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Topic: Perform for free? When and Why
Message: Posted by: ryansmagic (Aug 11, 2008 09:40AM)
Just reading around her a little and I have noticed some people suggest you should always be paid to perform or "never work for free". While I agree with some of that thinking when is it OK to perform for no pay?

Here is my deal. I am employed full time and do not rely on any magic income. I perform probably one a month, more aroud the holidays. My gigs are by word of mouth from customers, or other performers.

I think it is fine to volunteer your time for a charity event if you believe in it (see the post about Magic for Miracles in the "So happy together" area http://www.magicformiracles.com . However you should be careful. I have heard of events where the magician was talked into volunteering and when they get there, other entertainment is there and are probably getting paid, DJ's, moon bounce, stuff like that. That is not cool and something you should ask before volunteering.

What are your thoughts?
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Aug 11, 2008 10:06AM)
I have three pet children's charities. Anything they ask of me is theirs without reservation or concern. Most other charities and nonprofits pay my full rate or look for someone else. A few select non-profits such as Scouting and Shriners receive a courtesy discount - but they do pay the bulk of my fee.

It's a simple business decision. Most benefits occur during my choice weekend hours. It's money out of my pocket every time I donate my services - so I have to be selective and stand my ground. Giving too generously also pegs you as an easy mark for other charities - organizers do talk and share information.

Give generously to the select charities you actively support. All others have to understand that you're running a business. Most will move on.

My opinion. Good luck! :)
Message: Posted by: ryansmagic (Aug 11, 2008 10:15AM)
Skip,
That makes a lot of sense. I also wanted to make it clear that I do not make my living from magic. I know that can be tough, and you need to be a smart buisness person to protect yourself.
Message: Posted by: Dr. Delusion (Aug 11, 2008 06:57PM)
Ryan I'm like you, I perform magic as a hobby and side job. I have an Illusion show with 1 or 2 girls and a sound man. We have a local festival here. For the past 3 years they have called me and asked if I would like to be a part of it. The very first year they told me it was a non profit benefit type of a thing and they have no money for entertainment. I almost told them yes, but when I mentioned if the bands get any money I was told yes they do, but they perform at night for adults only and I would be performing during the day for the kids. Of course I asked what in the heck difference does that make ? I was never given a descent reason for it. So I politely told them forget it. But for some reason they still call me every year. I do have 2 events we perform for free at each year, a local food drive and at an event for low income family's at Christmas time. And odds are if the right type of charity event would call we would perform for them as well.
Bob.
Message: Posted by: ryansmagic (Aug 19, 2008 07:20AM)
Bob,
I think this is a common problem at the carnival/fiar type of event. They want the magician for free, yet clearly other people are being paid, bands, DJs, etc..

The excuse seems to be that either we typically perform for children, which to me is not right. In my experience even a show geared toward children the audience will still be almost 50% adults. The other issue I wonder about is the percieved talent and equipment differences between magicians and musicians. Maybe people feel they are getting more for their money if you run wires everywhere and take 2 hours to set up?
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Aug 19, 2008 09:22AM)
Ryan, I appreciate your perspective as a part timer. As with everything in life this really comes down to your personal beliefs, goals and abilities. Pro, semi-pro, hobbyist, enthusiast or collector - we all have expenses associated with our level of involvement. If your wallet is as big as your heart, give all you like. I would and do. Otherwise, the non-pet charities and non-profits should, at the very least, cover your expenses and time. I guarantee that very few of the event organizers are working for free.

I've always said that the day I hit the mega lottery will be the day after my last paid show. Until that time, though, someone has to pay the bills. Good luck and follow your heart.
Message: Posted by: ryansmagic (Aug 19, 2008 09:40AM)
Skip,
I agree, I have my charties that I do things for and that's it. I don't want to go around and work for free all over my area because that cheapens the value of magic in the area and therefore hurts those full time guys trying to make a living.
Message: Posted by: Open Traveller (Aug 19, 2008 10:21AM)
Even if an organization doesn't pay you in money, they should be able to trade something for your services. It doesn't have to be much, but this gets you out of being seen as a guy who will work for free, and it will be mutually beneficial. No businessman works for free, and you probably want to be seen as a magician who's a good businessman. Even if a company businessman donates time or materials, he's going to take it off his taxes, and everybody knows it.

