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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:19 pm 
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Adammcd, i am a magician, not a deity. What i write expresses my opinion, not a carved in granite fact. So if anyone disagrees that's what forums are for, airing our opinions and disagreement.

:twisted: I can't help it if you are wrong :lol: (sorry, just had to say that one)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:40 pm 
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MichalAngelo wrote:
I commend you on wanting to take the step in performing in restaurants. It's tough work. I don't do restaurants anymore, and haven't in a few years, but I believe if this is what you want to do, charge what YOU think you are worth.

As for taking other magicians' jobs...how many other restaurant magicians are working in your city? And I really don't see you being serious competition to them. No offense, but you said you were inexperienced, and young. If other magicians are threatened because you want to give the restaurant work a try, then maybe it's time for them to retire. :roll:


you did tell me to wait...


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:47 pm 
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Well thatnks for all your advice guys. I truly do think that I am entertiaining, professional, and mature enough to do this. I think I am just afraid of hearing "no". I am not too worried at this point because I have a solid two months before I start but I need to get ready as soon as possible. Come December I will update everyone on my situation and don't worry I will raise my prices considerably.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:49 pm 
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Sweepingreaper4 wrote:
MichalAngelo wrote:
I commend you on wanting to take the step in performing in restaurants. It's tough work. I don't do restaurants anymore, and haven't in a few years, but I believe if this is what you want to do, charge what YOU think you are worth.

As for taking other magicians' jobs...how many other restaurant magicians are working in your city? And I really don't see you being serious competition to them. No offense, but you said you were inexperienced, and young. If other magicians are threatened because you want to give the restaurant work a try, then maybe it's time for them to retire. :roll:


you did tell me to wait...


He said he was commending (praising) you on wanting (desiring) to work in restaurants.

-JT


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:19 pm 
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1: Like it or not, you need to be taken seriously to work in a restaurant. Unless you're over 18, I wouldn't suggest it.

2: You need to build your experience before you work in a restaurant, it is by far the hardest working environment.

3: You need material - ALOT of material! You need to routine your material and you need to add new material on a regular basis.

4: You need to be able to deal with contingencies and hecklers.

As far as the rate goes, $10 an hour is nothing. If that's all you want, get a cardboard sign and sit on a street corner - "Will levitate for food". As Paddy suggested my restaurant rate is $100-150 per hour. The rate is "this low" only because it's guaranteed, regular work.

When I started working restaurants, I worked my first one for free to gain experience. I do not suggest that. Though I did gain experience, I also "worked for free". Start your pay at $100 an hour.

I don't advocate the idea of starting with an unusually low price and incresing it as you gain experience and more professionalism. You should have both of those things before you set foot in the door.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:35 pm 
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Fred531 wrote:
he won't be costing anybody jobs.

No? One reason performers take gigs at restaurants is so they can meet potential clients.

You don't think his $10 show would undercut the pro's $200 show? Or whatever the going rate is for the area...

You don't think his $10 show could influence potential clients against hiring a $500 show after seeing a $10 magician? In a lot of peoples' minds, a magician is a magician. They don't realize that you get what you pay for.

And they may have been out for drinks after work, contemplating who they were going to get for their entertainment. One amateur set at their table could easily sway them towards a D.J. or a comedian.

Case-in-point. A company my father contracts through went with a magician a few years back instead of their standard comedian booking. Their magician was less than par. And they will NEVER consider booking a magician ever again. And this is a $5000-$10000 yearly gig that will never be put into a magician's pocket. I am sure all of us would love to be able to work for 2 hours, taking home 5-10 big ones?

Well, that is now exclusively what a headliner and a couple opening acts are sharing with their comedy club.

I had a elvis and roy orbison impersonator friend awhile back. He never booked a gig for under $5000. And clients paid the price. It bothers me those businesses would rather book him over a magician. Heh.

8)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:22 pm 
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Seems to me you want to charge more. Some amateurs are doing effects that some pros are doing. For example, if an amateur does Skinners monte with the patter out of the packet and does it well, the pro can't really outdo this effect unless his patter is outstanding. Therefore in the future, the guy paying for the show remembers the awesome effect he saw and the price he paid and may not think the pros work is worth it. That's just a thought off the top of my head.

Christopher


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:43 pm 
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casmith518 wrote:
Seems to me you want to charge more. Some amateurs are doing effects that some pros are doing. For example, if an amateur does Skinners monte with the patter out of the packet and does it well, the pro can't really outdo this effect unless his patter is outstanding. Therefore in the future, the guy paying for the show remembers the awesome effect he saw and the price he paid and may not think the pros work is worth it. That's just a thought off the top of my head.

Christopher


that is why I posted this. I was affraid of undercutting the market and that is exactly what I would be doing.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:40 am 
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I'm posting without having read any other replies. Forgive me if the points made herein are redundant.

