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JoeyHart
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Hi All,

I'd like to get into school shows in the UK - Educational and/or entertainment based. Though, where do I start?

Who do I approach - each individual school? If so, who within the school?
The local council? Who and how to contact?

I know there is a market for this but I would love some advice on how to crack the surface - any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance,
JH
Dick Oslund
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Joey!

There are "magic secrets" and "business secrets". You can BUY "magic secrets" and "props" in a magic shop.

A few pro's. have written books or dvds on the business side of show business.

>>>>>>>>(2/3 of "show business" is "business".)<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

"Free advice" from those who give it, is worth just that!

Expect to invest money to make money.

Of course, it helps to have talent, too.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Donald Dunphy
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I believe that Martin Duffy did a presentation on "Magic in Schools" at Trix in the Stix 2017. I think he sells a course on the topic, to UK performers.

He's mentioned these links in various posts on Facebook:

http://magicinschools.com/lp/9-topics/

http://magicinschools.com/sp/magic-letter-offer/

http://magicinschools.com/

I don't know if these links / offers are still active.

If you're on Facebook, join the "School Show Performers" group, and do a search of that group for his posts or posts with the words "UK". (There's a lot of school show products out there from USA performers, which is why I'm keying into the fact that you're from the UK.)

------

There's also a performer named Amazing Stephen (Stephen Ablett) from the UK, who sells info products for magicians. He might touch on the topic of school shows / educational shows in some of his materials.

http://www.amazingstephen.co.uk/shop-dvds.html

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
arthur stead
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In the USA, I solicited work from school principals, librarians, guidance counselors and the Parent/Teacher Association chairwomen (or men). The latter are the folks who fund these types of programs on these shores. Themed shows worked very well and I earned a good living for many years by developing a brand new themed show every year.

However, my advice would be: Before you develop a particular themed show, make contact with the above-mentioned contacts at several schools within your target range. Interview or survey them to find out what sorts of programming they would be interested in. Then create a show based on the most popular theme, i.e. reading, anti-bullying, science, math, self esteem, or whatever seems to be the most sellable topic based on your research.

The last thing you want to so is develop and rehearse a show, and then find out nobody is interested in that topic.
Arthur Stead
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Mindpro
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Absolutely excellent advice. The school market has been one of my primary markets for decades. The one thing I see over and over again is guys and gals that create a show or presentation THEN try to find schools to sell it to (book it).

In reality, most of these people never really ever get into the school market with any serious level of success. The reality is just as Arthur said, find out what the school market wants and needs and has funding for, THEN create a show or presentation around it.

Don't just think they are always interested in or looking for a magic show. Many schools have a bad taste in their mouths towards magicians due to some movements over the past 10-15 years from the magic industry. Perhaps at the end of the school year.

I am on an advisory board and this is one of the things we do every year. More times than not it is NOT what you think it is. The things that they want, are willing to pay for, can get supplemental money for and are willing to put the effort in to bringing to their school is not what you typically think it is.

This is the best advice anyone can give on the school market, especially in the UK as it differs greatly from here in the states, so this should be even more crucial since they have a lot less funding for these types of programs compared to here in the states.

The school market is a very deep market and you have to get to that depth to truly serve the market. Most don't. Way too many performers either think they know what schools want or ask a friend or relative that is a teacher and base it on that. Wors eyet, they think they can just take their kids birthday-type show and do it in schools. I can't tell you how many guys I know that say "my wife is a teacher and she knows what schools really want". I hate to tell you this but they're usually wrong. More times than not they are simply giving you their opinion and it has little to do with the reality.

Do your research and go beyond the surface level. I can almost assure it will take you in a direction different that what you were originally thinking. Best of luck!
Dynamike
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Joey, I did start on my own many years ago. I did not know of any school agents back then. But having an agent is a good chance of booking you more educational shows. You will get the feel of what it is like working regular on a day to day basis (depending on how professional the agency is). Do a search in your country to see if you can find any. Years ago I heard about an agent in USA having several performers show an act in front of students. The performers the agent would select to travel around the country are the ones who would get the most applause from the students.

You might to see if there are any educational programs in your area that give showcases for the performers. In my state there are different associations that have library showcases for the performers. I was in an association for performing artist before giving showcases to all organizations and schools. I was one of the so many to be approved. That had us entertainers in a magazine for all the organizations to see.

If you would like getting calls from a promoter or agent, I advise sticking with the company until you learn more about how to make it on your own.
Dick Oslund
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Scroll up to my post of Dec. 6!

I mentioned 'free advice" being worth "nothing".

