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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Parlor show bookings, advice wanted (10 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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TomBoleware
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Advertising is the ONLY way you get business. No business can survive without it.

True a long-time performer can book many shows from word of mouth only, but even that is a type of advertising.

Thing is, a newcomer can’t get word of mouth without first getting the word out there.

Keep in mind, advertising comes in all shapes and sizes. He doesn’t have to run ads in newspapers,

but I can guarantee you that if he doesn’t find a way to advertise he will fail.

Tom
Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.--Robert Brault

Tom Boleware
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Dannydoyle
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OK Tom what SPECIFICALLY do you suggest as a form of advertising and where will you place said advertisements in order to get to the SPECIFIC crowd he is talking about? Don't just make blanket statements about "advertising" and how it is necessary. Give me VERY specific guidelines.

Because the WRONG advertisements will make a business fail MUCH sooner than none at all.

Please regale us with all your experience in these markets. I can't WAIT to hear. And please be VERY specific for us and do not speak in generalities and platitudes.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
danfreed
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Oy! Danny, you should have been a lawyer! But you do have a good first name. All I said was get a good website (like you), etc, etc, very basic stuff to get him started, it wasn't specific to only finding millionaire clients. If he only wants millionaire clients, well that is a specialty marketing thing that I don't have special expertise in, though I've done plenty of gigs for rich people. I don't do gigs for poor people very often any more because of where I live, but when I used to do them, they were often some of the nicest people and often tipped me better than the country club folks.
Dannydoyle
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I do not have a good web site LOL. (At least not one accessible to people without knowing to go there.) Which is sort of the point I am making.

And if by be a lawyer you mean actually read and answer the question being asked I guess sure.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Nathan Alexander
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I don't abhor hard work. But not hard work for no reason. It's simply a matter of not necessarily wanting to work out of proportion for the amount of shows I would like to have. Obviously there aren't shortcuts, so I may just "up my presence" among a few other things. I may advertise. If so, I'd make a site/one-page for my shows as a reference point (different than my catch-all site for my other work).

I don't perform for a living, but I still take some shows. I have only three shows booked this year. Four last year (canceled for obvious reasons). Each word-of-mouth except for one past client. I enjoy them, but (until recently rethinking the kind of show I'd prefer to do) have not sought them out in the last five years. It's never been what I do for a living, so if someone inquires, I think about if I want to or not (don't get me wrong, I treat each show as if they're the best client I ever had and prepare accordingly, meaning being on my game). If I take it, it's nice to have. In a few years I'll get calls from libraries again and do that whole tour thing. I like it, but don't actively seek out the work like years past.

So, to this current question. Many years ago, I performed a fair amount of shows within a few years with a few enjoyable things in common: (small) 15-25 people, private gig, higher middle-class (not uber rich), casual "parlor-esque" shows with sitting down/standing routine combos, and I allowed a fair amount of spontaneity and flexibility. They were all a success (and like all performers, I've had horror stories, too). I got them strictly from being seen at larger events or word of mouth.

They were some of my best in the sense that the clients had wonderful things to say, and I got to perform everything from Cardiogrpahic to Sam the Bellhop with other fun, "casual living room" magic (or maybe a reserved dining room in a restaurant) in the way I wanted. This was different from my highly scripted library, city kids fest and school shows. The atmosphere was relaxed, fun and nearly no pressure as it seemed I could do no wrong. Now, please understand I suffer from social anxiety (I've chosen the wrong line of work, huh?). But I attribute the success to the following: I was recommended or seen at a previous party, so I was already pre-sold to the guests, I was sitting and "holding court" making sure everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves, and I did routines that I really enjoy performing. This helped a lot, especially for my own level of comfort.

For reference, I sweat like no one's business at each show. It was only about 15 years ago I finally worked my sweat into the comedy, setting it up up front and making wiping my face with underwear a callback (for kid/family shows). I still suffer from performance anxiety and social situations and still take meds. I'm a homebody, I don't have many friends, and I sit in back in church so I'm not noticed Smile. Just the way I am (my therapist says I'm improving, ha).

I don't believe those shows are out of my reach, I still perform casually and know how to do the job. To get them, however, just means being a little more proactive and making sure people know I do what I do.

Last week I shot a broadcast spot for a health care company. Someone mentioned they saw I did magic, and could I show them something? Since I had decided to test the waters for more work, I obliged as they set up for the next shot. After the shoot wrapped, the client and the production team both asked about what kind of shows I do, because each had specific events in mind and wanted my info. You know how it goes. One wanted me to hold the date right there and I've been talking with them since.

