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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ Tricky business Ľ Ľ So, After Everything, How Was Your Year 2020? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Mindpro
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Usually around this time of year I post asking how was everyone's 4th quarter, but with the very unique and unusual year we have had I wanted to see how you all stand in your business, today, after all things considered.

I've enjoyed hearing from Ken's experience through the year who went from doing well, to quickly considering having to look for another type of work, to seemingly sticking with it (at least in part) to begin doing shows by the tail-end of the summer and into fall. How about you?

While some seemed to see this and use it as an opportunity, others, as we've seen here throughout much of the year complained, struggled and worse. While some took actions to benefit from this, others inverted or turned inwards, freaked out, and were just waiting for it to hopefully pass.

Others took unique and new steps to sustain their entertainment business' and to serve their customers.

Some went to Zoom shows to stay afloat and attempt make a buck or two, while others didn't. Some pivoted in new directions, others chose not to. Some have been doing holiday parties but at reduced numbers.

So how was your year? What did you learn or takeaway? What changes have you made? What changes will you make in your business in moving forward? How is your 2021 looking? Where is your head at with all of this?

I enjoyed Nash's open and honest post and was hoping to hear from others here as well. Have you survived?

I want to wish everyone here the very best for a successful, rebounding 2021!
Vandecarr
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2020 was awesome!!!

Lost every fair contract I had and still managed to continue live entertainment & made more than I originally had contracted.

It's a beautiful thing to be part of Dan Kennedy's inner circle...

But at the end of the day, all glory is to God!
misterillusion
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Had a great lineup of shows scheduled at the beginning of the year and 95% of them ultimately cancelled or rescheduled when the Covid hit. A couple of shows that paid in full or 50% down have rescheduled (tentatively) into 2021. I did perform a few in-person shows during the year, but just a few. I have been selling some props and books on eBay and Amazon to create some income, but so far that has not been too rewarding. I resisted marketing Zoom shows, but finally gave in on that in November and am now preparing to market Virtual magic shows. I am not too excited about it, but it seems that the market place may be live-show shy for a longer time than I expected. I think live shows will come back, but the question is ....when? My investment for the virtual shows has been modest, so it is worth a try. Whenever things get back to "normal" I may keep the virtual show as a marketing option. Not sure on that. I truly miss being in front of audiences...kids, adults, seniors, families, or even the drunks and hecklers. I miss the applause and interaction. My hope is that when this all passes by, the audiences will come back strong since I am sure they miss the live entertainment too. So, my. plan is to take the lemons we have been handed and try my best to make lemon-aide.
May every day be magic!

http://www.misterillusion.com
Ken Northridge
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2020 was an outstanding yearÖ...to do a thorough introspective of your career choice!

A lifetime ago I was a liquor and wine salesman. I felt very secure in the fact I chose a career that was Ďdepression proof.í Because when bad times came people would drink more! The trouble with that is my conscience got to me. I was benefiting from peopleís addictions. Plus, I had this crazy idea to be a full time entertainer.

I thought the entertainment business was depression proof also. Because when times are tough people need to be entertained even more! Well, I was certainly wrong about that. I canít think of an industry that has been hurt worse by this pandemic than the entertainment industry.

Iíve been inspired by people like Mike Vandecarr who found a way to do well in this industry despite the pandemic. I have two magician friends (not on the cafť) who have done an amazing job with virtual shows. But I canít offer much in the way of inspiration, other than honesty and humility.

Being in a resort area my business was coming back a little during the summer with outdoor shows, but once the vacation season was over so was my business.

I had some success with a new business making outdoor balloons for drive by celebrations. But the novelty of that wore off soon also.

And I have been a virtual show denier. Iím not sure if its fear or disbelief, but I have no interest in virtual shows. The only thing I can point to in the way of inspiration is a few home improvement projects Iíve completed and an improved fitness level.

However, I am still optimistic. Iíve booked 2 summer shows already and I am hopeful my annual email drive in January will produce a full summer schedule.

