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Topic: Do The Material On Your Video Demo!
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 10, 2016 08:29AM)
We had another event Friday night in what should have been a great performance by an entertainer we booked for a corporate event. Rave reviews from the audience, rave reviews from the entertainer ("great room, I really killed"), I even spoke with my contact at the venue who said he did excellent from what they observed, yet the client called to express their dissatisfaction for his performance. They said he did very well, but they did not receive what they were expecting (and were paying for) and they wouldn't be using him again in the future.

This is something that for some reason is happening more and more and it seems performers are completely unaware of it. That is actually performing the material that is on your demo video.

The client hired them based on A.) our recommendation and B.) on his promotional materials (photos, one-sheet and video). Here is an another example of a performer who worked hard to create very effective promotional materials (his one sheet is amazing), his bio and credits are quite impressive (and most importantly 100% verifiable - testimonials from Ray Romano, Gary Shandling, Conan, clips from numerous appearances on Letterman, etc.) and a video that puts most performers to shame. They loved the video, laughed the entire time and immediately noticed the interplay with the audience in with his ease and non-threatening/inviting interaction. They loved the video. It along with the rest of the promo sold them instantly.

However, at the performance he did not do the material that wooo'd them, won them over and created this perception from his video. Yes he was still good, yes the audience loved him, but it was not what they client saw and was therefore expecting.

I only bring this up as an example for performers to be aware of this. Performer trying to better understand how clients think, operate and how agents think/operate. Again, in all the talk of "what they client actually whats, needs, thinks," and the ability and importance of understanding "thinking from the clients perspectives," this is another great sample. Even if the material the performer did do was better or more impressive that that on the video, the client expects what they've seen, what has been presented to them.

Performers often hear the praise and feedback from the audience and in this case, even attending employees, but in the greater picture that is not what really matters. It is the client, the person(s) or venue that actually booked you and paid you.

In this day of performers trying to create artistic, fancy, high-priced and avant garde video productions, that is not what matters to the client and your business, it's delivering on the expectation. In this vein, many performers videos are actually working against them. These videos I get today that are all hype (like an independent release to the magic community) with little or no actual performance footage and audience interactions.

The the bottom line is perform what is on your video! You are creating expectations with your video, you must take the responsibility to live up to this expectation you've created. It's such a shame to have put int he hard work and effort (and likely expense) to create great promotional materials, for them to do their expected job, to win over the audience, only to have the client come away frustrated and disappointed.

If you change material in your show, update your video. If you have performance material on your video demo, be sure its part of your show.

Just like the modeling division of one of my companies, you would be amazed at how often models do not look like their head shots. Great shots by top industry photographers. Our clients see them and book them, then the model shows up looking nothing like their photos. They cut their hair, changed hair colors, etc.

Deliver what you are presenting in your promotional materials!

All of this is creating your own recipe for disappointment and unfavorable perceptions and results. It's putting us (the agent/agency) in a bad place with one of our hard-earned clients) and is doing you, the performer, absolutely no good either.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Apr 10, 2016 11:41AM)
Back in the days before youtube, dvd's and even videos a friend of mine had a great publicity photo that captured and reflected the crazy style of comedy he did in his show. The picture showed him in a tiny bi-plane flying around someone's living room in full 'Biggles' headgear and goggles and a scarf flapping in his wake.

I was with him one night after he'd finished his show when the booker of the venue came backstage to express their disappointment that he hadn't flown round the room in the tiny plane. :rolleyes: :wow: :eek:
Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (Apr 10, 2016 12:43PM)
This is a very important topic. Though I do not use demo video, I do incorporate video on my website. There, I include footage that is broad in scope and does not necessarily represent the content of a particular show. I am clear about that in my written correspondence with clients. I know a demo video is different, but I wonder how others feel about show content differing from elements illustrated via video on websites, as there too expectations can be created, intentionally or unintentionally.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Apr 10, 2016 01:03PM)
Well if someone books you based on an expectation you better meet that expectation. Regardless of how they reach that expectation it is your job to meet it. If you show them a video at any point and they see something in it and book you based upon that and don't get that how will that make them feel? Like not booking you again that is how.

It is shocking how many times this very basic idea is blown off by performers.
Message: Posted by: Taterini (Apr 10, 2016 02:04PM)
This part of Mindpro's post says it all, "If you change material in your show, update your video. If you have performance material on your video demo, be sure its part of your show."

It would be the same thing as if you went to see a concert of a band you were really a fan of and they played nothing from their albums and nothing you'd ever heard before.

What's the point of going in the first place if that's the case ?

If you have promo material in the public eye (social media, YouTube, etc...) where they can reference it to get a better understanding of what you do and who you are, then that is what they are going to expect to see when you arrive and perform.

If you are going to go to the trouble to perform material that you don't include your promotional material/video, then you just as well hand them a blank business card... because you are going to be doing something different than what you showed them so far.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 10, 2016 02:21PM)
This is one of the great problems for agents, agencies, event planners and such is youtube (one of many with youtube). Entertainer's LOVE to direct people to their youtube videos, channels, etc. However they almost always post videos that are several years old. Performance materials they might have moved on from of grown with and now perform differently. Buyer and bookers see this and guess what happens. YOU MUST CONTROL YOUR MEDIA! You must control your perception. (And as being discussed in another thread, you must control your value!).