The only thing a truly free show will get you is another free show. If you don't want to negotiate for money or a reduced fee, fine. But have them give you something in return. That way at least, when the next people come along asking for a free show, you're not faced with, "Well, you did it for them..."
Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (Aug 19, 2008 07:19PM)
I'm a longtime television executive in Hollywood, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that many other types of professional entertainers give gratis performances at charity events. Indeed, there's rarely a week that goes by that there's not at least one big industry-sponsored charity bash at which a major performer (singer, comedian, musical group) isn't performing for free.
Message: Posted by: Open Traveller (Aug 19, 2008 07:58PM)
I think once you're a major performer, it's different. People already perceive you as the entertainer you are, and if you do a free show, people won't expect you to do another and another and another. They know how much you're worth.

If you're not a major performer, though, and you do a free show, you're establishing how much you're worth. In the former case, the bar is already set. In this one, you're still setting the bar, and it's very low.

It's up to you guys, though. In the end, it's more important to be happy.
Message: Posted by: ryansmagic (Aug 20, 2008 07:04AM)
Just to be clear.....

The free performance I do are for charity purposes where EVERYONE invloved volunteers so there is no profit to be made anywhere, or at hospitals where we do bed side and small performances. I do not offer free birthday shows, and resturant work, that would lower your value. Doing the charity and hospital work increases my value as I have gotten work from these events.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Aug 21, 2008 07:47AM)
Magic is a hobby I enjoy with my grandson.

We won't do any work for free or for a reduced rate if we feel it is taking a gig away from a working magician.

There are a lot of charity and community events, however, that don't "have it in budget" to pay. In those situations, we insist on being able to "pass the hat" and generally they agree to allow us to do so.

Get Jimmy Talksalot's new book on busking, and you can soon be making more off the "hat" than if you had been paid- seriously.

As to hospitals and such, we feel they should be done totally from the heart and absolutely free- and no tips accepted.

Jim
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Aug 21, 2008 08:25AM)
Business is business and should be treated as such. Under certain conditions, a tangible cash or product donation can be provided as a business deduction on taxes. As Traveler suggested, you can also barter for something of value to replace your fee. Such a donation can carry a minor bit of prestige and promotion opportunities in programs, on posters and in promotional media coverage.

One such charity that I participate in locally is a children's charity annual semiformal Taste of the Town fundraiser where local top-end restaurants set up booths and offer samples of their top menu items. I perform roaming table magic during the event in exchange for comped $80.00 tickets for my wife, daughters and in-laws. In return I'm listed in their program as a donor. I've picked up several full-fee jobs from the restaurants featured at this event because they were able to "audition" me on the spot.

A charitable donation may also be a plain and simple gift from the heart with no strings attached. When I give to my pet charities, this is my way. The only things I want in return are the smiles and appreciation of those receiving the gift. My association with my pet agencies brings me little in the way of monetary gain or worldly fame...but, when I walk through their doors, I am a superstar and I am appreciated and this simply sets all things right in my world. Ya gotta give back...it ain't all business. Karma happens!
Message: Posted by: MagicalArtist (Aug 26, 2008 02:23AM)
It’s funny, I have read on forums that if you do one free show, the next thing you know, you will be innundated with requests for free shows from every organization on planet earth. I think this is an old wive’s tale (or “old magician's tale”). I have done a few free shows that have gone over well, and I have not been “innundated” with requests to do more free shows. In fact, being asked to perform for free is rather rare. I agree that you should not overdo it in performing for free, and that you should ask if everybody else is providing their services for free, but if you do occasionally agree to do a free show you should not be overly concerned with being “innundated” with free show requests. Save your worries for something more realistic.
Message: Posted by: ryansmagic (Aug 26, 2008 07:01AM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-26 03:23, MagicalArtist wrote:
It’s funny, I have read on forums that if you do one free show, the next thing you know, you will be innundated with requests for free shows from every organization on planet earth. I think this is an old wive’s tale (or “old magician's tale”). I have done a few free shows that have gone over well, and I have not been “innundated” with requests to do more free shows. In fact, being asked to perform for free is rather rare. I agree that you should not overdo it in performing for free, and that you should ask if everybody else is providing their services for free, but if you do occasionally agree to do a free show you should not be overly concerned with being “innundated” with free show requests. Save your worries for something more realistic.
[/quote]

