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 Post subject: Getting Started and Marketing Yourself
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:34 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 15 Jun 2003
Posts: 1112
Location: Atlanta GA
Well if you’re reading this, I assume you are a Kids Show magician or are interested in the venue. I’d like to share some advice with you guys, and hopefully help some of the newer magicians out there get started with their own magic service or business.

1. Getting StartedI don’t want to get into much detail when it comes to learning tricks and creating your routine, there are already many topics concerning this. But basically, you need a solid routine. Kids can get easily distracted, so keep your show short enough not to loose your audience’s attention, but long enough to keep them entertained. Don’t put in tricks that you wouldn’t find too terribly interesting as a spectator, I’ll call these filler tricks. Magicians will sometimes add tricks to a routine just to make it a little longer. Pick your best tricks, the ones that will give them the most for their money!

Also it’s a good idea to interact with the audience. In many cases, when I perform at a child’s house for a birthday party, the kid’s will sit down on the floor in front of me. About midway through the show, I like to sit down with the kids and do some close up tricks. I usually use tricks where they will play a role in the effect (holding a card, making items appear in their hand, etc.). Always bring your audience into the act! Now enough on the routine…

2. SuppliesDon’t walk on stage with nothing but a box of tricks. You are going to need some key supplies before you perform.

A Table- What did you expect to be performing on? It can be something as simple as a folding table with a cloth over it, or a professional suitcase table such as this http://www.magictricks.com/accessories/suitcasetb.htm. Something big enough to perform on, yet small enough to be transported. The first table I used was, like I mentioned, a fold up table with a black cloth over it. I had boxes underneath to sort out my tricks.
A Routine List- Maybe more of mine own invention, but it helps. Even after many hours of practice, it’s easy to forget to perform a trick or two. I usually keep a list of the tricks in performance order hanging off my table, or underneath somewhere. It also is a helpful checklist when packing my tricks, and placing them before the show.
Prizes- I usually give out magic prizes at the end of the show. To a birthday boy/girl I may give out a little magic set, and to other guests a cheap little magic effect. At my local dollar store, they sell magic tricks, and I usually stock up on tricks before I go to a show. You can buy cheap magic sets at a local Wal-mart. Kids love it when they get toys!
Fire Extinguisher?- Ok, I know this is random, but it has a purpose. For kids you may not be doing fire magic, but I do use the occasional flash paper. It is a good idea to tell the parents if you are going to use fire, and to ask their permission before you do so. As for the extinguisher, I actually just carry a small bucket of water and a box of baking soda, more or less to keep the parents feeling safe.

By fire extinguisher I also mean any safety device you may need during your show. If you have a heavy object that you don’t want to fall and hurt someone, put some tape around it and tell the kid’s “not to pass this line. ”I don’t recommend you perform dangerous magic, but you always want to make the parents feel safe about any small hazard.

3. Pre-show inspectionI almost always make an attempt to go to the area where I am performing to find out if it will be any inconvenience to my routine.

For example: I will be performing outside in a child’s backyard. Since I’m outside, I need to make sure I am only performing tricks that are wind proof and won’t be revealed by the bright sun light.

It’s also a good idea to let the parent(s) know what area would be best for you to perform, and how seating arrangements could work. Also, have a backup plan. Weather is unpredictable, so be prepared to come inside to perform if there are bad conditions. If needed, be ready to make last minute routine changes.

4. The Show
Here are a few performance tips.

• If it is a birthday, meet the birthday boy/girl.
• Introduce yourself, “Hi, my name is Will, and I’ll be doing a little magic for you guys!”
• Meet the guests. Either before, during, or after the show.
• Interact, don’t ignore your audience’s comments, questions, or even heckles.
• If you have a heckler, chances are an adult will shut them up. Otherwise, outsmart him/her, hopefully you’ll be able to handle a kid.
• Smile! Keep a positive attitude.
• Have fun! Hopefully if the kids enjoy the show, you will too!

5. Advertise!
After a show is the best time to advertise yourself. Hopefully, people will want to see you again. Tell the audience you are available for shows, and hand out business cards/flyers. It’s also good to hand out prizes, kids are greedy, they want more.


Marketing Yourself

Negotiate a Price-
It’s always a good idea to negotiate a price before the show. This way you know what you’ll be paid instead of the parent paying you what they feel is appropriate (in other words, you getting jipped). In fact, I suggest you have a set price. For example, I charge $50 an hour. Sure, it isn’t much, but I usually get a generous tip as well.

Business Cards-
These are great to have on you. You never know when someone will approach you about a possible show. Include your name, service (Magic Shows), address, phone #, website, and any other info. There are many free web services that allow you to make your own cards, here are a couple:
http://www.thepcmanwebsite.com/business ... ator.shtml
http://www.ehow.com/how_4954_make-business-cards.html

Slogan-
A slogan is also a great idea to have on a card. When I was a little younger, 14-15, I was working with a friend about the same age. Our slogan was “Magic by Will and Alex: Magic for Kids, By Kids.” Even if you are younger, parents love kids who perform. If anything, I have learned that. We would also use our slogan during our introduction, and after the show.

Flyers-Every year I send out flyers in my neighborhood. Most people will throw them out, but there are always a few people who contact you. Flyers should contain the same info as a business card, but it should also contain a picture of you (performing maybe?), and a little about yourself. I also pass out flyers after shows, which is where most of my gigs would come from.

