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Topic: Stuff I am running into
Message: Posted by: slyhand (Sep 3, 2009 04:39PM)
I hit the pavement again today searching for more gigs.
I am running into some unusual requests and I'm not sure what to do.

Restaurant 1. After I explained what I do (table magic), the owner is afraid that I will be bothering her guests and has never heard of table magic before. So she wants me to do an hour to an hour and a half of platform magic after the dinner crowd for the drinking crowd. They have a small platform that's used by bands from time to time.
Isn't that amount of time excessive? Won't peoples attention span start to wain after about 30 minutes, specially if they are drinking?

I don't have any stuff like that. Can I get away with doing close-up as stand-up?
Any suggestions?



Restaurant 2. After I explained to him what I do he asked if I do balloon animals. I can do any balloon animal as long as it's a dog. I explained again that although I can do balloon animals (I lied)my main focus in on the magic at the tables. He just went on and on about the stupid animals (no offense to the balloon workers here). Then he calls me on my cell 5 minutes after I left and wanted to know if I do face painting too. Sheesh. Luckily I have an air-tattoo set-up that I have not used in awhile.
It's in a week and a half

Not sure if anyone can help on this one but it appears like I am going to have to take a crash course in ballooning.
Message: Posted by: BCaldwell (Sep 3, 2009 05:16PM)
I applaude you for getting out there trying to make it happen.

When I first started out (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far... no wait, that was something else entirely! It was around 1987.) I hit up every restaurant in a 20 mile radius trying to get my first gig. I wasn't then, and still am not now, trying to become a full-time magician. I was just a guy wanting to perform close-up magic. The only place remotely interested told me they would "give me a shot next Friday" if I also did balloon animals. I said, indignantly, "Of course I do!" and proceeded to spend the next 4 days learning how to blow them up, much less twist them into something that remotely resembled, well, anything. Armed with my two balloon repertoire (flower and teddy bear in heart) and my amazing magical ability (well, that is how I remember it) I performed that first night. At the time I was actually glad they talked me into doing the balloons. It made my approach to the table very easy, which I honestly had not really even thought about, and then I would perform a couple of effects. I didn't make balloons at every table (thank goodness, no offence to the balloon workers) and after a while I dropped them altogether.

So I wish you the best of luck and give you this one unsolicited piece of advice. Unless you want to be a balloon guy learn a couple of REALLY GOOD twists and don't give them a lot of choices. The two I used were usually enough (although I did learn to make a pretty good sword) and I could move on to the magic.

:goodluck:
Message: Posted by: obsidian52 (Sep 3, 2009 05:50PM)
I'm not a full time working magician either, and as someone very dear to me told me when I mentioned that maybe I should learn ballooning or face painting they said..."You're not a clown...you're a magician".

I have gotten a few gigs using the old standby, that seems to work, telling them that you will give them one night (2 hours) of FREE walkaround magic, and if it works out (mentioning discreetly what's going on to the patrons to put in a good word)then asking if they will hire you for an ongoing thing.
Message: Posted by: greatscott (Sep 3, 2009 08:46PM)
Actually, in response to restaurant 1's request, an hour of magic on the stage is not excessive. That actually would be a good amount of time. You could do some of your close up stuff on stage (depending on what it is). There are several card routines that could be done on stage. You could do some rope effects, or even some silk effects, if you get into either of those type effects. Do you do any type of mental effect, at all?
All in all, I think it is possible to work the stage. Go for it!!!
Message: Posted by: montymagi (Sep 3, 2009 08:56PM)
My response is, you are not a magician you are an entertainer. Beyond that you are a business man. Remember supply and demand? If you run into a lot of request for magic and... the you learn the and... part and make yourself even more marketable. As far as the "will you bother my customers" go in for a night and show her what you do for free.

