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 Post subject: looking for work
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 10:37 pm 
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Penguin

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Posts: 35
I have been doing magic for some years now and I have wanted to get into restaurants because that is more my style than busking. I have gotten and watched several times the dvd's that are on the subject, live at the jail house ect... and they are very vague on some topics and wanted to talk to some magicians that have experience in this. thanks in advance.



I have a couple questions

how do you approach the restaurant's GM?
"hey i have a proposition for you...."

what do i do to get their attention so that i don't lose them from the
beginning?

should i call and make an appointment with the GM or just drop in?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 1:41 am 
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born to perform.

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See, this is why people shouldn't buy DVDs about these subjects - they never tell you what you REALLY need to know, because they REALLY can't.

Here's what to get:
More Experience

Also Look into getting
More Exposure

Both of these will help you get credentials and hence more work in the future. Credentials are very helpful when talking to a GM and the experience will give you enough confidence to just ask for the job - it will also give you more clout.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 3:37 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 20 Jan 2008
Posts: 615
Wait a few more years.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 6:48 am 
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There are many books on the subject that tell you much more about the subject. The Magic Menu is a good choice as well as Kirk Charles book. If you look around this forum, you will find a list of books and DVD's that I recommend.

How old are you?
What experience in magic do you have?
How long have you been doing magic?
What exactly do you know of magic?

If you answer those questions, I can help much more.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 8:31 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 14 Jan 2007
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Location: Practicing in Fairfield, CT
Not my essay but I feel its relevant. I don't remember the original author so if anybody does please give some credit to him because this is the best essay I have ever read.



.: Getting the Job :.





There are many sources out there that go into detail about choosing a restaurant to approach. Some suggest you should eat there first and possibly write a letter to the manager, but ultimately getting a restaurant gig seems like so much else in life: a numbers game. There are some guide lines to make your time more productive, but ultimately you are going to have to go out and talk to restaurant managers about their needs.

One thing I found is that some restaurants are more willing to hire a magician than others. Chain restaurants (e.g. franchises) are usually more difficult than those that are individually owned. Also places that already have some sort of entertainment are more likely to hire a magician, so look for places that have live music on the weekends, or seem to cater to fun-loving crowds.

I would recommend making a list of potential places near your home where you might be able to secure a job and then systematically approaching those restaurants. This way you are less likely to get discouraged when you get a few no’s, and trust me you probably will.

You should approach the restaurant manager when things in a restaurant are slowest. You should be wearing appropriate attire, and grooming should be of a high standard. In short, you should look professional. These small details count.

Introduce yourself to the host and ask if the manager is in, mentioning that you do not have an appointment. When the manager comes out, shake hands, introduce yourself and tell them that you would like to take 8 minutes of their time to show him how to increase hospitality, customer satisfaction, and floor traffic. This lets them know that you are not planning on being there all day and that what you have to say will be profitable for the business. If you say 10 minutes rather than 8 minutes it seems less precise and they will probably assume that by 10 minutes you really mean half an hour. When you say 8 minutes it comes across like a person who knows exactly what they is doing and has it down to the minute. Of course this then means you need to make sure that your presentation is about 8 minutes or thereabouts.

You then explain that you are a strolling magician and describe to him all the ways that such entertainment can benefit his establishment. Some ideas:
.:Cover a delay in the kitchen
.:Entertain guests while they wait to be seated on busy nights
.:Keep guests entertained between the time when they order and when their food arrives
.:Develop word of mouth advertising as people begin talking about the magic

.:Generate repeat customers as people come back, usually with friends, to share the magical experience
.:Generate new business as you describe all the marketing YOU will do to bring people into the restaurant
.:Increase customer satisfaction as their stay is more entertaining and fun
.:Get current guests to return on slower nights when they see the lobby board or table tents describing the entertainment on the night you work.

Notice that you do NOT show them a magic trick. Don’t even pull out a deck of cards or any props. You may think that you can help sell your program by demonstrating your magic but you must recognize that the manager is not going to hire a “magic show”. If they hire at all, it will be because they are buying bottom line benefits to there business. They want increase revenue and will only hire you to the extent that they believe you will provide them.