I couldn't agree more with your last paragraph as well. Well said!
Message: Posted by: Bill Scott (Apr 10, 2016 02:28PM)
Well said and remarkably true!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Apr 10, 2016 05:50PM)
It is inexpensive enough to keep updated materials online. While I do not think it is bad to have more in the show, if it is on the promo it should be in the show.
Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (Apr 10, 2016 06:03PM)
[quote]On Apr 10, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:
Well if someone books you based on an expectation you better meet that expectation. Regardless of how they reach that expectation it is your job to meet it. If you show them a video at any point and they see something in it and book you based upon that and don't get that how will that make them feel? Like not booking you again that is how.

It is shocking how many times this very basic idea is blown off by performers. [/quote]

I have seen this done so often, I thought it was common practice, and that a disclaimer that the content of each show varies would suffice. While it may in terms of not breaching an agreement, I can now more plainly see why it may not come up as a complaint, but yet a disappointment. It becomes a real challenge for those of us who try to appeal to multiple markets with one website. One website serves me well in certain circumstances. For example, a birthday mom/dad may also be scout leader. There are things I perform at a scout show that is not practical to perform in a living room ( like riding a unicycle). I want to appeal to both situations.

Perhaps the best thing to do is separate out the performance elements that are not part of every show and only provide depictions of these elements in select situations. I have to think a bit more about this. For me, it comes down to weighing the potential for disappointed customers and rebooking loss vs missed opportunities because I was unable to depict my show to a potential client because I choose to exclude some video content and they did not know I could satisfy their needs.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 10, 2016 06:18PM)
OPINION ALERT:....I would strongly suggest you do the unicycle riding in all living rooms! End of opinion.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 10, 2016 06:29PM)
[quote]On Apr 10, 2016, charliecheckers wrote:
I have to think a bit more about this. For me, it comes down to weighing the potential for disappointed customers and rebooking loss vs missed opportunities because I was unable to depict my show to a potential client because I choose to exclude some video content and they did not know I could satisfy their needs. [/quote]

Or simply have a separate video for each market you are targeting. As in many areas of our business, one size does not fit all and all clients are not alike.

The other thing to take from my original post, although not intended, is how so many performers believe the stuff audience memebers tell them. (This is why audience testimonials are often so misrepresentative and nearly useless). They base their own level of success on this and it's often quite inaccurate. It's only one-sided and listening only to what you want to hear. People (guests, attendees, audiences) will typically not tell if they didn't like it, were dissatisfied or disappointed. Just like a restaurant, most won't say anything, but will tell others about their dissatisfaction and will never patronize you again.

I choose to strive for the reality of the truer picture. Satisfaction of the client and their needs. This is most important. Performers need to create honest perspective and not get "caught up" in what they want to see and hear. This also applies for the agent, EP or DMC. You aim should be to completely please and satify both the agent and the client. 99.9% of the time, if this is done the majority of the audience is satisfied too.

In a perfect scenario, the client, the agent/EP/DMC, the audience and all involved are happy and satisfied.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 10, 2016 07:40PM)
Without knowing the details (not that I expect you to reveal specifics in this situation), it's hard to get a grasp on this.
was there one specific routine that the client was expecting to see? Or was the entire act drastically different?
When I see demos, I usually see a variety of routines. One that comes to mind shows walk around card tricks, a parlor routine, and a shell game routine.
I think it would be obvious that the demo shows routines from various settings, and not to expect the shell game in a stage show setting.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Apr 10, 2016 07:55PM)
[quote]On Apr 10, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:
Well if someone books you based on an expectation you better meet that expectation. Regardless of how they reach that expectation it is your job to meet it. If you show them a video at any point and they see something in it and book you based upon that and don't get that how will that make them feel? Like not booking you again that is how.

It is shocking how many times this very basic idea is blown off by performers. [/quote]


Not to quote myself but your answer is here.

And by way of further explanation when I say "expectations" they can be created in lots of ways. Not just video.

For example many close up magicians claim they will increase the bottom line or bring in more customers. When this doesn't happen (As it almost never will at least measurably.) the establishment is now upset. An expectation has been set, and an expectation has not been met. Customer lost.

Or it can be done with video testimonials saying you are the greatest and just pumping yourself up perhaps more than is realistic.

In short if it creates expectations you can not live up to it will cause disappointment and that is no way to build a customer base.

It doesn't matter how you justify it to yourself, it matters what they expect when you arrive. It matters if you meet said expectation, or better yet exceed it. This is why I have never been a fan of self aggrandizing types of promo. Often to me it just goes way too far. It can be a recipe for disappointment.

To me this is the backfire of too many video testimonials.

Just one way of looking at it.
Message: Posted by: Bairefoot (Apr 10, 2016 10:15PM)
Minder you mean you are still hiring magicians and have not hired me yet? Just kidding great information.

Bairefoot
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 11, 2016 08:31AM)
You're one of my go to guys next time I need talent in Myrtle Beach, lol

[quote]On Apr 10, 2016, thomasR wrote:
Without knowing the details (not that I expect you to reveal specifics in this situation), it's hard to get a grasp on this.
was there one specific routine that the client was expecting to see? Or was the entire act drastically different?
When I see demos, I usually see a variety of routines. One that comes to mind shows walk around card tricks, a parlor routine, and a shell game routine.
I think it would be obvious that the demo shows routines from various settings, and not to expect the shell game in a stage show setting. [/quote]

I'm not sure why you are having trouble grasping this. Someone saw your video, liked what they saw, what they saw persuaded them to want to book you, then once they have you perform it does not live up to the very thing they saw that caused them to book you. Very simple.