In short, it's these kinds of things I can do to get word out. BUT, I ask about these kinds of shows because I don't mind them as much. I have even thought about giving up acting because I get serious anxiety, including days before. But they pay too much for me to say no, and it would be irresponsible to turn down a job when it can help support my family.

I appreciate everyone's input. I think what I'll do is narrow the focus. Maybe I'll offer a few free shows (which yes, I know you have to sell as hard, if not harder, than paid) on my local city Facebook group in the next 1-6 months to get photos, video, etc for my marketing use. Then make a simple site other than my main one for contact, info and style of shows. In doing so, I won't sweat as much for those shows, and I get to sharpen my skills and area of interest.

For what it's worth, I still get asked a lot about performing. It's funny, because the more I turn away (especially when they sense I just don't want to), the more I seem to be sought.
Dannydoyle
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I don't think for a second you abhor hard work. I think you have other things you need to do in your life and committing as much as needed to get this particular thing done is simply not what you want to do. BIG difference.

I admire the self awareness to not just jump in and assume you can do it. Magic performance can use a lot more of that!
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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I agree with this as well. It's hard for an extreme part-timer to ever really get any traction or progress only performing a handful of times a year. There are some (several) key ways to target the home party niche that can be quite effective which can lead to generating and priming the referral process.

Home parties is not necessarily a easy target to execute as there are always so many unknowns and variables from gig to gig, not to mention distractions, differing expectations, and lack of structure to it all. Mid to high-end opportunities do exist, but many magicians really do not understand how to target or approach these as we've seen by other previous wanna-be gurus here from the past.
Futureal
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How the f does a website showing all the commercials you’ve done and a quote supposedly from your wife saying you’re a three out of ten looks wise help you get magic shows?

And respectfully, if your nerves are so bad that you sweat profusely and have to be wiping yourself down constantly (with underpants or any other item) then you’re not ready for the sort of higher end parlour shows that you desire.

You have to walk in and be top dog or at least equal with everyone in the room. You can’t work for rich people unless you belong. Or look like you do.
Nathan Alexander
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Quote:
On Jul 17, 2021, Futureal wrote:
How the f does a website showing all the commercials you’ve done and a quote supposedly from your wife saying you’re a three out of ten looks wise help you get magic shows?

And respectfully, if your nerves are so bad that you sweat profusely and have to be wiping yourself down constantly (with underpants or any other item) then you’re not ready for the sort of higher end parlour shows that you desire.

You have to walk in and be top dog or at least equal with everyone in the room. You can’t work for rich people unless you belong. Or look like you do.


Sure, no problem.

1) Well, it doesn't lol, as I think I said above. Nor was it supposed to. But again,I haven't been actively working or professionally seeking magic for a long time. Hence the original post. I mean, I used to link to a bit of magic stuff, but not for a few years. (Although I've used other domains I still own for magic stuff, including when I taught summer community classes, did kids shows, etc.)

It actually does help me get work, by the way, but in that particular business. I've done over 20 national spots (and plenty of industrial work) yet I'm small beans. But when potential clients look and then see I'm not fresh on the agents roster, my work gets me taken seriously as they know I understand how a set works and how to do the job were hired to do. (As you probably know, actors are a very small cog on the wheel for these things.)

And the fake quote is meant to be humorous. Tongue-in-cheek goes along well with my persona and style. Like my card, below.

2) my fault, maybe I over-exaggerated. I obviously seem to manage. But as I've told my wife, I'm kinda tired of acting and wearing masks. In the sense of always being the "funny guy" or whatever. I feel like I'm always "on". I suspect as a protective measure. I'm getting better though.

But my point is, either on the magic stage or in front of the camera, I become a different guy. I transform, and perform just fine. BUT, when it goes south, I've learned to recognize it and prepare for it. Confidence is a fickle thing for me.

That's all.

To be honest with you, I have done just fine by objective standards when performing. Top dog? I can (and do) do that when I need to. I'm fairly certain when I "become that guy" no one would ever even suspect I had confidence problems. When I'm on, I'm on. Fortune 500 exec or famous celebrity (we've all been there, we've all done that), it doesn't matter.

Now having said all that, you're right. If I can't get my head right, I'm out of my field. You're absolutely right.

But even though I can do it, I suspect it takes a lot more work for me than others to feel that confidence. Imposter syndrome? Low self-esteem? I'm subject to those more often than you, then, and despite all the shows (or acting gigs) I've done that went fantastic, those potential personal pitfalls can derail my confidence in future jobs.