MINDPRO just gave you some free advice that is worth $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Mindpro
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Thanks Dick! Plus much of what Mike has mentioned is untrue of the current school market here in the U.S. Gone are the glory days of lyceum or school agencies running much of the school market. Much of that left with National. Most schools these days are self-booked and the few companies that are left that appear as school agencies are not really in the same sense.

Also, the library market is a completely different market than the school market. They two have very little in common other than the audience (kids). As far as business structure and interests (and budgets), two separate animals for sure.

Also, most school presenters are not national here they are more local or regional. The days of schools just hiring a magician for entertainment are also gone (with the possible exception of year-end events), as they are much more interested (and willing to pay for) educational presentations. To magicians they want to do a magic show, this is not what schools want. At best they would want an educational presentation that may include some magic as a highlight. The message and actual content is what is important and they are willing to pay for.

Again, most performers truly do not understand the school market at all. The U.K. school market is even more selective and not nearly a prime market, so these concerns are even more crucial.

Dick is correct, success in what we do as performers or presenters is made in the business side of the equation. Few are willing to share their business knowledge and success. Few operate from an industry perspective rather than their own (uninformed, inexperienced, unknowledgeable) perspective.

All of the industry resources I have written are on the business side of the industry. This is why you have to apply, qualify and be accepted to even be considered to purchase them, so they can be controlled as to who can have access to this information. Same for my business success coaching, consulting and mentoring. This is the real most valuable information, and as Dick said, it is usually one's lifetime of work based on real-world industry experience, so it is not readily available. They are the true secrets of our business.
Dick Oslund
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YUP!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dynamike
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Joey, there is a different in the USA and UK school market. But do not let anyone try to discourage you about trying an agency to get more bookings.

Here is some material you might be interested in, Joey in looking for agents in your area:
http://blog.magicshop.co.uk/2013/08/how-......ans.html
http://blog.magicshop.co.uk/2015/03/magicians-agents.html

Agencies are still booking performers around the nation in USA. Below are two school and library agents in my state I have worked with:
https://www.mobileedproductions.com
http://www.dynamicwest.com

"It's not what you know, it's what you can prove." Smile
Charles Gaff
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My school market wants math themed shows at the moment. As an artist in residence, I'm creating my first show with math as the main attraction.
randysburtis
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Kieron Johnson has a math effect out. Multilayered... not sure how it would fly with kids...
https://www.saturnmagic.co.uk/saturn-mag......oni.html
Danny Kazam
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I suppose it's different in different countries and regions. Here where I live in Canada, most bookings are decided by the SCC (School Community Council). Individual schools have their own funds they usually raise through fundraisers for entertainment and such. Education programs come from a different fund from the school board. There is always much more funding available for educational programs.

Problem that the school board has had previously with hiring magicians who claim to have an educational program is that their shows were lacking as far as educational, and heavy on the entertainment. They threw in a few routines of educational matter to get their foot in the door, but it left a bad taste in the school boards mouth. For example; the school board in the past has hired out of province magicians for their anti-bullying show, and were very disappointed that the anti-bullying message was lacking. It was more of a magic show with a few not well thought out routines about bullying thrown in.

In our province we have a large funding and grants for anti-bullying educational programs. It took me a bit of struggle to convince the school board that my anti-bullying program was extremely educational, and that the magic was just a tool to help illustrate the messages, and help keep students engaged while learning the important key points of bullying.

When I launched my anti-bullying program, I attended a few teachers conventions to get the word out. I also arranged and met with the school boards to present a powerpoint presentation. It also helps if you take some online courses on bullying offered by the Red Cross, as it gives you more credibility.

In whatever educational program you are going to offer, make sure you are extremely familiar with it. Become an expert on the subject. If the school feels that you are just using educational magic as a means or excuse to perform in schools, it will backfire on you and hurt it for others.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
Dick Oslund
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Well said, Danny! I remember a few years ago when a "nagician" I knew, audiioned for an anti drug program. After each trick, (die box, c&r rope Hippity Hop Rabbits, ETC., he would say, "Don't do drugs, kids!"

He never got any work!!!

You and Mindpro have the answers!!! Well, I guess I have some, too!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
arthur stead
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Quote:
On Dec 17, 2018, Dick Oslund wrote:

You and Mindpro have the answers!!! Well, I guess I have some, too!


Hey Dick, what am I? C upped liver?
Arthur Stead
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arthur stead
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Quote:
On Dec 17, 2018, arthur stead wrote:
Quote:
On Dec 17, 2018, Dick Oslund wrote:

You and Mindpro have the answers!!! Well, I guess I have some, too!