Like Danny said, you create expectation, but ultimately you failed to live up to their expectations because you didn't perform the thing that made them decide to book you.

This is also a very similar issue for those that have television credits. One of the best demo video elements a performer can have is performance footage from television appearances. Forget fancy, expensive, over-produced demos, but a demo with the right and proper (two key elements) footage from media appearances can be absolutely powerful and the most effective (for many reasons). However, if someone sees you perform on t.v. or in a clip from a t.v. appearance, and you end up not performing the same material as in the t.v. appearance, it too can create disappointment from again the very same expectation of which Danny speaks.

This is why choosing the right material to perform in your media segments and knowing how an where to perform it in media segments is so crucially important.

Speaking from an agent's point of view, I would recommend having separate demos for your different performance markets. The problem with a lot of magicians is they try to be many thing to many people in the same video, promo or website. As in this example it can work against you very often. One of the misnomers of magicians is the belief that more is better. I can do closeup, strolling/walk-around, I can do my stage performance or "parlour" (a word I would NEVER use in my promo, video or printed materials), and I can also do balloon animals, a bit of juggling and some light gardening. H**l, you wanna shine my shoes too?

The mistakenly believe it is impressive, when to an agent or booker it creates problems, confusion and lack of direction, focus or priority. It makes it very difficult to sell you. Now some will say, and I always love hearing this, "but I don't work with agents"..., that's fine but do you not think regular customers don't think the same? You have to know the limits of what is impressive and beneficial vs. what is overkill, over the top, unimpressive or ineffective.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 11, 2016 02:21PM)
I never said I didn't grasp it.

I'm more curious about the specifics of the situation, so I can understand the clients view.
Did the the specific performer do a majority of material from the demo the client saw?
Was the client disappointed that one specific trick wasn't performed? Or did they feel the entire act was not what they signed up for.

I'm not trying to debate anything with you, in general I agree the client should get what they expect. (That's obvious). But most variety performers (not just magic) have multiple types of acts. An aerialist comes to mind, she performs cube spinning, aerial silk, and trapeze. All 3 acts appear in her demo. A client would need to ask her if they wanted a specific act. But also when booking, she would ask "what would you like to see in the performance."

So again.... If a demo video clearly shows multiple scenarios, but the same over all personality, it could be done in a way that would be obvious to clients and perhaps even agents, that different material will be performed in different settings.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 11, 2016 02:36PM)
It's hard to get a grasp on what the client was expecting to see.
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Apr 11, 2016 03:09PM)
This is a great topic. I would add just one thing: If there is something in your demo that would not suit the particular event/venue that the client is hiring you for, let them know before they sign the contract. I've had to do this on some occasions with my guitar looping piece. It's not the right fit for every type of event, but it exists in one of my demo videos. All it takes is saying to them, "In this particular situation, due to X, Y, Z, I would not typically perform the piece with the guitar. Is that okay with you, or would you like me to include it?" Like Danny and others have said, it's just about making sure that their expectations line up with what you give them.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 11, 2016 03:09PM)
I'm sorry my posts have not been clear.

I understand the general idea of the original post. I'm curious about the specific situation.

It seems surprising to me, that a client would complain if one particular trick wasn't performed. If the entire act, however, was vastly different than the demo video, that would make more sense.

Just because I ask questions doesn't mean I'm trying to argue with anyone's point of view.
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Apr 11, 2016 03:17PM)
[quote]On Apr 11, 2016, thomasR wrote:
I'm sorry my posts have not been clear.

I understand the general idea of the original post. I'm curious about the specific situation.

It seems surprising to me, that a client would complain if one particular trick wasn't performed. If the entire act, however, was vastly different than the demo video, that would make more sense.

Just because I ask questions doesn't mean I'm trying to argue with anyone's point of view. [/quote]

Perhaps it could be better understood this way: Clients look at your promo video as if it is your "greatest hits" reel. If you hired Journey to play a private concert for your event, and they didn't play "Don't Stop Believin," you would be rightfully upset. It's one of their greatest hits. The client hires you based on your demo video. If there is one trick in your video that they particularly loved - the trick that sold them on you, perhaps - and you don't do it, they will feel let down.
Message: Posted by: MichaelDouglas (Apr 11, 2016 03:29PM)
Great stuff on managing client expectations. Thanks everyone.
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Apr 11, 2016 04:44PM)
[quote]On Apr 11, 2016, thomasR wrote:
I'm not surprised that a client would complain... I'm trying to fully understand the specifics of this complaint. That is all.
I would, personally, be surprised if a client complained that one particular trick from a demo video was not performed, unless the demo particularly highlighted that trick.
I'm not saying it wouldn't happen, but I would be surprised. [/quote]

Perhaps what is confusing some of us is that you insist you understand the issue, while maintaining that the client's reaction would surprise you. If you truly understood the problem, the client's reaction would be both reasonable and expected.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 11, 2016 05:10PM)
Brian, Thanks for your reply, you have replied to my posts very politely and I thank you for that.

