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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Is this show charge legitimate ? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

plainman007
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I have a show with 8 large illusions (smoke chamber class) and about 10 mid sized effects (Cardiographic class) as go-betweens. The equipment totally weighs about 4 tons. The show runs for almost 2 hour I present the show at an air-conditioned auditorium, with about 600 seats. I have some sponsors back me up (which is my own hardwork ie. door knocking, and NOT my spectators or end booking client's hardwork). I do this to keep ticket costs low. I finally land up charging my spectators/ booking client only about $1.5 per seat. This including all the following expenses being mine...

1.Illusions and show equipment
2.Sets and backdrops etc.
3.Full intelligent lighting (4 moving heads + 15 colour scrollers etc.) + complete theatrical sound.
4.Four Semi-trucks of equipment.
5.Pyrotechnics with a seperate pyro team.
6.Costumed team 5 members.
7.Rehearsal costs.
8.Auditorium Hire Costs + A/c + Electricity Costs.
9.Co-performing team fees.
10.Loading Handling Crew Etc.
11.AV Projectors/ Screens, with DV Cam Etc.
12.Posters and Tickets Printing.

I slog like for 3 months working on every show. Scheduling music etc. Working sponsors. Etc. And the whole process takes about 3 months to finalize. The clients itself take that much time to decide whether they are booking or not. And so do sponsors take their sweet time. At the end of the day the net turnover from ticket sales is about $1.5 x 600 seats x 2 shows. Which totals just $1200 + sponsorships totalling $800. So finally the total input is only $2000. Whereas the basic expenses for the show (mentioned in points above) touches $1500.

BOTTOM LINE :
Is it worth running around for 3 months to make $500 ?

MORAL OF THE STORY :

Ive qouted my entire story here to not only see what other professionals have to say. But that it might also help other performers who might be on my lines. I love magic but am in tears that I cannot afford to add an illusion or two onto my show. Cannot afford to improve and do justice to the art I love most. What can you afford on $500 profit for 3 months work ?. Im in a country far away from the USA. But I want to hear what you think. Do you think I'm charging too less for an illusion show of this stature. No self praise but audiences love the show. But I end up at a loss. Do you think its sane for a performer to charge $1.5 for an illusion show that too with the kind of infrastructure and expenses ive listed above ??? If not what do you think is a legitimate charge.

PS : I've not listed my other incidental expenses like my stock yard cost per month. My general company media costs and upkeep. Etc Etc. My investment on self made illusions to the tune of $15,000.
M-Illusion
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Unfortunately, that is usually the nature of the business. Often times, I've worked a lot longer and made a lot less, even losing large sums of money on single events just to put on a quality show.

Personally, I do think you're charging too little...but, if you're not being booked continuously for this show, then perhaps you're right on target.
plainman007
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Wow, it's nice to hear youve put more work with little returns. Hope everything goes well for you. My best wishes. By the way for a show of my structure how much do you think I should charge per seat. Thanks.
Kevin Ridgeway
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Perception will come into play somewhat. A show that is only $1.50 per seat can't be worth all that much. Some of our merchandise sells better at a higher price. It is all perception.
You could chart the thing on paper. Try some higher priced shows. Plot where the amount of people come versus the amount oper ticket. You can then see where you make the most money.
However, I believe you will see the same amount of people maybe even more even with a higher priced ticket.

Hope that helps.

By the way, what did you decide on a light board.

Kevin
Living Illusions
Ridgeway & Johnson Entertainment Inc

Kevin Ridgeway &
Kristen Johnson aka Lady Houdini
The World's Premier Female Escape Artist

www.LadyHoudini.com

www.livingillusions.com
plainman007
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Hi Kevin,

What a surprise getting you here. LOL. That was bit of a negative post I guess. But whats in it to hide from you guys. Might as way lay the cards on the table. Hmm I loved the elation thing. Cant afford it at the moment. Unless your willing to give me a copy of the CD to try out. You see the lighting I use is not mine. It comes outsourced from another company. I wanted to do the programming on my laptop and take it to the theatre and hook up with their lights. By the way how did your tour go?