See? It's a weird circle. I love what I do, but I hate what I do. (Dear Lord, does that make me a tortured artist? Lol)

Eh... Not sure if that answers your questions better. And maybe you were just being rhetorical.

Image
Dannydoyle
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Is the card an example of you being funny?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dannydoyle
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And why do magicians think underwear is automatically funny?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Nathan Alexander
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Yeah, of course. You don't think it's funny?

And the kids loved it (the underwear), every single time. I think Silly Billy gave me that advice once.
Dannydoyle
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And you think this translate to high end clients?

And no the card did not strike me as remotely amusing.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Nathan Alexander
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Hadn't thought about it, no. But that's kinda why I came here looking for help.

And hey, no problem. In all honesty, I usually hear people enjoy it.
Nathan Alexander
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As an aside, I should mention, my "vibe" (or whatever you might call it), was originally more for me. It seemed to fit me. And when I noticed people thought it was funny (believe it or not, there are some, Lol), I kinda made it my thing. But this was all before now, when I decided to think about ways I might approach a certain potential segment of performances. So yeah, I can change all that, but the truth is, if it's not me, then perhaps that market isn't for me, either, so I don't want to fake it if I'm not already a high-end client type of guy. (I am not high end myself, my most expensive suit was off the rack... at a cheap place, ha.)

Again, the shows I did do that I was hoping to gravitate towards (on purpose, if I could), may have been a fluke. I worked at a ritzy health club (front desk guy) in an expensive community/suburb for a long time. They sort of passed me around for a while. But that was after they already knew me. So perhaps anything I may have currently I could use to market and brand myself is way off the mark, as, once again, I can't relate to that population. Which again just tells me it's not worth it for me, because I'm not looking to make a living in performing, and there's no guarantee anyway.

Mindpro gave me some fantastic advice privately (thank you) that is worth checking out and that I may be able to benefit from. The whole self-deprecation angle/thing was just fun to do, and it was a good excuse to "be that guy" on purpose (why not) so I could have my billets, too. I didn't use cards back when. Mostly mailings from "shows-in-a-box" that actually served me well when I followed them appropriately (for the schools, libraries, and so on).

Well, anyway, I appreciate everyone's advice. I think it's just over my head. I better stick to what I know and let full-time guys do what they do, and I'll stick to... well, at 45, I'm still trying to figure that out, ha!

On the other hand, lots of great thoughts here, guys. Seriously, it's given me much to think about and I appreciate you all jumping in.
Pete Legend
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Nathan - I love your honesty.
Mindpro
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Yes, it is refreshing to see someone here speak in real honesty and openness without ego shading everything. I've always believed you will the most help, assistance, and growth by operating and approaching things this way.
KungFuMagic
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Quote:
On Jul 12, 2021, TomBoleware wrote:
Advertising is the ONLY way you get business. No business can survive without it.



I respectfully disagree with the above statement. MARKETING is the only way you get business, particularly self-seeding and sustainable business. An effective, multi-faceted, intentional, and strategic plan for developing contact responses and opportunities to present your business & close sales. Advertising is a single element of that broad plan ... valid and useful, but a single element. Especially regarding higher position clientele, networking, visibility, trust/reputation establishment, value/cache-building, community integration, and more are going to be effective tools in luring in "big fish" kinds of customers.

Upper class professionals (Bank Managers, Corporate Execs, Federal Judges, Lawfirm name partners, etc) will not usually be drawn to the average $400 a show card flinger with sponge ball finish (zero disrespect intended ... honest). The "advertising" model will work well for the bulk of workers. Not so much the more premium market angle. The personna development, cache, network connections, and branding are crucial, moreso, the farther up the income range one travels. IDENTIFYING THE NEED AND THE VALUE that customers [place on their entertaining/events will direct the efforts.

while empassioned, this is simple my take on it all ... and I ould be completely wrong.
Nick Sasso
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TomBoleware
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KungFuMagic,

You're right, marketing would have probably been a better word to use in this instance.

But I’m of the mindset that ‘marketing’ is all about figuring out who you want to do business with, advertising is asking for that business. Smile

And speaking of mindset, breaking into that market is all about mindset. You do have to fit in OR be able to play the part well.


Tom
Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.--Robert Brault

Tom Boleware
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Dannydoyle
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You don't work for that market so you have no clue just how wrong that is.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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