To answer the original question: No, I'm not offended. However, I am disappointed. I think you're selling yourself, (and the art), short by a great deal.

I do not consider myself a great magician, (though I have magician friends who consider me to be at the very least, a very good magician). I have a full-time job my father would refer to as a "real" job, (I used to be an on-air radio personality and neither that or doing magic are what my father considers as "real" careers); but when I do my part-time walk-around gigs, I generally get between $100 and $125 an hour. Sometimes that includes free food and depending on the venue/event, I'm not working a solid hour, but am being paid for a solid hour. For church events, I charge a little less, at $75 an hour. A couple of years ago, one church wasn't sure they wanted a magician at all and almost didn't want to pay the $75, (for what was actually only 25 minutes of magic). They finally agreed and they were so impressed at the end of my show that they insisted on paying me twice my fee. That was $150 for 25 minutes of magic. They've invited me back a couple of times for their events and they have no problem paying my fee without the church discount.

My point is that if you are proficient in enough illusions, (and the right kind of illusions), to handle whatever crowd type, venue, event type and time requirements involved, then $10 an hour - regardless of your age and your location - is MUCH too cheap. You might not want to hit someone with a $100 an hour price tag; but you should certainly be able to negotiate $25 to $50 an hour without any problems. Call it your special "introductory" rate. ...Just let them think it's to introduce them to you and your talents and not to introduce you into the business!

I know that when it comes down to the "how much?" question, it's sometimes hard to throw an amount out there that you think you're worth because you think the client will have "sticker shock", resulting in you losing the deal. But if your price is close enough to put you in the same league as your competitors, but cheap enough to be a good deal for the client, then you can throw that number out there with confidence.

One more bit of advice: Make sure you're clear with the client on what an hour is. Really. Will you be working an hour solid, or will you require some time to reset? When are the best times for breaks? Work these things out. For birthday parties, (which I try to avoid, but hey...you gotta do what you gotta do), and for Corporate board meetings - where I'm not doing walk-around, but I'm brought in to break up a long day of classes or meetings or budget discussions - I generally state that my "hour" of magic consists of: 20 minutes of magic and a ten minute break; followed by 20 minutes of magic and a ten minute break. If I'm doing just one hour, It'll be 25 minutes of magic, a 15 minute break and closing out with 20 minutes of magic. Walk-around has historically been a little less structured; as sometimes you can spend slightly more time at one table than another due to spectator reactions/participation, or a table may be engaged in some manner and doesn't want to be entertained at a particular moment. In those instances, you can reset between tables or it won't be noticed or detrimental to your performance or the business to make a short trip to the restroom. It all depends on the type of magic, the venue, the crowd and the setting. Know that going in and establish the definition of what is included in each hour so that you can do what you need to do and so that your client does not hold different expectations.

Sorry for the long post.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:02 am 
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Michael Ammar has a great section in his book where he deals with what your talking about Rob. In it he talks about negotiating higher performance fees and devotes an entire chapter on it. He starts by telling you to simply raise your fee... so recently I got a call to do a Christmas party. Normally I would have charged like 200. So I just told them 250, and without even blinking she said okay. Turns out they were willing to go up to more than 300! I should have followed up saying expenses will be another fifty or something but I was actually shocked that it worked.

My Dad is pro in North Carolina and I asked him why we charge 80 to 100 for a birthday and only 100 for the evening at the restaurant and he told me it was because we also get free adverstising and usually tips. Although some of you highspeeds out there are raking in the moolah at your restaurant gigs.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:30 pm 
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Does anyone here have footage of themselves working a restaurant? i'm just curious about a few things...


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:29 pm 
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don't apologize rob, that was very helpful


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:48 pm 
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I love Rob.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:25 pm 
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casmith518 wrote:
I love Rob.

Easy now...I'm a happily married man!
:wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:29 pm 
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I charge approximately $250.00 per hour and $125 for each additional hour for close-up/walk-around. (My rate is higher than the part-time performers in the area, but much lower than many full-time pro’s in the Los Angeles area).

For Restaurants, I modify the fee with the understanding that I can market myself to the patrons of the restaurant and I get dinner gratis. I also have an arrangement that if I get a higher paying gig I will not perform on the designated night that I usually perform.

The restaurants that I perform for have been approached by other magicians trying to get a gig and have underbid me; but I have learned that the Restaurant owners prefer quality over saving a few dollars. That is a reassurance of my performance quality.

So bottom line - If another magician drastically undercuts a fair market price - it hurts all professional working magicians.

If you are just starting out - perhaps you should donate your services at charity events, hospitals, boys and girls clubs, etc... So you can accumulate performance experience. Once you begin to build a reputation, you can confidently charge a professional fee and not feel guilty about it...


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