What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Struggling with an effect? Any tips (without giving too much away!) you'd like to share?

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Postby moechsle » Jan 2nd, '11, 19:27



Starving Stu wrote:Oh and one last thing, always take your money from the host and slip it in your pocket. But check it outside out of view to be polite! I'll never forget the time I drove all the way home and found out they'd paid me less than what we agreed........... :roll:

Yes, that happened to me once as well. The husband booked me and the wife payed me. Everything went well and she told me she was very happy with my show. Nevertheless a quarter of my payment was missing when I went home. I will never know if this was an 'honest' mistake or she deliberately cheated me. But I sure was pi**ed when I counted the money at home.
I have no problem with quickly counting the money when I get them directly. But often I get the money in an envelope. Then I find it to be rude to take them out and start counting - when this happens, I prefer just to trust people.

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Postby mark lewis » Jan 2nd, '11, 21:02

Here is a subtle method of counting money in front of them in a polite way. Simply say, "I had better make sure you haven't paid me too much"

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What to expect at the venues you are working

Postby Allen Tipton » Jan 3rd, '11, 09:08

Or you could always say--'Sorry but I have to check the money as I have to enter it for tax purposes'!!

I presume if you are working lots of gigs for money you do pay tax!! ??

When I first had an agent--many, many years ago--I did ask--'Do I enter this on my tax form?'

He dropped me like a hot brick!

Allen Tipton

Began magic at 9 in 1942. Joined Staffs M.S at 13. Nottm.Guild of M. (8 times President. Prog Director 20years)IBM. Awarded Magician of Month 1980 By Intern. Pres. IBM for reproducing Dante's Sim Sala Bim. Writes Dear Magician column for Abra. Mag.
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Postby Tommy Magic » Jan 3rd, '11, 12:18

All the advice posted on this thread has been great - the five P's basically (Prior Preparatio Prevents * Poor Performance)

I was just thinking about this from a different point of view, as I just had the best gig I've ever had I and wanted to write down a few of the more pleasant things that you can look forward to if you are setting out to start working as a magician - assuming that you have some good magic to share!

The gig I just had was new years eve, at a hotel - table magic for 60 - 80 people for about 2 hours. Short break, then a bar show till 11pm, then the following day a 40 minute parlour show for hotel residents before dinner at 6.30pm. It was a paid gig (my fifth ever paid gig) and included all meals and accommodation for 2 days for me and my wife...

So what can you expect?
Firstly, you will meet some amazing people, and if you take as much of an interest in them and their stories, as you hope that they will in you and your magic, then you will almost certainly make some great friends, and hear some fantastic tales. The staff at the venues will know you are coming, so don't forget about them - get there early and find time to show the staff some magic - after all they will be looking after you.
You will often be told to by hotel owner / staff 'please do go ahead & help yourself...' to food and dessert and alcohol & people will offer to buy you drinks and even give you their money! I always share tips with the staff at the venue - it's only fair as you are just part of the picture.

You may, if all goes well, rekindle peoples actual belief in magic, and in return they will give you great compliments on your performances, ask you again and again how you achieved particular effects (but not really want to know), and generally say that they very much enjoyed what you did, and may also book you for their upcoming party / wedding etc.

You can expect most people to be understanding when a trick goes slightly off track, or even completely wrong. In my experience as long as you don't get too upset when things go wrong, then neither will they, and they may even enjoy the next bit of magic that goes well even more, as deep down, they will want you to succeed.

You can expect to get paid to do what you love doing, and to get repeat bookings and the free chance to personally hand out your business cards to anyone who wants one. When your routines are done, you may be able to enjoy the fact that you are now at a party, and take advantage of some of those offers of a drink / get stuck into that bottle of wine you produced from thin air earlier...

The thing that I wasn't expecting, was the enormous sense of satisfaction I got after performing the Parlour show on New Years Day. It was my first ever live performance of this particular routine, indeed my first ever parlour show, and I was more than a little nervous when I walked into the room to find that about 40 people had showed up, with a fair few kids, and that people were sitting on the floor and behind the table I had set up for myself - I would be surrounded! Nevertheless the routine went better than I could have wished, and I'm still buzzing from that...

So in summary, and on a good day! you can expect:
1) to meet some amazing people
2) get paid to do magic - marvellous
3) to get fed and watered, and be bought drinks / given more money as a tip
4) Rekindle peoples belief in magic and in return receive great compliments
5) Free marketing
6) Warm glow of satisfaction (which still hasn't worn off) that all those years of practice and preparation came together and are now helping you to pay the bills doing what you love!

