, They Said "We Are Afraid," "Come to the edge," he said, They Came, He Pushed Them...And They Flew. -Apollinaire

"If there be a skeptical star, I was born under it. Yet I have lived all my days in complete astonishment." -W. MacNeile Dixon
Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On 2013-11-17 11:17, Dannydoyle wrote:
I have never met a comedian who does such a thing. Of what use is it to perform for an audience that can barely respond if at all? Comedians specifically need to know feedback from an audience.

But lets be at least clear about what we are speaking. They have 55 and over communitie which is an entire circuit right now. But if you do them it had better be with an actual show.

The fact is that any audience that pays to see you deserves a show worthy of the money and not to watch you rehearse. This is a balance you have to strike between being ready and needing to generate income. Nobody can say when you are ready but an audience. Usually they vote with their dollars.


Well Mister Know it All, seems you don't know everyone in comedy. As the lady comedian announced this in a television interview. But of course you knew that.

It is not what I heard, I was speaking things I actually experienced. When are you going to get your head out of your ***. Your attitude is worse then anyone on the Café. You just love to attack everyone that wants to do anything. I sincerely hope you do not have children, if you do they have to worthless messes.

Now I would like to see your thousands of dollar contacts with retirement home shows you have performed. You mouth off, but never provide any facts.
Dannydoyle
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Wow anger management dude.

First off Bill it was not only me who mentioned it. Why single me out as Josh and Bazinga and mindpro and Sam agreed with me.

Get over yourself.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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It's more fun when he just singles out you.
Dannydoyle
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More fun for whom?

I wasn't the one who was even mean to him. I simply said that it is not a great place to practice comedy is all.

I guess 10 years headlining the comedy club circuit when there was one does not entitle me to an opinion.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Starrpower
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Bill, Danny is one of the few people here I would listen to. He has actually done the things he comments on -- or at the very least understands the biz -- while most here simply toss about grand ideas and never follow through. I have a very few close friends who are not afraid to tell me when my ideas suck, and if I got angry with them all the time I would have made lots of mistakes. Rather than get mad at Danny, read what he says and learn from it.
Bazinga
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Yes, it was I who first mentioned an opinion on treating nursing home gigs as "throw-aways." I don't care what TV comedian does it, or what any type of entertainer does it, it is NOT professional. And it is terribly disrespectful to those audiences.

I also used the "heard it vs, experienced it" reference because that's what you, Bill, said: "I have heard some stories..." I apologize if I misunderstood. But my point still stands against treating those as throw away gigs.

I was playing banjo for Stonewall Jackson 23 years ago. We did a show in a small town's high school auditorium. It was in December and the weather turned bad and kept the attendence very low (about 2 people I think.) Stonewall's attitude was that those people paid their to see the best show we could do and that's what we did. After the show a meal was provided for us in the school's Caféteria. Since the crowd was small they were all invited. Stonewall insisted we stay and visit and have pictures with everyone who stayed. They got a treat and we had a great time.

My take away lesson from that was every audience deserves nothing less than your best effort. ALL TRUE PROFESSIONALS know that and work that way. Practice at home.

Bazinga!


My apologies to Danny for catching the flack from my post.
Red Shadow
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Selling tickets for a theatre show

On choosing a venue:

Look for small village halls which have a regular WI group meeting there, and a small stage if possible. Search for that towns WI on the web and have a look at the venue they use as a potential place for you to hire.

You want to check that the venue has at least 100 chairs available before you hire it. Some venues don't come with chairs...

Working plug sockets, heating, a full set of working lights (with no dead bulbs), a decent size car park, a small kitchen and hallway are nice. Most importantly, you don't want the toilet door to be located next to the stage...

Large towns are hard work and the people I find are not as easy to sell to. Small villages or places without regular theatrical entertainment will draw in the crowds more easily.

Also, the cost of the hall hire is ridiculously cheap (the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee per hour). In a large town, theatre hire costs will require you to take out a mortgage.

There may be function rooms above a pub you can hire and I've been to a few shows in these venues. But in those shows I attended, there was a maximum of ten people there and most were just other magicians supporting their friend. The clientele that visit pubs aren't the type to go to the theatre or watch live entertainment. So from what I have seen, I wouldn't go down this route.

You can try splitting the door costs with an organiser like a school, and they do the marketing for you. There are other threads on this type of marketing so I wont go into detail here. Use the search feature.


Selling tickets:

1. Pay if you have to, but put a poster in the post-office window. This is the place everyone in that village has to go to for a variety of reasons, so it is the key place for marketing posters. It will not do magic on its own however, but together with all strategies your going to raise awareness for your show.
You could offer free tickets in return for putting up the poster for free, but you will have to decide if its cheaper to pay the 30p to put the poster up, or give them comp tickets worth £16. At least with the comp tickets, you can be sure at least two people will be at your show.