Happy 2021 everyone!
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
thomasR
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Iíve been working and studying online. Editing and selling photos (nothing to do with magic, landscape photos Iíve taken over the years) and doing a little bit of graphic design work. I donít particularly enjoy it, but itís something for now.

With the time that I usually spend traveling, Iíve been able to study marketing, business development, and productivity and life goals. And of course been reading some magic books. Because so much of my life revolves around the computer screen right now, Iíve been less interested in watching magic videos and online lectures and more interested in physical books. Iíve had a few that Iíve put off on reading for a while.

Iím not sure what 2021 will bring yet, but Iím looking forward to completing some new goals and looking forward to jumping back into live entertainment when it seems like the smart time to do that.

2020 has had its ups and downs, but Iím choosing to count it as a positive that Iíve had the time to stay still and focus on business and personal development. I think it will serve me quite well in the future.
Gerry Walkowski
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I have not performed a single show during 2020, but some of that was due to my own personal choices. Most of my shows, some as early as April 2020, were cancelled due to the pandemic. Other shows were turned down mainly because I preferred to err on the side of caution. Plus, there's no interest on my part to do virtual shows whatsoever. Hey, if others can do them and make them work, I'm happy for you. They're just not my cup of tea.

Over this past year I spent a fair amount of time getting work done at my house. I've also lost a fair amount of weight thanks to the Keto diet and numerous workouts at the gym. Prior to this year, I just didn't have the willpower to do either of these. So health-wise, 2020 has been great for me.

As far as magic itself is concerned, I have been working on some new material. I've also have done a ton of work on my existing show, making sure I'm all set to go once this pandemic lifts.

If I had to guess, I estimate that things won't start returning to normal until late summer/early fall of 2021.

Guys, hang in there.

I think that there is such a pent up demand for travel, dining out, meeting up with friends and going to the movies that once this pandemic lifts, the economy is going to take off like a rocket ship.

Gerry
Dannydoyle
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Glad to see most not posing and posting rah rah nonsense about this.

There is not a single person in live entertainment that was not adversely affected by all this. Anyone who wants to pose and pretend that they didn't lose anything speaks more to how little they were working in the first place, or how little you were making from working.

We had over 2,000 shows canceled. No amount of online shows or whatever would bring that back up to a manageable number LOL. Broadway shut down so both the show I was doing and the one that was starting obviously NOT working. 2020 was pretty much a disaster. SO many of my friends are devastated. Worldwide it is even worse. I have a couple friends who had things like a TV project he did in Toronto come off this season so his bottom line wasn't killed. But the comedy festivals that he ran were destroyed this year. He got LUCKY in that they pretty much rapped up 2020 by the end of February early March so he only took ONE real serious hit there.

It will come back. Here in Branson live shows didn't stop. Not as many people but they didn't shut back down. From June on they kept going with social distancing and so forth. Some of the things we are doing here are interesting and they are an opportunity that we would NOT have had if it had not been for this situation. We simply never would have looked at it. The people we are partnering with might not have been available, the space might not have been available, and so forth if this had never happened. So it gives us an opportunity we may not have looked at, or might not have been available so in a way it gave us an opportunity to expand into new places so that may turn out to be a good thing.

I hope the vaccine really does help. I don't want to get into anything about whatever as it is pointless. Where you are in the world defines how you see this situation. In New York it is VERY real. They simply were hit SO HARD at the start and it has been DEVISTATING for the city. It was scary as could be. In this part of the world we may still be at double digit deaths. Many of those questionable as the secondary condition thing. AGAIN NOT TAKING A POSITION about if it is right or wrong or whatever. ONLY saying that the quite small number of deaths makes it less "urgent" and "scary" in this part of the world.

We managed to get by with the social distancing and mask thing. Not as many tourists, but it was WAY better than zero. Plus again it opens up opportunities that may not have existed. Every major company I deal with is planning on a strong second quarter next year. (Travel companies that is.) Cruise ships are planning on going out eventually. I hope so I have so many friends that work them. Resorts are back up and running in the Caribbean, but only with a maximum of 60% capacity. Hopefully this clears and they can have a better spring season.