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Postby guyrich1 » Apr 27th, '11, 15:49

I find that turning up early, finding a place to hide, relax and set up your effects works a treat (for me). Once your in the venue I find that its easier to determine your action plan from the environment, and vibe of the shindig.

As a newbie I used to try and determine the nicest and most open looking people to perform my first effects to (people you feel are less likely to interrogate you) this helped me tackle my nerves, but after time those nerves do lessen and you become more experienced with people skills and rapport, now i just start with the first people/table I see, I always take a little extra time out to show the bar staff if there available, its great for promotion and handing out cards to the owner/manager.

Apologies if I went slightly off topic here

Guy

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby bmat » Aug 22nd, '11, 16:06

Always work with a contract.

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby kumkum01 » Aug 29th, '11, 07:50

Hi guys............I was still a bit nervous for this gig, which another magi had recommended I do as he was unavailable. It was for a christening with the "reception" at a nearby hotel. It was very much a family affair, and so I was an absolute outsider as knew nobody there. However, things started off really well, with some visual effects such as Bigger Finish by Sankey and Interlaced by Sanders.............

regards......

kumkum

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby TonyoMagic » Sep 6th, '11, 13:37

What great thread...almost too much to take in. Some of the highlights for me..Indian weddings: great fun, though sometimes they do expect you to be able to walk on water and then change it into wine - I'm still working on that one. And the tough/skeptical spectators..I think we all know they make the best converts, and despite making your job a little 'tricky' to begin with, in the end I think they are an asset.

There was something else in the thread that reminded me of what Kit Hartling wrote in his book Card Fictions. I'm talking about soliciting challenges from the audience...getting them to challenge you to do things (that you know you can pull off). What better than being challenged to do the impossible, looking worried by the prospect and then pulling it off in a 'tour de force' stlyley!

I'll be back to read all of this thread properly - nice idea, compliments to Agecroft for starting it.

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby Allen Tipton » Nov 6th, '11, 15:15

Expect NOTHING. Be prepared for ANYTHING.
Over the years I have performed on big & small stages, classy & non classy joints!!--
On a beer crate--On a table--On bench seating in a bar--On a piano--twice--once on a box by it with the piano as a table and once actually standing on a grand piano!

Right from my teens--a long time ago-- I always had one Act that could be worked anywhere. An Act set in the bag or box with no preparation needed at the venue.
This for a venue I did not know
It could be worked on Stage, close up surrounded.

From the book Effecive Magic by Will Blyth--I learned to keep a notebook giving the venues name, address & phone number, who booked me + phone number, the fee, the tricks I performed ;I numbered them to save writing out lots of titles--and most important--any things I needed to know about the venue for repeat bookings.
I still remember one entry from about 1948!! Hasbury Conservative Club, Worcs. The stage--' 6 foot high.triangular platform, set in a corner, with a 7 or 8 foot mirror directly behind me'!!

Very useful for return bookings

Allen Tipton

Began magic at 9 in 1942. Joined Staffs M.S at 13. Nottm.Guild of M. (8 times President. Prog Director 20years)IBM. Awarded Magician of Month 1980 By Intern. Pres. IBM for reproducing Dante's Sim Sala Bim. Writes Dear Magician column for Abra. Mag.
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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby ruben » Jun 15th, '12, 15:37

Dear Allen,
We all have, I'm sure, a wild story and or experience to tell. Good thread to pick our teeth with and good advice for the young rug rats out there.
I began my first paid show at 16, all of which was designed by me. The music,patter and so on. What was wild about it?
Private club and to boot a wet t shirt contest. A complete rurprise to me, I still to this day save a poster add from this event with my name.
At 16 I was picking and grinning,for sure.

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby magic4children » Jul 24th, '12, 06:57

Watch out for the venue’s acoustics. Venues with bare walls, high or no ceiling and with hard floors can be an acoustic nightmare. Sound is a wave and if there is nothing to absorb it, it bounces around and the waves clash making even the best sound system sound muddy. As soon as there is an audience present and they begin talking, even the slightest whisper becomes very noisy; the automatic response is to turn up the amplifier to be heard above the crowd noise but this only makes it worse. Best advice I have found in such a venue is to ask the audience to work with you, tell them about the acoustic problem and then work with your amp lower than normal, this seems to work well. A simple test to check acoustics in a venue is to make a click sound or clap your hands, if the sound hangs around slightly the acoustics are bad, if the sound dies as soon as it is made the acoustics are good.