Kevin : with my kind of infra how much you think would be a legitimate charge per seat?
Payne
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The question is how much is your show charge compared to other entertainment costs in your country.
How much does it cost to go to the cinema? How much do other theatres charge for tickets to their performances? If movies cost eight bucks and your only charging a buck fifty for your show then your woefully under priced. However if a movie costs twenty five cents to attend then your show may be a bit too pricey.
Here in Seattle if you were only charging $1.50 for such a show you'd go broke even before you finished your first performance. A show like the one your talking about would cost fifteen to fifty dollars to attend.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
plainman007
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LOL....Good one Payne. Broke before I even start. that's WHAT I AM. LOL. Now for some insight. An ordinary cinema charges $1.5 in my country. Live shows charge anywhere between $4 to $20. What do you think I must charge Payne.
HarbinJr.
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What country are you in? And what would YOU pay to go see a live show? Think down to earth now, would you pay 4-20 dollars to see a show? Remember, you are competing against every other form of entertainment for that money and it's many times easier to go and rent a movie than it is to go see a live show. Something I have learned in the midwest.

Robert
Kevin Ridgeway
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Plainman..tour went well. Pm me and we can talk more about pricing.
As far as Elation's software goes, just keep an eye out for it on ebay. What price were you quoted?

Kevin

P.S. Harbin jr...good to see you Robert....how's it going?
Living Illusions
Ridgeway & Johnson Entertainment Inc

Kevin Ridgeway &
Kristen Johnson aka Lady Houdini
The World's Premier Female Escape Artist

www.LadyHoudini.com

www.livingillusions.com
R2
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Woefully low your prices are!
If you are forced to stick with this admission price, at the very least you should have premium seating with higher entrance fees. As an added sales tip purchase some seat cushions to sell or rent during the event for those uncomfortable seats.

I wouldn't pay money to go and watch a show for only $1.50 U.S.Dollars. Perception is key as was mentioned earlier.

One of the major profit strategies in "four-walling" your own show is to control the concession and merchandise sales. They will generate more profit than your high overhead production.

With all due respect, I am perplexed as to how you aqcuired the equipment in your show without gaining some of these fundamental strategies mentioned above along the way?

I am commited to helping anyone in the trenches, so please do not take my statements personally as rude or elitist remarks.
~r2
Maaaagic!
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What about market research? Do you should treat your show like a business? It sounds like you want to make a profit. You can.
cheesewrestler
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$1.50?

A street performer would expect more than that from each spectator.

A street performer. With no illusions and none of your expenses. For a 15-20 minute show.
LeeAlex2002
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I am very perplexed by your alculations and curious to know which country you are in.
If the charge for other live performances ranges from $4- $20 why do you rank yourself amongst the silver screen, and not with the realistic economics of a performance art?

1.Illusions and show equipment
2.Sets and backdrops etc
3.Full intelligent lighting (4 moving heads + 15 colour scrollers etc etc) + complete theatrical sound.
4.Four Semi-trucks of equipment.
5.Pyrotechnics with a seperate pyro team.
6.Costumed team 5 members.
7.Rehearsal costs.
8.Auditorium Hire Costs + A/c + Electricity Costs.
9.Co-performing team fees.
10.Loading Handling Crew Etc.
11.AV Projectors/ Screens, with DV Cam Etc.
12.Posters and Tickets Printing.

The things you mention above should be considered separately in categories of static and consumable.

Things that you have permanently - your illusions, backdrops, costumes etc. are an investment and are not included in one show's expense.

Things like posters, rehearsal fees, pyrotechnics etc. are consumable and are calculated for every show.

$500 profit for 3 months work is ludicrous for some, but take into consideration the average national wage. How does that compare with your profit?
I cannot begin to imagine trying to survive on $165.00 a month.

Please enlighten...
Yours Magically,
Lee Alex

http://www.magic2wear.com
Donald Dunphy
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Plainman007 -

Read this thread, on The Dean's List forum: Dean's List thread... My first school fundraiser. We discussed illusion show admission fees on it. Kevin (Living Illusions) participated in that discussion.

Although I do not own it, it sounds like John Kaplan's Fundraising Magic course would be exactly right for you.

John specializes in touring illusion fundraising shows.