Well said, I would even venture to say I have been offered more pay shows then have gotten requests for free shows after a free performance.
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Sep 5, 2008 01:30PM)
As has been said by others, I have a charity or 2 that I will do free shows for but that's it. This is how I make my living and I cannot afford to do a lot of freebies.

I have always hated it when they tell me "Oh you will get lots of exposure"

The only thing free shows have ever gotten me were more requests for free shows.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Sep 6, 2008 08:02AM)
Here's the trick. Performing for free devalues the trade. You should charge what your services are worth. Does that mean money should change hands every single time you perform? Yes and no. As long as something is done to ensure that the work that you and other magicians do retains it's value, you do not have to charge money. Exchange of something, or some service equal to the value of your service will do. Charities are fine, but again, add value to your service by making them rare. The value of your trade comes in the form of only donating your services to the charity or charities whom you most ardently support. If you are just starting out, and have not refined your art, then to be sure, your clients should get what they pay for, maybe if they don't pay, that's you. Even for a beginner, you should receive a pittance. Just remember, the most important thing here, is that charging nothing doesn't just effect your wallet. It effects our industries economy.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 6, 2008 09:21AM)
In my opinion, and everyone is entitled to my opinion. If you want to be good, or let us say better, then do it for money. For the pursuit of money is what leads to great art, as opposed to the contrary and more traditional view. If you want to be an amateur, there is nothing wrong with that, except you will probably never be as good as you could have been.
Message: Posted by: ryansmagic (Sep 8, 2008 07:15AM)
[quote]
On 2008-09-06 10:21, tommy wrote:
In my opinion, and everyone is entitled to my opinion. If you want to be good, or let us say better, then do it for money. For the pursuit of money is what leads to great art, as opposed to the contrary and more traditional view. If you want to be an amateur, there is nothing wrong with that, except you will probably never be as good as you could have been.
[/quote]
This is an opinion, but I don't fully agree. I think a magician who does not make a living from magic, but maybe does a few gigs here and there, can be as good or better than a full time paid magician. Of course this varies case by case, but to say if you want to be good you have to do it for money, I can't agree with. To be good you need to practice, both in private and in public, perfect an act and be able to present it well.

One other thing:
I have explained about the show our club does to raise money. If you think about it we are not doing anything for free. The audience pays for tickets. The performers do not get paid because we all agree to donate [b]all[/b] of the money taken in.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Sep 17, 2008 09:25PM)
Ryan
I'm afraid you are mixing apples and oranges. What you do is organized by magicians, and controled by magicians. Of course you get a good feeling from it because you are not taking orders from an organization that doesn't care about you. If you did some charity work for organizations that make phone calls in order to get some kind of filler entertainment as an after thought to their fund raised you would get a taste of what it is that entertainers hate about charity work. We all should pick and choose our volunteer work carefully, as you have done so.

