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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » The small details that minimize unwanted surprises and make you a pro (8 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Inner circle
Hong Kong ~ USA
1074 Posts

Profile of Nash
Pros are simply people that had experienced more mishaps than amateurs.
So here are a few common 'accidents' pros experienced and things you can do to minimize those situations, especially if you are booked to do a stage show.

1) "You show up at the venue prepared to do a stage show ... and there's no stage or sound system"

Ask to be connected to their A/V lead for the event before/after the contract is signed. You can put your tech rider in the contract and ask them to forward it to the venue's or A/V company's contact. But you'll be surprised how often your client simply disregard that and you'll show up at the venue with the A/V lead saying "oh yeah, we never got your tech rider from the client and didn't know you need a riser/mic/ etc..".
Make sure you know the venue knows what you need equipment wise, never assume your client will let the venue know

2) "You are about to go on stage, and they started serving salad"
Ask what's the timeline.
You'll be surprised how many people think "we will begin the magic show on stage right as they serve salad so people will be entertained throughout dinner". YIKES
OR, sometimes, your client would schedule you to go on right after the awards ceremony & CEO speech, which gives you ZERO minutes between moving the podium and awards table off stage AND bringing your props on stage. Because your client just assume you can deliver a show by simply walking on stage after the CEO speech, you know, like a comedian.
You'd think that's common sense, but never assume. You'll be surprised how many people simply don't know we need time to set the stage

3) "You show up at the venue, and wow, there's a drop down window right behind the stage, or there are pillars all over the room that block people's sight lines"
IF you are unfamiliar with the venue space your client reserved, ask for their event layout. Every venue has a different layout. Never assume the venue your client booked is going to be stage show conducive. Most of the time they have no idea. They just assume you can do your show at any venue, at any angle, at any time.

4) "You show up at the venue, and there's a band playing before you"
Similar to scenario 2, sometimes your client might hire a music act before / after you... and you simply don't know until you show up on site to set up. I've literally performed at a show where the planner sandwiched me between a 60 piece orchestra and expect us to deliver our shows with one minute buffer time to set up/take down.

This is a common problem: people think a stage production of a CEO speech transitioning to a video to a magic show is the same as flipping through TV channels; where you hit one button and the next program begins. For us performers we know how ridiculous that sounds , but trust me, regular people have NO IDEA. They will literally schedule a 60 piece orchestra at 8-830, and schedule your magic show RIGHT AT 831...or they'll expect their owner to go on stage right after your show and they want 'photo-opt' when all your props are still on stage ...

Again, people have no idea and they shouldn't. That's why they hire you, and that's why you need to ask these detailed questions to prevent these from happening. Because these questions will let your clients know you are a PRO for knowing what might go wrong before they even think about them.
I'm sure I've missed a few more obvious ones, so feel free to chime in Smile

Don't give up, don't EVER give up.
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Inner circle
1969 Posts

Profile of charliecheckers
I agree. Knowing your customers true needs regarding the details is a difference maker. In the markets we serve that means having a hand held microphone available for the host to make announcements. They often have no plan on how they will be heard, beyond screaming their words.
Comedy Writer
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Special user
590 Posts

Profile of Comedy Writer
Good advice - I'm going to talk through the contract with clients before I send it
Brent McLeod
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Inner circle
New Zealand
1700 Posts

Profile of Brent McLeod
Nash- Great advice & as a Professional Performer myself oh so true..event organisers have no idea of set up & turnaround times
between either meals or other acts or speeches...query every detail in your pre show chats...
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