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Blake Alexander
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How would one go about booking more corporate events? any help?
Mindpro
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Pretty vague question. What do you do? What type of events or shows are you seeking? What is your experience? Based in this post and your other post seeking producers and promotors makes one wonder about your level of experience? What is your performing experience - type, how long, markets, etc.

To get any decent advice we need to know a bit about you, your skill level and what you're trying to achieve. Best of luck!
Scott Burton
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Really, the answer is simple. Many seem to over-complicate the process. Same as selling anything (birthday parties, schools, corporate, speaking gigs, whatever): find the people you want to sell to and go out and sell to them. The rest is just details.
Mindpro
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How true. That's really it in a nutshell.

So many entertainers just put their efforts and focus into the show, but not the business. You must also become an expert in the business aspect of your business operation.
Blake Alexander
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Mindpro, my skill level is professional. I am an illusionist that is looking for a promoter etc because I am sick of doing everything my self for the past 8 years I'd rather pay a professional in that aspect to make my life a little easier. I perform close up, kid show, adult comedy show, and grand illusion. I perform about 225 shows a year but I want to perform at corporate events as well. So that's what I am asking. How to go about booking those gigs, who to talk to etc thanks
tacrowl
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Blake, if I'm correct - you are around 17 or 18? You've been promoting yourself for 8 years and are sick of it? You may want to find another profession.

First, no ONE promoter is going to keep you working in the corporate market. A manager may be able to sell you to multiple outlets - producers, agents, companies, etc. - but the profession is littered with people who hired a manager that didn't produce work. Add up your income from the past year and deduct 30%. Is that amount large enough that, after the work and expenses involved, someone would make a profit with you?

You may be thinking - they would get me larger paydays. Its not just about the fee - its about the value a corporate client places on what you offer. Anyone can provide entertainment. A corporate entertainer fills a need. If you can't get those fees for yourself, don't expect someone else to do it for you.

I did a quick search on you. To interest the corporate market you'll need to invest in your promotional materials - web site, image, video. Start there and study business. Its a cold, hard fact, but the only person who cares if you work - is you.

Good luck,
Tom
Mindpro
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Well said Tom. I haven't Googled him, but I too thought he must be either new, young or both by the way he writes/types, quick posts and his phrasing, and lack of offering personal information or background. If he is a teenager, I'm thinking the corporate market may not be worth considering. Very few corporate bookers, agents or HR reps would hold much stock in such a young performer. What needs will he fill, what benefits can he provide? In the corporate market you are competing with the best of the best, and a newcomer of any age will find it difficult.

I get a kick out of teens that claim they've been "doing it for years". Some day they will understand how this really sounds and is perceived. This may hold some stock in the kid or family market or at an area festival, but one must be careful and they can often be taken as a joke or novelty when stepping into other professional markets. In my opinion the corporate market is one that you work up to gradually. It can take years. Not quickly from teen magician, to kids/family parties to corporate entertainer.

No one will believe in you more than you - yourself. No agent or manager can represent you better than yourself, especially if you're young, especially is you are local. If you are working and you are good, when the time is right and you are at the proper level, representation will find you (or you will be better suited to seek it).

Also remember, the corporate market is hurting and taking a huge hit right now. Not the best time to be taking the plunge.
Blake Alexander
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Mindpro,
Im saying for a promoter/manager/etc, I will need that for my tour next year. I am more than capable of performing a corporate event seeing is I have been doing McDonald's corporate events since I was sixteen. Please do not say that I am not capable of anything like that because I am "too young". That is an understatement. Just because someone has a lack of phrasing in typing on a blog website has absolutely NOTHING to do with character and the way I manage my business. I ask a simple question for some help with finding a corporate event and I get somewhat bashed on here? This is supposed to be magicians helping magicians, not magicians discouraging one another. When I put my mind to something that I need or want, it gets done. So please do not ever say that because I am young you doubt my performance ability and what I have to offer to the table.
Ray Pierce
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Oh, Boy! Blake, I think we're all trying to help you as best we can, but you make it hard at times. Here's the deal, for 16, you're really good! You have a great start and have a lot of potential but that's just what it is now, a start, nt the finish line. I'm sure you're already better than the videos you have online but there are so many basic performance issues that are problematic in getting you into the higher end corporat events. You're certainly confident but that might be working aginst your eventual growth.