The we will take any kind of talent as long as you are for free, but don't look for me because I'll be in the VIP lounge eating doughnuts is the normal fund raiser phone call that I get.
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (Sep 17, 2008 09:38PM)
My rules for performing for free 1) no entertainer on the program gets paid, if they do, I get full fee. 2) It has to be a charity I support. 3) If it is a venue in which I know area magicians earn their living from (Blue and Gold Banquets, parties, Birthday parties, Library shows, I won't do it. I'm not taking a paying gig away from someone who earns their living doing this. 4) It is entirely on my terms, when I play, what tricks I do, how long I play and where in the program I come. Plus date and time have to be convenient to me.
Doing shows at the VA hospital, or the childrens hospital, or something like that is fine if it is something you want to do. But every show costs me money, and I'm not into giving a lot of it away without a good reason to do so.
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Sep 21, 2008 07:24PM)
[quote]
On 2008-08-11 10:40, ryansmagic wrote:
...when is it OK to perform for no pay?

Here is my deal. I am employed full time and do not rely on any magic income. I perform probably one a month, more aroud the holidays. My gigs are by word of mouth from customers, or other performers...

What are your thoughts?
[/quote]

I'm in a comparable position.
Just remember than every time we perform without being paid, we are suggesting that it is possible to see magic for free and we dammage the market for the professional magicians.
What I do is that I perform magic only for people who also book (now and then) a professional magician that I'm happy to refer, building a strong image about him and what he does (I made several friends in this way). When this seems difficult I tell my friends that I'll share a magic act with them if they, later in the week, take me and my wife to dinner at a restaurant that I indicate where a professional magician performs.
I don't know if it's good enough, but this is what I'm doing to try and be fair with my professional peers.
Message: Posted by: RJE (Sep 26, 2008 02:56PM)
Every request I get to perform free is given consideration. It doesn't mean I'll do them, but I consider it. Some I reject quickly, some I stew over for a while.

I can't agree that doing a free show is harmful to your business and reputation as a statement of fact. In some cases, it may well prove to be an albatross around your neck. In other cases, it may very well open doors.

Two stories.

First, an agent asked if I could help her out and do an industry showcase for free. She said that it would be very promising in making contacts for future shows. Got to the venue, nice stage and sound and lighting all very professional. Unfortunately, the audience was anything but professional. It was a licenced event in a hall without seats. It was 150 drunken adults milling around in small groups that had no intention of watching a show. In fairness, I don't think they even knew a show was scheduled, let alone that one was happening.

Then, a few weeks ago, another agent that I had done a NATO forces show tour overseas for called and asked if I would do a 15 minute free spot in a variety show for her. There were going to be a number of performers from the tour there and all volunteering their time.

I said, sure. I thought it would be a fun excuse to get together with these talented people again and that was that. Didn't even ask what the charity was.

A few days later, the same agent called up and handed me two very nice paid corporate gigs with all the perks.

So, for me, you never know and never say never.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 26, 2008 03:36PM)
[quote]
On 2008-09-06 09:02, JackScratch wrote:
Here's the trick. Performing for free devalues the trade. [/quote]

This could not be more wrong. What someone else does or does not do does not devalue me in any way shape or form. It does not affect me in the least.

It may devalue YOU personally, or the person doing it, but it does not have any impact on ME.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 27, 2008 06:57AM)
Last night we went to dinner party, my friend cooked us all a beautiful meal... for free. It must have really peeved them restaurant owners. :)
Message: Posted by: ryansmagic (Sep 28, 2008 06:30AM)
[quote]
On 2008-09-27 07:57, tommy wrote:
Last night we went to dinner party, my friend cooked us all a beautiful meal... for free. It must have really peeved them restaurant owners. :)
[/quote]

I am sure the restaurant owners are probably feeling that pinch as well.
Message: Posted by: vincentmusician (Nov 28, 2021 06:59PM)
Hey. Performers can do what ever they want. However, Here is my experience with doing free shows. A long time ago, I did a free show for a Library. The parents took off and left me alone with the kids. The staff were missing in action!
The boys were running around insulting me and one tried to knock my table over! So never again! To those of you that want to work for nothing, good luck, but you won't catch this Cowboy doing freebies anymore ever! I found that all free shows get you are more free shows! Cheers!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Nov 30, 2021 10:43AM)
Dude you just answered this on a new thread, then you dredge up a 13 year old thread to answer exactly the same question?
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Dec 1, 2021 11:21AM)
Going thru this thread again, a few questions came up for those who want to do free performances:

Do you think that's the only way you'll get to perform?

