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Topic: Paying Assistants
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 8, 2007 09:18AM)
How much should it be (about a ball park figure) that the Magician pays an assistant. Also is he/she required to pay for assistant's time for Rehearsals/Meetings to discuss the Show etc. D,
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Jan 9, 2007 03:11AM)
If you get paid - pay your assistant a good percentage & make it fun!!
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 9, 2007 02:20PM)
I'm not getting Paid but I do need a Assistant. It will be fun but how much do I pay and do I pay for rehearsal time as well?
Message: Posted by: Steven Steele (Jan 9, 2007 04:06PM)
I have paid my assistants in the past for rehearsal, but very few of them have been dependable. I no longer pay them for practice and rehearsal, but I also don't just take anybody who wants to be an assistant. I pay my assistants pretty well (a percentage of the contract price + a commission if they book the show) but every one of them own their own business and are successful in their own right. I am full-time, but my assistants are part-time and do it for fun.

Keep in mind, this works for ME. Other magicians may work it differently, but in the end there is no right answer. You have to determine what works right for you. All we can give is advice.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 9, 2007 07:58PM)
This is why I'm asking here and I appreciate the Help/Advice. what will be Reasonable to pay and what would be outrageous
Message: Posted by: Steven Steele (Jan 9, 2007 09:55PM)
I think answering your question is going to be very difficult. Is the assistant bringing any additional talent to the act, e.g. dancing? Then too, is the assistant just bringing props on and off stage or is the act a real team (ala Johnny Thompson). Also, the local economic conditions have a lot to do with it. There are areas were the difference in what you can get for a show can be significant. And in my case, those areas are only 30 miles apart. In the end, I think 'what is reasonable' is whatever you and your assistant agree on and both are happy in the end.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jan 10, 2007 02:54AM)
The Assistant will be Doing Metamorphosis with me. one of the ones I'm thinking of does have a Modeling/Dance etc with her background History and not to mention was at a school for the arts.
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (Jun 22, 2007 10:15PM)
[quote]
On 2007-01-09 15:20, The Donster wrote:
I'm not getting Paid but I do need a Assistant. it will be fun but how much do I pay. and do I pay for rehearsal time as well ?
[/quote]
If you aren't getting paid then you can't pay your assistants. If you are worried about payment, go cheap and ask for a volunteer. or you could hire an assistant and if he or she is interested let her or him work one show for free and if she or he is willing to commit to the show, keep them and pay them.
Message: Posted by: ibm_usa (Jun 22, 2007 10:17PM)
[quote]
On 2007-01-09 22:55, Steven Steele wrote:
I think answering your question is going to be very difficult. Is the assistant bringing any additional talent to the act, e.g. dancing? Then too, is the assistant just bringing props on and off stage or is the act a real team (ala Johnny Thompson). Also, the local economic conditions have a lot to do with it. There are areas were the difference in what you can get for a show can be significant. And in my case, those areas are only 30 miles apart. In the end, I think 'what is reasonable' is whatever you and your assistant agree on and both are happy in the end.

Good point and a lesson to all. You should pay your employees but if they have some talent other then carrying objects, then pay them more for their talents. But the more employees you have, the more your going to have to charge to perform.
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jun 22, 2007 11:06PM)
I've been paying people to help me bacause I can't find no one else to help or volunteer. I couldn't even find enough people to do a shoot.
Message: Posted by: fefe_fontane (Jul 8, 2007 03:31AM)
I'd love to talk to you more about your topic - message me if you are interested.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Jul 8, 2007 05:27AM)
Fefe_fontane PMed you. D,
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Aug 4, 2007 10:40PM)
Donster,

Many people may think I am crazy, but my assistants get paid as much as I do - and I use two. My assistants are feircely loyal to me, and can't wait to show up for practice, rehearsals, and production meetings.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Aug 6, 2007 03:55AM)
Big Daddy Cool Most people Think I'm Crazy. a few days ago I had a Girl Back out on me. and she wanted $40.00 a Hour I was willing to pay it. and right now I'm in the Middle of hopefully I have another Assistant to help me and she'll be Costing me over $500.00 just to have her on stage for 8 minutes hopefully plus her time. for rehearsal travel etc. I wish there was a easy way to get/find a Assistant. if there is please contact me.
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Aug 6, 2007 10:37AM)
Well, I would be curious about how you are going about it... $500 for a non-paying 8 minute gig is kind of steep. Not that she isn't worth it, but seems way out of the park unless you are in LA or Vegas - and even then the competition for work should make it easier to find someone more affordable. PM me about your search...

