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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » First proper paid gig, set up I'm not used to (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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The UK, Portsmouth
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Profile of Sealegs
During my time, as a gigging act, I have, in the past, worked these exact sort of venues and did so for many years. If you haven't had a direct experience of them it's hard to appreciate what they are and how they are. I'm not sure there's an American equivalent.

They are tough gigs. Really tough gigs. The audiences are generally jaded and totally uninterested in any talking thing that's in the corner of the room. They aren't there in the clubhouse for the entertainment. They tend to be there because there's no where else to go and the beer is reasonably priced.

Tragically the stuff that works best in this environment tends to be the sort of thing that they can ignore or let wash over them. So musical acts or small bands can fair ok. Anything that requires them to watch and listen and engage can be a hard sell. Mentalism or mental magic is going to be a particularly hard sell as it particularly requires this engagement .

Once you appreciate all that.... if you fancy doing the gig, I say have a go at it. You have little to lose. The worse that can happen is a room full of people will hate you for a while and then you all go home and you get to count some money.

The fee, while low, is unfortunately is no out of the ballpark for this kind of venue. Although I haven't worked this kind of venue since the early 90's friends that do work these venues have told me the fees are about the same as they were 10-15 years ago.

However even if you do your spot and it ends up going well (or ok) you are going to struggle to do more than about 45 mins in this environment. The venue/booker asking for 2 hour sets or more is looking at booking you as if you are a band. These independent sites often have no idea when it comes to booking cabaret. You aren't a band. You are not going to be doing two spots and a third for dancing. But this will be the thought process of the site's booker. (It sounds unbelievable but these venues can be unbelievable) You are going to be a cabaret act in this setting. So you have to approach it as a cabaret act.

As Robert suggests you are going to have to inform them what you will do. I suggest 1 set of 45 mins. They may or may not go for that. I would suggest if they don't want that then you pass on it. It's going to be a really tough gig over 45 mins. It would be a tough gig for a seasoned pro who is used to these venues. But for a relative newcomer you might hope to do ok over 45 mins, but more than that and the experience will become exponentially unpleasant. (It might be unpleasant anyway but at least you can endure 45 mins and you'll learn something from the experience without (hopefully) your spirit being crushed)

So all the best, give it a go, but tell them it's a cabaret spot of nothing would be my advice. And then strap yourself in for a hard time. You will need to overcome being the annoying talking thing at the end of the room. If you can do that you stand a chance. It's a baptism of fire but a great opportunity to learn and find out which bits of your material are totally bullet proof.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
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I promise I won't exceed
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Profile of Sensio
So tell us what happened!
Curious enough to see if you finally did it and if yes how it went!
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Profile of russellajallen
The guys who run the bar and events at the park aren't back in the country until January now so I'll discuss it with them then. I think I'll end up thanking them for the opportunity but turning it down due to reasons mostly mentioned above. I feel slightly like I'm chickening out, but the situation isn't going to suit my act, or any kind of stand up act, so I think they'll carry on with booking musicians.

I may suggest that they put on a night which lends itself more towards stand up, with a couple of acts on, and tell them to keep me in mind if they take this route. I think I've also got an opportunity at a charity event that one of my Dad's cousin's puts on every year (I've never met them or anyone attending) so will get a chance to have a real practice there. It won't be paid but I think it will be a lot more valuable in terms of experience.

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