He will also teach you about increasing your profits through Back of Room (BOR) sales, etc. As I understand it, John has various fee structures, depending on how much the customer lets him do (BOR), and how much the customer provides. So, you will get excellent advice that way, too.

Here's the site, where you can access information about John's course (go to the "Entertainers Only" page): http://www.fundraisingmagic.com/main.html

Here's a review of John Kaplan's course, by Mark Nilsen (M-U-M Columnist): Sometimes, the program is good.

- Donald.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Jeff Hayden
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If you say that live entertainment is between $4-$20 I would think you certainly qualify as "live entertainment." I would put a price of general admission at $5.00 with premium seating at $7 or $10.

In the states, I would charge $17-$48 depending.

-JH
Did you see that?
plainman007
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To HarbinJr:

Hello Robert, thanks for your reply. I am in Srilanka. 2ndly there are no big magic teams here as big as mine. In fact I'm among the biggest. Even if there is just one more name. So the competetion is almost nil. But the only thing is magic is looked down upon in our country. More like snake charmer. So even though they see you in Copperfield class. They wont relate to it. Teh ones who see it know that this show will cost a huge packet. The ones who havent seen it don't wanna spend that much. Or at least its difficult to sell. But I'm telling you the same crowd unhesitatingly buys tickets to plays and dumb rock shows filled with drug addicts and drunks. And they buy these tickets for like easily $5 USD. Im talking all currency in USD to all you guys out there so that youre not confused with the Conversions. Maybe ive just not launched myself properly. maybe the positioning is wrong. Coming back to your question in my country the cheapest entertainment is a cinema costing what my tickets cost. It costs the same $1.5 to rent even a DVD in my country. Now we cant compare movies and DVDs to our industry. An audience pays more always to see a live show. A live show is always more expensive in any country. Because it involves much more hardwork and perfection that a movie shoot. We don't have retakes on stage. We cant rewind. Weve only one chance to do it and weve got to do it right. Now its only for that pressure that we are supposed to be paid that high. Thought there are several more reasons why we ought to charge more. In my country live entertainment is on the low. its more of movies or rock shows. Etc. DO you belive it. No one knows what an illusionist is. If you print illusionist on your poster then you will probably have no one sitting in your audience because they don't even understand what that means. You have to say MAGIC SHOW. And they will respond "Oh like for childrens birthday parties " or "Our 2 yr olds wud love it". that's the extent of their undretsanding of magic. And at the end of the Day Robert you and I know that we cannot compare our art to movies and fashion gigs. But I'm happy to hear from all of you. Its great to hear your opinions too. "I" have paid much more to go watch live shows. Even dumb ones. LOL. Here its easy and nothing to spend $5 on a live show. But how do I market my show on that tangent ???


REYREY:

Rey you have mentioned about my theatre seats. I'm so glad that you are trying to help me. you have mentioned about making some cusioned seats etc. Rey, I wasn't joking when I said I perform in the most sophisticated of theatres. Where every seat is luxuriously leather upholstered ones. The front few rows have couches. They are pro class air conditioned theaters. No wooden seats etc. I'm the scapegoat here who's paying for a venue like this and charging the booking clients so low. All because I'm not an expert at positioning and marketing. By the way I'm also the salesman who knocks doors to sell the show. About your curiousity regarding me acquiring equipment to this size. I've been performing for the past 20 years since I was in school. 10 years of stage magic. And 10 years of large illusions. I have performed with many world famed celebrities. Consulted for them. And still have their good will so much so some of them have said they will even give the video introduction to my shows so that I can use it over and over. Now to be honest with you (i hate to admit this fact) that I'm quite well known for quality stuff and presentation. "Event managers etc would say, "Oh that guy. He's expensive, but he's the best here." Can you get me. People see my show and ask me what color Mercedes I've got. It looks like that if you see my show. But on the inside we are running at a huge loss. People don't even realize that I couldn't be making much since they are paying so low. Most of my clebrity shows etc. I've been paid quite high like about $1000 for about 30 mins etc. But with all that gone back into investment my own shows are not yeilding results. It's so hard to even sell it because I'm doing that job too myself. Take your comments as rude? Come on I love you guys for one thing, we all love the same art and share the same passion. Maybe I'm just jinxed.