Do you think "Well, I'm not a pro: I'm an amateur and magic is just a hobby, so I don't need to charge"?

Are you afraid you won't get the gig if you want to charge?

Do you think your time isn't valuable?

There are other questions, but you get the idea.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Dec 1, 2021 07:02PM)
Hen I was performing as a kid I could get all of the party gigs I wanted but soon discover that many of the kids were the same
because the parents saw the reaction of the kids at one party and wished to learn the learning and astonishment.

This mean that every show had to be different (at least 50%) and I learned I was not charging ENOUGh to cover the cost of new props and tricks -
even though I made many myself. It is easy to forget the overhead cost even if you don't figure your time is worth anything.

So, the notion that a free performance will get you other bookings is trap. if you are lousy you won't get other bookings.
If you are good you just lost the use of many good effects.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Dec 1, 2021 07:25PM)
Another question popped up after reading funsway's post, especially the part about overhead costs.

Are you performing the free show as an entertainer, or for your own amusement? IOW, are you doing it for your audience's enjoyment, or to show how clever you are?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 3, 2021 12:13PM)
Too many performers do shows for the second reason paid or not.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Dec 3, 2021 02:26PM)
Well, that is better than creating a computer virus or invasive app just to show how clever you are.
At least live performing magician can see some reaction to their efforts.

I am begging to shift my perspective from "try for the best possible magic" to
"any live performance is wonderful as long as a weapon is not involved."
Message: Posted by: longhaired1 (Dec 10, 2021 04:34PM)
The majority of my work is as a magician / ringmaster for a circus. We have a very robust performance schedule (paid professional gigs) and yes, we do a number of non-paid shows throughout the year. But we don't do it for "exposure", we legitimately want to give back to certain organizations and causes we believe in.

We are a professional performing circus and also operate a non-profit foundation offering circus training to everyone regardless of ability to pay. On two occasions Cirque Du Soleil invited 40 of our students to see their show free of charge as well as arranged for them to meet the cast members and producers of the show.

So the concept of "performing for free" is not in and of itself a bad thing. Being taken advantage of is though.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 10, 2021 05:35PM)
From French amateur "one who loves, lover".

The amateur magician gives performances of magic for the love of it. However, one cannot rationally explain love because, like magic, it is a relationship.

The problem with being an amateur is that one will likely have all the faults and deficiencies of a non-professional, which is due to spending most of one’s time making a living doing something else.

If you have all the faults and deficiencies of a non-professional who is going pay you anyhow?


:)
Message: Posted by: funsway (Dec 10, 2021 10:08PM)
[quote]On Dec 10, 2021, tommy wrote:

The problem with being an amateur is that one will likely have all the faults and deficiencies of a non-professional, which is due to spending most of one’s time making a living doing something else.

If you have all the faults and deficiencies of a non-professional who is going pay you anyhow?
:) [/quote]

and if someone spends all of their time not doing something else (a professional?), why would their myopic view of life be of interest to anyone?
Oh yes, I forgot, It's all about being entertaining people who can't entertain themselves, right?

What about the "faults and deficiencies" of the professional? Why is "making a living" the standard for what "being professional" should mean?

I guess "professional" is as slippery a term as magic.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 12, 2021 07:01PM)
All l should do as they wish as they see best for them. Just do it for the right reasons is all.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Dec 12, 2021 09:29PM)
There are far more differences between amateurs and professionals than just money or income. For some reason this is difficult for amateurs to understand.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Dec 13, 2021 02:48AM)
[quote]On Dec 12, 2021, Mindpro wrote:
There are far more differences between amateurs and professionals than just money or income. For some reason this is difficult for amateurs to understand. [/quote]

Yup, and to divide people into any artificially contrived groups is problematic and often prejudicial. Money is just one arbitrary standard.

"being professional" should also not be linked to income or the desire for same, something many claiming to be professionals do not seem to understand.
Having expensive props is not a measure of being professional either. Putting "professional" on a business card does not make it so.