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby Allen Tipton » Jul 24th, '12, 07:48

ACCOUSTICS: OR as an extra precaution--as I have advocated in my Abra aritcles-and once on the Forum--LEARN to use Voice Projection.

If you are playing to an audience you can talk to about accoustics--they hopefully, will listen-- turning down an amplifier would not be necessary.
Just do not use an amplifier. Use voice projection. Over this YOU have TOTAL control
Then what do you do if the Amp. enables squeaks, whines and sometimes ear splitting noises to hit your audience?

I sometimes wonder if the utter reliance on amplification hinders the voice getting over.
And trusting a sound technician--well there are many stories. You are in some else's hands.

We had a famous, award winning, children's entertainer lecture at our Magic Club, about 10 years ago. Now HQ's hall is small--about 26 feet long--BUT he insisted on using amplification--we could not pick up all he said. One of our Presidents, a pro magician, always gave out the notices and introduced the lecturer via a hand held mike. It was always a muffled sound!!

Remember in the Theatres, for many years, magicians, actors & other perfomers did not use amplification.

And YES -- I realise Theatres are a different kettle of fish--although there are theatres where accoustics are poor.

The Arts Theatre in Nottingham, where my wife & I performed for 42 years, has an absolute blank, dead spot, in the centre of the auditorium.
The way round this was to literally fan your voice ACROSS the audience. It worked.

So guys--there may be a case for resurrecting simple Voice Projection OR if you are unlucky to work in a noisy venue revert to the amplifier.
HEDGE YOUR BETS!

Get a trusted friend to sit at the back of your audience. Ask him to listen to your voice & the patter. All you want to know is--did he hear every word.

Allen Tipton
PS. One of the problems using a mike is very few--very few magicians have ever had or sought, any tuition in mike technique.

Began magic at 9 in 1942. Joined Staffs M.S at 13. Nottm.Guild of M. (8 times President. Prog Director 20years)IBM. Awarded Magician of Month 1980 By Intern. Pres. IBM for reproducing Dante's Sim Sala Bim. Writes Dear Magician column for Abra. Mag.
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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby shaneking » Jan 7th, '14, 11:02

I have been performing close up professionally for 20 years and i bought a book by Jamie D. Grant recently called "The Approach". I thought I knew everything but this was jam packed full of good tips for newbies as well as seasoned pros.
I have no commercial affiliation but i can't recommend this enough. He discusses how many tricks you need, prices to charge, how to overcome difficult spectators etc etc. you won't be disappointed

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby Dan Q » Feb 25th, '14, 16:13

Allen Tipton wrote:PS. One of the problems using a mike is very few--very few magicians have ever had or sought, any tuition in mike technique.


That's just one of the problems. A handheld mic is usually a no-go for a magician - how're you going to do that challenging sleight with only one hand? - and a mic on a stand means that you're stuck standing in one place: let's hope that your set doesn't require any significant motion. Even if you are happy standing still, you'll still have to be careful how you move your arms; one knock on that gadget in the corner of your jacket and it's all going to go downhill.

Radio microphones are okay, again so long as you know where they are and how to use them. And you don't forget that they're on! There's no point whispering something to a participant if there's a little electronic ear hanging off your lapel!

Just learning some good projection skill is, as others have said, the way. If you've had theatre experience or you're a singer, that's great. If not: find yourself a friend and an amphitheatre you can borrow for an hour or so (a lecture hall, a theatre, a village hall, or whatever) and practice making yourself heard clearly from the other end of the room. Even if you're mostly going to go table-to-table, the experience of speaking slowly and clearly and being heard is similar whether you're talking to the back row of a cabaret audience or to somebody right in front of you while you're surrounded by conversation and laughter and music.

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Re: What to expect at the venues you could end up working

Postby mark lewis » Feb 25th, '14, 21:24

I used to worry about this microphone thing but you don't need to do that nowadays. There are all sorts of holders you can put around your neck which hold the microphone as you walk around so your hands are indeed free. I have a strong voice and I don't always need a microphone but in most places and for most people reading this I think you should probably use one if it is available. You have to test it of course as some house microphones are bloody awful. Or bring your own to the venue.

I still remember working a top night club in London many,many years ago and for my first show there were only 5 people in the audience so I didn't use the microphone. The owner of the club was perturbed and asked me why. He insisted that I use one from that moment on and of course I did. Projecting is good if you can do it and I certainly can but I think the better route for most people is to use a microphone. I have seen quite a few performers try to do without and it is a sorry scene. And it can be very unpleasant if you happen to be in the front row and some idiot magician is overly loud under the delusion he is "projecting".

Just my opinion but of course I am always right.

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