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Topic: Tackiness on stage
Message: Posted by: snap (Jul 13, 2005 10:16AM)
Hey, guys
I just got booked to do strolling and a stage act at a festival over labor day weekend. the woman I talked to said I could accept tips, but would not be paid for the performance. now, I know there are a million and one phrases to promote tips, but since I will be on a stage, possibly with a wireless mic, I don't want to sound tacky. what do you guys suggest? should I go with these phrases, should I put out a bucket that says "tips" or is there a third option? thanx in advance for all the help.
Message: Posted by: Daryl -the other brother (Jul 13, 2005 10:56AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-13 11:16, snap wrote:
Hey, guys
I just got booked to do strolling and a stage act at a festival over labor day weekend. [/quote]

If your doing this for free you didn't get "booked", you offerd your services at no charge and the offer was accepted. There are many threads here on doing free shows but IMHO it's not a good idea as it gives the impression that your time and peformance have no real value and all this brings is more free shows. As for tips, do a search and you'll find plenty of ideas.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jul 13, 2005 11:04AM)
Get an attractive woman to circulate the crowd in front of the stage shakeing a top hat, and in the future get an agent to negotiate a better deal 4U.
Al

PS Getting that attractive woman may be more expensive than the tips you receive.
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Jul 13, 2005 11:50AM)
I use a version of Cellini's hat line:

"Ladies & Gentlemen, I am neither beggar nor thief, but a simple entertainer seeking your applause and an honest sawbuck...or two. If I've lightened your heart with a moment of cheer, won't you please share your pleasure with a buck or two here. My mother thanks you."

I agree with Daryl and Al...As you mature as a performer, insist on suitable compensation for your effort, experience and time. Still, make the most of this opportunity. Enjoy yourself and keep plenty of business cards on hand and visible. Maybe you'll book a number of private parties increasing your overall compensation.

:o) Skip
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Jul 13, 2005 11:56AM)
Actually, this isn't so bad as all that. What he's doing is busking. Not only is it fine to work for tips at places like this, most magicians pay for a license to do so.
Message: Posted by: dave.m (Jul 13, 2005 12:06PM)
I have done lots of free shows and cheap ones. I find that the best it is to give your number out, and wait for the bookings to come in. Don't do too many free shows as there will be no one left to book you.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jul 13, 2005 12:10PM)
Take out whatever amount of money you think my show is worth, FOLD IT UP and put it into my hat, because tips are my only pay. If you liked my show my name is Al Angello and you can ask my lovely assistant for one of my business cards. If you did not like my show my name is Amazing Larry Vee and you can find my phone number in the book.
Al
Message: Posted by: Dirko (Jul 13, 2005 12:28PM)
I think asking for tips always looks tacky. It is just my opinion. I know I am not alone because just the other day I went out to eat with some friends. One of them payed with a debit card. The lady behind the counter asked what are you leaving a tip on here? When we got in the car two of my friends thought that was very tacky. Asking for money is very risky. You can offend people quite easy. That is why I agree with many people who said negotiate better fees. I think all of us would rather book a show than get a buck or two. If you offend them you will never book their show or their friends. People love to talk. Just my 2 cents.
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Jul 13, 2005 03:13PM)
As Rikbrooks sagely stated, there is nothing wrong with working for tips. And it all depends on HOW you ask as to whether it's tacky or noble. Street Buskers know that the best way to get the tips flowing is to do a GREAT show for a large crowd and make your hat line (the request for tips) part of your show. Humorous hat lines work best for me...it may be different for you. Check the Street Performer areas for other advice on tips.

It also changes with the type and location of the festival. Most of mine pay me outright to provide live entertainment. A few allow me space to perform my street act and busk for tips. When I busk at a festival or event, I , personally, refuse to provide any type of stage performance. First it is hard to get a stage audience to come forward with tips. Second, it may cause me to lose a choice busking spot that I've spent the day cultivating. Third, my stage shows are far more involved than my street act...if they want it, my fees are set and competitive. Again...that's me.

