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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Starting at point Zero (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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WDavis
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Just noticed I forgot to include digital in the media channels (tv radio print)
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2018, WDavis wrote:
Christian,

Yes, point zero is the moment you decide you want to make a living as an entertainer.

This section is "tricky business" so my topics here center around the business aspects only. My one assumption is you have performed enough to have an act together, regardless of how good or cohesive that act may be. Telling someone to not pursue a dream will always lead to resentment initially, as people will assume you have a personal agenda and your opinion is not unbiased. As what happened initially to Christian. That's just human nature. So I recommended small financial hurdles, if the person wants to pursue this dream demonstrate they can save for the years cost of living coverage. The practice in financial discipline will help them as well as weed out those less likely to commit.

To Danny's point I haven't defined a year, for the benchmarking. So I will explain what I consider what the minimum activities should occur in a year.
In the first 3 months would be setting up your presence. Press kits, business cards, Legal entities licenses permits, etc. as well as getting listed in directories and setting up a digital presence online website Facebook etc.

Then it's about establishing work, start networking, get exposure from various media channels (tv radio, print) and then start at least one pro bono job a month for non profits (those that have or can put you in contact with potential clients). And keep working all your channels till you get customers, then keep at it some more. You will always have to have overlap between your sales cycles and delivery. if after the rest of the year passes with your constant networking, selling, marketing, and performing at least 1 gig a month (even if it's just the pro bono work), you will know if it's right for you.


Yea I was actually afraid you meant something like this. You mean to tell me that you can tell if performing for a living is for you by doing one non paid gig a month? SERIOUSLY?

Your idea of how to become a performer is diametrically opposed to every performer I know. It simply is not enough time in one year.

And the part you just "assume" about people just having an act together is the single most difficult thing to actually accomplish. You don't get chops by doing one free gig a month. Not by a long shot! It is those performing chops that get you more gigs and if you don't have them all is really not going to go well in a year.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
WDavis
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Quote:
On Jan 26, 2018, Dannydoyle wrote:
Quote:
On Jan 26, 2018, WDavis wrote:
Christian,

Yes, point zero is the moment you decide you want to make a living as an entertainer.

This section is "tricky business" so my topics here center around the business aspects only. My one assumption is you have performed enough to have an act together, regardless of how good or cohesive that act may be. Telling someone to not pursue a dream will always lead to resentment initially, as people will assume you have a personal agenda and your opinion is not unbiased. As what happened initially to Christian. That's just human nature. So I recommended small financial hurdles, if the person wants to pursue this dream demonstrate they can save for the years cost of living coverage. The practice in financial discipline will help them as well as weed out those less likely to commit.

To Danny's point I haven't defined a year, for the benchmarking. So I will explain what I consider what the minimum activities should occur in a year.
In the first 3 months would be setting up your presence. Press kits, business cards, Legal entities licenses permits, etc. as well as getting listed in directories and setting up a digital presence online website Facebook etc.

Then it's about establishing work, start networking, get exposure from various media channels (tv radio, print) and then start at least one pro bono job a month for non profits (those that have or can put you in contact with potential clients). And keep working all your channels till you get customers, then keep at it some more. You will always have to have overlap between your sales cycles and delivery. if after the rest of the year passes with your constant networking, selling, marketing, and performing at least 1 gig a month (even if it's just the pro bono work), you will know if it's right for you.


Yea I was actually afraid you meant something like this. You mean to tell me that you can tell if performing for a living is for you by doing one non paid gig a month? SERIOUSLY?

Your idea of how to become a performer is diametrically opposed to every performer I know. It simply is not enough time in one year.

And the part you just "assume" about people just having an act together is the single most difficult thing to actually accomplish. You don't get chops by doing one free gig a month. Not by a long shot! It is those performing chops that get you more gigs and if you don't have them all is really not going to go well in a year.


Danny,

You missed my point about probono. The 1 non paid activity is for marketing and exposure purposes. Additionally, if by spending a year balancing marketing, selling, administrative tasks, and performing (even if it's the nonpaid gig) will demonstrate the activities to survive. Not about actually surviving. You missed that nuance as well. After spending a year on those activities, you will have the feel for what it takes. Additionally I never said only work 1 non paid gig a month, that's your reading into my post and altering what's said. I did say that sales and performing must overlap and performing a nonpaid activity while sourcing a paid one will provide experience towards my point of balancing activities. Furthermore, if all the various marketing methods, media channels networking and probono cannot source you paid gigs then you will also become painfully aware how this isn't for you. Hence my final statement about "even if it's just probono, you will know if it's right for you".