There was a time in which one major difference between these classification was the number of magic effects/routines mastered.
An amateur could be the best in the world at the one Effect they cherished. Many charging a fee for their antics should be called something else.

The new class of magicians of the "buy today, perform tomorrow" bent neither love magic nor are professional about their practice or audience engagement.

Why the need for classification at all? If you are a "for hire entertainer of the mystic arts," then work at being the best you can be at that endeavor.
Refusing to perform for pay does not make one "not a professional." But that term is very equivocal in common usage - and therefor should be avoided.

Just opinions, of course. A person has a right to call themselves a professional for any silly reason. It is claiming someone else is not a professional that is the problem.

The terms "amateur" and "professional" should be compliments. Saying "I am a magician" should be a self compliment.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 13, 2021 07:49AM)
[quote]On Dec 13, 2021, funsway wrote:
[quote]On Dec 12, 2021, Mindpro wrote:
There are far more differences between amateurs and professionals than just money or income. For some reason this is difficult for amateurs to understand. [/quote]


Just opinions, of course. A person has a right to call themselves a professional for any silly reason. It is claiming someone else is not a professional that is the problem.

The terms "amateur" and "professional" should be compliments. Saying "I am a magician" should be a self compliment. [/quote]

Actually no it is not. In reality it is not about what you call yourself, it is about how others perceive you.

Lots of amateurs want to make excuses to call themselves professional. Kind of silly really. In the end who cares? If the self aggrandizing is needed go ahead it hurts nobody. If it makes one feel better go ahead. It also doesn’t fool anyone either.

In the end no matter how much you are paid it is the way others perceive you and the overall experience that decides if you are or are not professional in their eyes. The rest is just conversation.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Dec 13, 2021 09:44AM)
I love it when people want to redefine terms. I've seen it here in the Café so many times.

Back when I started out, in the late 60s, there were two terms, generally accepted by all of us at several magic clubs. A professional was someone who did magic for a living. An amateur was a hobbyist.

Then a new term came up... semi-professional (or part-time professional) for those who did paid gigs evenings and weekends.

That was it. They were descriptive terms, not value judgments. And we were happy with them.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 13, 2021 01:22PM)
Back when I started out, in the early 50s, money was vulgar and the true professional married for money not love. :)
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 13, 2021 01:47PM)
[quote]On Dec 13, 2021, George Ledo wrote:
I love it when people want to redefine terms. I've seen it here in the Café so many times.

Back when I started out, in the late 60s, there were two terms, generally accepted by all of us at several magic clubs. A professional was someone who did magic for a living. An amateur was a hobbyist.

Then a new term came up... semi-professional (or part-time professional) for those who did paid gigs evenings and weekends.

That was it. They were descriptive terms, not value judgments. And we were happy with them. [/quote]
Absolutely. Redefining terms to take into account feelings is silly in this case. No judgement at all.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 13, 2021 04:36PM)
Actual I mainly use the Online Etymology Dictionary. I like to look into the history, into the foundation of a thing to under-stand it. Etymologies are not definitions; they're explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago.

https://www.etymonline.com/
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Dec 14, 2021 10:21AM)
[quote]On Dec 13, 2021, Dannydoyle wrote:
[quote]On Dec 13, 2021, funsway wrote:
[quote]On Dec 12, 2021, Mindpro wrote:
There are far more differences between amateurs and professionals than just money or income. For some reason this is difficult for amateurs to understand. [/quote]


Just opinions, of course. A person has a right to call themselves a professional for any silly reason. It is claiming someone else is not a professional that is the problem.

The terms "amateur" and "professional" should be compliments. Saying "I am a magician" should be a self compliment. [/quote]

Actually no it is not. In reality it is not about what you call yourself, it is about how others perceive you.

Lots of amateurs want to make excuses to call themselves professional. Kind of silly really. In the end who cares? If the self aggrandizing is needed go ahead it hurts nobody. If it makes one feel better go ahead. It also doesn’t fool anyone either.