I thought the post Mindpro mentioned by Nash was BRILLIANT and just great to see! Nash thanks again for that look at the Zoom show market and how you adapted.

I will NOT do Zoom shows. Just not for me.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Nash
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Quote:
On Dec 30, 2020, Dannydoyle wrote:
I thought the post Mindpro mentioned by Nash was BRILLIANT and just great to see! Nash thanks again for that look at the Zoom show market and how you adapted.


Haha thanks man. I'm pretty open about my business for the most part and yeah man, a lot of us are def against the rope this year. Just gotta punch our way out in 2021 Smile
Humbly speaking, virtual world is all new to me and I don't have much helpful tips to share. I don't rank high in web search; and even so, I tend to lose more gigs than land from that stream. I tried to cultivate my existing client base, but that's also a crap shoot as not a lot of them are planning virtual events. Compare to some of my friends in the speaking/entertainment industry who actually took advantage of this early and ended up making a killing from virtual, I legit marvel at their ability to market their virtual programs so successfully, turning a crappy situation into gold!

But hey, perspective is everything. When I also look at some of my friends who had built their careers in the event industry (DJ, wedding planners, photographers, hoteliers, convention space sales) lost everything and had to apply for work in a completely new industry, man I'm reminded how fortunate I am that my art allows me to transition to virtual and still make some kinda $$ to support my family. Just gotta count my blessings when I still can caz 2020 showed us that EVERYTHING can be stripped away from us in a blink of an eye.

Be well everyone and I wish y'all a triumphant comeback year in 2021. As one of my speaker friend said: "The bigger the setback, the bigger the comeback!"
Don't give up, don't EVER give up.

Corporate event magician
Ray Pierce
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Frankly, Iím just glad to see people surviving anyway they can! In addition to performing magic I have also toured a lot recently as an Aerial Director/speciality rigger flying performers all over the world. We just returned from a tour of Australia/New Zealand & Asia on March 9th and went immediately into quarantine here in town... just bad timing. I was suppose to be going back out on a North American tour the first of April, then Europe after that, etc. Everything cancelled. 6 months with nothing. Fortunately there were a few shoots that were scaled WAY back but I still worked, but all live shows were out. Keep in mind I wa the director of the Magic Castle Video Department for several decades and have a huge amount of commercial video and audio gear plus the knowledge on how to use it well. The Zoom shows just werenít for me. I know a lot of people that are doing them well... I get it. Just a choice. The production company I work a lot for made a pivot to a ďDrive InĒ show concept so we did 6 cities around the country in October. A few more installs, and some more consultant/design work for a major theme park project I was working on earlier for Tokyo. Thatís about it. The live events I was working on will be the very LAST thing to come online. Even the theme park projects I worked on were the ones that will be the last to come back in so itís going to be a while for me. Iíve tried to us the time productively to work on new ideas and study as always as Iím expected to be up to date on a very wide variety of technologies so that part has been good. My heart has just broken for so many of my friends in different facets of the live events industry, from Broadway to regional theaters. We are the invisible victims. Sure the resterauntís are closing and I hate that. The performers, techs and support staff are just my people so Iím a little more sensitive to our issues. I hope things will start to get back on track soon and we get some plan for opening something back up. My very best wishes to all of you!
Ray Pierce
<BR>www.HollywoodAerialArts.com
Mindpro
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Thanks for everyone who has been sharing. It has been a tough year for all and it's nice to finally see a thread that is business-related where we can speak openly of the true direct effects of the pandemic without being derailed, non-applicable nonsense, general surface level fluff, and chest-pounding, nondescript pseudo-success.

I have always found that it is interesting to see how professionals deal with unexpected or trying times. 9-11, the 2008 recession, this pandemic and such. This is true insight into professional operations and impact with additional insight on how to survive, realign, re-evaluate and rebound. This also quickly shows the separation between the pros and the amateurs. Truth rises to the surface.

