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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Entertainment Max (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

KeirRoyale
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Denver, CO
550 Posts

Profile of KeirRoyale
A couple of years ago I got a call from an Agent I had never worked with, Entertainment Max out of Acton, California. They asked me to do an illusion show (two large illusions along with one assistant) for a military base in Cheyenne, Wyoming (about two hours drive from me in Denver) and told me that they were low budget and that the most they could offer was $1,200. Despite this being well below what I would normally charge for such a show I accepted the gig and all went well. Well enough that is for the agent to call me again the next year in 2014. But this time I asked a simple question… "How much are you getting for this gig?". Given that I was doing it for less than my normal fee it seemed reasonable for me to ask. In short the agent refused to tell me despite my reasoning that if you are asking for a low price that you should at least tell me how much you are making on me. But no matter how much I re-stated my position on this the agent refused telling me that "they have to take more than 20% to stay in business" but they never would tell me how much more than 20% they were taking.

I am proud to say that eventually I just let the gig go. It just didn't seem fair as I strongly suspect that they were taking a huge cut while telling me that the client was "low budget". And I probably got played pretty good (percentage wise) the previous year.

Either way I made money and did alright. But if the agent won't tell you how much they are charging and especially if they are asking you to do it for less than your normal fee it doesn't seem fair in my eyes. Just thought I would share my experience for what it is worth…
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
20379 Posts

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If it did not seem fair you did the right thing.

Performers get caught up in percentages and often have no idea what they mean. What do thy net you at the end of the day is the real question.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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Inner circle
9987 Posts

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I agree completely. While I see Keir's point and he of course is entitled to it, I disagree with it. It shouldn't matter and I feel it's inappropriate to ask someone their margins, profitability and operational business. As long as you are getting what you've either asked for or agreed to, it shouldn't matter. He could be charging $10,000 and that really shouldn't matter.

It would be like asking what the manufacturer;s cost is on a product and then wanting to learn what they wholesale and retail it for. It is really none of our business and shouldn't matter.

You don't know their cost in getting the account, maintaining the account, what amount of work and personnel, costs, and expense they've had to utilize or incur to get and maintain the account/booking, their operational cost and what they need to profit for it be be worth it. It's simply business.

Most entertainers fail to see this bigger picture. More so, if you don't want the booking, as Keir did, don't accept it, but believe me, others will be lining up to accept it. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but is how such business works and is conducted. Entertainers typically do not understand how agents and agencies work, need to operate, their main interests and priorities and all that is involved in getting, maintaining and servicing their clients (not their artists).

What is likely happening in actuality is the California agency is trying to avoid paying travel/lodging expenses (or asking their client to) of sending some of their roster acts, so they are contacting those closer to the performance location (within a half days drive).

If you choose to work with or through agents/agencies, you really should learn to understand the playing field and such expectations. If it is unacceptable to you, it is a personal decision that we all must make and have to live with. Great topic.
Sam Sandler
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Many moons ago I required 3 party contracts - meaning I knew what the client was paying and the agent was getting as well as what I got.

today I simply state my fee (plus travel in some cases) to me it is about the work and getting my fee.
besides the agent is not going to charge $25,000 and pay you $500 if that is what your asking for- generally they are providing a quality show for a reasonable fee.
remember they have the connections and that is getting you the gig. that's worth some thing.

Mindpro- your example of asking manufacturer for retail and wholesale pricing was interesting in that watching Shark tank I always found it odd that they openly discussed the retail and the whole sale cost of the products. yet it never stops the buyers from buying.

just my thoughts

sam
sam sandler- America's only full-time DEAF Illusionist
http://www.samsandler.com
http://www.deafinitelymagic.com
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
20379 Posts

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The point is to know WHAT those numbers represent. If in the end the product costs you $5 and you feel you have received $5 or more in value then it is a good bargain. It matters not what it cost to get the product to that price or who makes what along the way. (Which if I am not mistaken is Sams point right?)

Also just like with the product for $5 if you choose not to buy it you do not have the product. This is the same. If a guy offers you a load of work and you say no, then that is X$ you will NOT be receiving in the end. If that is good then OK. It is a personal choice.

Agents often have a LOT invested in opportunity, contacts, reputation and so forth. If it is not worth it to you then simply do not do it. They spend often decades building these things. Even if they wait for the phone to ring there is a REASON that phone is ringing.

Sam is 100% right. State your fee. Be happy with your fee.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mary Mowder
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Inner circle
Sacramento / Elk Grove, CA
3649 Posts

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If you are getting a low fee and you perform a show based on that being a fair fee and the client has paid a very high fee, the client could feel that they did not get their money's worth.

While it may be an uncomfortable feeling, usually that would be the bookers problem but in these days of Yelp it could be a problem for you as well.

The world is changing around us.

-Mary Mowder
KeirRoyale
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Denver, CO
550 Posts

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Thanks for everyone's input. The real issue for me was that they wanted me to do this show for considerably less than my normal fee (less than half actually) because the client supposedly had a low budget. If they ask me to do it under
these circumstances but then are taking a 50% commission, I know I did the right thing by walking away. If they had told me that they were paying my normal rate and then marked it up by double then that is another issue. It felt to me that the client wasn't low budget as much as the agent was taking too much commission. I think transparency is the best policy so no one gets taken advantage of.
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