Hey Dick, what am I? Chopped liver?
Arthur Stead
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Mindpro
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Quote:
On Dec 17, 2018, Danny Kazam wrote:
I suppose it's different in different countries and regions. Here where I live in Canada, most bookings are decided by the SCC (School Community Council). Individual schools have their own funds they usually raise through fundraisers for entertainment and such. Education programs come from a different fund from the school board. There is always much more funding available for educational programs.

Problem that the school board has had previously with hiring magicians who claim to have an educational program is that their shows were lacking as far as educational, and heavy on the entertainment. They threw in a few routines of educational matter to get their foot in the door, but it left a bad taste in the school boards mouth. For example; the school board in the past has hired out of province magicians for their anti-bullying show, and were very disappointed that the anti-bullying message was lacking. It was more of a magic show with a few not well thought out routines about bullying thrown in.

In our province we have a large funding and grants for anti-bullying educational programs. It took me a bit of struggle to convince the school board that my anti-bullying program was extremely educational, and that the magic was just a tool to help illustrate the messages, and help keep students engaged while learning the important key points of bullying.

When I launched my anti-bullying program, I attended a few teachers conventions to get the word out. I also arranged and met with the school boards to present a powerpoint presentation. It also helps if you take some online courses on bullying offered by the Red Cross, as it gives you more credibility.

In whatever educational program you are going to offer, make sure you are extremely familiar with it. Become an expert on the subject. If the school feels that you are just using educational magic as a means or excuse to perform in schools, it will backfire on you and hurt it for others.


I couldn't agree more and am pretty sure it is similar in most of the countries we are discussing.
The U.K. is however traditionally been a tight school market without many of the opportunities and accepted programming we have here in the states and Canada.

Here's the thing, most magicians only know the school market on a very surface level if at all. They only see it is a weekday market where they can perform magic. They think they know but most don't really have a clue. The school market is a professional market and if you approach them through consumer market means you will likely never succeed, and will claim "the school market is dead" and they will never truly stand a chance of being successful because they never committed to truly learning and understanding the market from within.

Most magicians create a show then try to market and sell it to schools. Schools shows must be created specifically for the market.

I am on two K-12 (school market) advisory boards here in the states for both the largest school organizations - both national as well as one regional. One of them a couple of years ago actually went as far as saying they will not hire magic shows/magicians posing as educational assemblies. Too many magicians have packaged a kids show, added a few silks or tricks that refer to a theme and call it a magic show. Many, many schools have been burned with this and the boards have now recognized it and are responding accordingly with their astounding message. They will not tolerate or welcome these any longer. They are on to this "magician's misleading mindset."

They fell just short of saying no magic in schools at all, but there are still some actual school programs and presenters that do actually present the proper and approved educational shows that they are acknowledging on kind of an "approved list" that has been shared.

Truth be told, magicians have brought this on themselves. Consumer market performers will not prevail in this market. The exception would be year-end entertainment events, field days, family fun nights, etc. but again, this is not the bread and butter of working the school market.

As you can see by some of the advice offered here, many think they know but don't really have a clue. Companies that promote this are today calling themselves "agencies", but are not true agencies in the real longtime sense of the term, execution, relationships with the school industry, or in the sense of what the school market has long experienced.

And no it's not what you THINK you know and can prove, it what is what the actual market wants and the real companies and services that understand this and can properly serve them.

Also the two links provided above are a great example of the wrong approach and are not in any way connected to the way into the school market or to get proper reprsentation from an agency.
JoeyHart
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Thank to everyone for helping out! Apologies for th elate reply, iv been locked out but I'm now back. I have contacted schools and will be following up this week.
Mindpro
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Interesting. I'm curious as to how you contacted them and with what? What was your approach and how are you prepared to handle any responses you may get? Are you following up responses or just a blanket follow up contact? Glad to see you back.
KC Cameron
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Most of my school shows are for the YMCA in the school (12 in the last month) and as a reward for a company that helps schools raise money from sales. Both of these are entirely entertainment shows.

"Just entertainment" is a hard sell in schools here in NC, USA. You need to have a themed show. Themed shows generally come out of a different budget that is made fo things like this. Most living room magicians that try schools with a "themed" show are just doing their regular show with a few references thrown in. Schools are wary because of this. Sometime they don't allow magic shows because of this. It seems most effective to have a good themed show and NOT to call it a magic show - even though it contains magic. Remember schools are for learning. Entertainment should only help the learning process, not be the end goal.

KC
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