Perhaps I shouldn't have said I would be surprised... maybe that was a poor choice of phrase. I really was trying to get a little more insight to the specifics of this situation but clearly me asking questions has frustrated others.

I have a friend who is a very successful performer, I've seen him perform dozens of times at various events that I have attended. His current demo video has several clips from various types of shows. In one clip he does a comedy trick that I have never seen him perform live. But to me, his demo video gives clients a clear understanding of what they will receive. In my mind.. I was thinking of his video, and that bit. So when I said I would be surprised it was through that lens.

I also realize everyone has different types of demo videos. Some highlight 2 "signature" tricks or routines, others will show a large variety of tricks and routines sometimes in different settings.

Well.. either way... I thought it was a good original post, and it's a good point to ponder.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 11, 2016 09:17PM)
MindPro... Thank you. That was exactly the information that I was asking for. I'm sorry that I worded it poorly.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 11, 2016 09:23PM)
Yes sir, no problem.
Message: Posted by: Bairefoot (Apr 11, 2016 09:27PM)
Its kinda like someone seeing your show in person and hire you for their event. Then you don't do the same things like you did in the first one. Example, man I was expecting to see you steal someone's watch. Now they have talked about this over and over to their friends and then you don't do it. The show they see you do you do card to forehead but, it think its better to do the card sword. It's just understanding what the client wants before you do the show. Ask questions to them.

Thanks Mindpro I am glad I am own your list!

Bairefoot
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Apr 12, 2016 03:41AM)
I can not love this post too much! At Disney, the quote was, "Don't draw anything you can't deliver." It's the same here. I know of an international "illusionist" that had a very impressive promo video of effects he couldn't even come close to doing live as they were all over the top camera tricks. They ended up burning many international markets because they couldn't deliver on their promises. The biggest frustration for me was their comment that no one knew the difference. I beg to differ! In many ways, it's the same with head shots. Your theatrical headshot can be dramatic and artsy but your commercial headshot MUST be a good representation of what you really look like! Your promo video MUST be an example of what you can actually bring to the table. I do understand that budgets vary and I'm very clear that my promo has larger scale effects that might not fit their budget but these are there to give me a chance to push for the larger budgets if they have it. Thank you Mindpro for reminding everyone not to write a check their show can't cash!
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Apr 12, 2016 10:51AM)
So it really comes down to .... communicate with your customer.
"Did you have anything special in mind that you'd like me to do for you?"
Great opportunity to clarify what you need from them to be able to deliver their expectations.
"Yes, I can do the Big Balloon trick - as long as you have a 12x12 carpeted space with at least 10' ceiling height."
(Then show up to find a big screen TV and chandelier in the space, but they expect the Big Balloon!)
They don't know what it takes to make "that" routine happen (stage space, prop management, assistants, etc.).
All they know is it was on your video and they hired you to perform that.
You don't know that, of course - unless you're a mind reader, or you talk to them.

Ed
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 12, 2016 11:40AM)
Ed... very good points. Communication is very key. I hesitate to mention this... but if Mindpro had asked the client if they particularly liked any part of the demo, he may have been able to make note of that and passed it along to the performer. Now of course it was the performer who sent the demo, and it was the performer who didn't satisfy the client, but that could have possibly been avoided with more communication.

Also... the Agent has the ability to ask the performer "what routines do you plan on performing, has anything changed from your demo that I sent the client."
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Apr 12, 2016 01:10PM)
[quote]On Apr 12, 2016, Ed_Millis wrote:
So it really comes down to .... communicate with your customer.
"Did you have anything special in mind that you'd like me to do for you?"
Great opportunity to clarify what you need from them to be able to deliver their expectations.
"Yes, I can do the Big Balloon trick - as long as you have a 12x12 carpeted space with at least 10' ceiling height."
(Then show up to find a big screen TV and chandelier in the space, but they expect the Big Balloon!)
They don't know what it takes to make "that" routine happen (stage space, prop management, assistants, etc.).
All they know is it was on your video and they hired you to perform that.
You don't know that, of course - unless you're a mind reader, or you talk to them.

Ed [/quote]

Your rider should have all of these stipulations. It takes care of itself. My agents have my rider. Any issue the client as with the rider comes up before the contract is signed and is handled accordingly. Furthermore, my agents require that the changes I make to my rider be submitted to them, and that affects shows that have *not* already been booked. This ensures the client receives what they were expecting when they signed the contract, even if the show is a year away.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Apr 12, 2016 01:35PM)
To be fair I never work the one night shows. So that is not of what I speak.
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Apr 12, 2016 04:07PM)
Coming down to the weekend warrior level ....

I am never booked by any kind of "agent" - I'm just me, and I answer the phone call or the email and talk to the client. And what they see on my video may have been done at a library, or at a picnic, or at a birthday party for a child younger or older than theirs, so it's not totally workable for their situation. (Note: not my current video, but the one I plan on getting around to!)

So *I* don't have "the" show: I have a repertoire full of routines that can be mix-n-match to create a show appropriate to their situation. Sometimes on the fly - like the time I showed up to do a library show and had two mothers bring three kids under 3. Or the birthday part with only four kids, ages 5, 6, 9, and 12.