Posted: Aug 7, 2007 9:54am
UPDATE - What Donster didn't mention is that this girl is a PRO, and is flying in to help out. If it is who I think it is, then she is worth the money she is asking!

And, now that I know she will travel, I am going to hire her for gigs! You know who you are - PM me...
Message: Posted by: CMMAGIC (Jan 16, 2009 03:22AM)
I have a male asst ( illusion manager for backstage) and a female asst.
I pay my asst's 20 % of the booking rate plus take care of their hotel rooms and meals. We do around 100 shows per year for fairs , festivals , and church events.
Message: Posted by: MagicMichealMan (Jan 19, 2009 09:56PM)
I pay my assistant $50 regular shows, but bigger ones $75

it is cheap, and one thing there is, I pay gas, I get the shows, I pay hotel,food,clothes, everything and take her to the conventions I go to so she gets a holiday. I too would say 100 shows a year, sometime less, sometimes more.

summers a HUGE season for me and fairs, and she HATES fair shows! she demanded more money! like more than I got, and Im out there the whole time and shes there for 4 tricks. I finally figured out one thing she hates more than fair shows and that's doing the same uncommfy illusions in the summer heat in impossible performances condictions, so I said to her, the more money I get, the better illusions we can afford to get rid of the old ones.

magic mike
Message: Posted by: Dr. Delusion (Mar 29, 2009 08:04PM)
Maybe I'm too nice. My assistant ( or assistant's, depending on the size of the show), and sound man, always make as much as I do. I can get away with that due to the fact that I have a day job and magic is just for fun and extra money. I have 4 girls I can choose from. All of them are in collage and the money from the shows is about the only extra money they have. There's been several times I've heard of one of them needing money so I will call them and have them help with a show that I would normally do myself, such as a Birthday party. There's been several times I've given them at least 80 % of what I made for the show. For me this has worked out really well. Hardly ever does one of the girls say no to a show. I've had one show up for a show with a cast on a broken wrist she suffered the night before playing a basketball game, another time a girl showed up with a walking boot on because she sprained her ankle earlier in the day at a soccer match. She had a tough time performing the Doll House and Zig Zag, but the crowd loved her for performing with the bad ankle !
Bob.
Message: Posted by: Big Daddy Cool (Mar 30, 2009 11:37AM)
Bob, I split net revenues equally. If I take more than anyone else it creates an immediate feeling of resentment.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Apr 2, 2009 12:00PM)
It's like saying "How much should I charge for my show?" If there aren't that many demands on the assistant you can get someone local and get a competitive rate. If you're asking for someone more specialized you spend more. If I need someone just to walk on and hand me something and basically "not trip" her value is not worth as much as someone who is a professional model/dancer and knows my show inside and out. You pay assistents what they are worth to you and if it's too little, you'll lose them, if it's ok, they'll stay around. Training costs you more in time than anything. I've had assistants around for years. I just call them up, tell them the date ad the show order and they show up knowing the show. That's worth a LOT!

I'm in Los Angeles and use some of the best performers around as assistants on stage with me so I might be paying $500 - $750 a piece for a one nighter, but they are dancers as well as assistants and it's a full show. If I'm doing more complicated shows or for TV dates it could go up depending on how good they were. I typically use professonal dancers even if no dance is involved as I don't have to teach them how to move and stand. I know they can get on and off smoothly and have the right lines to frame the scene. A pro knows how to frame you well then get out of the way for the magic. That's because they've had experience dancing with headliners in Vegas, on many other television shows and awards shows. Are they worth it to me? Of course!

That's on the real dates. Of course we don't always make what we want. On short money (or favored nation) dates like working the Castle, "It's Magic", "Masters of Illusion", etc. I'll divide the take among the cast members (myself included) with one extra part going to the company (Five of us in the cast = the take divided by 6). This has always seemed equitable since I incure the burden of trucking, props, costuming, other expenses, etc.