I for one learned to do the ballooning and found I enjoy it as much as the magic and being able to offer both makes me way more marketable. Good luck and best wishes.
Message: Posted by: greatscott (Sep 3, 2009 09:05PM)
True, learning ballooning does add to your marketability. I do both at some restaurants. I do, also have one restaurant, and an outdoor mall at which I only do balloons. I enjoy both.
Message: Posted by: slyhand (Sep 3, 2009 09:15PM)
Thanks for the replys.
I know I need to learn the balloons. I also know I can't blow them up with my mouth. I will have to use a pump. I just hate having one of those things hanging by my side. Just so freakin unsightly.I wear a nice pair of khaki pants, a nice shirt with a trim vest. I'm not sure how I should lug that thing around.
And where do I keep the balloons without looking like a clown. (no offense to the clowns meant)

Also how many animals should I learn/do. I have a little more than a week to learn em.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Sep 3, 2009 09:45PM)
There are some venues that do not want lung blown balloons for health reasons. The pump is not that bad of an idea. However, I don't and won't do balloons, but that's my own opinion.

Regarding Restaurant # 1... for a late night drinking crowd, unless you have a show that is worthy of a headliner spot in a comedy club, the requested time is probably too much. However.........

Use the opportunity to sell them a shorter show (maybe 30 minutes), followed by close-up magic. This way you'll have the opportunity to have your close-up seen by the owner. If you are indeed good, the reactions of the customers should be enough to start her thinking in your favor.

Once you hit that marker, all you need to do is sell yourself on how you seamlessly blend your skills with what the restaurant does, in a way that the customers, herself, and the restaurant staff will appreciate.

Good luck!
Message: Posted by: Bad to the Balloon (Sep 3, 2009 10:45PM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-03 22:15, slyhand wrote:
Thanks for the replys.
I know I need to learn the balloons. I also know I can't blow them up with my mouth. I will have to use a pump. I just hate having one of those things hanging by my side. Just so freakin unsightly.I wear a nice pair of khaki pants, a nice shirt with a trim vest. I'm not sure how I should lug that thing around.
And where do I keep the balloons without looking like a clown. (no offense to the clowns meant)

Also how many animals should I learn/do. I have a little more than a week to learn em.
[/quote]

Might I suggest the Bad to the Balloon Series two DVDs with some of the coolest balloon hats out there. They are quick and impressive to do. The guy who sells them is pretty nice too :)
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Sep 3, 2009 11:15PM)
[quote]On 2009-09-03 17:39, slyhand wrote:
I can do any balloon animal as long as it's a dog.[/quote]
How about a snake?
Message: Posted by: doug brewer (Sep 4, 2009 12:24AM)
"Warm up the crowd" first with strolling for an hour, then do a half hour show. This would be perfect, actually, and after a year of doing this gig you would have one killer, polished 30 minute stand-up show.
Message: Posted by: Daz Buckley (Sep 4, 2009 01:01AM)
I'd suggest agreeing to the gig the way the owner wants it..........and then happen to do a lot of "in the audience" with audience participation as part of the "stage " routine.
You must realise that your potential employer does not know what type of magic will play best for her patrons as she knows next to nothing about magic and whilst she thinks she does,you know better.
Humour her and she gets what she asked for,perform your act so the patrons are applauding,and she will realise eventually that you probably were right.
Message: Posted by: slyhand (Sep 4, 2009 09:26AM)
More great advise. Thanks to everyone.

More specific questions.

Mark, Are your hats done with one or multiple balloons? I like the idea of hats because they will be out of the way when I do the magic part.

As a person who is going to focus on magic, where is the best place to keep the balloons and pump while strolling?

As far as the stand-up portion goes I think I may do one bit on the platform then go into the audience and do my close-up for everybody at one time instead of just for the table.
I am thinking the silk to egg trick. I think I do that well. Hopefully it will go over well.
Message: Posted by: doug brewer (Sep 4, 2009 09:57AM)
Great trick
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Sep 4, 2009 09:57AM)
Put the stuff in a Dr. Type bag and set it on the floor?
Message: Posted by: Leeman (Sep 4, 2009 10:14AM)
If the restaurant wants you to do magic for the drunks maybe try and talk them into you doing some stuff behind the bar. Or if they are dead set at having something on the stage maybe put up some adds and make it more of a cabaret show and have some singers, bands, comics, etc with you being the MC. Best of luck.
Message: Posted by: gadfly3d (Sep 4, 2009 10:15AM)
I have a hand pump that I can carry in my back pocket and have a pouch that I wear to contain props and balloons, if its even noticed it looks like an apron.