I'd love to have "the" show that fits everything, or "the" niche that I perfectly fit, and all for whatever price I'm asking. Until then, there's stuff I can do and stuff I can't. And if I don't clarify things before the show with the client, then both of us are meeting at the event wondering what's going to happen.

Ed
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 12, 2016 04:25PM)
This is where perspectives like those offered by Tom can get harming regarding those not working with agents. The topic discussed here pertains to all performers on all levels, especially the small, independent, weekend warrior guys. Forget agents if you aren't working with them, that wasn't the point as much as again what you are presenting of yourself vs. the expectation the client is receiving and proceeds with.

I understand what you are saying Ed, but remember no one has a show that fits everything or a perfect fit for everyone or all occasions. It rarely ever happens on any level of performer. I know there are guys out there that let this prevent them from moving forward of following their desires. Don't confuse this with the topics offered here in the thread.

The whole thing is about offering what you do at the proper price for your intended client and delivering on what you present and your expectations. This is the same for all types of performers on all levels, with or without a video, promo or website. These are tools, but tools that can make your efforts and business easier, improve communication, expectation, anticipation, and most other words that end in "tion".

These resources are created and designed to help you in your presentation, selling, communication (as Ed previously pointed out) and creating that expectation efforts, however one needs to understand how these can work against you, create false expectations and communications (even if only implied or unintentionally received by the customer, which can lead to assumption and an onslaught of additional problems) and that using the wrong tools and resources can actually prevent you from getting the proper job done and create problems for all parties involved.
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Apr 12, 2016 04:26PM)
[quote]On Apr 12, 2016, Ed_Millis wrote:
Coming down to the weekend warrior level ....

I am never booked by any kind of "agent" - I'm just me, and I answer the phone call or the email and talk to the client. And what they see on my video may have been done at a library, or at a picnic, or at a birthday party for a child younger or older than theirs, so it's not totally workable for their situation. (Note: not my current video, but the one I plan on getting around to!)
[/quote]

I didn't have agents or managers until 2010. Before then I still had a contract/rider that stipulates the necessary conditions for my show. I would tell the client to let me know if there was anything that they couldn't accommodate *before* signing the contract. If there was, we would discuss it and agree to an alternative, put it in writing, and then sign off. That way you are sure that client knows precisely what they are buying. Expectations = reality is the name of the game.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 12, 2016 04:28PM)
Also like Ed is eluding to, if you don't have the right things representing you, a whole lot more discussions and communications (and more work)are necessary to properly position yourself, verbally offer the right expectation and and offering an explanation of the proper perception and expectation. I wouldn't want that to be part of my booking process. It will likely also prevent you from qualifying proper target prospects for the best chance at the greatest results.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Apr 12, 2016 04:42PM)
I don't care what causes the expectation. For example if you are a balloon twister and show a specific balloon in a video that makes a mom hire you, it is best to meet that expectation by making that balloon.

If you do not it is very bad.

In other industries they use terms like "bait and switch" to describe the practice of showing one thing and giving them another.

How would you feel as a customer if you went into a movie theater to see Star Wars and ended up seeing Rocky? How would you feel if as a customer you thought you were buying one thing and simply didn't get it? Why is this so hard to comprehend? It is not about anything except not getting what is expected after paying for it. It is not about what you can put down as a disclaimer, not about saying this is what the style of my show is our anything else but what a customer pays for and gets being the same thing.

If you want repeat customers meet expectations. Better yet exceed them. It is that simple.
Message: Posted by: TomBoleware (Apr 12, 2016 04:48PM)
[quote]On Apr 12, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
This is where perspectives like those offered by Tom can get harming regarding those not working with agents. [/quote]


Well Ed,
I don’t want to harm you but you can do what you like with this bit of advice.

Why not do like the vast majority of other kid show performers do and don’t include any full routines on the clips.
Actually, you need more shots of the audience laughing and having fun anyway. Works much better that way.

Forget the riders and such, having to pull out papers after a show doesn't help the situation.

If a parent isn’t satisfied with your show, refund the money and move on.


Now please don’t harm yourself.:)

Tom
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 12, 2016 04:58PM)
[quote]On Apr 12, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
Also like Ed is eluding to, if you don't have the right things representing you, a whole lot more discussions and communications (and more work)are necessary to properly position yourself, verbally offer the right expectation and and offering an explanation of the proper perception and expectation. I wouldn't want that to be part of my booking process. It will likely also prevent you from qualifying proper target prospects for the best chance at the greatest results. [/quote]

There is a difference between your booking process and the "local guy" booking process. Perhaps you can describe the corporate agent process in more detail. It almost sounds like "here is the video demo, you want this act or not?" I'm sure there is more to it than that.

The types of clients I speak with (organizers of local festivals, small local business events, etc.) want to discuss options. They want to feel like you are customizing a show just for their event.

Are you saying discussing options of each performer you represent is something that is not part of your booking process? If a client wants to discuss these options what do you tell them?
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 12, 2016 06:00PM)
This is about ANY bookings not just those form an agent's perspective. (See this is the damage and perception created and done by Tom delclaring that this is more in reference to workings with agents or agency booking, IT'S NOT, that was his opinion not based on anything and not what is actually from the topic). Many of my own bookings are self-represented, the vast majority of the many/most performers I work with are just individual "local guys/girls" booking themselves in their local area. Local, consumer markets.

