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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Going Crackers at Christmas (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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Ok, there was this husband and wife entertainment business that used to turn away all Birthdays during December. The very business that kept the food on the table for themselves and their children all year round they dumped at Christmas. They began to notice however that one large Company party probably miles away did not equal the same money as two birthdays on their doorstep (in the same afternoon); they also noticed the difficult situations they encountered at Christmas, i.e. kids that had never met each other before at functions; awful loading and unloading facilities; cigarette smoke filled rooms at some Christmas parties, to name but a few. Eventually, apart from a few regulars they'd known for years they dropped Christmas parties in favour of Birthdays, in favour of continuity, in favour of continuing recommendations from people who were in their own market. Ok, they did morning weekday playgroups (the usual children eating jelly with streaming noses at 10 a.m. sat listening to some worn out Slade Christmas tune!). But Birthdays remained on-track, business remained buoyant, - the temptation to make a quick killing was neither taken nor needed.

Are this couple (us) the exception to the rule?

Tony.
Starrpower
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I never take anything except high-paying gigs at Christmas. Too much out there. I rarely fail to fill up my calendar becasue of it.

But, if you find the conditions are nicer and you can make about the same money, who am I to argue? We must all do what works for us. You're probably on to something -- most December birthdays probably have a difficult time finding a good entertainer, so you may actually have an easier time booking those parties.
wizardofsorts
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Chicago, IL
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I've found that the "big" parties book much sooner than the birthday parties. So, I take first come, first served and it usually works out that the "big money" comes in first.
Edd
Edd Fairman, Wizard of Sorts is a corporate magician available for your next trade show, hospitality suite, client luncheon, or company event. http://www.wizardofsorts.com
Andy Wonder
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Auckland, New Zealand
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Wizardofsorts, I find the opposite. Parents with kids born around the Christmas party season start calling me from July. The big company parties are never that organised and usually want to book in at short notice.

I think Tony is very wise in his observation.

I do like to to the company Christmas parties. I find I get more flow on business from those than kids parties. This is because they have more adults present. I also tend to focus just as much on the family shows as I do the childrens shows. I prefer performing for a family group.

I have more thoughts on this I might share later.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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By the time people phone for birthdays in December all the weekends are already gone. Most of my regular Xmas parties book me a year in advance. Even if they weren't I'd tell them the weekend is booked and offer them a weekday after school slot. I explain that if they did have the party on a weekend there is a good chance that some of the kids won’t turn up as they would go to mum/dads firms kids Xmas party. Billy and I both had a few cancel one December because of this. Billy more than me he had 7-8 cancel. I have got one birthday party on one weekend day, and this is a regular who books me a couple of times a year and I only did it because it's early in the day, and just round the corner from the high paying Xmas party that takes up the rest of the afternoon.

Although I raise my prices at Xmas this only goes for Christmas parties and not private birthdays, so there is no way I'm going to take a cheaper booking when I can do an expensive one on a weekend.

As for the poor access etc, the Xmas parties come under the same rules as all my jobs; if parking/access is very poor I don't do it. I now also only do shows on the grounds that there is NO smoking in the room while myself and the kids are present. I enclose a slip of paper saying that for health and safety reasons there is to be No smoking in the room. No-ones phoned and commented and if they do I'll just explain that it's bad for our health, and that I do more than one show a day, and don't wish to turn up at the next party stinking of smoke.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
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As mentioned, - been there, seen that, done that!

Being in an area of very low industry there are very few Company parties; but lots of golf clubs, twins clubs, natural childbirth clubs! - you name it! We have however worked the City over Christmas in years gone by. Had a funny one at a huge Chemical Company last year. They wanted me to watch a 20 minute 'induction video' before the party, which I blankly refused. Then along came a guy who kindly tested all my electrical equipment for me. He was wearing clear plastic bags on his feet!! Maybe the past has been successful for us to such a degree that we can now do what we want to do . . .
Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
1954 Posts

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Christmas parties come with their own problems and if you don't take charge of the situation they can be very awkard.

I was booked from 6:30pm to 7:30pm, The first time I was booked by a benefit agency here in Plymouth, I arrived and set up and the lady who booked me said, "What we want you to do is half your show, then stop for 45 minutes while they eat, and then do the other half" I had to inform her that she had booked me for an hour, not an hour and 45 minutes, and I had another show to go to afterwards.

They thought as do others I've come across, that when they book you for an hour, it's an hours performance and they can program it in anyway they want. Sometimes it's ignorance, sometimes they know how it should work but try their luck anyway. I did my show as normal and they fed the kids afterwards. I'm booked again this year for the 4th year running.

I've also has Santa arrive early in the middle of my show, One minute I've got 80 kids plus parents watching the show, Santa walks in The helper saw him at the back of the room, pointed, shouted, and they all stampeeded to the other end to see him closely followed by the parents and I'm left stood on my own. As we all know nothing can compete with Santa and the greed gene. I'd been paid so I just packed up and left, no-one even came over to say thank you. I was not a happy bunny and I was fully booked when they tried to get me the following year.

A good tip for xmas parties is to get paid before you start, 1, because if something like that happens you don't have to try and get paid, while they're busy with santa, (you can garuntee the one with the cash is the one calling the names out) 2, because if you've got to rush off to another show you don't want to be hanging around while they try and find the one with the money, or the manager who has got to counter sign the cheque. For some reason they never seem to get it signed beforehand.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
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