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 Post subject: Free Shows: Dustin's First Essay
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 3:30 am 
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Well folks, this is my first magical essay. Be gentle. . . :wink:

Doing Shows for Free

A lot of people have said a lot of things about doing free shows. “Only do them for certain groups”, “Only for groups you’re personally associated with”, “Never do them for free”, etc. I’ve done quite a few free shows in my time, and I’d like to share some of my thoughts on what appears to be a touchy subject.

Why do it for free?
There are 2 reasons to do a show for free, 1) Exposure and 2) Experience. The exposure helps you bee seen by more potential clients and the experience helps you polish your act and add some things to your magical resume.

Exposure:
This is of cardinal importance to magicians. A lot of work comes out way due to “spin-off bookings” or bookings that result from a previous booking. Why do so many magicians work in restaurants? They can get a lot of spin-off work from a regular job like that. Exposure is almost entirely why people do free shows.

Things to remember about Exposure:
1: Exposure only matters if the people being “exposed” to you have the means to hire you for another job. If they don’t, then don’t count “more exposure” on your list of reasons to do the show for free.
2: Exposure only matters if you’re being exposed to people who would hire someone of your style and skill set. If you’re a children’s performer and the show you’re being asked to do is for a group of high school kids, you’re not helping yourself.

Experience:
Doing free shows is definitely a great experience builder, and it will definitely help you build your resume; but don’t get carried away. A lot of the places that have the means to hire you won’t pay if they know that you’ll do the show for free.



How do I decide whether or not to do a free show?
I’m going to share my own system for deciding whether or not a free show is worth doing.


Ask yourself these questions:

Who’s going to be there?
How many people will be there?
Does the organization/company have the means to hire me otherwise?
Do these people have the individual means to hire me for a future job?
How many bookings can I expect from this show?
Could I be doing something else during that time, the value of which would surpass the value I could gain from this show?
A. How much would I have charged for this event normally? B. Does the possible spin-off value cover this price?
Is there a level of prestige attached to this organization or company?
Is there a level of prestige attached to the location?
Will I get any good promotional pictures or video clips from this show?


Let’s answer the questions and see what we come up with:
Let’s say that the job is for a large local church (we’ll call it “First Mission”) and they’d like you to perform at a church fundraising dinner. Having researched the church, you’ve found that their sanctuary has a seating capacity of 1000 people, and that the church happens to have many prominent local business men as members.

Questions:
Red=positive
Blue=negative

Who’s going to be there?
Church members, their friends, and their business associates.

How many people will be there?
Approx. 1000

Does the organization/company have the means to hire me otherwise?
Yes. - this isn't always bad mind you.

Do the people attending have the individual means to hire me for a future job?
Yes.

How many bookings can I expect from this show?
Assuming a 5% spin-off rate x 500 (1000people presumably attending as couples) = 25 potential bookings

Could I be doing something else during that time, the value of which would surpass the value I could gain from this show?
Unlikely

A. How much would I have charged for this event normally?
B. Does the possible spin-off value cover this price?
A.(Example pricing) $1,000 – 45minute stage show.
B. $1,000/25 potential bookings = $40Per Potential Spin-off. As long as my average booking price is higher than the $40PPS, the value is covered.

Is there a level of prestige attached to this organization or company?
Yes. It’s the largest church in the area.

Is there a level of prestige attached to the location?
None other than the association it has with the church itself.

Will I get any good promotional pictures or video clips from this show?
Highly likely.

8 Positive Responses
3 Negative Responses
= 82% Positive Answers (I consider the show worth doing if you’re at 75%).

In this case, I would do the show. There will be 1000 people, many in attendance have the means to hire you for future venues, working a big event for the largest church in the area will likely help you get some media attention, you’re potential spin-off profit easily beats out the amount you would have charged, and you’re likely to get some good action shots during the show.

I would like to expand on this point - the org/company's ability to pay you isn't especially important to me. To me, it's not about helping the org/company, it's business - it's about what I'll get out of it.

