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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Performing in a mall? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

stannmaple
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I'm wondering about performing in a mall or a place like it. I've seen in our local mall, tables and booths set up with people doing caricatures (I think I butchered the spelling there... sorry) and things of that sort. How do people go about getting a spot in the mall like that? Is it even a reasonable idea to do something like this in the mall... then have business cards on my table? Thanks for the help.
Dann
Jim Wilder
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Most likely those were special events and not an everyday type thing, though I have seen what you are talking about in my local malls- in addition to special events, usually these booths were associated with a seasonal promotion. The cost may be high.
Rob Johnston
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You would have to talk to the mall management.
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Bill Palmer
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Most malls have an entertainment budget. Don't mess it up for the people who actually book into malls for a living.

If you want to work a mall, make sure it is one that doesn't regularly hire entertainment.

But do check with mall management. And make sure the security guards know you are legit. Otherwise, they will toss you out on your bum.

Some malls get really paranoid. I was booked to do a show at the Galleria, which is a really upscale mall in Houston. I was to work inside Neiman-Marcus. So, I went into Neiman's through a mall entrance, as I had been instructed to do by the booker. I was in costume.

I was landed upon by a trio of security fuzz. They were adamant about wanting to toss me out.

I told them to call Neiman's and ask to speak directly to the lady who had booked me for the show. She was a local socialite whose name makes divorce lawyers sit up and take notice. I politely informed them that if they delayed my arrival, Ms. Socialite would not be happy, and they might want to plan a career as crossing guards.

They let me in.
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Mario Morris
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I have worked a lot of malls in my time. The first one ever I walked into the management of a mall in full costume and said look what I can do. Call me lucky, that was ten years ago and they still book me, I have got ten days work running up to Christmas in there.
Bill I did not understand your point about messing it up for others, what do you mean?
Normally this is not busking work!
Mario
Michael Baker
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I think the statement about messing it up for others is if this guy has designs on just walking in and setting up shop in a busking sense. I can see where it could sour the milk for legitimate hired workers. I've also seen poorly labeled strolling workers approach people in food courts and elsewhere in malls and come off looking like pan-handlers, or just plain ol' creepy people.

I've never seen a mall that would allow a busker, nor have I seen one that would allow any kind of performance that wasn't sanctioned by them for promotional purposes (or a mall store).

...and to be more specific about the mall management, although in some smaller, or lower budget malls the GM is the decision-maker, typically, the person to speak with is the Promotion Director, or Promotion Manager. No sense getting confused by trying to talk to someone in operations, if they aren't the right person to see.

Ask for the head of Promotions, and you'll usually get pointed in the right direction.

Doing the homework ahead of time is a good thought, too. There are a few books about performing in malls. Much of the info there should still apply.
~michael baker
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Mario Morris
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Got you.
Mario Smile
shiggity fliggity the magic man
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My friends and I just ride to the mall and we stand outside a really nice restaraunt (ahh) and we do magic for people waiting to get in we don't get paid but its good practice.
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Michael Baker
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I can actually respect that. I used to do the same thing (sometimes inside), usually in the bar area. Go in as a customer and just start getting noticed by working for the bartender, the people next to you, etc. Good practice and a good way to get noticed. Taking tips in a most humble manner has only gotten me the boot once. I mean after all, I wasn't busking(???), was I? LOL
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The Mighty Fool
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I've poached in every mall in the Orlando area at one time or another. I've never heard of any legits (buskers) being allowed to work malls either. The sanctioned entertainment is usually a music group in the food court, or a balloon twister mabye.
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rsummer27
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I've gotten jobs twisting balloons in shopping malls. Some performers that I know have done magic or clown shows over the weekend. Most places like that don't really pay what it would be worth to do the show. I would try and find a better place to look for booking shows.
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magicsavant
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I did have someone in Atlanta doing magic in a booth, and selling cheap props...he said monthly rent (for the booth) was 650.00...

*cough* magician turned car salesman
Paddy
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$650 for a month sounds about right. I checked a mall here in Cincinnati and was told that a 10' x 10' space was $1000 for the 6 week Christmas season plus you had to have $3 MILLION liability policy.
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Michael Baker
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You would have to pitch product to make a go in this environment, I'd think. I find it hard to believe that someone could rent the space for a pitch, do a show and expect much of a hat. In some environments, people just assume the venue pays for the entertainment and extras.
~michael baker
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Bill Palmer
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I have done a lot of mall performing, but it was under one of two conditions --
one was as a hired act, where I either strolled or did an illusion show. There was no hat passing involved.

The other was as a representative of the local magic club. In that case, the mall paid the club for the performers. Usually these happened about the time that the Renaissance Festival was going on, so I turned it into a publicity spot for the Renaissance Festival, as well, with the permission of the mall and of the club.

You have to tread a very fine line with mall management.

Nowadays, many of the malls are run from big management companies out of Canada, and they determine who plays and who doesn't. They require liability insurance.

Mario:

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner to explain what I meant. Michael was absolutely right.
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Kondini
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Our rents in the UK work out around $500 a day all year round,so the US seems pretty good to me.
Having used a street type performance to gather a tip then turned it with the sale of 4"Linking Rings and Sponge balls a good living can still be made,,,,,ample stock is the problem plus of course the outlay.Example : run up to Xmas this year,Avoncroft rents for two days $1300,12ft stall space,from sales $3700 at %200 markup = profit $800 after all stock expenses,add to this the small bottle of $200 over the two days and that's not a bad living,multiply by three and its a fair weeks wage.
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