I have a friend who uses a bag like a doctor bag and a tray jack (or tray stand the type you see in restaurants) that has had the straps shortened.

I am not a great balloon person but it is a definite asset and the more and better balloons you can do the better.

Gil Scott
Message: Posted by: slyhand (Sep 4, 2009 10:23AM)
I am now thinking I will do balloons at first and then slowly do less and less of them.
Unless, of course, they are a huge hit and people are demanding them.

I figure if I know how to do a cat, dog, monkey, flower, heart and a turtle/ladybug it should be good for a start.

Oh, and I would love to do behind the bar stuff but I am sure she will say that it will interfere with the bartenders.
Message: Posted by: greatscott (Sep 4, 2009 01:18PM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-03 22:15, slyhand wrote:

And where do I keep the balloons without looking like a clown. (no offense to the clowns meant)

[/quote]

I work a restaurant in which I do both magic and balloons. In this restaurant, I bring a small bag o balloons with me. Once there, I put a handfull of assorted balloons in one of my front pants pockets, and I put the pump in the other front pocket. That leaves the back pockets, and the pockets in my jacket/vest (depending on which I'm wearing) to carry whatever magic I will be performing that night. It works out great for me.
Message: Posted by: jmccormack4 (Sep 4, 2009 01:20PM)
Sounds difficult, you should just say your gonna do balloons and do like one dog and the rest magic... haha

but if your considering doing this, maybe you should learn some effects that involves ballon animals as well
Message: Posted by: greatscott (Sep 4, 2009 01:20PM)
Oh, I failed to mention that the remainder of the balloons in the bag are stored behind the bar. If I start to run low, I simply go get more out of the bag.
Message: Posted by: montymagi (Sep 4, 2009 04:28PM)
If you can do that then You really, really need to get bad to the balloon 1 and 2. I am telling those two video's made a huge difference for me. Most balloons will be withing you ability range.

Posted: Sep 4, 2009 5:30pm
I do a mix of magic and balloons in my restaurant and I wear a messenger type bag that my magic balloons and my pump all fit it. It has become a game when I walk in. I will pick the bag up but then set it down again, act like I am going to put it on the remember something. When I do put the bag on the kids start clapping and I start working the tables. I love my regulars!
Message: Posted by: BCaldwell (Sep 11, 2009 10:40AM)
This post ALMOST makes me want to break out the balloons again! :)
Message: Posted by: obsidian52 (Sep 11, 2009 12:55PM)
All this talk of balloons is nothing but hot air.....Sorry I couldn't resist, Hmmm, maybe I should have.....

Anyway, I do 3 balloons, a snake, a worm, and a lion (line)
Message: Posted by: EventEntertainer (Sep 13, 2009 04:24PM)
"A snake, a worm or an eel?"
Message: Posted by: Bad to the Balloon (Sep 13, 2009 08:34PM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-04 10:26, slyhand wrote:
More great advise. Thanks to everyone.

More specific questions.

Mark, Are your hats done with one or multiple balloons? I like the idea of hats because they will be out of the way when I do the magic part.

As a person who is going to focus on magic, where is the best place to keep the balloons and pump while strolling?

As far as the stand-up portion goes I think I may do one bit on the platform then go into the audience and do my close-up for everybody at one time instead of just for the table.
I am thinking the silk to egg trick. I think I do that well. Hopefully it will go over well.
[/quote]

Sorry missed this one....

Multiple balloons usually no more than 3 per. All hats that is what I do.