I always emphasize the importance in an entertainment business about diversification and having multiple sources of income in your business beyond just performing. It is easy to see that those with only the single source of performing will always be hit the hardest and quickest. While those with multiple facets and income sources to their business will always have a much better chance of weathering and surviving such unexpected catastrophes.

It's also interesting to see how some accept and project fear and failure so quickly, while others use strategy and action to immediately create a plan, pivot, or see new opportunity (even if unexpected).

I must say I have immensely enjoyed working with and helping so many directly navigate this and put this whole thing into a proper perspective. It has been some of the most rewarding work I have been part of so far. Many displayed efforts and abilities even they never thought they had within them and their business.

I too have said from very early on that there will be a boom as we come out of this. What we do will be invited, embraced, and anticipated as I can see it already taking shape be early 2021 (bookings for mid-year and later) and the boost I believe we are about to see right after the first of the year and in the first quarter of the new year.

As far as virtual shows, they were a option and choice many had to make on their own and in the best interests of their business. I hope that many that have done these did so with the best interest of their business in mind, and not just as a personal knee-jerk reaction to tough times. I believe their could be a set of concerns or problems for some in the aftermath. For those that took the time to learn the medium and do it right, it will be interesting to see the benefits and any value it has created to your business.

I have also seen so many performers hit devastation, having to make life-changing decisions for them and their families. I wish the best to you as you try to survive this. If performing is in your blood, as it is for many of us, hopefully you will find a way to return eventually, and you too, like all of us, can learn from this and approach our performing as a business, even if part-time, to try to prevent this type of thing from ever happening to us in the future. There are some things none of us have control over, but there are many things we do. I hope this realization has come out of all of this for many.

I too wish everyone a successful 2021 as I am quite excited about the possibilities.
Dannydoyle
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This thing became quite different very quickly. Forget if it "should have done... whatever" but it HAPPENED so that was what was necessary to deal with. Regardless of your ideology you had NO CHOICE. I have always said that if they want to have a recession go ahead, I simply won't participate. It was that simple and I was not affected by 9/11 or 2008 and all that. I simply did the things necessary to run a successful business and went on my way.

THIS was very different. You HAD to participate (Or more accurately I guess NOT participate as it turns out.) in what was happening. What we do was basically outlawed! You can look back on the posts here in this section as to how long I personally thought it would last. I said June I believe, someone can fact check that if they want. That MAY have been sustainable for many, but there is not a business in the world that has 10 months of built in "no business" involved in their plans and I don't care WHO you are.

I have SO many friends in entertainment and tertiary fields that were and are being devastated by this. While it is easy to look at 2021 and hope for the best, it is far from certain. It will take many in the touring industry many months AFTER anyone decides it is OK to do so to be back up and running. Major entertainment events don't just happen. Vegas and New York will be devastated for YEARS to come! Yes they will move forward, but the toll it has taken on all involved is tragic. FORTUNATELY there were industries not hit hard and even allowed to thrive.

I could NOT have missed the mark on this by more if I tried. I am fortunate in that I have work and am not devastated. VERY fortunate. I happened to own a house in one of the few places that figured out how to do entertainment and be safe. It put us in a great position for 2021. It is very rare I use the word "luck" but there was indeed some of that involved.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Gerry Walkowski
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My goal for 2021 is to concentrate my marketing efforts on shows from mid to late summer and going forward.

From everything that I've read, that time period is when the medical experts believe things will start returning to normal after most folks get the vaccine.

While hopefully things will improve well before then, my personal opinion is that booking repeat shows from Jan-June is going to be iffy. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but I'm not optimistic as of January 2, 2021.

Although I am not a full-time performer, I'm very sympathetic to the hardships this virus has caused many in our profession.

Gerry
Chris Aguilar
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I am very fortunate in that I was recently offered (and gladly received) the Covid vaccine (Moderna).