2. Put a leaflet through everyones door. This will take time and in the cold months it can be less than pleasurable. But in a small village, its entirely possible to spend six hours posting leaflets and reach everyone in there.

3. The village noticeboard (often located near the church) should have your poster upon it.

4. If you are around the day before the show, do a guest spot at the local school / schools. Do a free ten minute set during the assembly and leave a leaflet with all the children their, and a poster on the school wall. The kids that want to see a magic show will drag their parents and siblings to it.

5. If a WI meets there, you can give them all your flyer and they will turn up to your show simply because its a night out, and they will often drag there family to the event also. Its a fast way of selling lots of tickets. The easiest way to let them know about your show is to make sure you have a nice big A4 or A3 poster on the village hall notice board. It also doesn't hurt to give them a phone call or email to let them know about your show as it gives them something to add to the conversation when they meet.

6. Selling to other magicians. Magicians will often go to another magicians show to nick their entire act and jokes. But like everyone else though they will pay to get in, and so it can be profitable to contact the local magic clubs and let them know about your show. You should also let magic websites like magicweek know about the show. Its free advertising and will draw people like me down to see your show.

There are often strategies like radio and TV appearances, newspaper adverts etc. but I don't think they are worth wasting time over. Its fun to do them if they are free for just the pleasure of appearing on them. But as a means for selling tickets, your lucky if the radio host with the free complimentary ticket turns up. Never mind any paying guests.


The show:

Whether you like it or not, your doing a family show with focus on the children. We as magicians may understand the difference between adult magic and children's entertainment. But the lay people don't.
They think all magic is for children, so they will be dragging their kids to the show. That means everything has to be clean, and family friendly. So leave your human blockhead trick at home.

You will need an announcer. Someone to tell people where the fire exits are, to buy raffle tickets, inform people that there will be an interval (so they can plan their dash to the toilet) and introduce you. You can try and do it yourself, but preferably you should have at least one other person there with you (like a family member) to act as such a role, along with selling raffle tickets.

An interval is needed to sell raffle tickets, confectionery and allow a toilet break. A 55 minute first half and 40 minute second half appears to be the norm.

Audience involvement is required, but if you think your ready to do a show like this, then you should already know that...


Ticket prices:

The show I attended on the 15th November 2013 at a small village hall cost:
Adults -£8, Kids £5
There were no family tickets or offers. Those were the set price.
They had a sell-out, filling almost all 100 seats with about 90 people. Some of those people were house staff (like the person who ran the raffle etc.) so not all of them paid, but it was apparently the biggest sell-out the landlord had ever seen.

Another show had tickets priced at adults £8.50, children £5.50 and a family ticket at £25

I prefer keeping the figure to round numbers (rather than half's) as it takes up less space on the marketing and is easier to count at the end etc. the family ticket may be a good idea, bit that depends on where you do your marketing and how many seats you have to fill. If you can predict that a family will turn up whatever the ticket price is, then offering them a discount is only going to cost you money. If you know that you are the only entertainment likely to perform in that village, it be more profitable to sell the tickets are full price.


Other money making tips:

The raffle. I hate raffles and refuse to buy a ticket. But I'm not ignorant to the fact that the rest of the world are addicted to them. It doesn't even matter what the prizes are, people buy tickets at £1 per strip by the bucketload.
So make sure you visit a local charity shop, pick up some cheap prizes and have a raffle. Tickets will be selected at the beginning of the second half.

The sweet and drink table. I would personally just sells cans of pop and sealed chocolate bars for simplicity. But I've seen some serve alcohol which was poured into cheap plastic cups, and others serve tea and coffee which is time consuming in making each cup. Even if you drag your entire family there to prepare the coffee and work the stand, my thoughts are the money it brings in is not worth the effort - especially when you consider the fact that if you didn't offer them a coffee they would have just bought a can of pop instead. So you still get their money with less effort.

Selling of magic sets and books. At the show I saw a few days ago, he was selling A4 12 page colour books at £4 each.
Another show I went to had four black and white A5 16 page books at £3 each or all four for £10.
In both cases the books were only bought out after the show, which the magician gave a quick sales pitch for right before he did his last trick. The magician himself was the one that sold these at the front of the stage.
A key selling tip was that they would 'sign' the book for them. This is an incentive for them to buy the books there are then. So always mention that you will sign the product. In which case, make sure you have a couple of sharpies on you at that time.
The volume of sales of these books varies from show to show. I cannot put a figure on how many you will need or that you will sell.
Ive seen others selling 'stiff ropes' and I've personally sold magic sets at £5 each and sold over 30 of them at the end of the show.
But books I think are the way to go. They are cheap to print and create, easy to store and transport and can be trailered to your means. That may require you to write the book, which will take time. But its a lot of fun selling a product you personally spent the time creating.

Steve
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