You seem to be confusing discussing options with properly presenting yourself (not as an agent but as the local guy/performer). In actuality only about 20-25% of entertainers, even pros, work though or represented by agents and agencies. Even less, between 1-3% are exclusively represented. So most performers at all levels typically are self-represented artists.

You asked "Are you saying discussing options of each performer you represent is something that is not part of your booking process? If a client wants to discuss these options what do you tell them?" Not sure what you mean or referring to as "these options?" Options rarely come into the picture with regard to a specific performer. They are offered the way we choose to represent them which is what is in what is best for the client and the agency based on their submission to us and the terms of our acceptance .Sure we gather all of the pertinent information regarding the client, their event, interests, needs and event. We learn what their interests and expectations are, we learn the dynamics of the event and then present who we feel would be the best performer based on this information. It's not a negotiation, back and forth about variables about a performer, we present hem exactly as we have accepted them and chosen to represent them. This is also the information we present to the client. Before we ever present anyone to the client we take all of the needs and information from the client, combine it with our insight, knowledge and experience, and then decide with whom to proceed. It is a much more thorough process than most individuals and the way the typically present themselves and do the booking process (most, not all).

This is the reason most choose to use an agency, is this additional layer of service, experience, professionalism, protection and peace of mind.

In all actuality if you (the local guy or more experienced professional) have properly established yourself and your performing business, separating yourself from the pack (your competition) much of this can easily be eliminated and and not come into play. Again, at any level. Properly presenting yourself) either by yourself or through and agent) is of most importance and should always be approached from the perspectives, mentalities and psychology of the prospective customer.

But no, we are not babysitters to the performers. That's not our job. Provide us with what we need and how we need it and we will represent you to our clients and prospects. We want to work with professionals that understand what it means to be represented by us, exactly what we need, expect and why. It's a relationship. It is their responsibility to provide us with and keep us informed and updated on whatever is required for us to properly present them to our coveted clients and prospects. If they value the relationship this is typically understood and welcome to the right performers. Often we are a machine, and any bad cog can cause problems to the machine, which is why some performers are quickly and easily eliminated.

But again this topic is not about agencies, it's about the performers and the client's expectations and mentalities.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 12, 2016 06:00PM)
I guess we were posting at the same time.

And by the way, I strongly disagree that the booking process is any different for the local guy than an agency. An agency may have a more refined process and operation, but the principles, process and expectations are exactly the same.

And client's needs and expectations are the same as well.
Message: Posted by: Ed_Millis (Apr 13, 2016 10:15AM)
[quote]On Apr 12, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:
I don't care what causes the expectation. For example if you are a balloon twister and show a specific balloon in a video that makes a mom hire you, it is best to meet that expectation by making that balloon.

How would you feel as a customer if you went into a movie theater to see Star Wars and ended up seeing Rocky?

If you want repeat customers meet expectations. Better yet exceed them. It is that simple. [/quote]
The biggest question I have here is: how are you supposed to know what balloon or routine made them want to hire you? If you have one set, one show, one-size-fits-all performance, you're good to go. But if you are adjusting major portions to fit the individual situation, then you get on shaky ground. Or you build a rapport with the customer and find out what they're expecting, and then deliver it. At least, that's how it looks in my head (which may need some adjustments!).

Then again, the reason I am so very confident that I will see the movie I just bought the ticket for is because the theater has gone to great lengths to make sure they've set up my expectations properly. I ordered a new sandwich at a shop the other day - didn't look a thing like the picture and didn't meet expectations, so I'll never order that one again.

I guess in my mind, what I and many others offer is like a fast-food joint with a hundred options, because you have to cater to everyone. It would be nice to be somewhere that I could set up one show with very few options and that would work because there was enough people wanting just that very thing. But I just can't wrap my head around doing that (and I suspect thomasR as well). So I then need a demo of just about everything I do with excellent qualifying descriptions of needs and suitability, so they can pick and choose off the menu.

Does this go back to the previous discussions about how people purchase entertainment? Or maybe, how they *should* purchase entertainment, but don't because they don't know any better? And I'm meeting them at their position of non-understanding, which is not raising the bar for any of us??

Ed
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Apr 13, 2016 10:47AM)
Tom made a point about not doing whole routines and showing people having fun. Not a bad idea.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 13, 2016 12:21PM)
One of the reason I always enjoy Ed's posts is his ability to understand and break down the elements. He asks questions, seem to truly invite answers and realizes he doesn't know it all or that maybe his perceptions may be different than perhaps what is required or expected, what others respond to (or how they respond) and his ability to evolve and learn.


Much of this comes down to what you choose to represent you. Too may guys try to be "all things to everyone." They believe more is better. More can be confusing and more can create unrealistic expectations. It also depends on what type of video you are choosing to create to represent you. A Sample video, a demo video, and promotional video. They are not all the same.

For someone like you at your level Ed, your video may be speaking in generalizations. Other prefer to demonstrate specifics of their performance. The video reflects this. Do people want a Mr. Fix It (I can do most anything) or a someone specified or specialized (I am a plumber)? Are you positioning yourself as a general magician, or as a specific type of magician (illusionist, kids party magician, walk-around, etc.)