Cheesewrestler:

Whoa man! I'm so happy to hear you say that. Makes me feel so nice about guys out there with suitcases. But what can I do. Once your branded an illusionist. It would look like a downslope to go to playing smaller gigs. LOL.

LEEALEX:

Hi Lee, you are very right. Like I've answered above, it's not proper to compare our art and its own intricate work with the silverscreen. Alex, all the over heads I mentioned and the net cost are only consumable expenses. My backdrop alone costed me about $2500. If I was including it in cost then my show expenses as I've statated would far exceed the $1500 too. The cost break I've given is with all my own illusions worth about $15000. Backdrops etc. Not included in cost. Only running costs. And I'm yet in a loss. In this when will I recover what ive invested in my illusions. GOD ALONE KNOWS. I'm doing these shows at my own $20,000 permanant investment. And $1500 per show consumable expenses. And profit of about $500 to $600. After 3 months work. Considering your working of the average national wage. My friends who work as ordinary company executives. Earn more than me. AND IM IN SHOW BUSINESS. In my country an ordinary middle class living requires at least $400 a month to survive for a small family. Im single luckily. To your perplexing question "how do I survive ?" because of the one or 2 gigs a year where I'm paid handsomely (actually paid properly for my efforts). These funds keep us rolling on a financially insecure roller coaster ride. And what when those gigs don't come in. Then we are chicken soup. Its like: Welcome to Macdonalds. How would you like your illusionist? Extra crispy or just the soup he already is in? LOL. Actually I don't want to die a rich man. I want to be able to do a lot ive dreamed in magic. Not become a millionare. I want to give the art my best shot before I'm history. Or I'll always have this guilt I never achieved what I wanted. I pay my assistants $100 for a day's work. On an average they make more than I do. And I'm their employer. Ironic isn't it ?

Hmmm... Jeff I think what we need is a good agent to put us forth. The minute they see you are representing yourself. They think your not worth it. That's what I feel so bad about even guys like Michael and Steve Pignataro (Sorry if I've spelled their names wrong) But I hope they make it big. They are so young and just like me when I started off. Full of big dreams. And I'm sure theyll go places. I just wish from the bottom of my heart that they don't get into a situation where they regret taking up this art. Im not sure how many would pull through what I'm going through. But for me its a question of values. It's like a marriage. For the good or bad of it I'm sticking with it. I would rather honour my profession, than be honoured by it.
Bill Blagg III
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It's good to see that people are realizing the amount of grunt work that goes into an illusion production. I do think the ticket price mentioned is very low. Remember this is show business. Jay Owenhouse once said to me, "It's 85% business and 15% show." When you really get into it this couldn't be further from the truth (at least in my experience). The show fulfills the obligation that you have sold to your consumers. Performers need to view their performances as a product. Leave the ego at home. Unless people are happy with losing money to have people watch them perform. We've all been there I'm sure. I know I have.

However, there comes a point (hopefully at the beginning) when you have to sit down and develop a business plan and marketing strategy. Then you have to test, test, test, and test. It's A LOT of work. I'm only 24 and have been working on this for years. Getting further every year. I, like most other performers, wanted that big show NOW, but that's not reality. It all takes work, and performers have to work their way up to where they want to be. However, you can't hit a target you can't see, so a business plan is key.

I could go on and on about this. Maybe Jim Snack and I should get together and write a course Smile
M-Illusion
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I was going to mention perception in my original post. One of the first public shows I did, was completely 4-walled and the ticket price was very cheap. The problem of being perceived as cheap entertainment was one of the contributing factors to the event losing a decent amount of money. Next by doubling the admission, things were improving, and finally by quadrupling, things were where I wanted them to be.
Bob Sanders
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Pricing is a marketing mistake made by many vendors all over the world. Pricing is as important as product, place and promotion. There is certainly nothing wrong with hiring professional help in this area. Unfortunately, most of us fail to make that leap. It can really kill a good product's opportunities on the market. The consumer depends on price for much of its information. Prices too low tell a story.

Bob
Magic By Sander
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Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

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