:o) Skip
Message: Posted by: snap (Jul 13, 2005 04:47PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-13 11:56, Daryl -the other brother wrote:
[quote]
On 2005-07-13 11:16, snap wrote:
Hey, guys
I just got booked to do strolling and a stage act at a festival over labor day weekend. [/quote]

If your doing this for free you didn't get "booked", you offerd your services at no charge and the offer was accepted. There are many threads here on doing free shows but IMHO it's not a good idea as it gives the impression that your time and peformance have no real value and all this brings is more free shows. As for tips, do a search and you'll find plenty of ideas.
[/quote]

actually, the way this came about was rather complicated. I at first did call her to ask her if I could do street at a fourth of july festival there, she thought it was a good idea and called someone else and asked me if I could be at this festival as well. it wasn't a matter of me offering my services for this festival, she is giving me a free booth and the privilage of NOT having to get a permit in exchange for entertainment for the kids and parents. although this is great, I also wanted to get something else out of it. when I inquired about tips, she agreed. I just thought I should clear that up. when I'm doing just the strolling kind of thing, I don't see a problem asking for tips, but I just think it would be a little tacky to do it up on stage infront of several more people than when I'm performing otherwise. do you guys think it would also be tacky if I put a bucket plainly visible that said "tips for the performer"? should I just keep my mouth shut during the show (about tips, I mean)? thanx for the help!!
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 13, 2005 05:33PM)
I'm with Skip. Those are great lines! I'm gonna write them down.
Message: Posted by: JesterMan (Jul 14, 2005 12:53AM)
It can't hurt to have a few friends in the audience rushing forward to give you a token of their appreciation. :winker: As stated above, it may be harder to get tips on a formal stage than in the strolling or street locales.

As for tacky, it might just be in how you ask. The lines above are great, and the one mentioned about the lady in the restaurant... NOT like that. (I happen to know a guy and his wife on here that will reduce the tip if the server says, "do you need change?") That IS tacky, but if the same server says, "I'll be right back with your change", they may expect you to say, "keep it". So, don't beg, make the request in an interesting way that befits your character. IMHO

JM :jesterhat: :cyclops:
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Jul 14, 2005 01:45AM)
I have a couple of questions about this deal, and apologize in advance for my cynicism:

Is there going to be other entertainment? If so, are they getting paid?
If they are, why aren't you? If not, are they on the same barter deal you have, or something different? If so, what?

One thing I have learned about festival managers is some of them will do just about anything to essentially get something for nothing. Booth space that they haven't sold at this late date is booth space that they are not, in all probability, going to sell for the event anyway, so bartering it away is a no-loss deal for them.

If it turns out that there are other entertainers working the event who are working on stage who are getting paid (and I am not talking major headliners, but local talent), then you have been played. If not, then you have probably worked yourself a pretty good deal under the circumstances.

Just a note to all and sundry, though, when one of these event managers comes to you with a deal like this, ask what other acts are going to be on the bill and stall. Contact them and ask if they are getting paid or bartering a deal. Be up front with them about why you are asking - you have heard of other people getting played on a line like this at other events and want to know if this is a posibility. Do NOT ask them how much they are getting paid, just IF they are getting paid or getting booth space, etc., in trade.

Once you know that, you can cut the deal more fairly.

Can you tell that I've been played this way a couple of times? ;)

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: snap (Jul 14, 2005 06:58AM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-14 02:45, Lee Darrow wrote:
I have a couple of questions about this deal, and apologize in advance for my cynicism:

Is there going to be other entertainment? If so, are they getting paid?
If they are, why aren't you? If not, are they on the same barter deal you have, or something different? If so, what?

One thing I have learned about festival managers is some of them will do just about anything to essentially get something for nothing. Booth space that they haven't sold at this late date is booth space that they are not, in all probability, going to sell for the event anyway, so bartering it away is a no-loss deal for them.

If it turns out that there are other entertainers working the event who are working on stage who are getting paid (and I am not talking major headliners, but local talent), then you have been played. If not, then you have probably worked yourself a pretty good deal under the circumstances.