Like your props, get the best assitants you can afford and you'll look better!
Message: Posted by: JimmyH (Feb 8, 2010 05:35PM)
[quote]
On 2009-04-02 13:00, Ray Pierce wrote:
It's like saying "How much should I charge for my show?" If there aren't that many demands on the assistant you can get someone local and get a competitive rate. If you're asking for someone more specialized you spend more. If I need someone just to walk on and hand me something and basically "not trip" her value is not worth as much as someone who is a professional model/dancer and knows my show inside and out. You pay assistents what they are worth to you and if it's too little, you'll lose them, if it's ok, they'll stay around. Training costs you more in time than anything. I've had assistants around for years. I just call them up, tell them the date ad the show order and they show up knowing the show. That's worth a LOT!

I'm in Los Angeles and use some of the best performers around as assistants on stage with me so I might be paying $500 - $750 a piece for a one nighter, but they are dancers as well as assistants and it's a full show. If I'm doing more complicated shows or for TV dates it could go up depending on how good they were. I typically use professonal dancers even if no dance is involved as I don't have to teach them how to move and stand. I know they can get on and off smoothly and have the right lines to frame the scene. A pro knows how to frame you well then get out of the way for the magic. That's because they've had experience dancing with headliners in Vegas, on many other television shows and awards shows. Are they worth it to me? Of course!

That's on the real dates. Of course we don't always make what we want. On short money (or favored nation) dates like working the Castle, "It's Magic", "Masters of Illusion", etc. I'll divide the take among the cast members (myself included) with one extra part going to the company (Five of us in the cast = the take divided by 6). This has always seemed equitable since I incure the burden of trucking, props, costuming, other expenses, etc.

Like your props, get the best assitants you can afford and you'll look better!
[/quote]

Words of Wisdom..Thanks for that Ray :)
Message: Posted by: RodHousley (Feb 8, 2010 07:21PM)
You should pay your assistants and they should understand what they are being paid up front and be honest about it. Without your assistants what illusion would you do? You need to think about how important the illusion is to your show and pay them accordingly. I believe they should be paid hourly a dancers wage and paid for rehearsal time as well. Be professional about it and they will be professional for you. When you do things pro-bono, it is never as good as it could be.
Message: Posted by: Rachel (Feb 15, 2012 10:04AM)
As a hired assistant, I do more than just perform. I take care of a lot of bookings, and taking care of every little thing. Everything that my boss can't do, I do it.
There was a second assistant needed, so we asked another girl to step in. She asked for pay, and we told her that this would be her "audition", of course she did not continue with us, but it was for a benefit show, and she demanded pay.
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Feb 16, 2012 04:24AM)
I offer Pay Whether its for a Benefit or Not. I do want to be Fair and Honest with the assistant. plus having someone Helping means a Extra Person to get a Opinion from. and Rachel thank you for Joining The Magic Café.
Message: Posted by: cheeky (Aug 18, 2012 01:30PM)
Well it all depends, On what kind of contract do you have, If its a One Show, They charge high!
Message: Posted by: The Donster (Aug 19, 2012 07:27PM)
It won't be for a contract matbe a one show. but also to get to know the routine and to practice with.
Message: Posted by: griffindance (Oct 2, 2012 10:25AM)
Ok I havent read through most of the posts but I'll blunder on regardless.

For a good guide of rates of pay find a union website. Some publish their wage agreements online. Decide if you are paying 10% above or below that rate.
Another way to decide is based on percentage of the show income. Although profit share payment means that some people wont want to take the risk of learning a show for what may turn out to be a pittance.
As far as ongoing rehearsals decide how much time you are going to need. Any more than one hour (unpaid) prep-time per week or per show seems fine if only to make sure things are 'tight.'
Message: Posted by: kellaroneil (Oct 23, 2012 12:42PM)
Just always keep in mind that the assistant's time is worth something just like the performer's time. Ask yourself the question, could I perform this show without them? If you can't that makes them even more valuable.
Message: Posted by: msmagic1 (Feb 2, 2013 12:15PM)
I agree. If you are getting paid, the assistant should also. I pay my assistants well..... and I NEVER have a hard time finding one available! You reap what you sow.
Message: Posted by: jugglestruck (Feb 6, 2013 03:36AM)
I pay my assistants enough to make them feel valuable and wanted. Pay then too little and you will rapidly lose their goodwill.
Message: Posted by: DavidThomas (Jun 1, 2013 09:22PM)
You must always keep in mind when hiring someone that you have to make money to cover the cost of doing business. This includes payroll taxes and workers comp insurance. The most important is the ladder. If your assistant is hurt on the job, then you are legally responsible. Keep all this in mind as you are pricing your shows and deciding what percentage you pay your employees.