getting paid

Post topics about the business side of magic.

Postby walkinoats » 09/26/02 06:50 PM

When you are performing at a party and the gig is over and you still haven't gotten paid, how do you handle the situation? Is there a nice way to ask for the money you have earned?
I'm still new at performing and will appreciate your suggestions from your experience.

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Postby Bill Duncan » 09/26/02 09:18 PM

How about arranging for the host(ess) to provide a check when you arrive with the understanding that you work this way so that during the party you won't have to interrupt them while they are attending to their guests?

Make the arrangement when booking the gig on the phone and mention it in the letter of agreement you send as a follow up to the booking call.
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Postby Guest » 09/26/02 09:42 PM

What do you mean, you don't find it fun to follow them around like a puppy dog? What's so bad about that? It's fun to carry around your attache case, saying "Oh Mr. Johnson, I have to gooooo."
Tell them this: "Give me my money, and get out of my life."

Postby Tim David » 09/27/02 09:29 PM

Joe Lefler suggests asking for your "envelope".

I suggest asking for their first born...but only if you did a really good show.

Tim David
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Postby Guest » 10/28/02 06:02 PM

When my ex-wife and I worked for National School Assemblies, one of the things we had to do was to collect the check PRIOR to the performance. (In most schools.)This was company policy, and if an expected check had not been cut, we simply called the National main office and let the "boss" handle it with the Principal. But before that, we had to at least try to get the check. When we arrived we would usually speak briefly to the Principal. We'd go over the arrangements and before we went to set up, if he had not volunteered to give us the check, my ex would say: "Can you tell us how to get to the bank when we finish your show?"
Generally the Principal would ask which bank she was looking for, and she would say: "Why the bank your check is written on, of course, we need to cash it for our road expenses!" Of course, she was a very foxy lady, and she said it with a really big smile... but the first time she said it, I almost broke out laughing. It did, however, work damn near every time.
I was with Stan Kramien many times when he was settling up with the sponsor on the shows proceeds for one of his full evening shows. He always arranged to meet the club treasurer at the bank at noon of the show day. They'd go over the paperwork, and calculate how much was owed to Stan, and he'd get the check. He would also have the treasurer stick around while he cashed it in case there were difficulties. Even though the contract stated that the show was to be paid the day of the show, there were occasionally difficulties. Two signatures might be required and the other signatory was out of town... etc. More than once I saw Stan look the sponsor right in the eye and say: "How well do you do magic, John?" Sometimes they didn't get it and he'll tell them right out: "No check, no show." There would be some awkward moments, but when they realized that there were going to be several hundred people arriving to see the "Rotary Club" magic show, they ALWAYS managed to work it out. Stan did not relent.

Postby David Alexander » 10/28/02 07:38 PM

Adopting a business-like manner from the beginning will squelch many potential problems. When I work through an agent I dont worry about being paid because I have long-term relationships with them. When Im working directly with the client I always send a letter of agreement that they must sign and return. It is a simple contract and spells out what Im supplying, where, when, how long, etc.

The client is told that to secure my services they must return the agreement with a signature and a 50% deposit that is forfeit if the show is cancelled a certain amount of time before the show, usually three weeks. The agreement also stipulates that the balance is to be paid before the performance.

Like Kramien, I am relentless on this. If I get crap from someone, then I consider the gig lost because theyve just identified themselves as a potential deadbeat that Ill have to chase for my fee. Nearly everyone youll ever deal with will be happy to comply because the usually run their businesses that way. Youre asking for trouble if you dont do this.
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Postby Kendrix » 10/30/02 01:28 PM

Dennis is 100% right. Don't put yourself in the "having to wait" situation. Get the check before you load in one piece of equipment. The pressure is on them not you. That is a great line to remember "How well do you do magic?".
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Postby Guest » 10/30/02 06:26 PM

Stan Kramien has been doing shows longer than most of us have been alive, so he should know! In fact, David Charvet refers to him as "the 'King of 'No Dough - No Show'" in his Banquet Magician's Handbook. Listen to Stan. --Asrah

Postby Guest » 10/31/02 02:28 AM

I always get a contract before hand that stipulates when I get paid. I don't care if I don't get a deposit. I don't care if it takes two weeks to get the cash. As long as we both agree to the terms their is no unpleasantness.

In 13 years I have not had one situation where I have not gotten paid.

Postby Guest » 11/01/02 05:27 AM

Having a contract will avoid 99% of all problems. If you want to get paid before the show, put that in. There are times that even a contract will not help and the one thing you have to keep in mind is don't feel guilty about getting your money!

It comes down to something simple - The only thing you are really selling is your time. If you do a show and don't get paid, you've lost something you can never get back. They have taken your time and not paid you for it.

I have only had a situation one time where I thought I may not get paid and that was through an agent. I was contracted to perform at a resort in southern Wisconsin for McDonald's executives. The agent told me the resort was going to pay me. I arrive at the resort and they tell me the agent was supposed to pay me. The agent was flakey so I knew if I did the show, I wasn't getting paid.

I found a manager, explained the situation and explained to him if I go in there and do my show, the agent has gotten his money, you've had your guests entertained and I get nothing, I can't take it back. So I gave him two options - find the money within the next few minutes or I leave.

This was a resort, they certainly had the money and were able to pay in cash! Lessons I learned - don't be afraid to ask for your money and don't be afraid to walk away if you feel you are not getting paid.

Postby David Alexander » 11/01/02 09:09 AM

Even though I did some work through the Far East and always got paid, I've heard stories of other performers who've been stranded, screwed out of weeks of pay, etc. Here's one story where the performer came out on top.

One of the world's greatest magicians is a friend. He once told me about doing a series of shows in a large, Far Eastern city. The venue was a 4,000 seat theater, two shows a day for 10 days. Business was good and the theater was sold out for all 20 shows. The contract called for him to be paid before the end of the last show.

At that point the promoters told him there had been a "little delay," and that they would pay him at intermission. My friend knew what was up.

Intermission came and went with the promoters no where in sight. My friend stayed in his dressing room and the crowd grew restless. Soon there was clapping and not-nice sounds from the audience that started to build in intensity. The promoters came back stage wondering what was happening. My friend demaned his money. They promised to pay after the show.

My friend stood his ground and told the promoters they would have to pay him NOW, IN CASH, or else he would tell the crowd, who by now was working itself into an ugly mood, that there would be no show...and exactly why there would be no show. The promoters feared the crowd would tear the theater down and since they were locals, they'd be on the hook.

The promoters scurried away and, amazingly, came up with the cash which my friend put in a small leather stachel and took onstage with him while he did the remainder of the show.

Later, the promoters complimented him on "being a good business man."
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