Just a note to all and sundry, though, when one of these event managers comes to you with a deal like this, ask what other acts are going to be on the bill and stall. Contact them and ask if they are getting paid or bartering a deal. Be up front with them about why you are asking - you have heard of other people getting played on a line like this at other events and want to know if this is a posibility. Do NOT ask them how much they are getting paid, just IF they are getting paid or getting booth space, etc., in trade.

Once you know that, you can cut the deal more fairly.

Can you tell that I've been played this way a couple of times? ;)

Lee Darrow, C.H.
[/quote]

lee,
there will be other entertainment there, not another magician, but some local bands. they are not getting paid, but they are also not getting a free booth. I see this as a possible publicity opportunity (the stage show, I mean.) as far as getting "played" I don't think this is the case, partly because the festival is in september and if they wanted to they could probably sell some more booths. the other thing is that I am a young magician and I am trying more and more to build up my reputation, besides, must I worry about their reasons? because this way I am getting a "freebie". thank you for the advice, keep it coming!
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jul 14, 2005 07:38AM)
September is my busiest out door performance month, it is the month that I turn down as many jobs as I do. What is the significance of this booth thing, am I missing something? The wrong reasons for doing free work is "a booth" or "EXPOSURE". If you are young and inexperienced you should only do this free job to satisfy yourself, Eskimo's, jugglers, and magicians will all tell you that "you can die from EXPOSURE".
Al
Message: Posted by: snap (Jul 14, 2005 09:31AM)
Well, normally, I would havet to pay a significant amount to obtain a booth and do magic there. in addition to this, I would normally have to pay for a permit as well. so, in giving me a free one, it reduces my costs. thank you for the tips, keep them coming!!
Message: Posted by: Joshua Lozoff (Jul 14, 2005 09:42AM)
Dirko,

There's a big difference between busking, which is a time-honored artistic tradition, and a waitress asking for a tip.

By the way, I hoped you tipped the waitress big. She's more valuable than the food you ate, and the question she asked you is her way of trying to provide for her own family.

[quote]
On 2005-07-13 13:28, Dirko wrote:
I think asking for tips always looks tacky. It is just my opinion. I know I am not alone because just the other day I went out to eat with some friends. One of them payed with a debit card. The lady behind the counter asked what are you leaving a tip on here? When we got in the car two of my friends thought that was very tacky. Asking for money is very risky. You can offend people quite easy. That is why I agree with many people who said negotiate better fees. I think all of us would rather book a show than get a buck or two. If you offend them you will never book their show or their friends. People love to talk. Just my 2 cents.
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jul 14, 2005 10:03AM)
Maybe I'm crazy but a booth is where you sell your homemade crafts, magic, and knickknacks have nothing in common, I think you are waisting your time in the wrong venue. Are you an attraction or an exhibitor, no one is taking you seriously and you are buying it.

As far as asking for tips being tacky is concerned, I beg to differ busking is a time honored tradition that deserves respect, especially from performers. Would you call Gazzo a begger, or a performance artist?
opinionated
Al
Message: Posted by: snap (Jul 14, 2005 02:48PM)
I agree with you, busking IS a time honoured tradition, and I am not questioning the tackiness of it, but I AM questioning the tackiness of asking for tips ON STAGE. no one seems to be understanding this, I don't have a problem asking for tips when I'm doing street, I just don't know about doing it on stage. thank you for the advice.
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Jul 14, 2005 03:54PM)
Snapster...I've seen Renaissance magicians solicit tips from their stage or platform. I don't see the stage as any different from the street...except that you're elevated a little above everyone. Set your tip bucket out there and seed it with a few bucks. Use an entertaining hat line at the tail end of your show...and make it part of your show.

If you use a sign on a tripod to identify your act, consider putting "THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIPS" with a color smiley face or something to that effect on the back. Turn it over as you make your hat pitch. You have to be brash to get the cash! If you offend someone...do you REALLY care? You just gave them a great show...and they want to be offended when you ask for a buck? Fugeddaboudit! Give it your best shot! I would!