I would then ask if they agree that those benefits would help there bottom line. Hopefully they say yes (If they do say no, thank them and leave as you will never convince them, so don’t waste your time or theirs). Then you ask if it would be possible for you to return on (whatever day you want to work) for a free trial night of entertainment. Stress that there is no risk, no commitment, and absolutely no charge for this night of entertainment, just a chance for you to demonstrate what you can provide for this restaurant. Rarely will you get a no at this point. If they ask to see a trick tell them that you would rather come in and show them how the patrons react to the magic. Push for the trial night of entertainment.

At this point you may get an inquiry as to the price you charge. Try and put them off, saying something like, “Let me work for free and then we can try and determine the value of my services”. If they insist say something like “I regularly charge $300 per hour for my strolling, in this situation I would be willing to drastically cut my rates because first of all, it would be a regular engagement rather than a one-time deal, and secondly because I think it would be fun to work here. Your guests ( I’ve learnt to always call them guests, never customers, it shows you are up on restaurant lingo) are the same demographic that I cater to and I think it will be a mutually beneficial relationship. I would not expect to get paid any more than $100 per night, but again, we can discuss this later if you want.” By saying “not any more than $100 per night” you leave the obvious implication of flexibility. Maybe you’ll take $75, maybe $50 with a meal, but maybe a night is only two hours, maybe it is four.

On the night of your performance you should make sure everything is ready to go, your attire is clean and pressed and you have all the necessary equipment. Arrive early and introduce yourself to the management and other staff. Perform your best magic and, on this night anyway, refuse all tips. Instead, strongly encourage every person who wants to tip you to speak to a manager instead. I just tell them that the best tip they can give me is to tell the manager how much they enjoyed the entertainment. Your goal is to keep the managers flooded with complements about YOU and the quality of your work. You may also want to take the tip and pass it along to the waiter or waitress who was working that table. Tell him or her that you always split tips with the staff (even though you gave her the whole tip). Tell them this is your trial night and that they should tell the manager how much the table liked you.

When you leave, let the manager know that you are going and that you will be calling to discuss where they want to go from here. The next step is going back in and negotiating your fee. I try to always get at least $100 for 3 hours of work. If they contend that’s too much or they only need 2 hours then I would adjust some.




.: Keeping the Job :.



The secret to keeping your job as a restaurant magician is to understand the needs of your employer. They want their guests to have a great time, but if it isn’t profitable to keep you on the pay roll then your position is tentative at best. Not to fear. All you have to do is make sure that they are fully aware how much business you generate. This of course, means that you either need to generate lots of business or at least let them know you are trying.

Talk to each table that comes in. Tell them about what nights you are there and have them talk to the manager in lieu or in addition to tipping you. This increases the likelihood that when they return it will be on a night when you are working. When they tell the manager how much they liked your show it is instant feedback that will keep you in good with the management. Remember, in all reality, you are the least vital person in the restaurant and yet probably the highest paid. It is very important that you are constantly validating your cost to the company.

While it is important to be seen encouraging guests to return, you should also be marketing the restaurant outside. You should have a mailing list and/or email list of all your past clients, agents, friends, and family members. I think you should try to send out a note of this sort once or twice a year.
Another great way to get people into the restaurant on the nights you work is to invite potential clients to come see you perform. This is really win-win because the restaurant gets more guests, the client has a chance to “try” before they “buy” and you win because once they see you they will surely hire you to work for them!

You also want to keep the wait staff happy if you intend to work there very long. If you upset them they can make your life miserable and your career there short. You don’t have to kiss up to them, but remember that they make their money through tips. Many waiters feel that your tip might have come from what the guests were going to tip them. Thus the money you make in tips they feel almost came from their pockets.




.: Promoting Yourself on the Job :.



If your good enough you will be frequently asked for a card. As long as you carry some with you, you should have no problem getting referrals from your restaurant work. Just make sure the restaurant you are working caters to the people you want to perform for. Also ask the management if they mind that you’re handing out a personalized business card. If they disagree offer to have their business name noted somewhere on the card.




.: Tips :.