The reality is that by the time you're really ready to work larger corporates, you will already know the answers to all of the questions you're asking. If you don't know these things now, you're just not ready. I know you keep telling us you do 225 shows a year and that's great, but it really doesn't mean anything to us. It's like trying to prove someone is good by their credits. I don't want to see their credits, I want to see them actually work and I will be able to tell in less than a minute if they're really any good. You're hired to do this massive tour for McDonald's and you have to come to us asking where to get a lighting designer and tech, a producer and everything else?? That's possibly a sign you're not ready to do a tour of that size. I'm proud of you for selling it but if you're having to ask all of these basic questions, it is a sign of an intrinsic problem.

I don't believe we bash people for trying or dreaming or growing or striving for excellence... but when they spend a lot of time telling us how we just don't understand how talented and experienced they are when there is video online showing their talent and experience level... it makes it hard. Again, for a 16 year old, you're very good. I would even say that you have a lot more going on at 16 that I did! I just hope you can keep it all in perspective.

I would get people that would call me all the time and tell me that got hired as a consultant for some TV show and what would I recommend they do. My Answer? I would recommend they not take the job if they had to call someone else to know how to do it! They were being hired as an expert and they just didn't have the qualifications, no matter how they sold themselves to the producers of the show.

I'm speaking from experience and really trying to help. I know you might just come back and tell me how good you are and how many shows you've done... I know all of that. You need to get experience in bigger venues or tours some way other that doing it yourself for the first time. By the time I did my first tour, I had a wealth of background and information, contacts and other necessary information to make it work as I had been involved in large productions for other people as a valuable part of my training.

It's not just a matter of selling yourself. The biggest failures in magic shows I've seen came from people who were great salesmen and rotten magicians. They pitched a product they didn't have the experience to deliver. There is a LONG list of them! It is the reason it is hard to do illusions some places because they have burned out the market and the clients are weary of magicians after being promised a great show and not having that expectation met.

Now you have a great start! Just take your time and keep learning, allow yourself to grow slowly. The time you spend at the top is directly proportionate to how long it took you to get there because that journey up is where you learn the real skills. I see so many people that don't have the patience to master anything or even get good, they just want it all now. I'm not saying this is you but you need to take the time to master an act and polish it well before jumping into a higher end market. When you're good enough, the buyers will find you!
Ray Pierce
<BR>www.HollywoodAerialArts.com
Blake Alexander
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Ray, I'm 18 now and I'm not sure if you have read the other threads but I do in fact mention that those videos are over 2 and a half years old. I'm not trying to argue but this is something I would feel more comfortable discussing over the phone and it would help me understand more fully where you are coming from I will pm you my cell.
Futureal
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Quote:
On 2011-06-17 23:02, Blake Alexander wrote:
Mindpro,
Im saying for a promoter/manager/etc, I will need that for my tour next year. I am more than capable of performing a corporate event seeing is I have been doing McDonald's corporate events since I was sixteen.


I *did* Google you. One of the newspaper articles said your dayjob was working at McDonalds. So I'm guessing these McDonald's corporate events you're speaking of are a result of that, and are most likely staff parties or something?

Dude - you have to stop believing your own hype. We all do it when we're young. But you need to stop BS'ing and join us here in the real world.
Futureal
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Here he is doing a *word-for-word* ripoff of Copperfield's Cardiographic presentation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaRrHIItkiY

(the Tornado of Fire version with the Monica Lewinsky joke and updated version of the music from his original 80's version, for those of you keeping score ... )

Plus he's doing the trick wrong - he's not showing the picture actually being drawn, which the creator says drastically decreases the impact, he's got the animation quotation lines drawn before the card rises (there's a reason for them, it's time misdirection), and he's doing the switch incorrectly.
Blake Alexander
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Quote:
I *did* Google you. One of the newspaper articles said your dayjob was working at McDonalds. So I'm guessing these McDonald's corporate events you're speaking of are a result of that, and are most likely staff parties or something?


Performing (not working behind the counter) at one of the most reputable McDonald's in Illinois next to the rock nd Roll McDonalds. I have done 4 shows for McDonald's Corporation and because they have seen my talent before they have decided to sponsor me for my tour.
Dannydoyle
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Blake, let me just say that you are just the latest in a VERY long line of kids who are so talented and going to change the world of magic and so forth. You are ready in your mind and nobody will change that for you.

I have a serious recomendation for you and please think about it a bit.

I'm not kidding. It is a LONG line of kids who have thought that. All of them pretty much with the same attitude you have. You crave the advice of elders, yet are unhappy with what they have to say because it means much more work. There are a few here who were in your exact position a few scant years ago who have chosen to grow. Brian Millier comes to mind.