:o) Skip
Message: Posted by: Dirko (Jul 14, 2005 05:03PM)
Joshua,

Yes we tipped. I have worked in resteraunts for over 15 years from busboy, dishwasher server to house magician. I feel that it is how this person asked that got my friends riled up.
Message: Posted by: snap (Jul 14, 2005 06:54PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-14 16:54, Skip Way wrote:
Snapster...I've seen Renaissance magicians solicit tips from their stage or platform. I don't see the stage as any different from the street...except that you're elevated a little above everyone. Set your tip bucket out there and seed it with a few bucks. Use an entertaining hat line at the tail end of your show...and make it part of your show.

If you use a sign on a tripod to identify your act, consider putting "THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIPS" with a color smiley face or something to that effect on the back. Turn it over as you make your hat pitch. You have to be brash to get the cash! If you offend someone...do you REALLY care? You just gave them a great show...and they want to be offended when you ask for a buck? Fugeddaboudit! Give it your best shot! I would!

:o) Skip


[/quote]

THANK YOU skip!! this is what I've been asking, I wasn't asking if I should busk or if I should ask for tips off the stage, but if I should on. thank you soooo much!! any other oppinions?
Message: Posted by: lunatik (Jul 17, 2005 02:34AM)
Have sign on your hat that says "Tipping is not a city in China"! lol
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jul 17, 2005 01:00PM)
How about, "Tipping is not a crime UNLESS you're tipping cows."

Or maybe, "It's against the law to TIP a cow. A magician- no problem."
Message: Posted by: cheesewrestler (Jul 17, 2005 07:08PM)
[quote]

actually, the way this came about was rather complicated. I at first did call her to ask her if I could do street at a fourth of july festival there, she thought it was a good idea and called someone else and asked me if I could be at this festival as well. it wasn't a matter of me offering my services for this festival, she is giving me a free booth and the privilage of NOT having to get a permit in exchange for entertainment for the kids and parents. although this is great, I also wanted to get something else out of it. when I inquired about tips, she agreed. I just thought I should clear that up. when I'm doing just the strolling kind of thing, I don't see a problem asking for tips, but I just think it would be a little tacky to do it up on stage infront of several more people than when I'm performing otherwise. do you guys think it would also be tacky if I put a bucket plainly visible that said "tips for the performer"? should I just keep my mouth shut during the show (about tips, I mean)? thanx for the help!!
[/quote]

Check out the "Working the Festival Market" thread in the "Tricky Business" forum.
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Jul 18, 2005 12:11PM)
Festival managers have, for decades, played magicians for freebies in just this kind of way, which is why I was concerned. been there, done that, got the hat, the T-shirt, the bumper sticker and almost got the tattoo.

;)

If you work a gig for free, you are advertising that you work for free. Do you really need that?

With respect to the booth, however, you could turn that into a marketing ploy for your paid shows, saying that you are doing this event in trade for the expensive booth and "other considerations" from the festival management and leave it at that. This kind of thing is done all the time. Then pass out brochures, business cards and promo packets (you DO have all of those things, right?) like mad and get cards and information from the people passing by as well.

Do the "sign up for our mailing list" cards on your table. They are a great way to build a marketing list. That way, you have a list of names and addresses that you can send a letter to, advertising your upcoming performances, advertising your availability for parties, events, etc., as well.

This way, if you book a couple of private events, you make back what you don't make at the festival.

And you can write the thing off, possibly, as an advertising cost (see your tax professional about that, to be sure!).

Hope this helps!

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: keithmagic (Jul 18, 2005 02:57PM)
Snap,

You state that the festival you are working for free is charging rent on booths for other people. If they have concessions as well, they are being paid (generally) quite a bit for that too. They have an entertainment budget. Why not get your piece?

When working local fairs when I was starting out doing the fair/festival market I would occasionally BOOK a street style show. In essence, they would have to pay me a retainer, something they could afford, and I would still get to busk.

