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 Post subject: Restaurant magic in the big city?
PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2004 6:13 pm 
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Location: Oh yeah? Well a 7 nation army couldnt hold me back biaaaaaaaaaaaaatch
I've noticed we have a few real workers on the forum and thats cool and all but I dont think any of them are from a bigger metro area like New York or LA. I heard Paddy mention that The pay is higher but is there anything else thats different. Easier/harder to get a gig? Different types of performing? Thanks


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2004 11:17 pm 
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Yep pay is higher cuz cost of living is higher. But you still have to be GOOD, very good, cuz remember every kid thinks restaurant magic is easy.

All you have to do is perform table hopping for 2 or 3 hours a night. Yea sure. Kids don't realize the hours of practice every day. The hours going out and trying to get work. (One restaurant won't feed you you have to perform 5 to 7 nights a week to make a living.) The money on NEW EFFECTS and the time to learn them in addition to practicing your usual effects. Kids don't see that part of show business so they will come out to try to steal your jobs.

I had one idiot try to take a restaurant from me by charging $25 a week plus tips. The manager gave him a try. He lasted less than an hour. The regular customers who see me every fri nite told the kid to call me and learn how to perform before he came into a restaurant again. Then they called the manager over and demanded that he throw the kid out.

Hey it ain't easy being an entertainer, but it is worth it. I'll train anybody to do what I do cuz I know that not one of you in 1000 will have the guts to see it thru and really be a professional.

Peter


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 12:16 am 
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Luckily for me, there are no restaurant magicians around here, or even magicians that I know of. I plan on getting "good" enough before trying out restaurant magic so I will be ahead of the competition before it even starts.

I have a question Peter... how hard is it to find work when your not looking to do magic on the busier Friday and Saturday nights? Do you charge less for "off-nights", or do you receive some kind of weekly pay?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 12:46 am 
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I get a fee for the night plus tips plus a free meal. Some I know charge more for Fri and Sat nights cuz they are busier. I charge the same for all nights. One restaurant wanted me on Monday nights cuz it is the slaowest night of the week, so I gave him a higher price for that night cuz the tips will be DOWN, really down. He got excited about that and started to back off, saying "Mondays are slow shouldn't they be cheaper?" I just told him "They won't be slow after word gets out that I am here to entertain the guests." He hired me. So did 3 other restaurants in the same chin, and they got my regular rate. We are no longer at that chain, not because of the price or what we did or didn't do. Just cuz a new regional manager came in and stopped all entertainers in the region. Oh well they were easy to replace.

I have my Fri and sat nights booked by restaurants that I have worked for years so I am not about to leave there. But I get restaurants for any night of the week no problem. I fing Tues and Thurs nights have the biggest tippers during the week, Wed nites seem to be cheapskates night out. That may be a local thing but it seems that way to me.

Peter


Last edited by paddy on Sun Jan 25, 2004 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 1:07 am 
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Thank you very much. I was thinking about that concept(i.e. they won't be slow when word gets around about me working), and you've given me confidence in it(because it seems to work). I now think getting a job on weeknights might be possible, especially if I try out multiple restaurants. Have you ever done a daytime gig? (like Sunday for lunch because of the Church crowd)

Oh yeah, working as a server for some time, I assure you the Tuesday/Thursday principle has truths behind it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 9:04 am 
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Freed and the rest of the penguins. This is Sunday morning and I am getting ready to go to a hockey game where I am the official entertainer at all the Cincinnati Cyclones Kids games. Have my replacement going to both restaurants that I usually work on Sundays. OK nice to pat myself on the back, lets get to the point.

When I first started this restaurant entertaining I would get a $5 bill maybe onece in a while. In counting my tips from last night I had one $10 bill and six $5 bills in my tips. Plus a bunch of $1 bills, oh yes I had some coins, a total of two quarters was all the coins I had.

The point? As you keep practicing and working you get better and better and the people who see you reward you more. You get the $5 tips more often because you are a heck of a lot better entertainer.

My goal used to be $100 a day tips and fee. Then it went to $100 a day in tips. Now my goal is $1000 a week in tips alone plus the restaurant fees. When I make that (hopefully this year but maybe in 2005) then My next goal is $100,000 a year income by performing alone plus the Back Of Room sales to make it higher.

Peter


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 9:37 am 
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all i can say is paddy darn.. your doing so good with this and your really going all the way congrats, i was thinking about getting into resturant acts but im not really sure, well i kno id be the only one but i just dont think anyone would want it up here.. what do u do? do u like go from table to table after a while and ask if they wanna see magic? how do u go about doing it.. thanks for all the advice and posts u have made already, and good luck :twisted:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 11:30 am 
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hey paddy thanks for all the great advice, u may have answered this before but out of curiosity how old are you??

also what would u reccomend to all the magicians hear who want to do restaurant gigs?? what do you think they should do to get themselves out there??

thanks for all the great advice
-Alex-


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 4:05 am 
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Magicman and tocatcher, 1st I am 59 years old. I have been doing this full time now for about 5 years.

To both of you asking "should I do something?" I had a sig line that said "A funny thing happens when you don't take action. NOTHING!" And it is true.