Your movie and sandwich analogy is spot on from both perceptions. You are also correct that most magicians, especially kids magicians are fast-food magicians. Same for what magicians see as related that many laymen (consumers) do not. Magicians regularly think I can do closeup, strolling, walkaround, stage/platform/parlour, balloon creations, and even a bit of juggling. To magicians these are all related arts. To many of your customers, especially in consumer markets they may see these as separate things and unrelated. While the magician is offering this info from the position of "look at all I have to offer and can do and the many different performance skills I have", many clients may look at this as a jack of all trades, master of none.

This also ties in with our videos and what we choose to represent us. Videos that show a bit of everything can send the same mixed or confusing message. More often lack of clarity. Now is this to say all of these things can't be done and offered? No, that is not what is meant or not what I am saying, but rather how it is packaged and presented to the customer in the proper content that is based on how they recieve, perceive and psychologically approach this.

Again, you are 100% correct it DOES EXACTLY go back to how people purchase entertainment. How we as entertainers (of all levels) present our entertainment. This includes their default settings and how to tailor to them, but more importantly how to change and educate them to the desired and proper perspectives and "settings." Trust me when done right, you win them over and they thank you for it. In the process you are positioning yourself as helpful, professional (which is expected) and the best choice for their needs. It is and can be a beautiful thing - big company or small independent performer. I love stopping into my companies office and just listening to my reps during this process. It is also the basis for relationship bookings, which in my opinion are the absolute best type, bar none.

Just meeting them at the initial point they are at accomplishes little and sets both of you up for potential and likely problematic outcomes, either along the way or in the end, if not both.
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Message: Posted by: Keith Raygor (Apr 18, 2016 10:04PM)
It sounds like the suggestion is to make sure one performs everything on your videos that are sent to clients - UNLESS we know from the client what routines convinced them to purchase the entertainer.

In an agency situation, it is very rare for the entertainer to have conversations with, or access to the client. So it falls to the agency to make sure the client's needs are met. If an agent knows what questions to ask the client and the performer, these types of problems are mitigated. After all, the communication necessary to correctly match both the client AND the entertainer, is the responsibility of the agent. They are the only one that's speaking to both parties. And they are the only one with the experience in the field to match the entertainer to the client's expectations.

Mindpro said, "The the bottom line is perform what is on your video! You are creating expectations with your video, you must take the responsibility to live up to this expectation you've created." If the expectation of the client is to perform everything on the demo video, then the agent must take responsibility for educating them.

It is not the responsibility of the performer to make sure everything on their videos finds their way into each of their shows. That borders on the ridiculous. As just one example, comedians are constantly in a state of changing, rewriting, adding, deleting, improving, and working towards a better show tomorrow. In the case of a comedian's demo, if a client expects that every joke in the demo will be in the show they're buying, then no one has educated them on the product. Same with other types of entertainers.

Mindpro's statement "If you change material in your show, update your video. If you have performance material on your video demo, be sure its part of your show." would present a challenge for almost every professional entertainer with a demo reel, since the pros are always in a state of improvement. Sure, you should be updating your video(s) at appropriate times. But I'd like to meet the guy that updated his video every time he changed some of his show.

Managing the expectations of the client IS the agent's job. And as Mindpro said, "This is the reason most choose to use an agency, is this additional layer of service, experience, professionalism, protection and peace of mind."
It's not unreasonable to suggest that the only person speaking to both parties would know what questions to ask so expectations are met. Especially one with years of experience.

In the OP, Mindpro said the entertainer received rave reviews from the audience, and the contact at the venue said he did excellent from what they observed. That only serves to highlight the agent's part in the miscommunication.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 18, 2016 11:48PM)
Keith,

Thanks so much for adding your thoughts on this thread. They are excellent. Many of the points you made were my thoughts exactly.
Message: Posted by: RobertSmith (Apr 19, 2016 08:04PM)
The only act I ever had to terminate a contract on was for this exact reason.

They gave me a video that was fanulous. Amazing fire poi and high energy fire appartus.

When they showed up for the first night of a contract they were wearing aluminum foil fo costumes, and did NOTHING that was in the video. They started with about 250-300 people in the audince. Within 10 minutes they were down to about 75.

They were terminated and replaced with a compitent act.

I now have a standing policy that I will never recommend an act based off their video alone. If I haven't seen them live, I won't recommend them.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Apr 20, 2016 12:08AM)
[quote]On Apr 19, 2016, RobertSmith wrote:

I now have a standing policy that I will never recommend an act based off their video alone. If I haven't seen them live, I won't recommend them. [/quote]

Smart move. I rigged a large after party at Coachella last year that Paris Hilton DJ'd (If you could call it that) I've never seen anyone actually clear the floor before but it sure happened with her!
Message: Posted by: RobertSmith (Apr 20, 2016 04:00PM)
[quote]On Apr 20, 2016, Ray Pierce wrote:
[quote]On Apr 19, 2016, RobertSmith wrote:

I now have a standing policy that I will never recommend an act based off their video alone. If I haven't seen them live, I won't recommend them. [/quote]

Smart move. I rigged a large after party at Coachella last year that Paris Hilton DJ'd (If you could call it that) I've never seen anyone actually clear the floor before but it sure happened with her! [/quote]

Oooooh, that just, wow.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 20, 2016 05:53PM)
That's exactly what happens when young people with no developed and honed skills pretend that they're entertainers. We see it everyday unfortunately.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Apr 21, 2016 10:18AM)
I started a thread back in January in the 'Penny for your Thoughts' section of the Café with the following post and thought that maybe it 's worth reposting it here.....