If you think just being there in a tent is going to get you publicity, I hate to be there bearer of bad news... but you will most likely be quite disappointed (unless you are dangling in a straitjacket from a burning rope, blowing yourself up, etc...)

Once you work this event for FREE the first time, you most likely will NEVER get them to pay you a dime in the future. Ask me how I learned this as a kid the hard way!!!

Also, be careful of how you "stage" your show outdoors if you have never done it before.

Keith Stickley
http://howtobookfestivals.com
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jul 18, 2005 06:03PM)
Lee is right in that festivals have been milking magicians and jugglers for that matter also in this manner. It is horrible of them, but if every magician said "NO" I won't do it for tips, then they would get compensated.

Since we know that wont happen, make the best of it. If you can find local street performers in your area watch closely. Plus if the other entertainment is busking for tips it is not that tough to do it yourself
Message: Posted by: Eric Jones (Jul 21, 2005 06:07PM)
My favorite line came from Eric Mead. He said," guys, you can always tip me 5 bucks so I can go back to college, OR you can tip my $50 so I don't have to..."

I've used that line in my show for years, maybe it'll work for you......
Message: Posted by: snap (Jul 24, 2005 03:22PM)
[quote]
On 2005-07-18 15:57, keithmagic wrote:
Snap,

You state that the festival you are working for free is charging rent on booths for other people. If they have concessions as well, they are being paid (generally) quite a bit for that too. They have an entertainment budget. Why not get your piece?

When working local fairs when I was starting out doing the fair/festival market I would occasionally BOOK a street style show. In essence, they would have to pay me a retainer, something they could afford, and I would still get to busk.

If you think just being there in a tent is going to get you publicity, I hate to be there bearer of bad news... but you will most likely be quite disappointed (unless you are dangling in a straitjacket from a burning rope, blowing yourself up, etc...)

Once you work this event for FREE the first time, you most likely will NEVER get them to pay you a dime in the future. Ask me how I learned this as a kid the hard way!!!

Also, be careful of how you "stage" your show outdoors if you have never done it before.

Keith Stickley
http://howtobookfestivals.com
[/quote]

keith,
unfortunately the nature of this festival is that if you are performing there, there is no pay. as stated above, if I was JUST to do busking, I would not get much publicity, but I am also doing several stage shows there. also, after this, the lady wants to HIRE me (as in with pay) for a library gig. thank you for you advice!!
Message: Posted by: twistedace (Jul 24, 2005 05:28PM)
I think you got kinda screwed man. You really should have asked for money...tips are appreciated but not really easy to get from people at bigger festivals. They've already paid for entrance, they have to buy food, there are other things there that they will probably want to purchase...why should they give money to you when they've already paid to see you with their entrance fee?
Message: Posted by: keithmagic (Jul 25, 2005 02:16AM)
Snap,

All I am trying to warn you about is that offerings of "Free" publicity is often worth just about how much it "costs" - Nothing.

Several stage shows in exchange for some "publicity" and the hopes of a library show from said client is not neccesarily a great deal. If that is "how that festival works" I may be inclined to suggest you find another festival. In the state of New York, you have over 5-8,000 DIFFERENT festivals and events you could work for $ AND exposure.

Look at it like this...

You go to this event and work for free. You do 3 "stage shows". Then you get hired by this woman to work a library show for let's say $375 for an hour (a pretty conservative rate). Your actual pay for the library show is really only $93.75. Now I have not yet seen your show - but I am willing to bet that all of that time and effort invested by you is worth a little bit more than $93.75. And that is IF the woman follows through and books you.

I only meantion this because I see so many entertainers look at the final number they think may be impressive as opposed to what they are REALLY making per show. Now if snap spends a total of 25-30 hours properly working an prepping for these shows, he is now being paid a McDonald's salary. I don't really find that to be fair, and would like to see you better compensated for your hard work.

Keith Stickley
http://www.howtobookfestivals.com