In the end no matter how much you are paid it is the way others perceive you and the overall experience that decides if you are or are not professional in their eyes. The rest is just conversation. [/quote]


This is typical magicians nonsense and BS. Magicians and the magic community LOVE to change, adapt, and create definitions for themselves as they see fit (look at mentalism!)

This whole nonsense about "amateur" and "professional" and even saying "I am a magician" is utter BS and a great example. All self-proclaimed absurdities.

Danny is absolutely right it's not about what you think it's about how others perceive and accept you. Magic is so me-based it is ridiculous and the single thing that threatens its future existence.

Also, George's "Back when I started out, in the late 60s, there were two terms, generally accepted by all of us at several magic clubs. A professional was someone who did magic for a living. An amateur was a hobbyist.

Then a new term came up... semi-professional (or part-time professional) for those who did paid gigs evenings and weekends."

As he said, this came from magic clubs and the magic community - self-adapted mostly by amateurs and hobbyists wanting to sound important or significant. It's just like when an amateur or hobbyist tries to go toe to toe in discussions here. They think we are all peers. It always results in hideous discussions, one from me-based thoughts and theory, and the other from years or even decades of professional experience.

What about the 10,000-hour rule in performance to be a professional? What about the expectation of the booker, buyer, or audience?. What about the entertainment industry perspective?

In several of my books and my last Las Vegas Lecture notes, I explain what a professional is and is not. Yes, like George referenced, anytime you take money for your performing services the expectation of the person paying you is you are a professional. It doesn't matter if you're "new at this" or "only do it part-time" or "dabble in magic", it doesn't matter the expectation and perception of it is you are a professional. No one thinks I'd like to pay an amateur or "semi-professional" to perform at my wedding, school, resort. or whatever. They are seeking entertainment for their event and trusting the success of the event to their guests to you as a professional. This is also why there is no semi-professional.

The two levels and defining and understanding the differences exist for a reason. There is much more to being a professional than most amateurs ever realize. There is also much more to performing as a professional than they realize as well.

The self-adaptation or their own self-gratification and satisfaction is ridiculous and terribly wrong. As you can see, once this begins, everything based on this go off in a variety of also incorrect directions.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Dec 14, 2021 02:47PM)
[quote]On Dec 14, 2021, Mindpro wrote:
Also, George's "Back when I started out, in the late 60s, there were two terms, generally accepted by all of us at several magic clubs. A professional was someone who did magic for a living. An amateur was a hobbyist.

Then a new term came up... semi-professional (or part-time professional) for those who did paid gigs evenings and weekends."

As he said, this came from magic clubs and the magic community - self-adapted mostly by amateurs and hobbyists wanting to sound important or significant. It's just like when an amateur or hobbyist tries to go toe to toe in discussions here. They think we are all peers. It always results in hideous discussions, one from me-based thoughts and theory, and the other from years or even decades of professional experience.
[/quote]
Well, ummm, actually, a good chunk of our members were working pros. They didn't need to call themselves anything because we all knew who they were and what they did. The hobbyists rarely made an issue of being hobbyists: it was just a description. It was mostly new members, when the conversation came up, that referred to themselves as one or the other.

Of course, this was long before the days when anyone who bought a couple of packet tricks, or could do a couple of things he learned on YouTube, considered himself a magician.

[quote]No one thinks I'd like to pay an amateur or "semi-professional" to perform at my wedding, school, resort. or whatever. They are seeking entertainment for their event and trusting the success of the event to their guests to you as a professional. This is also why there is no semi-professional.[/quote]
I posted a little story a few days ago about a shopping center that contacted me many years ago about putting together some acts for an anniversary promotion. The guy's thinking was that getting a few amateurs would help them get exposure for when they became professionals later. IOW, he wanted free acts. I very patiently explained why this wouldn't be a good idea for his promotion, and they caved in. After it was all over, they told me how pleased they were with the acts I booked. I was nineteen at the time.