I can roll with either ..... but balloons win out hands down. For demand and tip ability.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Sep 13, 2009 08:45PM)
A half hour on stage in a bar setting is an eternity. Besides the clientle will shift and change all night, and people will want to talk and not have anyone fighting for their attention on a microphone for an hour and more.

I would suggest that you get up on stage at different times during the evening--every thirty minutes or so, to do one or two routines--maybe ten or fifteen minutes.

If you do longer you will be drowned under the weight of indifference.

A magician knowing how to do balloon animals or fortune-telling is like a woman in the nineteen-fifties learning how to type. It is all they will ever let you do.

I don't have anything against balloon animals or fortune-telling, but they do not always go well with walk-around magic--people don't know whether they want to see magic (they have probably never seen real close-up magic) but they KNOW they want a balloon for the kids or their fortune told.
Message: Posted by: Sammy J. (Sep 13, 2009 09:31PM)
Listen to Whit. He knows what he's talking about.
Sammy
Message: Posted by: van (Sep 13, 2009 11:18PM)
Look here
http://www.balloonhq.com/faq/twists_101.html

Check out Dewey's series of balloon books, George Sands Balloon Modeling books, and Jim Sherman's "Bar Room Balloons" for a more "adult" crowd.
Message: Posted by: slyhand (Sep 14, 2009 07:10AM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-13 21:45, Whit Haydn wrote:
A half hour on stage in a bar setting is an eternity. Besides the clientle will shift and change all night, and people will want to talk and not have anyone fighting for their attention on a microphone for an hour and more.

I would suggest that you get up on stage at different times during the evening--every thirty minutes or so, to do one or two routines--maybe ten or fifteen minutes.

If you do longer you will be drowned under the weight of indifference.

A magician knowing how to do balloon animals or fortune-telling is like a woman in the nineteen-fifties learning how to type. It is all they will ever let you do.

I don't have anything against balloon animals or fortune-telling, but they do not always go well with walk-around magic--people don't know whether they want to see magic (they have probably never seen real close-up magic) but they KNOW they want a balloon for the kids or their fortune told.
[/quote]

That is what I was thinking. I know I would never hold their attention for that amount of time.

As far as the balloons go, I don't want to be a typist. But until I can be picky about which gigs to take it looks like I will have to do some balloons for this one anyway.
Message: Posted by: james prince (Sep 14, 2009 05:12PM)
I don't do balloons any more and hate to admit knowing anything about them

However you only have one week so -

You can already make a standard dog - good!

That means that you can also make a Sausage dog (long body, short legs)

Now make the ears bigger and the front legs shorter than the back ones - when you're done stick the front legs into the back legs (so the model is sitting up) - you've made a very popular Rabbit

Buy some balloon hearts - rabbits can hold these (attach to front legs) and they look cute - write the girl/women's name on it for further cuteness and even add a kiss

Buy flower head balloons, which just need to be inflated and attached to a straight and you have a flower

A dog or rabbit can be made to climb a flower by sticking the stem though its legs

It can climb and hold a heart - a four balloon sculpture!

Learn a sword and that's all the boys done!

Have fun!

James
Message: Posted by: slyhand (Sep 14, 2009 08:10PM)
I don't mind being well rounded. I just don't want to be known as a "balloonist", not that there's anything wrong that. :)

I also do some face painting with an air brush but don't want to be known as a "face painter".

Maybe if I could have a selected signed card end up inside a balloon animal. I would do animals all freakin day.
Message: Posted by: james prince (Sep 16, 2009 09:10AM)
I have a routine where a balloon dog finds a chosen card (not inside it unfortunately) can send it to you, if of interest - PM me your email
Message: Posted by: BCaldwell (Sep 16, 2009 11:27AM)
[quote]
On 2009-09-16 10:10, james prince wrote:
I have a routine where a balloon dog finds a chosen card (not inside it unfortunately) can send it to you, if of interest - PM me your email
[/quote]I would be interested in learning this routine James, if you don't mind. PM'd you. Thanks in advance! :)