Website-I highly recommend creating a website. This is where people who are interested in booking you can read a bit more about you, see a demo video, and even look at your prices. But how much info should be on your site? Pretend you are briefing a parent about your show when designing it. I recommend www.freewebs.com.



I hope this guide helped some of the newer magicians always posting about their first kids show. If anyone has any suggestion, comments, or questions please post and let me know. Also if you find anything wrong with this guide, please inform me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:52 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 1
Good guide. Thanks. It gave me some good info about what I need.


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 Post subject: '
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:20 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 04 Aug 2003
Posts: 2171
Location: Loveland,Ohio (Cincy)
Lance,
Not a bad basic guide. Something that you could put in there is some material that they could study that specializes in kid shows. Most thinks the magic will entertain kids and that is not the case. They need to learn bits of business and how to entertain... kids, who could be a very difficult audience.
No matter how eloquent a guide you give next week another wannabie will be on here asking how to put a kid show together.
But nice try.


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 Post subject: Re: '
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:34 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 15 Jun 2003
Posts: 1112
Location: Atlanta GA
sluggo wrote:
Lance,
Not a bad basic guide. Something that you could put in there is some material that they could study that specializes in kid shows. Most thinks the magic will entertain kids and that is not the case. They need to learn bits of business and how to entertain... kids, who could be a very difficult audience.
No matter how eloquent a guide you give next week another wannabie will be on here asking how to put a kid show together.But nice try.

I know they will, but at least this will give them something to read, maybe answer a few of their questions...hopefully.

ANd I do plan on adding some material, I'm just gathering some sources. Feel free to post any and I will add them.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 3:04 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 17 Feb 2006
Posts: 1621
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Bravo on the tips!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 12:35 am 
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Penguin

Joined: 25 Nov 2006
Posts: 28
DUDE! this is EXACTLY what im looking for! im 13 and i was wondering how to get my name out there! thanks a LOT man!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 5:55 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 15 Apr 2006
Posts: 314
Location: look in your trashcan....
good job


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:11 pm 
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Team Penguin

Joined: 04 Feb 2005
Posts: 1854
Location: Georgia
This is mostly what I have been explaining and preaching in past threads...welcome to the marketing club.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:56 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 16 Nov 2006
Posts: 79
:D hi ppl im a young magsion i might be on tv 4 to weeks post reply to me and ll give u in fo if u would like to try and enter


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 2:23 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 23 Jul 2004
Posts: 2440
Location: NJ
magicboy24 wrote:
:D hi ppl im a young magsion I might be on tv 4 to weeks post reply to me and ll give u in fo if u would like to try and enter


what's a magsion? you'll be on tv, and you can't spell???

I'm sorry but i have no idea what you are trying to say. Speak English so we know what you are talking about.

Ben Winter


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 Post subject: '
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:30 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 04 Aug 2003
Posts: 2171
Location: Loveland,Ohio (Cincy)
magicboy24 wrote:
:D hi ppl im a young magsion I might be on tv 4 to weeks post reply to me and ll give u in fo if u would like to try and enter

Huh?


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 Post subject: This is really helpful!
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 9:14 am 
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Penguin

Joined: 01 Apr 2007
Posts: 38
This was a really helpful post for me. I am 12 years old and have been into magic about 4 years. I have been putting together a kids show routine and this helped with a lot of my questions. Ty!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 11:36 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 890
Very thoughtful post. Thank you for sharing that with everyone.

Just a couple of thoughts, if I may be so bold, is not to suggest they use free websites. Nowdays, webs space is cheap. For the cost of doing one show a year, don't have advertising on your space! It really takes away the professional appearance of a site. Remember, a website is just like your resume to a client, so you want it to reflect YOU and be as professional as possible!

Next, when negotiating a price, don't undersell yourself! My daughter's mentor (a past National SAM President) taught her that. Go with the going rate, even if you are a YOUTH, as long as your have a QUALITY show. If you don't, then you aren't ready to charge anyone and should continue working on your routine. My daughter makes $200/hr but prorates it according to the job she is taking. If she does a 15 minute magic show, it is $50. If she does a 15 magic show and then 15 of walkaround, it's $100. If she adds on ballloons for 15 minutes, its $150, until she works up to the $200/hr. Of course, you are going to want to spend some of your own time networking with the guests when you are finished, again, on your OWN time to market yourself. As stated, be friendly, outgoing, and always leave them with a pleasant impression of you.

As always, good luck everyone!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:38 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 27 Mar 2004
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Location: Ohio U.S.A.
Kristenl's additional advice is very good, and worth your consideration.

LordLanceIII ,

I thought your post was very insightful too. However, I'd like to address your advice regarding business cards.

I would advise against putting your address on your business card, unless you are a retail establishment as well. By placing your home address on your card you run the risk of having your house or your vehicle burglarized , should an unscrupulous person come across that sort of information.

This is a real concern nowadays. Believe it or not. Some people feel that you may have lots of equipment worth lots of money at your home. There ARE people out there that look for this sort of thing, and should the wrong type of person get your private info, it could be a real nightmare.

The reason that I write this is because this happened to a friend of mine who is a professional DJ. He used to have his home address on his business card too. That is until his house and equipment vehicle were broken into , and the thief or thieves stole over $8,00.00 worth of gear.

So .....a word to the wise. A phone number, fax number, or email address is sufficient info for the client or potential client to contact you. They don't need your home address.

Just my .02
Brian


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