What I mean is as you age and grow up (please do not take that as a shot, you are indeed quite young and I don't care about your performance career from when you were 10.) you will find that when your show is ready for an agent/promoter, they will find you. Heba Haba Al was fond of saying that if you have to ask the question, you are not ready to hear the answer.

The thing you want to do is to eliminate the learning process. You learn things, many things, from the process you are trying to circumvent. Being a pro magician/performer is a LOT more than knowing tricks and being able to buy and do things Copperfield does.

The great thing about being young is that you grow out of it. I recomend you take advantage of it and enjoy it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mindpro
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Well settle down there young guy. I’m not bashing you but rather pointing out some plain and simple facts. Of everything I said you of course are focusing on the one thing pertaining to your age. You seemed to miss the main point of my post.

First just because you have done some work for McDonald’s does not make you a corporate entertainer. Typically a corporate entertainer specializes in adult audiences at conventions, trade shows, hospitality events, trainings, sales, leadership and management events, conferences, campaigns and more. This is what most pro entertainers, bookers, event planners and HP people think of as corporate entertainment. Yes, some companies may have a summer picnic or promotion, but just because someone performs at a handful of these events in my mind does not make one a corporate entertainer.

Let me ask you what type of gigs you’ve done for McDonald’s and how you got them?

For the record I have been a professional producer, promotor, and the owner of a two full service agencies booking talent and productions nationwide since 1976. I speak from experience. If you approached me (or my agencies) the way you have on this forum in posts here and in other threads, your promo materials would go right into my trash without consideration. I do not say that to offend you, I say that to offer you a true opinion and perspective from the position you are requesting (producer, promoter, agency).

Now you can react by taking offense and not accepting criticism and some of the great advice offered here, or you can be a bit more mature and try to look beyond any hurt feelings or bruised teen ego and truly hear the message. You had better get used to this as you are and probably will always be competing with and against others with more experience and who are better qualified than you. Once you accept this you will be better prepared to achieve success in your professional journey. Once you understand and accept this you will then be able to begin to work to make yourself successful on this larger playing field along with the others already enjoying the success you are seeking.

The word "professional" means you do this for a living. It is what supports someone and their family. Their sole source of their support. It's very hard for someone to take a teen entertainer as "professional" by definition. And to say "for years" is quite discrediting. If you have to go around telling people you're a professional, you probably are not.

I know your area, Chicago. I’ve produced hundreds of events there of all types, corporate, fairs & festivals, theaters, shopping malls (once a great market), resorts & hotels, comedy & nightcubs, t.v. and radio, and tours of many local, regional and national headlining acts including some of the biggest names in show business, sports, tv, movies and more. You asked a question and I’m responding from that position.

I’ve worked with another young magician/illusionist from your area that has become very successful. In my belief, it was his attitude and approach as a young performer, and then as a teen performer that helped him achieve success, his magical talent and abilities were secondary (he was very, very good too). When I see his theater shows today, he is still the same guy, with the same attitude, perspectives and professionalism in every way. His entire path was predetermined, decided and then pursued with precision and determination. It was these and many other character and professionalism factors that allowed him to succeed, not his magic. His perceptions and attitudes.

Take offense if you’d like, or heed the advice given here. In your overall quest, this is the information that will make a difference.

Also if you are desiring corporate work, why are you focusing on kids shows for McD’s?
David Thiel
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Quote:
On 2011-06-17 09:58, Scott Burton wrote:
Really, the answer is simple. Many seem to over-complicate the process. Same as selling anything (birthday parties, schools, corporate, speaking gigs, whatever): find the people you want to sell to and go out and sell to them. The rest is just details.


Great advice from a lot of caring pros. I wish I'd had you guys around to p*ss me off when I was just getting started. You only learn in humility and only see what you've missed learning (and had to learn the hard way) with 20/20 hindsight.

There are wonderful suggestions here...offered quite gently because I THINK we all recognize and remember when we couldn't spell "impossible." Ah well...

Scott's given you a ten thousand dollar course in marketing in just four sentences. Here's my advice:

1) Connect with the right people. Go out of your way to meet them. Don't SELL them on you, take time to get to know them and build a personal relationship with them. When they hire you, do your absolute best for them...and then some. Consider joining groups like MPI.

2) Find out about the companies that employ you and try to think of how you can really make the event SHINE for them. Remember also that it's not just about YOU being remembered -- it's about the COMPANY and YOU being remembered. You're the star...but the company that pays you is THE STAR.

