Gig Question

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Postby Guest » 09/04/03 04:24 PM

Hey guys I am turning to this great forum for advice from those that have gone before me in performing for paying audiences.

Background: I just recently ventured out into performing for "real" audiences and at the present time I have a regular resturant gig which is going great. Obviously, I am always trying to contact new prospective clients offering my services as a walk around/strolling magician. In my promotional package I emphasize that my magic while suitable for younger audiences is really geared towards adults. I do have one or two effects that are geared for children, however the majority of my work really would not contect well with "younger" (ages 2-12 roughly) audiences.

Scenario: I received a call from a perspective client that I approached about doing walk around in his resturant. He called asking about my availability for a New Year's Eve gig. He didn't leave too many details, but he did mention that it would be for children and last about an hour.

Problem: I am still at the point in my young career where I will take any gig I can get for financial reasons, but mainly just for the experience. Part of me says to take the gig and alter some of my effects/presentations so they are more child friendly. I obviously want to make the client happy and give him his money's worth with the hope that it leads to a more permanent walk around gig. However, part of me says to turn down the gig because even if I take the gig and do well I will have "typecast" myself in his eyes as a children's performer.

I understand that there really is no right answer and it is a vey subjective question, however, I would appreciate all opinions and maybe we can come up with some good conversation points for other workers out there. On the lighter side, any funny "terrible gig" stories would be entertaining reading as well. For some reason I picture myself standing 2 feet above hundreds of screaming children all yelling, "we saw the fake thumb Mr. Magic, we saw it!" Nightmares.

Thanks in advance.
Dave Stegall
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Postby Guest » 09/04/03 05:55 PM

Some info that will be very helpful is at:
www.davedee.com
This is a helpful program:
The Ultimate Insider Secrets Marketing Program For Magicians Millennium Edition
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Postby Jeff Haas » 09/04/03 11:54 PM

Michael, while Dave Dee's course is good (I have a copy) it doesn't answer the question asked above. It does tell you how to sell your shows and increase your income from them.

Anyway...

Dave,

As a local magician, you're always going to be asked to do magic for family audiences; most people assume that magic is appropriate entertainment for kids. And while you're still doing restaurant gigs, you're usually expected to be able to work with all ages of customers.

But this isn't as tough as you might think...kids can follow sleight-of-hand magic, as long as you keep it direct and visual. Younger kids will react well to coin vanishes and sponge balls; kids older than 7 or 8 can follow most card tricks.

If you're good, you'll find that adults watch you and expect it to be "for the kids" and suddenly find themselves impressed because the tricks fool them, too.

Since you've got only an hour, you're going to need a short set of fast, visual, fun magic; and you'll need to zap 'em and move on to the next group. Frankly, if you can do stuff like this for adults, kids should be able to follow along.

One trick that fits is David Roth's Flurry, complete with the giant coin ending.
(I always thought this trick sounded like a kids' trick anyway: A coin appears, disappears, is rubbed into your elbow, found in your other elbow, pulled out of the air, and finally turns into a giant coin.) This plays extremely well for kids as young as four. Tip: When you do the Spider Grip vanish, recover the coin from a kid's ear. Then use the reaction to that moment to steal the giant coin.

The other component to working for kids is finding the right tone, or character, to strike while you work with them...and then being able to shift back to working for adults. Think of acting like a bigger brother while you address the kids. In other words, friendly and approachable, not some freaky clown. If you have a niece or nephew, how would you do something for them?

A plus to working family events like this is that parents with their kids are usually very open to watching magic, and are fun to entertain. You don't get the attitude that you find in groups of all adults.

The ability to work with kids and their parents, and do visual magic, is what you need to be successful with family audiences in strolling situations. If people see that you interact with their kids and that your magic amazes them, they will like you as a performer and will ask you for your card.

As an aside, certain restaurants will only want you for special occasions such as Christmas, Easter, New Year's, etc. They just won't hire a magician for every weekend. This goes for country clubs, too.

Hope this is helpful.

Jeff
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Postby Brad Henderson » 09/05/03 10:06 AM

I think you should answer your own question.

Do you WANT to do kid's magic, or do you see your talents better served in working only with adults?

I do not believe magicians need to accomodate every person and every audience. Some movies are rated 'G', some 'R.' And you would not expect (nor want) Eminem to produce a children's album. Yet many people think magicians should cater to all ages and all interests.

If you WANT to develop a children's repertoire, then take the job but do so at a price point at which you know you can still offer greater value than that which they are paying.

If you are not interested in making this part of your artistic vision then I encourage you to respectfully pass on the job and perhaps offer a suggestion as to a magician better suited for their needs.

If, as you say, you want the experience, then follow the first suggestion. But money should never be your sole decision for taking a job. Consider instead what image you wish to forge for yourself, and what clientele you wish to court.

Good luck,

Brad
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Postby Tom Ladshaw » 09/05/03 09:23 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Brad Henderson:

If you are not interested in making this part of your artistic vision then I encourage you to respectfully pass on the job and perhaps offer a suggestion as to a magician better suited for their needs.



Or...you can do what I do...*You* can act as an agent and book an appropriate magician into the gig and make *everyone* happy. They get a magician who specializes in kidshows...the magician gets a gig...and you get a piece of the pie. It's better to get a little than nothing. As the old saying goes: " 'Show business'....it's two words, each equally important."
Tom Ladshaw
 
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