If we get our thumbs out of out of our buttholes and start moving towards our goals, we accomplish things. we succeed. At age 50 I was laid off and could not find a job cuz I was "too old." A friend of mine suggested I start entertaining kids and I fought the suggestion for years. I took a job in a grocery store stocking shelves just for the insurance, got paid about $8 an hour. Well another friend got into magic and urged me to go to a David Ginn seminar with him. Spent $576 that day on magic. Started at one restaurant several months later Then when the new store manager walked around acting like she had PMS all the time, I quit and went into the restaurant entertaining business full time. Now when I go back to the same store I worked at All the staff who knew me loves it. (BTW the manager got fired, nobody likes to be around a woman on PMS 100% of the time.)

In short TAKE ACTION! stop talking and start doing!

Quote:
" i was thinking about getting into resturant acts but im not really sure, well i kno id be the only one but i just dont think anyone would want it up here.. what do u do? do u like go from table to table after a while and ask if they wanna see magic? how do u go about doing it.. "


When I started doing this I was the only restaurant magician. Now there are several, doesn't bother me cuz I am a lot better than they are. You'll see why towards the end. Why wouldn't they want to see magic? Only if you are really bad, then no one wants to see bad magic.

Go see the General manager (The BIG KAHUNA) and audition. Charge the restaurant a fee plus tips. Hey, if you get $50 for 3 hours of walk around magic That is a little over $16 an hour PLUS you shoud be able to make an additional $20 an hour in tips (starting, after a while it will be closer to $40 to 50 an hour) so you will make around $110 a night. do that 3 nights a week and you are making what most adults make working 40 hours a week. More on this after this next comment.

Quote:
"what would u reccomend to all the magicians hear who want to do restaurant gigs?? what do you think they should do to get themselves out there??"


I am going to expand on the 3 night making $300 to 400 now. cuz it fits in. I mentioned that we make more than the 40 hour a week people. We do. Cuz we put in more than 40 hours a week just so we can word 12 hour a week. Make sense? No. But think about it, we have to rehearse EVERY effect we do for hours and hours to lern it. then if we are using it every day we still rehearse it for a couple of hours a day to get ready for the gig. I personally rehearse between 3 to 4 hours a day unless it is a new effect for me. Then I rehearse the new effect for an additional 2 hours until I am so confident I add it to my show. So far I am now working a 3 hour gig+ 3 hours of rehearsals making 6 hours a day. Now we have to be marketing and selling ourselves to restaurants and the birthday parties we get from people see our show. That adds another 2 to 3 hours a day.

Then on days we don't have gigs we are seeing every restaurant and business out there selling ourselves as magicians. Right there is 6 to 8 hours a day when we don't have shows PLUS the rehearsals we do for the show. Yes we rehearse 7 days a week, occasionally we can have a 6 day week but not often.

This is the life of a professional magician. We aren't out getting sex from all the admiring women we are working our buts off to be entertainers. Yes I point out the "bad" part of being a magician. But darn it's worth it!

I know long rambling post but I hope I have helped you guys.

Peter


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:19 pm 
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Paddy, Thanks for adding both the good and bad perspectives, it helps to hear as much as possible and then we need to do the research in our areas to see where to go next. I think alot of people (myself included) think that the rehearsal time can be achieved sometimes on the "job" but if we all think about it if we did that then our magic would suffer. I guess the key point is to Practice,Practice and Practice before we go out to try to get a job. Again thanks for your feedback to us.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:39 pm 
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hey paddy, just curious but whats the most amount of money you have made in one day from doing magic? Including birthday parties and other gigs.

Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 2:16 am 
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slamball wrote:
hey paddy, just curious but whats the most amount of money you have made in one day from doing magic? Including birthday parties and other gigs.

Thanks.


Including parties and restaurants it was $650. When you add corporate gigs it is a different priceing structure. I did a corporate gig for $2500 a day plus expenses and I have done a gig at a flat $5000 for 6 days of walk around and 2 shows (half hour each) a day.

Again Corporate work is a different animal alltogether. I am spending more time and money marketing in this area so I can leave the party and restaurant scene to my partner and one of my kids.

Peter


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2004 12:43 pm 
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To answer the original question, I've worked as a restaurant magi in New York for almost 3 years, since I was a sophomore in college at Columbia. I've actually heard from other members of my SAM ring that it's easier to find a job in a restaurant in the city. My restaurant which is located on the upper west side and gets most of its business from students, but numerous other restaurants would take magicians to entertain tourists. When you ask about salary, that's really impossible to define. It completely depends on the type of restaurant you choose. If you try a place like planet hollywood, Fridays, or Olive Garden, you may not get paid nearly as much, salary wise as you could in an upscale restaurant. The reason being that people will go to Planet Hollywood whether there's a magician there or not. You wouldn't help their business much. However, some more upscale restaurants, at least around here, are looking for a way to distinguish themselves from others. These are the prime places in my opinion. The other perk to finding a place like this is that the clientelle usually consists of people with a good deal of money who don't mind showing you their appreciation monetarily. Students don't tend to have much extra spending money so most of my income comes from my salary and not tips.
As to which routines to perform... this also completely depends on the atmosphere of the restaurant. Working for drunk college students; quick, not drawn out, no complex stories or patterlines, and usually the flashier the better. This DOES NOT mean that you don't routine into a seamless performance. Things like ring leader have become invaluable. My favorite opener has become Doctor Strangetrick by Michael Close. My favorite closer is a quick card routine involving several revelations climaxing with card to wallet.
Hope some of this answered your original question...


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