Finally, I assumed people had an act or semblance of one before making a living at it. Most who want to do this started as hobbyists, they spend their time learning tricks and creating their dream show, performing for friends family and the occasional event. It's during this time they start to develop "chops" to perform, it doesn't mean they are refined or polished enough to shine enough for vegas. But what will happen is over the course of the year they will adjust their gigs based on performance results and client expectations. I'm talking about business tasks, if they can't adjust their offering during that year to correct mistakes then they aren't listening to clients and will fail to make new ones or succeed. They will crash and burn. Mark said it well, mediocre performers with a better business head will succeed more then the consummate performer with mediocre business.
Dannydoyle
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Are you a full time performer Walter? You never answered that for us. Have you ever started from point zero and been only a performer?
The idea of working free gigs in order to get income is specious.

As a business plan what you put forth for the first year seems pretty tough to come to fruition.

Also if you live in rural America it has almost no chance of working. The idea that one size fits all is just not true.

Plus you advocate gambling a years salary PLUS marketing and business costs fir only a year. AND you have told then to give up s job they enabled them to save a years salary. Do they just go get that back?

If you have not done this before it seems crazy to encourage it.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Mark_Chandaue
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I am not a great believer in doing free gigs for exposure. Before turning pro I did free gigs to get a taste for performing but I never accepted any of the myriad of gigs I was offered for exposure. The thing about exposure is it don’t put food on the table it just lets people know you will work for free.

I think there is also quite a big difference if you are looking to be a close up performer as opposed to a stand up performer. Close up is a much easier way in if the work is there (and in the UK that’s where most of the work is). For fear of upsetting the close up workers it is far easier to work a table of 6 than it is to win and hold an audience of 500 in an auditorium. I’m not saying close up is easy work, it’s not, personally I hated it but you take the work that’s there until you are established enough to pick and choose. It’s a lot easier to break into though.

Mark
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Dannydoyle
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I think you also can learn to deal with people that way good point.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Dannydoyle
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Also if you want to know what exposure can get you I always say Google the Donner Party. Or ask any Eskimo.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
cafecheckers
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First, thanks to Walter for initiating this discussion, as it is thought provoking. I think Walter brings a unique perspective to our discussions and I have personally benefitted from his contributions in the various threads he has contributed to. I must say though, there is much here I think is over simplified. There are so many variables among all of us. Where we live, how old we are, what type of performer we are, willingness to travel, income expectations, business model, personal strengths and weaknesses just to name some of them. These heavily influence all considerations of how to prioritize ones investments of money and time, as well as setting meaningful timetables. This is exactly why I hired a coach. Although my brother and I have performed part time for the past 6 or 7 years and have already established ourselves at a certain level, getting to where I wish to go will be more complex than simply applying a standard growth process.

In Walters example he speaks of setting up press and media opportunities early on. For many business models, I believe this would be an inappropriate priority, when 100% of ones time would be better spent landing paid gigs, and hopefully ones that have been carefully selected because of residual benefits - meaning high potential for subsequent bookings or simplified word of mouth recommendations within a specific client type. This approach allows one to more quickly adjust show content to audience and client needs as well as gain confidence and much needed income. [Actually, I would recommend that one do this prior to ever considering a full time commitment.] I am not so sure any television/radio station is interested in a new performers business - but here again, it is very specific to exactly who that performer is, where, and how unique they are and relevant to the needs of their audience. So, if a hobbiest goes on America’s Got Talent, or the like, then- yes, press and media are more of a priority. There are other suggestions Walter makes that I believe are misplaced priorities as well. I never did an unpaid performance for exposure. Our first show was at our church picnic as a service, and it allowed us to determine if we ready enough to charge. Our second show was for $30 in exchange for video rights at a preschool. This made them at least have some skin in the game, us the excitement and confidence of being “paid”, and pictures and video of a live performance for our website. There after, we we booking shows at market prices. This may not be ideal for all business models, but the idea of booking unpaid shows seems like a poor investment of time because booking a free show still takes time to book, time to perform, and travel expenses. We have donated shows annually, but they are selected by us and have no attachment to exposure. In fact, they are the shows that are least likely to create future booking opportunities.
Dannydoyle
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When you are in your first year you don't worry about much other than being paid and working as much as possible.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Senor Fabuloso
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Mr. Davis, are you the same Walter Davis who wrote "Face Reading for Mentalists" if so I think you have done a great deal for the entertainment industry. People here can learn much from you.
To hate those who hate is righteous.
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