"Radio Shack" magic

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Postby Guest » 08/12/02 09:04 PM

Hello everyone. I have had several offers over the last couple of weeks to perform at Radio Shack, CVS (pharmacy), and an auto store (grand opening. They mentioned it would be for a grand opening, large sale, special event, etc.
My question is this...How do you DO THIS GIG?
I perform close-up magic at a family restaurant every week, I perform children's birthday parties on the weekends, and occasionally adult stand-up shows. These venues are Great!...BUT how about THIS GIG!!
1) Do you stand in one place and wait for people to walk by and then snatch them up for a lil magic?
2)Do you lurk through the aisles with cards and balls in your hand with the cry for attention?
3)Or do you act like your doing magic for the invisible man until some warm body shows up?

Any clarity would be appreciated
Thank you
Steve Vaught
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Postby Guest » 08/13/02 05:27 AM

Originally posted by Steve Vaught:
Hello everyone. I have had several offers over the last couple of weeks to perform at Radio Shack, CVS (pharmacy), and an auto store (grand opening. They mentioned it would be for a grand opening, large sale, special event, etc.
My question is this...How do you DO THIS GIG?
I perform close-up magic at a family restaurant every week, I perform children's birthday parties on the weekends, and occasionally adult stand-up shows. These venues are Great!...BUT how about THIS GIG!!
1) Do you stand in one place and wait for people to walk by and then snatch them up for a lil magic?
2)Do you lurk through the aisles with cards and balls in your hand with the cry for attention?
3)Or do you act like your doing magic for the invisible man until some warm body shows up?

Any clarity would be appreciated
Thank you
Steve Vaught
Steve,

Your best bet would be to ask the client what they are expecting. If they are unsure, give them the options you mention above and let them choose how they would like you to perform.

Best,

Dan-
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Postby Jeff Haas » 08/13/02 01:35 PM

Steve,

I'm not sure from your post if these are three seperate gigs, or one grand opening for three stores.

The biggest thing you've got to figure out is what the client has in their mind. Many times they have an idea of what they want and are unable to express it...they assume that you are the same as something they once saw somewhere else, so you'll do what they need. Your next conversation with them needs to focus on what EXACTLY they want.

They may not know what they want, which is also common. You may be able to help them pick a plan that will work.

A couple possible examples:
- A platform in an courtyard in front of the new stores. Then you'd be able to set up a small stage show, have scheduled times for the shows, and even include a sound system...which would allow them to give away prizes (coupons for free hot dogs, Radio Shack battery cards, etc.) from the stage. You could MC this for them, too. ("Hey kids...who wants a free battery card?? Well, here's Bob from Radio Shack!!!")

- Strolling. Sometimes people want you to add "atmosphere," which translates into "having a guy wander around and show people tricks" (which you already suspected.) This can work OK if it's in an area that looks like a party is going on, but if you're in a typical small, cramped Radio Shack I don't see how you wander around. You might be able to get a counter away from the cashier, and do small shows there.

Unfortunately, many clients see magicians in the same category as clowns...a cartoony character that does tricks to people.

If the client wants "atmosphere" then they may really want a clown or similar performer. To this kind of client, the costume is perhaps the most important thing...the more outlandish, the better. Unless you have experience performing as a costumed character (just like the guys at a theme park) then you might want to consider passing the gig to a clown.

After all, clowns and Radio Shack go together, right? :D

On the other hand, whenever I've seen costumed characters successfully work at an event (like the 4th of July celebration near me) they're just people who dress up in an appropriate costume and have fun talking to the kids in the crowd. This year the city had two guys on stilts dressed as Uncle Sam. Their costumes were the kind in which the pants legs go over the stilts, so it looks like the person has six-foot long legs. They walked around towering over the crowd, talked to the kids, held out their hands and asked the kids to give them a "high five" and so on. It was fun.

Jeff
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Postby Guest » 08/14/02 12:55 PM

Thanks so much Jeff!!!
That's what I needed to know. I understand you have to give the clients what they want. But like you pointed out, usually THEY DON'T KNOW what they want. It's an idea that pops into their mind. I live in a small town, I've never seen a grand opening with a magician. I wanted to know how working proffesionals would handle this. I am glad you emailed today! I was thinking this morning to decline, but when you mentioned having a little riser(some disignated performing area) with set show times and then giveaways...I can see where THAT would be beneficial for the customer. That will work! You have me headed down the right road. I just couldn't see myself doing "strolling" magic at Radio Shack. You put some thought into your reply and I appreciate you taking the time.
Steve
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Postby Jeff Haas » 08/14/02 05:23 PM

You're welcome. I hope you get the gig and that it goes well.

If you don't have a sound system to provide, try to get them to rent one. It'll make a BIG difference.

Good luck!

Jeff
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Postby Guest » 08/14/02 05:57 PM

Originally posted by Jeff Haas:

If you don't have a sound system to provide, try to get them to rent one. It'll make a BIG difference.
I would hope that Radio Shack would have at least a floor model sound system you could use :D
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Postby Guest » 08/14/02 08:24 PM

Steve,

Use the opportunity to play to your strengths.

If you;re a close-up guy, get them to set you up a table with a sign by it saying "THE MAGIC OF RADIO SHACK." Do close-up work and mention the client's name liberally.

If you're a walk-around guy, use the chance to walk-around and meet the customers and extol the virtues of their products: you're a defacto "host" who happens to do amazing things.

If you do a stage-act, have them set you up a stage and times for the show.

Use their inexperience with a magician to work to your advantage -- and then use that advantage to play up their message as much as possible. They look good: you look good.

Many people who hire a magician don't know what it means. Use it to put yourself, magic and the client in a good light. And use the opening they've given you to be confident about how you can look your best (and by proxy, them) and tell them what you want.

Otherwise you'll get run over, and do nobody any good.

So tell them what you want, get the gig, do good work ....

And make all concerned happy. Including us. :)

brian :cool:
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Postby Guest » 08/15/02 07:26 AM

Thanks Brian,

Hey, the promo picture looks awesome! Is the background computer generated or is that some type of cloth?
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Postby Guest » 08/15/02 08:28 AM

Steve,

It's a cloth backdrop. The photo was taken by Fredde Lieberman, a professional photographer and magician in Silver Spring, MD. Fredde's a great guy who has done photo work for a number of pros over the years: Bob Sheets, Jamy Swiss, Alain Nu, Puck, Barry Taylor and more.

I can't recommend Fredde highly enough -- he also takes pictures for GENII as well; look for his cutlines throughout the magazine.

brian :cool:
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/15/02 04:30 PM

Fredde Lieberman is the official photographer for Genii. He's currently on assignment at an undisclosed location ...
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
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