I’ll give you both sides of the argument and you can make your own decision.
ACCEPT TIPS - Tips increase the amount of money you take home each night. Tips are generally cash money, which is always nice. Besides, it’s an ego boost to have people tip you. It implies that your magic was above expectation. Accepting tips can actually double the amount of money you make on a given night.
DON’T ACCEPT TIPS - I already wrote about how accepting tips may upset the wait staff, but probably the most succinct argument against taking tips that I have ever heard is that it demeans you in the eyes of the audience.
By accepting, and worse, encouraging tips, many magicians bring the art of magic to the level of a street hustler. I know a magician who works for tips only. This is great if your objective is to earn a few extra dollars and get in some practice time in front of a live audience. But even the exposure is of limited value.

My policy, which i got from another magician, is to deny the tip twice but accept it on the third offer, just because I figure that they really want to say thank you in a way that means something to them. When they first offer a tip during my restaurant strolling I tell them “Thank you very much, but tipping is not necessary. My services are provided by the restaurant management as a gift to you.” If they offer again, I state “Really, I am paid very well for my services. Feel free to leave that with your server and tell her why you are leaving it. In fact, the very best way to tip me is to tell a manager how much you enjoyed my performance. Managers usually only hear from guests if there is a problem and you would be amazed how far your kind comments go with them on my behalf.” If they still insist I take the money, thank them again, and then tell them that I still expect them to compliment me to management as I point out a manager or the manager’s office. I figure that if they want to thank me that much, then they will be happy to speak to a manager if they realize how important that is to me.




.: Approaching Tables :.



I approach a table, smile, and say “ Hi. My name is Michael Sheridan. I’m part of the entertainment tonight: a magician. Would you like to see some magic, compliments of the management?” Of they say no “Okay. Thank you very much, and I hope you all have an excellent time here tonight. If you change your mind feel free to have your server let me know and I will be glad to come back.” Then I walk away and approach another table. If they don’t want to see magic, then I simply honor that wish and move on. People go out to eat for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes people don’t want to be disturbed. Sometimes people simply don’t like magic, no matter what. Don’t feel compelled to show these people the error of their ways.




.: Dealing with Tough Guests :.



It is not uncommon to approach a table and get into a routine and discover that one or more of the guests have either had too much to drink, or for some other reason are giving you a particularly difficult time. How do you handle such situations?

Finish the effect you are on, thank them for their time, invite them to come back and see you again, and then walk away with a smile on your face. That’s the great thing about strolling. Please note that I’m not recommending that you storm off or walk away in mid routine. You should never “teach them a lesson” nor should you be leaving in order to punish them. You simply smile, thank them sincerely, and move on. If your attitude is good then you can walk away and they will have no idea that you performed at their table for a much shorter time period than at anyone else’s.




.: What to Perform :.



Whatever you perform needs to fit into your pockets. It’s also good to have things that reset with a minimum of fuss. Personally, I prefer effects that either don’t use gaffed items, or at the very least the effects begin and end clean ( Thank you for the exchange Mr Goring). This way if a spectator asks to examine something (and they will) I have no problem. So that’s what NOT to perform. I honestly mostly use cards although as great and important as cards are, and contrary to what many magicians will try and tell you, a deck of cards is NOT a complete strolling act, though it could be in a pinch. Every strolling magician should carry sponge balls because these are perfect for both kids and adults. Rubber bands pack small, play big, and can be handed out after the effect is done. People love money and if you are working for tips it is a common practice to perform a money trick as your closing effect in order to get the money on the table.




Thanks for those that have read this far. Remember that these are only my opinions and im sure there are lots of things I missed touching on but feel free to add any info at all.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 8:42 pm 
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born to perform.

Joined: 19 Nov 2007
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i think D lights is a good attention grabber (even if they know how to do it!) :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 10:52 pm 
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fallingblood wrote:
There are many books on the subject that tell you much more about the subject. The Magic Menu is a good choice as well as Kirk Charles book. If you look around this forum, you will find a list of books and DVD's that I recommend.

How old are you?
What experience in magic do you have?
How long have you been doing magic?
What exactly do you know of magic?

If you answer those questions, I can help much more.



I am 19 years old.