With this in mind, who is "worthy" of a free show becomes counter intuitive. Rather than "donating" a show to a worthwhile cause, it becomes a marketing strategy - WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT IT SHOULD BE! Doing a free show, IS a marketing strategy - and that's all it is.

I hope some of you found this helpful.
Dustin Baker


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 12:18 am 
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Doing a free show is taking food off the table of another performer. Unless we are talking about doing a show at a children's hospital it is best not to do freebies.

Any intelligent comments are welcome.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 11:52 am 
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I liked the essay. It was masterfully written by someone who has much experience. I do however reccomend reading Fallingbloods essay on almost the same subject. His is about appearing to do a free show but you still make money.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 3:40 pm 
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DVLKCC wrote:
Doing a free show is taking food off the table of another performer. Unless we are talking about doing a show at a children's hospital it is best not to do freebies.

Any intelligent comments are welcome.


Completely untrue DVLKCC. If YOU are the one being approached, then the only person who can be harmed is YOU. If they're askign for a free show, they aren't going to pay another performer either. Nobody said anything about looking for free shows.

Freebies are just another marketing tool, if you're ignoring them, you're shooting yourself in the foot.

By the way, "Children's Hospital" not a good venue - only 30% positive responces.


As Popchris mentioned, Fallinblood has also written an essay on this subject:
http://www.penguinmagic.com/discuss/vie ... highlight=


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 12:08 am 
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Wow, I thought it would draw flack if nothing else. . . eh, contentious subject I guess.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 6:08 pm 
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Your opinion is not the 11th Commandment. Neither is mine. Let's leave it at that eh. :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:21 pm 
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DVLKCC wrote:
Your opinion is not the 11th Commandment. Neither is mine. Let's leave it at that eh. :roll:


One of us has actually done magic professionally DVL. Sorry to tell you, but you and I are far from equals, and our opinions are far from having equal standing.

If you'd like your opinion to be taken seriously, which is the goal you've expressed both here and on the Cafe, you need to learn that "your opinion" doesn't mean anything when you don't know what you're talking about.

Interesting that you didn't post in this thread 2 weeks - until you had a spat with me on the Cafe. Let's leave it at that eh :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:40 pm 
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Perhaps you missed the post dated May 30. A day after yours.

You LOVE twisting things don't you Dustin Baker? I'm done arguing with an immature jerk. Have a good one.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:51 pm 
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Saw and responded to it.

I was obviously pointing out the fact that you didn't have anything to say from May30th until now (2 weeks).

As I said already, if you want to be taken seriously, you need to learn that "your opinion" doesn't mean anything when you don't know what you're talking about. Secondly, you aren't going to be taken seriously if you keep acting like a 4 year old everytime someone tell you that you're wrong.

I again add an emphatic "grow up".

By the way, do you think there's some significance in calling me by my full name? You seem to be going out of your way to use it? Live and learn Douggy, and come back after you're finished.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:41 pm 
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I liked the essay but I do think there are exceptions like churches or hospitals


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:19 am 
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Sweepingreaper4 wrote:
I liked the essay but I do think there are exceptions like churches or hospitals


Both are great if you can get media attention from them, and both tend to draw attention (ala a Press Release).

Don't forget, this is BUSINESS - not charity.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:04 am 
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dbaker_creator wrote:
Sweepingreaper4 wrote:
I liked the essay but I do think there are exceptions like churches or hospitals


Both are great if you can get media attention from them, and both tend to draw attention (ala a Press Release).

Don't forget, this is BUSINESS - not charity.


I did a show for a hospital for free and that's why I get booked today.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:10 am 
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Maloney123 wrote:
dbaker_creator wrote:
Sweepingreaper4 wrote:
I liked the essay but I do think there are exceptions like churches or hospitals


Both are great if you can get media attention from them, and both tend to draw attention (ala a Press Release).

Don't forget, this is BUSINESS - not charity.


I did a show for a hospital for free and that's why I get booked today.


Thank you for proving my point. :wink:


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