3) Talk with your client about the GOALS of the event. Most corporate people are very focused in what they want the entertainer for. You need to completely understand their goals for the event and then figure out how your art can help them achieve and SURPASS those goals. That's what gets you hired...and referred...again and again. Many entertainers are so glad to get the gig that they want to get off the phone as quickly as possible -- before the client changes their mind. This is a HUGE mistake since THIS is the time to be building relationships instead of notching another gig.

4) Your appearance has to be perfect. Your hygiene completely beyond reproach. A scuffed shoe is a disaster. LOOK good.

5) The same goes for your marketing materials. They must be a good reflection of exactly WHO you are as an entertainer. Forget hyperbole. These planners get dozens of over the top pitches every week. Design two or three things really well. Send those.

6) Above all -- be truthful and conduct yourself with integrity. If you tell a single lie and the client finds out about it, you're done. It's a relatively small world and word about a shady performer gets out quickly. Conversely -- so does word about a fabulous performer.

I hope this helps you, Blake! Good luck.


David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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tacrowl
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I have some questions.

McDonald's is sponsoring your tour.

As I understand based on another thread, you are looking for stagehands, a promoter and a producer. How would you even know what the tour would cost without having these people on board?

Have you scheduled venues? Discussed promotion, target audience, logistics, expenses etc?

How did you convince McDonald's to agree to fund a tour that hasn't been fully planned?

Maybe we should be getting advice from you...
Dannydoyle
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I have an analogy that will either make you very angry or will put things in perspective. Here goes.

When I was trying to build business credit it was a process. My business was a year old and I knew what it would be, but I had to sort of make that point to the people we wanted credit from. So we started the process. This process in a nutshell was simply to get companies to give us net 30 accounts, then get credit and so forth. We had a company helping us with this.

After you get about 9 of these companies on different credit terms all you can really do is wait. It takes months for them to deceide that you will keep paying and then it goes from there.

Now during this process our guy told us that there was not much he could do for us, we simply had to wait to let things build.

Ok now lets apply that theory to you and your situation. You have a show or what not, and now it is simply going to take a bunch of years before you can actually prove in a viable way that you are a good risk for a promoter, or an agent or whoever. As Tom points out there are a lot of things you need to sort of cover the bases on and you need to get some mileage under your belt. It is an awful lot more than simply knowing the tricks.

Don't fight this process. It is worth the time spent and you learn a lot, a heck of a lot from it!

The good news is that time passes pretty quickly and along the way there is some fantastic scenery. Take the time to look at it. Don't be in too big a hurry to get to the end.

I hope you take this in the spirit it is intended.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Benji Bruce
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Here are some specific steps you can take to booking corporate gigs:

1. Get footage of you performing in front of or your clients. If you don't have footage of you performing in front of people who wear suits then here's how you get the footage… go to a hotel with someone who can record you, walk into an event and start performing for people there while your friend records you. A great time to do this is after the event is over when people get up and they're starting to walk away. But you can get your footage and make it look like you were hired for the event by performing for people in hotels. You should also get testimonials.

This is a testimonial I got from a random person in a hotel, and this is what will make it look like you're already doing corporate gigs (try not to get the music Smile )…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ap98cuO3hI

Your goal is to have material that you can send to companies so they can see the results you produce. Video is your best bet, but you can also have a promo kit.

2. Once you have something you can send companies need to contact as many as possible. You can do this through e-mails, cold calls, or crashing hotels. Above all, you'll have to contact a lot of people… and I mean a lot. Sending e-mails is great because you can create template with the same e-mail but change tiny details such as the specific event. I never liked cold calling because it always seem like an unnecessary step. After you cold call them you're simply asking them if you can send promo material and a video. It is better to just send an e-mail with the link to your video. Crashing hotels is great because people can see you perform and that is the number one way people hire you (from having seen you in the first place).

3. But the best way to book corporate gigs is to do things that get people to come to you. Talk to country clubs and perform for their members. But instead of the country club paying you, tell them you will do ticket sales at $75 per person. I won't go into detail about why this is better than having them pay you for your show. Your purpose is to do things that get people to want to do business with you. When you perform shows like these, people see you and then they ask to hire you. So instead of you going to them, you get them to come to you.

Above all, the way you're going to book corporate events is by working your butt off. Like Scott said, booking corporate gigs is not that hard. The hard part is being persistent and doing it every single day for years.

Contemplate on this single quote from The Book of Five Rings.... "Do nothing which is of no use."
Dannydoyle
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So your advice is to crash a hotel party, and then get fake testimonials?

Sounds like the road to the top to me.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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