I strongly believe we will soon start to see a much larger roll out of the vaccine to more (eventually all) of you (including my wife and daughter) who have been patiently waiting.
1KJ
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I might get "hate posts" for this, I mean no disrespect to anyone, and I feel for so many people who had a difficult year, but I had a great year. I don't make a living from magic, but I usually perform around half a dozen shows per year, mostly senior centers. This year I performed four virtual shows and just LOVED it! I have been so impressed with some of the virtual magic that has come through Penguin Magic this year. Between Max Maven and a new guy named Adrian lacroix (new to me), and a few others, I have learned some really awesome routines, and I developed a few myself. I have realized that performing on zoom can be way more powerful than in person in some ways. I built a little "invisible" setup to do some things with sort of "virtual black art", things that just can't be done in person. I was inspired in a big way by Jeki Yoo who has come on the scene in a BIG way, and his online performances are amazing. I built a glass table prop that I think may be similar to what he has that makes magic on video look impossible. I am going to try to build his three dimension frame prop, or at least what I think it is. I arranged a lecture with Jeki soon and I am looking forward to it. I was also inspired by watching some old videos, especially the Chris Randall Penguin Live Lecture that was VERY inspiring.

My "fulltime" job is I run an investment firm, and we had a record year. It's ironic that people suffered so much, not only because of the pandemic, but also economically, yet the stock market did so well.

I'm probably going to get hate posts for posting this, but that was the reality of my year. It was one of my best years. Hopefully this doesn't elicit hate posts. On the other hand, if it is of any inspiration to anyone, with internet performing, you CAN bring your magic to a new level.

For those of you who are just "waiting for covid to go away", you might want to consider the possibility that covid doesn't go away, and that the vaccines only work until covid mutates into a strand that isn't affected by the vaccine.

I was talking to someone today who asked me: "When do you think covid will go away?" I don't know why, perhaps because of the strange way she phrased it, "go away", that I immediately thought of the common flu virus and asked her: "I don't know, when did the common flu virus go away?" It caught both of us off-guard, but made us realize that covid just might be the "new normal". I hope not, but it might be a wake up call for magicians to not just sit around waiting for it to "go away".

I wish success for all in 2021.

KJ
Dannydoyle
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Why would anyone hate you for success? Congratulations!
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
1KJ
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Thank you Danny. I know it has been a tough year for many.
Dannydoyle
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It has, heck it has been bad for me. BUT that should never take away from your own success. I am happy to hear of it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Ken Northridge
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Quote:
On Jan 21, 2021, 1KJ wrote:
For those of you who are just "waiting for covid to go away", you might want to consider the possibility that covid doesn't go away, and that the vaccines only work until covid mutates into a strand that isn't affected by the vaccine.
KJ

I'm beginning to think this is a possibility.
"Love is the real magic." -Doug Henning
www.KenNorthridge.com
Dannydoyle
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Well lets see how much the hype and hysteria goes away as we learn more about it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dave Scribner
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Magically, nothing really changed for me as I haven't performed in quite some time. I did miss going to conventions however. Financially I had a tough year. Lost my job and am still out of work. To compound the problem, I was screwed in this last stimulus package. We file jointly and my wife and I should have both received the $600. Because the IRS is so far behind in processing 2019 returns, they don't have my return on file so they used social security records. Based on that, I earned more than the cutoff and didn't get a check. If they don't get that fixed, I anticipate not getting the new stimulus either if it passes.

On top of that, New Jersey has a rule in their unemployment program that automatically freezes benefits one year from the original filing date. I have been frozen since Dec 19 with no benefits. I was told it takes 4 weeks to correct this. I'm now at 5 weeks and was told yesterday that the processing time is now up to 8 weeks because they are working on all the extentions. On the good side, around mid February, if they are telling me the truth, I should get a check for around $12000. It's just a matter of budgeting and getting to mid February.
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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ Tricky business Ľ Ľ So, After Everything, How Was Your Year 2020? (3 Likes)
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