Back in 2006 I had an prickly exchange in a thread in Inner Thoughts with another Café member. (Vince Mendoza)

It's quite usual for such exchanges to quickly, if not instantly, turn into something unpleasant here on the Café, especially it seems, in this section which is why I'm posting here rather than in Inner Thoughts. In fact it seems to be the norm for people to take umbrage or pot shots at the slightest provocation, real or imagined.

The exchanges I and Vince had were both robust and pointed but we still both managed (just) to keep our exchanges in the discussion civil... and as a way to try and cement this, or at least leave it on that footing, I suggested that if we were ever to meet face to face I'd be happy to buy us both a beer with the hope that we'd both get on despite our obvious current friction.

At the 'Event and Session Convention' this weekend (Jan 8-10) I saw someone doing some lovely ring and rope magic. When they'd finished I went across to tell them how much I'd enjoyed watching what they'd just performed. The chap thanked me for the compliment and asked me if I'd like a drink. It was at this point that I caught his name on his Convention name badge and realised that it was the guy who I'd had the pointedly sharp exchange with back in 2006.

I told Vince that actually I would be getting the drinks as I had promised him one on a previous occasion... and then explained why and who I was.

We then had the first of quite a few beers together and over the weekend of the convention we got to hang out a fair bit. Vince turned out to be one of the most gentle and pleasant people I've ever met. He also does some great magic which he performs with a disarmingly light touch. It was great to get to hang out with him and a joy to see him doing stuff in the chill out areas.

Had our 2006 exchange got out of hand in the way that many in the mentalism sections of the Café do, I might have lost the opportunity, before I'd even met him, of the friendship of someone that I feel better for knowing,

So... I urge you to think twice about what you post and try an keep in mind that we all benefit from keeping our interactions, civil at the very least.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Apr 21, 2016 05:31PM)
[quote]On Apr 21, 2016, Dannydoyle wrote:

If you create more work for an agent, you move down his list. It is that simple.

...Do you want to be the guy causing this problem or solving it? Really that is the point. [/quote]

Wow... this is such valuable advice. Yes, I worked as an act for many years and have also booked a lot of people in other shows and events. My job as an act is to give the agents representing me the best tools to do their jobs and then to make it as easy on them as I can. I've often said that my first job is to make the person who hired me look good to their superiors. That also applies to the agent as well. I want them to look good by my having the very best product possible and being the easiest to work with.

This comes to the second quote. I feel that a professional (in any field) is there to solve a problem for the client. If it's a plumber, he is there to fix your problem with the sink... not to complain that the sink is in a difficult position or that he needs different tools or he has to go look something up. No, he fixes the sink with a smile and goes on to the next job because he's been doing it for years and knows the solutions and has all the correct tools for any problem he will encounter. Why can't we as magicians be the same? I try and do my homework on the job, as the right questions and then deliver a product that exceeds their expectations without causing problems. That comes from experience and having the right knowledge, tools and attitude. That in my mind is what makes someone a professional.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 21, 2016 06:56PM)
I expect communication. I expect the agency to communicate with the client to understand the full expectations of the talent. I expect the agency to communicate with the artist the full expectations of the client. This should not be considered "extra work." It should be the very basics of what an agency does.

When I watch the demo video of a singer that I am going to hire for an event. I don't expect every song on the demo to be performed unless I request those specific songs. The demo shows way more than that. It shows the singers voice, the way they appear on stage, and their stage presence. Should it be up to date? Absolutely! But the specific songs should not be what sells the client, and that's not what the agent should be selling. - Just my opinion.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Apr 21, 2016 07:30PM)
Never worked with an agency - What is their value add? Why would a magician choose to work with one?

Hudson
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Apr 21, 2016 07:45PM)
Two main reasons: 1. because for many entertainers it is a great relationship and means for bookings that you don't/can't get on your own, less work, marketing, and often a great resource for return, regular and continuous bookings, and 2. because they are the only way you can work the rooms or venues the agency reps. For example if I have a venue (theater, hotel, banquet facility, resort, etc.) and you want to perform there the only way to do so is you have to go through my agency. The venue has signed with us to exclusively handle their entertainment. Same for corporate clients. Some companies won't or can't book direct, that's not their business, so they are rep'd by an agency. That is the quick and easy answer.
Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Apr 21, 2016 08:17PM)
Thanks. Makes sense.

Hudson
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Jun 22, 2016 10:17PM)
[quote]On Apr 21, 2016, Mindpro wrote:
Two main reasons: 1. because for many entertainers it is a great relationship and means for bookings that you don't/can't get on your own, less work, marketing, and often a great resource for return, regular and continuous bookings, and 2. because they are the only way you can work the rooms or venues the agency reps. For example if I have a venue (theater, hotel, banquet facility, resort, etc.) and you want to perform there the only way to do so is you have to go through my agency. The venue has signed with us to exclusively handle their entertainment. Same for corporate clients. Some companies won't or can't book direct, that's not their business, so they are rep'd by an agency. That is the quick and easy answer. [/quote]

Great info, I have an appointment with one next week....thanks MP.
:bigsmile: