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Topic: Tips For Booking More Parties
Message: Posted by: RandomEffects (Nov 20, 2002 04:33PM)
OK everyone i am interested in what tricks everyone uses to get bookings for kids shows. We can ignore the obvious ones, working in a restaurant and the Yellow Pages are well known. But what else do we use to keep ourselves known?

One of the best things i ever learned to do was to get a coloring page with my info on it. I will give it out to kids wherever i am performing and tell them to hang it on the fridge once they have colored it in. Th keeps it in the parents full view for at least a couple of weeks after they have seen me.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not reply with just Geat/Horrible idea responses unless you are also including a Tip. I would like the thread to stay as uncluttered as possible.

Lets get the ideas, and in turn the money, flowing folks,

Message: Posted by: tkuhns (Nov 20, 2002 07:17PM)
Here in Japan, the kids love getting autographs. It's a real novelty to see someone write sloppy, cursive English -- they think it's "cool." So after the show, I distribute my flyer and they line up to get me to sign it. I know they will be holding onto it for a long time...
Message: Posted by: kenscott (Nov 20, 2002 07:39PM)
one the best things is to get them to remember your name. My name is Ken Scott and my logo is Ken scott so they see my name which is the logo all the time. What this does is that they rmember my name.

I also have the kids sign up for a fan club where they will recieve a FREE trick if they mail back their name address and date of birth. this gets put in a data base and about 6 weeks before there birthday I send out a birthday flyer to there mom or dad.

I also pass out a ton of COLOR business cards. Buisness cards are a walking billboard they work much better if they are not in the box but rather passed out to people. I go through about 15,000.00 cards a year.

I also use a ED Harris Giant mystery dolloar that had my name and WEB SITE along with number. On this it will teach them some easy magic tricks to learn.

Message: Posted by: Andy Wonder (Nov 20, 2002 08:51PM)
You can give out your own fridge magnets to the kids as prizes. Fridge magnets will last longer than the coloring page. I have had people keep my magnet on their fridge for over 3 years before calling to make a booking.

(Ken: I thought it interesting the 2 decimal places in the total number of cards you give out. ;) I bet you don't use those when you quote your fee)
Message: Posted by: kenscott (Nov 20, 2002 10:09PM)
Forgot the magnets! Yes I do those as well and you are right they stay on the fridge for many years. I take a picture with a poloarid camera with me and the birthday child floating in the air and then i put a sticker on the front with my name and web site and number put a magnet on the back and put in on there their fridge.

Great point Andrew.
Message: Posted by: danryb (Nov 21, 2002 05:04AM)
I also give out coloring pictures with name etc. I used to hand out stickers and business cards but lately have developed small laminated cards with a optical illusion printed next to my name and number. I tell the children that they can entertain their folks and friends with this magic card. I also tell the kids to get their moms to invite me to their birthday parties because I had a great time with them and would like to see them again. I also let the kids know that they have my number on the card and they can phone me when they desire - usualy the mother phones and let's me know that her child wants to talk to me.
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Nov 21, 2002 11:06AM)
do a good show!
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Dec 22, 2002 10:45AM)
Tell your patron after the show you will give them $15/$20 for every show they find for you.

Send your patron a thank you letter a few days after the show.
Message: Posted by: Cheshire Cat (Dec 22, 2002 04:06PM)
I am not sure whether you are asking to be told what you want to hear? Or looking for a quick fix, or gimmick ideas? All I can do is back up Ken by saying push your name till you tap yourself on the shoulder in the middle of the night with it; and back up Phillip by saying always do a good show! If it's additional advertising promos. then you could always supply party invitations with your booking confirmation, magic certificates (at the party) etc. with your details on. I personally would not stick any labels onto kids with phone numbers on as I think this offensive. Also analyse the area and social groups within Boston you are selling to (sorry guys, you'll shoot me for this!) - but we've always aimed at the money! as let's face it, we've all had poorer families that pay you out of money saved in a coffee jar, their kids are beautifully behaved and dressed, but how many kids entertainers are hired by these compared to lawyers, doctors etc. in expensive schools and areas. :birthday:
Message: Posted by: DemuMagic (Jul 27, 2005 01:42PM)
One of my tricks even though I have only been doing kid's shows for about a year is sending out a post-performance-package. I include an evaluation sheet along with buisness cards and a formal thank you. I find this is a good way to get repeat bookings,and it shows that I care about my audience. That way they will be more keen on reffering me to others. I also like the idea on here about sending out a pamphlet to families six weeks before their birthday. If it's ok I think I will use that idea to help promote my buisness.
Message: Posted by: KyletheGreat (Jul 27, 2005 02:32PM)
I ride in all the local parades on the back of my "Magic mobile" in my costume while throwing out playing cards that have my business card stuck to the back of them. (I print off business cards onto stickers and apply them to the back of every card.) I go through about 8-10 decks or more each parade.

I also have people walking beside my float handing out cards and candy while wearing my T-shirts that I had printed with my logo and contact info on them. The little ones that are involved wear plastic top hats and carry wands.

I also shoot off large party poppers and throw candy for effect as well.

The "Magic Mobile" is decarated accoriding to the theme of the parade...and I always hook my sound sysetm up and run it out the back window so that I can BLAST music throught the parade. I like to play the six flags theme song because everyone who hears it has to at least tap a foot. Children love it and you can see them dancing all up and down the sidewalk!

It works out really well. I get a lot of calls from these parades. Another bonus...the magnetic signs on my truck have my number and name on them...so when the parade is played on the local channels, viewers can get my number from there.

Withing 1 week of the first parade I booked 9 shows. Every person that booked me caught one of the playing cards.

It is the best Idea I ever had for advertising and it works extremely well.

THat is about the only thing I do that is different. I mean I also do the business packets with promo shots, contact and show info in them, and leave cards in restaraunts, etc...all that stuff.
Message: Posted by: macmagic (Jul 27, 2005 03:29PM)
Well the coloring pic is great and I will tell you what I do, a lot of people on this board will disagree with my methos but it works!
tell the kids they will all get a picture, but its a magic picture so you need to listen carefully to learn how to make the magic work, first take the pic home and color it in, then hang it on your fridge, now here is the important part........go get your mom or dad and show them what a great job you did then ask them to bend over, give them a kis on the cheek.........tell them you love them and that you would really like "Greg the magician" to come to your BIRTHDAY PARTY........and just like magic I'll be there!
the parents will laugh at this and I have actually gotten applause for this, yes it is in the face blatant.....but like I said it works really good! and I have never gotten a complaint!
Message: Posted by: Gideon Sylvan (Jul 27, 2005 05:41PM)
Have a contest for a free show where kids must fill out their bday and everything. This way you get a mailing list.
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Jul 27, 2005 06:40PM)

A give-away is useless if it stays in the hands of the child.

As Greg mentioned, if you give the kids business cards you must tell them to give the card to their mom or dad so she can call you and get you for THEIR party!

Actually, I don't think you should give out much stuff to the other kids. I prefer to give the birthday child tons of cool stuff and drive the other kids insanely jealous so they beg their parents to invite me to their party.

Also, I agree with the above point about doing a great show. Moms talk and if you do a good show your name will quickly get round.

Message: Posted by: Tom Stevens (Jul 28, 2005 05:33AM)
I send a $10 voucher with my thank you letter. In the letter I draw attention to the fact that the voucher has no expiry date, and can be used by anyone.

I also put a magnet sticker on my business card.
Message: Posted by: Daniel Faith (Jul 29, 2005 10:31PM)
People do not like filling out evaluation sheets. How many of these do you accutally get back?

Great idea using the parades.
Message: Posted by: kenscott (Jul 29, 2005 11:26PM)
I would say they do like filling them out. I get almost all of mine back. I give it to them at the party and ask them to fill it out later and send back to me. they want to help they want to see you succeed for the most part.

Message: Posted by: Countage (Jul 29, 2005 11:56PM)
A few years ago I went school to school in the area during July. It is real easy to get the principal in front of you at this time the year. I introduced myself, performed a simple sponge routine, and handed out brochure. In two hours I can visit ten schools. On average every forty visits booked a school assembly which rebooks itself the next year with a phone call. There is the process and the numbers to work with. Give it a try.
Message: Posted by: James Munton (Jul 30, 2005 06:57AM)
[quote]There is the process and the numbers to work with. Give it a try.[/quote]


I'm not sure I like your numbers! If I read your email correctly, your system means that on average you spend eight hours visiting 40 schools to potentially book a single show. That's too much work!

I also suspect it would take most people longer than you claim. 10 schools in two hours means you have just 12 minutes to drive to each school, find the office, introduce yourself to the secretary, wait for the principal to see you, perform the world's fastest sponge ball routine, and sell your assembly show!

I'd find this impossible even if the schools were all lined up next to each other on one street.



I'm interested that you still do evaluation forms at birthdays.

You must have enough good quotes by now. You also know you have a great show.

Do you see an additional marketing benefit from the forms? Or is there another reason?

Message: Posted by: todsky (Jul 30, 2005 11:37AM)
I agree with Philip: do a good show. Even better, do a great show. Word will get around. Be patient. Good marketing is like the cover on a book: it may draw initial attention, but it's the actual content and quality of show that will give you a long and succesful carreer.
Message: Posted by: danryb (Jul 30, 2005 01:13PM)
I double that.
nothing like a good show. And the more the merrier.
I don't count on birthday parties but rather work an evening spot in as many hotels as possible. you get to practice our art in front of groups of all ages. this means you have more of a challenge because whilst 3 year olds are laughing you have to keep the 9 year olds happy too and the parents and so on.
If asked for my number I usualy tell the guest they can get it from the manager of the hotel. this way they get to go directly to the manager (something most guests like to do)in turn, the manager gets direct feedback from the guest which in turn enhances the hotel to keep hiring me.
Did I mention that the guests phone at a later date to remind me they saw me at such and such hotel and would like to know if I am available for b.day parties?

Dani the magician
Message: Posted by: KyletheGreat (Jul 30, 2005 05:47PM)
Yes you must do a good show...but there are other things you have to do to keep the business going besides just a good show! The more people you reach through advertising and the better the impact, the more business you will recieve. We all know word of mouth is the best advertisement...but we can't just sit back and totally rely on that. It should be in your priority to do a good show in the first place. I believe The question is...what do you do differently to advertise for more shows?
Message: Posted by: kenscott (Jul 30, 2005 06:05PM)

I don't do it as much as I used to do. But I always like getting feedback from clients. I think also the clients see it as me really caring for my business by asking for feedback. ALso I don't think you can never get enough quotes. I am always changing my qoutes out.

Message: Posted by: Tyler_Magician (Aug 23, 2005 08:29PM)
First of all, macmagic, I had to read your post a couple times before I finally got it. I didn't know what cheeks you were talking about. You said bend over and give them a kiss on the cheek. I thought this was a joke at first, then I realized you mean't a cheek on their face...wow!

One big thing with me is to connect with the client and get to know them, and have them get to know you a little bit. I don't just want to be known as the magician, but as a ncie, real person, too. It all starts on the phone when they call you, maybe from a long day of work with "How much do you charge." You should make them smile, let them know a little about you, and then ask some questions whether you write down the answers or not.

I like to ask them about the child, how old they are and what kind of stuff they like to do. I try to act a little more personal than most magicians, but this they will remember than the business call with the magician. Now, it is a conversation with Tyler, a magician.

When I get to their house, I compliment them, their house, children, etc. Be nice and if you have a few minutes before the show, and before the kids come in, talk with the client a little bit. I don't do any magic, such as close-up, during the few minutes I have before the show. I like to keep them in suspense.

During my shows, I entertain the children, as well as the adults. Children love to see one of the adults up in front, doing something silly. If everyone has fun, they will remember that, and tell their friends how much fun they had.

Compared to some of the stuff listed, this is free, but takes a little more effort. It may not get you more shows right away, like a billboard will, but over time, people will get to know you and you will have a 'fan base'.

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Aug 23, 2005 08:51PM)

You bring up some great points. For me and my wife, we go out of our way to not be seen as JUST a magician. I never want a prospect or a client to see me as just a product. How do I go about changing this?

I do so first by listening. If I learn to listen to the prospect or client, then I become attuned to their needs and their wants. If I know their needs, then I can find ways to solve these needs. This then leads me to...

Becoming a solutions provider for these people. If I can constantly not only meet their needs but solve them for them, then I become much more valuable to them. This value in their own mind changes their....

perceived impression and perceived value. By me becoming a solutions provider to my client, then I am giving them and building perceived value in them. They no longer see me as a psoruct, but they see me as someone they have to use and come back to time and again because I will not only put on a good show, but I will go above and beyond to elmimate their worries and solve their needs for whatever event thay are hosting.

But if you want to book more shows, the bottom line is that fact that you MUST take action. Sitting on your butt waiting and hoping for the phone to ring is just not going to cut it. I love the fact that I can directly effect how successful I am and want to be through a simple course of acting upon those desires and setting goals and steps to make them happen.

Another tip is to learn to build relationships with your prospects and clients. Get to know them and they you. Do NOT forget about them after the gig. This is one of the single most often found mistakes with entertainers. We do a show, get our money and move opn to the next one. WRONG!!!

The person you just performed for has tremendous VLAUE to you. They have seen your show, they know what you provided for them. They are walking billboards and advertisements for you so USE them. Stay in contact with them through out the year through holiday greetings, invites to public performances. Staying in contact with them will hlep build a strong relationship with them that will and can often lead to repeat performances and or referrals.

Another great idea is to give a thank you note or kit to the client after doing the show. How many entertainers do you know that will go out of their way to say THANK YOU through the use of a personalized letter and a gift? It makes a huge difference and they will remember you for it.

These are just a few methods I use all the time and have made a habit to change the way I market and the way I conduct my magic business. It takes time to learn, but then again, everything good does. if you stick with it, it gets easier each time out. WHY? because nothing breeds success like success.

Message: Posted by: keeblem (Aug 24, 2005 02:18PM)
On 2005-07-29 23:31, Daniel Faith wrote:
People do not like filling out evaluation sheets. How many of these do you accutally get back?


I always give out evaluation sheets (I normally call the feedback forms!) and I would say I get about 75% of the back.

Message: Posted by: harris (Aug 24, 2005 02:21PM)
My latest is a color sign which I use at venues.

Of course having a good show, and good preshow and post show content is essential.

Lately I have been doing more family and adult venues including conventions.

My last two shows were on my usual substance abuse prevention. The difference were they were both for parents.(At a local Catholic High School)

The booking came from a front page article on a reading show for a local elementary school.

Can you say P.R. I knew you can.

I send them out to the media periodically.

This morning I got a kick when I opened the September 2005 Genii.

David Groves was kind enough to mention our couple of nearly normal thought and jam sessions, in his article on his most recent Magic Lecture Tour.

Local press in addition to international magazines can't hurt. Especially if they spell your name right. (Who said that last line? Was it Houdini? Nearly Normal No Prize available.....)

More to be revealed, as I try to stay open to new ideas from unusual sources.

My contacts with past consumers was learned from, (you guessed it) my insurance agent.

Be safe, well and creative.

Harris Deutsch
Message: Posted by: MagicB1S (Aug 24, 2005 04:22PM)
I perform a little something for nothing almost anywhere I go.. At the grocery store.... Walmart... Etc. I do this Usualy while on line at the checkout. Usualy a simple trick Self Folding Dollar Bill.. Spongeballs.. T.T. You get the point. Most people will ask if you do shows and at this point I will hand out my card. It is a great way to get some free advertising out there.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Aug 24, 2005 06:25PM)
I also include an evaluation form and sheet within my thank you kit. If you make it simple and easy to fill out, you will find more people will do so and send it back in the SASE you provide to them. I use a simple 10 multiple choice questions with a space in each one for additional comments. I also ask them if I can use them as a referral and I usually get about 80% of them returned back to me. It is a great way to show you care and also a great way to really see how you are doing with your shows and what you may need to work on. You can also get good quotes this way to use in your marketing.

Message: Posted by: krantis (Aug 24, 2005 11:29PM)
Stickers - stickers - stickers - stickers.......did I mention stickers... I have some made for the shop and for me as a performer... everyone gets a sticker.... and let me tell you the kids will stick it on their mums fridge or somewhere bound to be seen....... even on their school books... big pic of a bunny and a large phone number on it
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Aug 27, 2005 06:08PM)
Okay, here's my big secret to get leads.

I do this in the restaurants where I work, but you can offer this to any local store as a free contest for their customers. I have a fishbowl with entry forms for kids under 12 (or whatever age you prefer.) I offer a FREE DRAWING for a magic kit, which I can get for about $10-$15 at Toys R Us or other store. For that $10, I'll end up with more leads than I can use. Do a simple mailing before the birthday.

Kyle, exactly what is your "Magic Mobile"? Is this a car, golf cart, or ??? I'm really curious.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Aug 27, 2005 07:10PM)

That is exactly what I do as well when I am working festivals. I usually ask them if they would like to host a coloring contest as something to do to draw more kids to the children's area and to possibly invite sponsors to sponosor the event as well.

I design the coloring flyers for 2 age groups and supply them with them. They just have to set up some tables and crayons and assign 2 adults to watch over the kids as they color. The kids place their name and numbers and information on the flyer and they get turned in

Now the winner/s are announced at the end of my show that day. Now I have accomplished several things here:

1) I have solved another possible need for the client above and beyond me just being an entertainer. I am being a soltuions provider and providing a solution that will directly benefit THEM in many ways.

2) Because I am hosting the coloring contest, I get more exsposure from it in regards to getting my name out and marketing myself through the contest. People see my name and information on the flyers they have as well as at the table and booth where they color.

3) I am now getting more people to come out to my show to see and watch it knowing that the winners will be announced afterwards. This helps promote my show before I ever hot the stage.

4) I now get to keep all the entries. These entires are valuable information for me now. If I am an ACTIVE maraketer, I can then go home and send letters or e-mails to the people thanking them for coming to the show and doing the contest. I can then perhaps direct them to my website if I want to. Because I am an active marketer, it allows me to stay in control of the sales process.

One thing I do note is that I make sure on my forms that I get the parents signature of approval for the kid to enter the contest and I ask for the adults e-mail address. This is important when dealing with younger children and obtaining information about them. The parents feel safer and I get the proper information that I am looking for.

Great insight star and thank you for sharing ti with us.

Message: Posted by: KyletheGreat (Aug 27, 2005 09:11PM)
On 2005-08-27 19:08, Starrpower wrote:
Okay, here's my big secret to get leads.

I do this in the restaurants where I work, but you can offer this to any local store as a free contest for their customers. I have a fishbowl with entry forms for kids under 12 (or whatever age you prefer.) I offer a FREE DRAWING for a magic kit, which I can get for about $10-$15 at Toys R Us or other store. For that $10, I'll end up with more leads than I can use. Do a simple mailing before the birthday.

Kyle, exactly what is your "Magic Mobile"? Is this a car, golf cart, or ??? I'm really curious.

HEHEHE! My vehicle is a gold truck that I have decorated with elaborate magnetic signs and such. I have magnets that looks like wands and playing cards stuck all over the thing! And on the two doors, I have a magnet that has my name, service, and contact information with a large top hat painted on their as well. As for the tag on the front...it was a gift from my parents that has a rabbit, wand, and top hat, and the words "Magic Man" all airbrushed on it. I like to call it my "Magic Mobile". And yes...I even drive it to school...everyone seems to like it! Pretty soon I plan to get a mini van and take all the seats out, then get my artist friend to paint the vehicle...get him to put a giant version of my logo (charictature of me) and other magic related pictures all over the thing. I also want to use Ron Connleys idea for a window decal that says "Caution: Attack Rabbits Guarding this Vehicle"!
Message: Posted by: KC Cameron (Apr 14, 2006 07:49PM)
As a pirate magician I have downloadable:
1) 1st mate & Swabby Certificates
2) Treasure maps and blank maps for personal use
3) Laugh Like a Pirate (Pirate jokes)
4) Speak Pirate-Like (Pirate Dictionary)
5) Birthday party Survival Tips
6) Direction Signs (for guiding the swabbys to the party)
7) Incredible 6 page pirate invitations
8) Pirate coloring page (in the works)
8) Pirate Games
9) Pirate Crafts
10) Pirate decoration ideas
11) Pirate food ideas
All downloadable and they cost me nothing!
If you would like any of this type of thing made for you, give me a buz.

I also give out birthday cards - then I ask if they want me to sign them, then I ask if they want Jax (my parrot_ top sign them too (she pierces a hole in them), then I tell them to put them on their fridge.

Also, I go out in public in full costume, often with Jax, and give away balloons and cards.

For schools I give a Pirate Plan that helps teachers go over the points in my school show.
Message: Posted by: Magic Patrick (Jan 1, 2011 06:54PM)
Thanks for all the ideas. This is why I love this site.

Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Jan 14, 2011 10:04PM)
I try to make the parents my salespeople. My method is to get my name to them as often as possible:

1) When the contact me, I talk with them on the phone and discuss their child and their event.
2) I email them my Birthday Party Package.
3) When they book me, I telephone them and thank them and confirm arrangements. (This takes a minute or two.) My goal is to begin consolidating a relationship with them.
4) I email them a package that explains what happens at the party, what I need for a performing area etc.
5) I contact them on the week of the event to touch base with them.
6) I telephone them as I am on the way to their party. (Many performers here book shows and then ditch them.)
7) I do a killer show that features the birthday child.
8) I take business cards and pass them out to any of the parents who ask.
9) I send a follow-up email to the birthday child, thanking them for having me at their party.

It sounds like a lot when I see it here...but really -- the amount of time invested is about ten minutes. My goal is to have the parents refer their friends to me. I would say at least half of the birthday parties I do are referrals. (And it's also important...really important...to contact anyone who referred their friends to you and say Thank You!

Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Jan 15, 2011 08:30AM)
While you approach is sound in terms of giving the customer confidence in you, if you sent an e-mail to my child I would report you to the police. By all means send an e-mail to the parents, but once you get into the whole area of contacting the child directly you are exposing yourself to a huge amount of potential career-ending trouble. Even the most innocently motivated actions can be open to misinterpretation, so be careful.
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Jan 15, 2011 08:51AM)
On 2005-07-27 15:32, KyletheGreat wrote:
I ride in all the local parades on the back of my "Magic mobile" in my costume while throwing out playing cards that have my business card stuck to the back of them.

My local community charges businesses $500 to appear in the Christmas or Independence Day parades. This is a rather small community, too (68,000 within the city proper.) I think parades are a great idea, but I suspect my $500 could be better spent in other ways. Are such charges typical?
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Jan 15, 2011 09:48AM)
On 2011-01-15 09:30, TonyB2009 wrote:
While you approach is sound in terms of giving the customer confidence in you, if you sent an e-mail to my child I would report you to the police. By all means send an e-mail to the parents, but once you get into the whole area of contacting the child directly you are exposing yourself to a huge amount of potential career-ending trouble. Even the most innocently motivated actions can be open to misinterpretation, so be careful.

I take your point. TELLING the parent that I will be sending the child a thank-you note for having me at their party is part of the initial Birthday Information Package. The email is sent to the parent's email -- I never have the child's email, nor would I want it. (What would your average 4-6 year old be doing with an email address anyway?) The parents know it's coming and it's up to them whether to share it or not. I am just saying "Thank you for having me at your party. I was happy to meet you and your friends..." It's simply good manners. Most of the time I get an email back from the child via the parents thanking me for coming.

I think you must be from England? It's a different culture there. My wife and I are photographers and we were recently visiting a friend on Southampton and he took great pains to explain to us that we had to be very careful ensure that no children were in ANY of the images we shot...even if the image was not of the child. He was very concerned that we understood this...which we did.

Since then I've read about a parent who was trying to take pictures of their child's Christmas concert and was told they would have to get releases from every other parent in the building. That notion is absurd from a Canadian perspective.

While there, I wondered if this whole thing isn't getting just a little ridiculous. I don't mean to offend...but does it not strike you as just a little absurd?

I work with shelters for battered women and children. And I agree it's a horror. My heart breaks for victims of abuse...but surely there is a balance to be struck that steps beyond the assumption of guilt in the heart of every stranger. Doesn't it feel like a witch hunt?

I'd really like to understand the mindset.

Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 15, 2011 12:04PM)
My local community charges businesses $500 to appear in the Christmas or Independence Day parades. This is a rather small community, too (68,000 within the city proper.) I think parades are a great idea, but I suspect my $500 could be better spent in other ways. Are such charges typical?

Starrpower: there are several ways to possibly get around the fee if you are willing to negotiate an arrangement. Parades are typically great for getting exposure, getting in from of a lot of familes and kids, and if the parade allows the two things that will work excellent for you is - 1. tossing out candies (with an ad or business card attached w/your contact info and a message stating: "This fun gift is offer by...your name, liner/message and contact info", and 2. if they allow your float, car or entry to have signage do the same marketing -"specializing in kids parties, family events, etc". and do magic while on your display. It will get you attention, perhaps media coverage and good visuals (especially if you have/use animals can also attract attention to you and your business.

David: You will find there are some here seem to like to play Devil's advocate or simply offer a different perspective.
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Jan 15, 2011 12:57PM)
On 2011-01-15 13:04, Mindpro wrote:
Starrpower: there are several ways to possibly get around the fee if you are willing to negotiate an arrangement.
Yes, I understand how to exploit an appearance in a parade. The question was, do others of you find that a fee -- particularly what I see as a high fee for a sole proprietor business -- is typical for community parades?

"Negotiate an arrangement" is a pretty vague suggestion. They are still gonna charge me $500 to have a float or toss candy. I think one solution would be to try to get booked, or volunteer myself, as an entertainer along the parade route.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 15, 2011 01:50PM)
Yes, having been in over 35 parades, there is a standard entry fee (this is how the make a good portion of their money) that usually starts at $300.00 and goes up depending on the size of the parade, the size of the community, etc. My point is of all of the parades I've ever been in I only paid once, for the very first one of $375.00.

All I was saying is there are many ways to be featured in the parade without having to pay the fee. Think as a business person, not an entertainer. I can immediately think of a half dozens ways to do this without giving any real thought.
Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Jan 15, 2011 04:05PM)
And they are ... ?
Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Jan 16, 2011 08:24AM)
David, thanks for clearing up your e-mail procedure. Sending it to the parent to forward to the child is very good marketing, and avoids all the potential pitfalls.

In England they are quite aware of the problems posed by paedophilia. But in Ireland we are even more aware of the problem, because of the huge extent of it. The amount of prosecutions and horror stories in the past number of years has made us all re-evaluate how we care for our children. An e-mail to a child (a lot do have e-mail addresses) would send up an immediate red flag.

Unfortunately this is not playing Devil's Advocate. I have worked with a paedophile magician who used letters to children as a first step in the grooming process. It's a thing all European performers need to be aware of.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jan 16, 2011 08:57AM)
Wait...let me get my silver platter for you.
Message: Posted by: David Thiel (Jan 16, 2011 09:37AM)

Tony: I makes me wish that there WAS a true professional association magicians HAD to belong to, like doctors, so that the whole fraterity could break his wand. Pie in the sky, I know...but when people do things like that...

I've never had any association or even heard of such a thing happening. But even the whiff of it blackens us all and creates suspicion.

**double sigh **

And it really messes things up for people who actually really like kids. Seriously: think about it. Many of us work with children because we really like them in a perfectly healthy and wholesome way.

Message: Posted by: Starrpower (Jan 16, 2011 10:03AM)
On 2011-01-16 09:57, Mindpro wrote:
Wait...let me get my silver platter for you.

Well, this is, after all, a forum for sharing ideas. To say, "I can immediately think of a half dozens ways" and end it there is a rather pointless post. Maybe you can, maybe you can't, but to simply state that and then rubbing my nose in it that I [i]cannot[/i] think of a half dozen ways is helping nobody here.

I admit it, I have never been featured in a parade. I do not know how to circumvent the entry fee. So now what?
Message: Posted by: Cheshire Cat (Jan 17, 2011 02:57PM)
We always used to think it kind of sneaky giving every kid something to take home with our details on.

About 5 years ago we succumbed to "sneakyness". Hmmm. Signing a couple of hundred photos each week does not do my right hand any good though as a piano player . . .
Message: Posted by: Mr. Pitts (Jan 18, 2011 11:44AM)
Starrpower, I've been in many, many parades. I've never paid a dime to be in one. But, I did them all as a clown though. But I think if you can find a way to perform very visually as a magician, on foot, they'd be happy to have you as an entertainer. Walking a parade route, what you do has to be very visual and immediately understandable. Off the top of my head, if I were to do a parade as a magician, I would use my most 'magiciany' costume, and I would carry my rabbit in the hat puppet and my spinning plate and stick. I'd have a bag over my shoulder (clearly visible at my side with MrPitts.com printed in large letters) for the plate and stick, and I would keep the puppet on my hand for the entire parade route. I'd stop in front of a group, make a show of waving my hand over the hat, saying the magic words, and of course he wouldn't appear, until I turned to look at the audience. When he pokes his head out, I see him, act surprised, and then I'd get out the spinning plate and stick, he'd get in position, nose up, and I'd balance the spinning plate on his nose. We'd bow, I put the stick and plate in my bag. Fluffy retreats to his hat and we move to a group across the street and 50 feet down the route. You have to be an 'entertainer' for the parade organizers to be interested in this, not an 'advertiser'. Let your little performance speak for itself. Carry cards if anyone asks for one, but your only advertisement would be the performance and your website printed on the bag. Or you could get a little wagon with your website on it to pull behind you to hold a couple of very visual tricks. One thing to keep in mind, they can't hear you in a parade, not very well anyway. That's why I thought of a purely visual routine. I'm sure you can come up with something that fits your style better. The rabbit is just what I'd do. I wouldn't pay to be in a parade as I think there are better ways to spend my advertising money.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jan 18, 2011 12:06PM)
On 2011-01-17 15:57, Cheshire Cat wrote:
About 5 years ago we succumbed to "sneakyness". Hmmm. Signing a couple of hundred photos each week does not do my right hand any good though as a piano player . . .

Some performers print the autograph right onto the marketing piece, when printing the marketing piece.

- Donald
Message: Posted by: Simon Mandal (Mar 6, 2011 03:04PM)
Making kids want to BE the birthday kid will help.
For example, if the birthday kid gets lots of balloons, gets to float in the air, and gets a magic kit,
because they had you at their party, this will add to the other kid's desire to have you at their party.

I try to respond to ALL emails and calls from parents within 10 minutes unless I am in the middle of a show.
Even if it's to say, I am about to do a show, will you be around in an hour when I'm done?
Quick, professional customer service will make things a lot less stressful for the parents,
this will give them more nice things to say about you to their friends.

Entertain the adults and kids at the same time.
I believe everyone who is there should be entertained.
This means a "kiddie" show for day cares, but a "family show" for a birthday party for the same age kids (if adults are present.)