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 Post subject: A Different Type of Free Show and Magic Kits
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:57 am 
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I've made it a point to offer a "free" show to a church of my choice every year. This is something I've done for the last four years. The reason I call it a "free" show is because it costs the church nothing. However, you're still being paid through a cover charge, and free-will donation.

Here's how these shows work. First, it's necessary to find a church that you think deserves a "free" show. Once you've done that, call them up and ask for the administrative or senior minister. You'll want to schedule a meeting with this person. This is not to say that they will be able to give you the authority to do the show. Many times, they will have to talk to the church council to okay the details. But they are your first step.

You'll want to explain what you want to do for their church. Which simply is supplying them a show for no charge. Explain that you want to have a reduced cover charge (as a special gift to the church) as well as a free-will offering, which is to be collected at the end of the show. You will cover the cost for all promotion and advertising of the event. You'll also want to explain how they will benefit from this special offer. First, they get a high quality show for nothing. Second, they get free promotion and advertising for their church. Now, the way you benefit (which you don't need to explain to the minister) is that you get to present a show without having to rent out a facility, and you end up making a nice profit, as well as gain exposure.

I've found that most churches are interested, but you must remember to offer this show early. Churches do book up quickly with different events, and you want to make sure you get a good date or to be fit in at all. Sometimes, you won't be able to be scheduled on the day that you were looking at. But they will usually be able to squeeze you in sometime. You just want to make sure that you try to schedule this as early as possible. This way, the church will have time to discuss the idea, and fit you in.

Sometimes, the minister will direct you to other people that you will need to talk to. This is alright, and just go along with it. Other times, the minister will have to get back to you after a council meeting. It's always a good idea to call a couple of weeks later to just give a check up on how everything is going. They will usually get back to you in a timely manner though.

Once you've gotten the show, make sure that it's a clean show. You want to make sure that it's family appropriate. Also, keep religion out of it. It's best to avoid the topic all together. You don't want to offend anyone. But that also doesn't mean you have to have a G rated show. Just don't go too crazy. Use common sense. As you will end up getting additional work, if you have a quality family show (as families will be the ones who will most likely be coming to a show like this). The church may even end up hiring you for additional events, and churches have a non-ending supply of events throughout the year.

The other thing I want to mention in this essay are magic kits. Now, the type of magic kit I'm talking about is more like an emergency magic kit. This simply is a magic case that you keep in your vehicle at all times. Inside of it are the props you need to perform an entire show at a moments notice. I believe Andrew Mayne also talks about using a kit like this.

I've found that these magic kits can be very helpful. For instance, on Monday I decided that I would go to a local hotel and drop in on a business gathering there. I mingled with a couple of groups of people, and ended up steering the conversation to magic. I performed a little comedy magic with sponge balls and had great reactions. So much so that one of the groups ended up introducing me to another group of people which included the owner of the company, and the person who was in charge of the entertainment for that particular event. They requested that I did a little magic for them, and I did so. They were amazed by what I did, and asked if I would stay around and perform at the end of the night. Since I had my magic kit in my car, I was able to accept the gig, and do a show for them. I'm now working out a contract with this company to do a couple of additional shows. So having a kit like this can be very beneficial, as you're always prepared to perform.

Now, if you only do large scale illusions, this isn't going to work. But for those who can pack small, but play big, this is a great idea. I've utilized this kit countless times, and have had great results. I just just fill it up with the props I need, and throw it in the back of my car.

To finish up this essay, I want to discuss one last thing. Beware when you go on magic forums. Yes, there are some great ones out there, but others are filled with people who have huge egos. For a beginner magician, frequenting one of those forums will do you no good. And even for younger magician (age wise), you have a high chance of being attacked if you try to offer any advice. Which is sad, because many younger magicians can give out great advice, but are being stifled because of arrogant magicians. Now, I have found that the PenguinMagic forum is a great place to be. It's the one I've frequented for the longest. There are a lot of young magicians there who basically spam, and don't know what they are talking about. But there also some magicians there who are very well informed, and are more than willing to help and listen. Those people more than make up for the faults of the young magicians there. I've also found that TheMagicWoods, even though some of the members are a little protective, offers another great forum. They have frequent big name guests there. And they have a lot of good information. However, I would say beware of TheMagicCafe. Yes, there is a lot of great information there. But there are also a lot of members there who have overinflated egos, and have a tendency to attack anyone who is younger, or disagrees with them. The negative there outweighs and positive that they offer. So I say that it's not even worth going there.

That's it for this essay. Next week I will talk more about restaurant magic. Until then, take care,

Dustin White


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:47 pm 
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I started offering a similar deal to local churches two years ago.
I will pay all upfront costs (advertising, ticket printing, etc), if your youth group helps sell the tickets.
We count up the tickets sold, and I take a flat fee from the sale of each ticket. When my fee is paid, the church gets the rest.

Magic kits: Great advice. My stand-up kid's show and stand-up all purpose show are always in my Husky's in the back of my car.
On a side note: Don't forget to keep a clean shirt and pants in the car as well.

It's creepy how similar our thoughts are, isn't it? Must be the in the name.

Dustin Baker


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:14 pm 
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I am curious, how this makes a profit. I know I sound like an idiot, but this is a great idea, I am just curious about a few of the idiosyncrasies. Great essay though! Oh, and one other thing. Do you know of a place to do free close up shows or strollings shows but still make a profit? I can hold my own on stage, yet I believe that close-up is easier and it's my cup of tea. Again, great essay and the emergency magic kit is great advice!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:28 pm 
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You make a profit since one, you aren't paying anything in order to get a stage to perform on. Two, you charge for admittance (cover charge) which you get. And third, you get the good-will offering. The only thing you really have to pay for is promotion and advertising.

As for close-up, I'm not completely sure. You may be able to do the same thing at a church gathering, and then just have a good-will offering taken at the end. But you really can't charge a cover. You may be able to work something out with a coffee shop, where they have a special night where you can come in and do table hopping. They could charge a cover then, and you could possibly make a profit. But this really is more for stage.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 12:32 pm 
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I'm not trying to sound greedy, but, I, legally am to young to accept money to do a formal job, such as table hopping. This way though, through free shows, you could potentially, and legally make a profit. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:24 pm 
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Actually, since you would be an independent contractor, you can legally work for a profit. You can legally work at a restaurant, or coffee shop for a profit.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:58 pm 
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If you want to combine this concept with close-up, ask the church if they want to make it a dinner show.

Churches usually have a bunch of tables lying around and chairs are as easy to come by. Slap a few table cloths down, get some cheap silverware (ala Wal-mart), and head to Costco for the food. I've only done that once, but it was great.

Rather than stadium seating like a normal stage show, we left the tables up. This vastly reduces the number of seats available, but since it's a "dinner show" you can charge 2-3 times the price for tickets - so it's a catch 22.

You don't make anymore money though, and you actually end up spending more. However, you do get to show off your close-up skills for potential clients.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:32 am 
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Expanding on what dbaker said, you could also have the church do a potluck. This way, it costs you nothing for the food, and many churches already have all of the dinnerware that you need. You could promote it as evening for church members to get to know each other better. You could have a good will offering at the end of the night, or even just a tip jar.

I do like the idea though Dustin. I will be doing a dinner show at my church in the near future, but it will be more of a dinner theater as I will be doing a stage show instead.


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