I have done tons of partys and kid b-days. only did busking once and I dont live in a really good area for on the street work. It didnt go well.

doing magic for 4 years now. mostly cards, coins. some with everyday stuff. then the spongeballs eventhough i dont like them that much would rather use coins.

what do i know of magic? thats quite a broad question. like what trick do i know? i dont know if i could list them most are just stuff i put together. I dont want to sound like Im some kinda magic god. but i'm not like some of these 13 year olds that know a few card tricks. just want a little piece of what some of you have. Hope that helps.

thanks.

ps sorry paddy didnt have time for spell check....lol


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 11:11 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 35
thanks for posting the essay is was a big help.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 12:34 am 
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born to perform.

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deep_diver12 wrote:
I am 19 years old.

I have done tons of partys and kid b-days. only did busking once and I dont live in a really good area for on the street work. It didnt go well.

Birthdays are not the kind of experience you need. You need to work with adults, doing close-up magic, with as few gimmicks as possible.

doing magic for 4 years now. mostly cards, coins. some with everyday stuff. then the spongeballs eventhough i dont like them that much would rather use coins.
I had been in magic for 10 yrs before I got my first paying gig. Four years is not enough time to work out your showmanship, character, or technical skills. Not to the extent needed for restaurant work anyway.

I've been getting paid to do magic longer than you've been interested in it - and I wouldn't commit the blasphemy of calling myself "all ready for restaurants". Don't get me wrong, I perform at several - that doesn't mean I'm "ready".


what do i know of magic? thats quite a broad question. like what trick do i know? i dont know if i could list them most are just stuff i put together. I dont want to sound like Im some kinda magic god. but i'm not like some of these 13 year olds that know a few card tricks. just want a little piece of what some of you have. Hope that helps.

It didn't. That provided us with absolutely no information.
Here's a rephrasing of the question:
What rescources have you studied?
Which specific effects do you have?


thanks.

ps sorry paddy didnt have time for spell check....lol
Paddy is yet to post in this thread. . . lol :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 4:46 pm 
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born to perform.

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dbaker_creator wrote:
deep_diver12 wrote:

Paddy is yet to post in this thread. . . lol :roll:



I don't think he meant Falling (or you) where Paddy, I think he might of meant, because he has been browsing the forums, he noticed Paddy does not like spelling mistakes, so he's saying sorry to Paddy, before he's joined the convo.


... Or maybe he did just mistake somone for Paddy.

I'd say Dustin and Fallingblood have given you great advise, expecially on getting some exposure for yourself. After youve answered Dustins questions, maybe we can look into if you are ready. Although youve been practasing magic for 4 years, were not all 100% to say you are not ready, you might have covered alot of ground and may be really good. We can't tell.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 7:53 pm 
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All right guys, I am here. Yes, I LOVE to nail people about spelling. The reason I do is because our art depends on details, where your look, how you hold your hands, the smallest detail will cause the spec to either totally be astounded or see through the whole secret. i.e. when you palm a ball, if you look at where it's supposed to be going, the spec will follow your eyes. If you look at the hand you just put it into, the spec will follow your eyes. The first case the result is amazement, the latter and you're busted.

OK, enough Bull-oney. Busking and restaurant are both very difficult venues. In fact Koz told me the last time we talked that he thought busking was easier than restaurant work. In both you have a very short time to get the spec's attention, perform an effect (not do a trick, that, anybody can do) that amazes them drop your hat line (not necessary in restaurants) and get your butt to the next performance. try the busking routine some more. There you can develop your act and refine your patter, then when you can make some money busking, do the restaurant thing. Hope this helps.


Last edited by paddy on Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:12 pm 
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born to perform.

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Magic alone is not the awnser.

Max.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:03 pm 
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im glad i found this for myself


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Pauldela wrote:
dbaker_creator wrote:
deep_diver12 wrote:

Paddy is yet to post in this thread. . . lol :roll:



I don't think he meant Falling (or you) where Paddy. . .


Okay? Who said that he did?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:24 pm 
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deep_diver12 wrote:
ps sorry paddy didnt have time for spell check....lol



dbaker_creator wrote:
deep_diver12 wrote:
ps sorry paddy didnt have time for spell check....lol
Paddy is yet to post in this thread. . . lol :roll:


It sounded like you did if you get what I mean.


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