Free Shows

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Postby Bill Mullins » 12/10/12 12:33 AM

Sometimes magicians get asked to do free shows. When that occurs, the thinking behind this might be useful.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/10/12 12:45 AM

The thinking is helpful, but the language probably isn't unless you want to get socked in the hooter.
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Postby Jeff Haas » 12/12/12 04:06 AM

Just tell the people asking for free shows that you only do two a year, and they're for a charity you are connected with. So sorry, your donated shows are spoken for.

Optional step: Find a charity that you like and donate your shows.
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Postby Gordon Meyer » 12/13/12 12:30 AM

Tell them they must pay you, and you will cash their check but then write them a check of your own, donating the full amount back to the organization. Tell them this is for charitable accounting purposes and will all be spelled out in your contract. Weeds out the folks looking for a freebie very quickly.
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Postby fredreisz » 12/13/12 03:29 AM

Unfortunately, under that strategy, what they pay you is "income" to you. If you write the check back to them you will be out. You have to pay income taxes(perhaps federal and state) and Social Security (self-employed???) on that amount. This easily can add up to 20% plus of the totsl depending on your tax bracket. I know people do this, pay back the full amount, but it is a trap for you. Peace...Fred (Reisz)
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Postby brianarudolph » 12/13/12 01:41 PM

I've long since forgotten where I read it/heard it/who told it to me eons ago, but there were two pieces of advice I've always remembered regarding free shows and not doing them especially for organizations that *could* afford to pay you:

Them: But we've spent all our money on the dinner and the decorations!
You: Then I hope you'll be quite entertained by the dinner and the decorations.

Them: How about you just do your show and we'll have you join us for a nice big dinner?
You: Thanks, but I charge extra if I have to eat with you.
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Postby magicrobharv » 12/13/12 03:32 PM

I like Michael Ammar's advice. I can't remember where he said it, but it's something like this. (I'm paraphrasing it)

Them: You'll get lots of free publicity for doing the charity show.

You: The only thing I will be promoting is that I do free shows for anyone that asks for a free show.
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Postby Tom Stone » 12/14/12 01:34 AM

I still laugh over David Thorne's response to requests for free artwork:
http://www.27bslash6.com/p2p2.html
http://www.27bslash6.com/missy.html
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/14/12 02:19 AM

That's entertaining.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 12/14/12 04:07 PM

Dick Ryan published a novel idea in one of his Confidential Booking Reports back in the 90's.

"Yes, I'd be delighted to come and perform at your show and I'm equally delighted that I will get so much publicity from it. However to ensure I do, I will need to have my photo taken with each of the celebrities present before my performance. I will also require the name and address of every guest so I may write to them after the event with my contact details and enclose my brochure."

Most will respond that they couldn't possibly do that but the odd one might agree.
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Postby Gordon Meyer » 12/14/12 04:58 PM

And then after they agree, you can decide if you're already booked. :) But yes, I am operating from the premise that you wouldn't mind, for the right circumstances and organization, making a legitimate, accountable charitable donation. If you're not interested in screening out freeloaders, you don't need any of this advice. Follow Nancy Reagan's advice and "just say no."
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